What do we know about the names of our town: Fuquay & Varina

No, we are not named for two families who “fought” each other. While we have been getting that “tale” from newcomers in the museums, we have not been able to find the origin of this “Hatfield & McCoy” tall tale. HOWEVER, here we will try to give you the “rest of the story.” (Shirley Simmons)


The Fuquay name is definitely from the family of William Fuquay who purchased 110 acres from Jesse Jones according to a deed of 1804 “in the 28th year of American Independence.” The story has long been that he owned 1000 acres which we cannot confirm. When land was deeded to the sons of David Crockett, the acreage does amount to more than the original figure. Therefore, the Fuquay family did accumulate more acreage at some point.

This family did give their name to the town because they were the owners of the land on which they literally “plowed up” and thus discovered the Mineral Spring in 1858.

From where did our Fuquay family originate? There appear to be three versions or stories told over time.

First story: In 17th century, Lewis and William Fuquay came to New York from France, living first in New York, then in Virginia. Lewis went west and William came to our Fuquay area.

This is told by Fuquay family in several writings, generally attributed to Lula Fuquay Sessions. Lula recounts that she is the daughter of Stephen Sampson Fuquay II. “ He was the son of David Crockett Fuquay and the grandson of Stephen Samson Fuquay I who was the son of William Fuquay,” Lula wrote.

Second Story: A book entitled From the Isle of Skye to the Isle of Maui by William Benton Patterson , published 1991 gives another story we have recounted at he museums. Two brothers came with the French in 1780 and were present at the Yorktown victory of Washington. His claim is that Guillaume Fouquet (William) landed with Count De Rochambeau and married Mary Hall in 1790 in Virginia. A second brother, John Louis Fouquet came with Lafayette. William came to North Carolina, Louis went elsewhere. He dates this Wake County arrival as 1810 which does not agree with the Wake County Deed.

Current Story: Research by the Huguenot Society of Virginia under taken by Martha Fuquay Cummings states that Guilluame Fouquet, a French Huguenot, settled in Virginia. He died circa 1698 in Henrico County, Va. His descendants, leading to our Fuquay Family, are numbered below. We have added the known descendants from William, all names of which agree with the accounts of Lula Sessoms and other Fuquay descendants in our area and with Patterson’s record.


1. Guilluame Fouquet (settled in Virginia)
2. Ralph (youngest son of Guilluame ; born circa 1684 in Virginia; brother of Martha’s ancestor who was named William)
3. Ishum (son of Ralph)
4. William (born circa 1755) m. Mary Hall bought 110 acres in Fuquay (recorded in Wake County 1805) 3 children: Isham, Luisa, Stephen
5. Stephen Sampson (born circa 1787 ) m. Sarah Ausley (3 sons, 3 daughters) William, Isham, David, Cynthia, Polly, Charity
6. David Crockett (born 1818) m Louisa Partin (had 6 sons) Stephen, Nathan, David, Alrich, James, Benjamin
7. Stephen Sampson m. Mary Sorrell (9 children) Lenna, Mattie, Beadie, Alpha, Lula, David, Alrich, Emma, Stephen

The museums docents detail the three stories; the repetition of family names is telling.

In all three stories, the names of all those known in our town remain identical.

However, there appears to be veracity in the Huguenot origin. NCSU has a professor who is researching North Carolina Huguenot families and has visited us to incorporate our Fuquay family information. We await his research to confirm this lineage. Martha is listed officially with the Huguenot Society of Virginia and has done much research for her line of the family. She, too, has visited our town while researching.

As to Fuquay home sites in our town, the children of Stephen Fuquay said:

1. William and Mary (Molly) lived at the end of Pine Street about where the house built by Dr. Wiley Cozart was located.
2. David Crockett and Louisa lived on Main Street in a house located about where later was erected the Fuquay Branch Bank.
3. Stephen and Mary lived about the juncture of Vance Street and Angier Rd where the Wells house was located. We do have a framed photo of this Fuquay house in the museum donated by the family.

Alrich Partin Fuquay: This son inherited the acreage on the west side of Main Street, including the mineral spring from his forebears. He taught in the Ballentine School House before deciding to move away. Dr. J. A. Sexton who purchased this Fuquay land, planned and divided the area into lots for sale.
Stephen Fuquay Home: The only picture the museums have acquired of the different generations of Fuquay Homes. Beadie Fuquay (Wright) one of the daughters is holding the horse, along the Angier Road side of the house. Stephen Fuquay divided his inheritance on the east side of Main Street intolots for sale.
Daughters of Stephen Fuquay pictured from left to right: Emma Fuquay Betts, Lula Fuquay Sessoms, Beadie Fuquay Wright and Mattie Fuquay. (Courtesy Patty Fleming)


The “Varina” portion of our name originated with a pseudonym chosen by Virginia Arey of Fayetteville, N. C. in writing to James D. Ballentine during the Civil War. She is assumed to have “borrowed” the name of the wife of Jefferson Davis. As a proper lady, she was writing to a gentlemen to whom she had had no official introduction.

There are two versions of her use of the name. The widely held one is that she wrote morale building letters to Ballentine; however, Linwood Stephenson penned an article stating that she knit the soldier socks and included her name in the gift.

