Pender County, NC
Harold G. Huntington
Among his blueberry bushes
Blueberry farming in the southeastern portion of North Carolina began in 1936 when Harold G. Huntington, of Cooperstown, NY purchased 1000 acres of what was considered worthless swamp land. It was in Pender County, located between the towns of Atkinson and Ivanhoe off Beatty's Bridge Road.
Mr. Huntington had purchased the land for $1.00 an acre. The Federal Land Bank would not lend money as they considered the land as boggy soil and that it wasn't considered fertile. Huntington planted blueberry bushes brought from New Jersey in the low land area.
A second tract was purchased by Gale Harrison from New Jersey and he paid $7 an acre. Along with local farmers, these newcomers set berries and soon a business was born.
They affiliated with a distributor in New Jersey and the crop was shipped by railroad from Atkinson.
Raeford Horrell, a distant cousin, at one time oversaw the running of the farm for some time. Clarence Eakins hauled the berries to Burgaw for distribution as well as his son, Jimmy. Today, Chester Barnhill, another distant cousin, owns/operates his own blueberry farms in NC and FL.