The town of Chappell Hill was founded in 1847 by Mary Hargrove Haller, granddaughter of Robert Wooding Chappell, for whom she named the town. Mary Haller’s husband, Jacob, was the town’s first postmaster. Mary Haller purchased the townsite and it was divided into blocks, with streets and alleys laid off in a regular pattern. The sale of lots began in the fall of 1849.
By the mid-nineteenth century, the town gained prominence in the region, boasting sawmills a railroad line, a Masonic Lodge, five churches, and two institutes of higher learning (the Chappell Hill Female College and Soule University for males founded in 1856).
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