Pembroke, North Carolina

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Pembroke, North Carolina
Third Street in Pembroke
Third Street in Pembroke
Official seal of Pembroke, North Carolina
Motto: "Home of the Lumbee Tribe..."
Pembroke, North Carolina is located in North Carolina
Pembroke, North Carolina
Pembroke, North Carolina
Location within the state of North Carolina
Coordinates: 34°40′55″N 79°11′45″W / 34.68194°N 79.19583°W / 34.68194; -79.19583Coordinates: 34°40′55″N 79°11′45″W / 34.68194°N 79.19583°W / 34.68194; -79.19583
Country United States
State North Carolina
County Robeson
 • Mayor Milton R. Hunt
 • Total 2.3 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 • Land 2.3 sq mi (6.1 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
Elevation 171 ft (52 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 2,973
 • Density 1,023.9/sq mi (395.3/km2)
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 28372
Area code(s) 910
FIPS code 37-51080[1]
GNIS feature ID 0992012[2]
Website Town Of Pembroke North Carolina

Pembroke is a town in Robeson County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 2,973, at the 2010 census, 89% of which is Native American. The town is the tribal seat of the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina as well as the home of The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.


Pembroke is located at 34°40′55″N 79°11′45″W / 34.68194°N 79.19583°W / 34.68194; -79.19583 (34.681949, -79.195765).[3]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.3 square miles (6.0 km2), all land.


According to the 2000 census,[1] there were 2,399 people, 961 households, and 611 families residing in the town. The population density was 1,023.9 people per square mile (395.8/km²). There were 1,043 housing units at an average density of 445.1 per square mile (172.1/km²). The racial makeup of the town was:

There were 961 households out of which 35.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 27.3% were married couples living together, 32.5% had a female householder with no husband present, and 36.4% were non-families. 32.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.46 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the town the population was spread out with 34.8% under the age of 18, 11.5% from 18 to 24, 25.8% from 25 to 44, 17.6% from 45 to 64, and 10.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. For every 100 females there were 75.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 64.9 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $18,355, and the median income for a family was $21,218. Males had a median income of $26,875 versus $21,510 for females. The per capita income for the town was $10,202. About 39.9% of families and 40.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 54.3% of those under age 18 and 34.1% of those age 65 or over.


Archaeological excavations now being performed throughout Robeson County reveal a long and rich history of widespread and consistent occupation, especially near the Lumber River, or originally Drowning Creek since the end of the last Ice Age. The Lumber River, winds its way through Pembroke. Indeed, precursor settlements to what is now Pembroke sprung up alongside the river's banks, and artifacts found there have been dated to the early Woodland period. This suggests that Native American settlements along the river were part of an extensive trade network with other regions of what is now the Southeast of the United States. After colonial contact, European-made items, such as kaolin tobacco pipes, were traded by the Spanish, French, and the English to Native American peoples of the coast, and found their way within Pembroke's reach long before Europeans established their settlements.

Swamps, streams, and artesian wells provided an excellent supply of water for Native peoples. Fish was plentiful, and the regions lush vegetation included numerous food crops. "Carolina bays", creeks, swamps, pocosins, and longleaf pines continue to mark the distinctive wetland landscape of Pembroke.

In 1725, colonial English surveyors for the Wineau factory mapped a village of Waccamaw Indians on the Lumber River, a few miles west of present-day Pembroke. In 1754, North Carolina Governor Arthur Dobbs received a report from his agent, Col. Rutherford, the head of a Bladen County militia, that Indian 50 families were living along Drowning Creek which refers to Irish and highland Scots. The communication also reported the shooting of a surveyor who entered the area "to view vacant lands." They reported no Indians in Robeson County area. The Lowry War of 1861 to 1874, considered one of the most important and controversial events in North Carolina history, took place in and around Pembroke. Led by Henry Berry Lowry, a 17-year old Lumbee whose father and brother were murdered at the hands of the Confederate Home Guard, an Outlaw band Native Americans, African-Americans and whites waged a seven year guerilla war against the homeguard in the areas near Robeson and Pembroke. During the fighting, Lowry and many others, escaped into the surrounding swamps, a tactic that they would use over and over again and which would prove highly successful at helping them avoid capture. As the war dragged on, food became scarce as more outliers (including escaped slaves, Confederate deserters and Union prison escapees) fled to this sanctuary. As such, the rebel band were forced to change tactics and decided to live off the wealthy class of people instead of the poor. The band raided plantations and distributed food to the poor in Pembroke, North Carolina, which was known then as "Scuffletown" or "The Settlement". Toward century's end, the town would be named for railroad official, Pembroke Jones.


Pembroke is the tribal seat of the Lumbee Indian Tribe of North Carolina, the largest state Native American tribe east of the Mississippi River,and the largest non-reservation, not federally recognized and without benefits, state-recognized tribe in the United States. The origin of the Lumbee tribes heritage as Indians is however disputed, but in 1950's the different Indian communities came together and selected one unifying name, Lumbee, after the Lumbee River.

Pembroke is home of UNC Pembroke, a master's level degree-granting university and one of the 17 schools that comprise the University of North Carolina system. It was incorporated within the University of North Carolina system in 1972 and officially became the University of North Carolina at Pembroke in 1996. The total enrolment within the university is 6,944 as of 2010. With a 16:1 student to faculty ratio the average class size is 21. Pembroke is the safest campus among the UNC schools according to the U.S. News and World Report and is among the nations most diverse. According to their motto it's "Where learning gets personal."

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  2. ^ "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  • William McKee Evans, "To Die Game: The Story of the Lowry Band, Indian Guerrillas of Reconstruction", Syracuse University Press, 1995
  • Adolph L. Dial, David K. Eliades, "The Only Land I Know: A History of the Lumbee Indians", Syracuse University Press, 1996
  • Karen I. Blu, "The Lumbee Problem: The Making of an American Indian", University of Nebraska Press, 2001
  • E. Stanly Godbold, Jr. and Mattie U. Russell, "Confederate Colonel And Cherokee Chief: The Life Of William Holland Thomas", University of Tennessee Press, 1990

External links[edit]