John Hill Wheeler was the first native of North Carolina to devote any appreciable time to the history of the Tarheel State. In this work, the first of two to be reprinted by Clearfield Company at this time, he deals with the entire range of North Carolina history but particularly the period from 1780 to 1850.
Historical Sketches of North Carolina is divided into two parts. The first deals with the history of the state as a whole. The second part–by far the largest and most important, and drawn almost entirely from unpublished records–consists of historical sketches of the component counties. Dwelling at length on the history of the formation of each county, each of these essays includes sketches of the early settlements and settlers, accounts of prominent families, thumbnail biographies of distinguished statesmen, soldiers and professional men, and lists of county officials. The complete index at the back of the volume refers to several thousand persons who figured prominently in the early history of the state.