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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Chadbourn, James Harmon

by David H. Armstrong III, 1979

23 Aug. 1853–2 Sept. 1913

James Harmon Chadbourn, manufacturer, was born in Wilmington, the son of George Chadbourn, who came from Maine to North Carolina in 1847. Chadbourn attended private schools in Wilmington and was graduated from Williston Seminary, Easthampton, Mass., in 1871. Returning to Wilmington, he entered the family lumber business there. In 1882 the Chadbourn Mill and Railway Company was formed to carry the timber enterprise into Columbus County. Chadbourn was placed in charge of this business, and under his direction the company purchased vast tracts of timberland and constructed a sawmill on the site of the present town of Chadbourn. A railroad was built to transport the great quantities of timber to the mill. The road was eventually extended to Conway, S.C., and to Boardman, N.C.; the short line, later purchased by the Atlantic Coast Line, became an important feeder line. After the sale of the railroad, Chadbourn returned to Wilmington and became president of the Chadbourn Lumber Company.

In addition to his connection with the family lumber business, Chadbourn was president of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Inland Waterway Association, and Delgado Cotton Mills and a director of the Atlantic National Bank, Carolina Savings and Trust Company, Citizens' Building and Loan Association, and Consolidated Railway, Light and Power Company. He was also active in the Wilmington First Presbyterian Church and for many years was an elder.

Chadbourn was married to Blanche H. King, with whom he had seven children. He died at Witchwood, the family summer home in Asheville, and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Wilmington.


Samuel A. Ashe, ed., Biographical History of North Carolina, vol. 6 (1907).

Wilmington Morning Star, 5 Sept. 1913.

Additional Resources:

Chadbourn, James Harmon in WorldCat:,%20james%20harmon$1853

"Report, Accession #: S.1991.1.940." 1892. North Carolina Historic Sites.

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