Ballentine Home: J. D. and Varina lived in this house, located at what is now S. Main and Wagstaff Road. Mr. & Mrs. Curtis Perry, who had hoped to restore the old dwelling, provided pictures of the original Ballentine home.

Ballentine is said to have looked her up in Fayetteville, courting her and marrying her on December 3, 1867. As far as anyone could remember, he always called her “Varina.”

In 1880, when Ballentine applied for a post office on his property to replace one known as “Old Shop,” he asked to name it “Varina.” This post office could have been in his house but was believed by the Rawls family, whose ancestor carried the mail, to have been located near the Ballentine home at S. Main Street and Wagstaff Rd.

From 1880-1900, the “Varina “post office became the one serving all citizens from the Willow Spring area south into the Rawls Community of Harnett County. The post office served a postal route via horseback into Harnett County. The first Church of The Later Day Saints, organized in the Rawls community, was known as “The Varina Stake.”

Circa 1899, Ballentine renamed his family store, now located in the new brick building at the mineral spring, “Varina Mercantile.” The rail line coming from Durham, through Holly Springs, destined eventually for Dunn, North Carolina, identified its new depot, Varina Station, by the post office. This depot it built where the line crossed the rail running south from Raleigh. Thus the name “Varina became associated with the area along what is now Broad Street.

Varina Mercantile: The oldest brick building in town was located at the Mineral Spring by J. D. Ballentine, his brother William, and nephew, Joe. This use of the Varina name would actually be located in Fuquay Springs.

Mr. B. G. Ennis, who owned the rail crossing area, toyed with the idea of a Town of Varina which never materialized. We do have his proposed drawing of same.

While Ballentine’s Varina post office was renamed Sippahaw in 1901 and then renamed Fuquay Springs by Hattie Parker in 1902, the name “Varina” remained with the now Durham and Southern rail depot and the Ballentine store. The official name for the town became Fuquay Springs when incorporated in 1909. The Varina Station was not within the original town limits along with several other areas such as Cardenas and Blanchard.

By 1913, when Hattie Parker moved her post office up town to Depot Street in Fuquay Springs, residences and businesses now located near “Varina Station” decided it inconvenient to have to pick up mail over on Depot Street.

Varina Station: This depot, built on the line by Durham and Southern Railway, would be the beginning of the “Varina” community along Broad Street. This picture would be taken while it was still in use before 1977.

Mr. Gregory petitioned for a new U. S. Post Office to be named “Varina.” Located just across from the depot on what would become Ennis Street, he provided the first building for this second “Varina” post office in 1913. This cemented the name for the area radiating outward from Broad Street as “Varina.” Eventually, “Varina” post addresses would extend into the country on a rural route as well.

Local Presbyterians officially organized their local congregation as “Varina Presbyterian Church” in 1913.

Other businesses would use the name “Varina” as well. W. L. Johnson led the incorporation of a “Bank of Varina” on September 26, 1914. Alonzo Averette and A. V. Autry named their business “Varina Garage and Machine Company” in 1918. Both these businesses were located along Broad Street. On January 24, 1924, Herbert Akins and N. H. Hopson opened “Varina Supply Company” in the building now called “The Brick.” There was Varina Brick Warehouse opened in 1914; Varina Knitting Mill in 1931 and Varina Farmer’s Exchange of the 1950’s and various other uses of the “Varina” name over the years.

Eight women, led by Mrs. Bessie Hopson, organized the Varina Woman’s Club in 1926. This club met over the Bank of Varina until they built their clubhouse in 1936.

The community called “Varina” gradually became part of the Town of Fuquay Springs as the town limits extended northward. The “Varina” post office would relocate along Broad Street, moving several times. There would be a Fuquay Springs policeman assigned to patrol the streets of “Varina” as well as one assigned to “Fuquay.”

Rail Crossing in Varina: Heulon Dean’s 1957 photo captured “Varina”. Note the original Durham & Southern Depot in the middle. the buildings of Varina Supply and Varina Brick Warehouse behind the depot, and the Norfolk and Southern freight station on the left with the rail car. No picture of the first post office located here by Gregory has been found; however, the last post office called “Varina” in on the right with the striped awning.

Numerous organizations would begin to incorporate both “Fuquay” and “Varina” into their names. The Fuquay Varina Woman’s Club officially changed its name in 1951 and published their first cookbook, “Fuquay Varina’s Favorite Recipes.” They organized the first Fuquay Varina Garden Club in 1954. The Presbyterians changed their name to the Fuquay Varina Presbyterian Church. Many ads referred to Fuquay Varina.

When the idea of changing the town name to Fuquay-Varina became a movement, many people already referred to Fuquay Varina. Officially, in 1963 the General Assembly rechartered the municipality as Fuquay-Varina, using the hyphenated town name. The Mayor Alfred Johnson touted our being “one of two hyphenated towns in North Carolina.”

The Varina post office, located in a building now belonging to the Aviator at the junction of Ennis and Broad Streets, remained open into the 1970’s to serve businesses in that area, even after the main post office was changed from Fuquay Springs to Fuquay-Varina. The Class of 1967 became the first graduates from Fuquay-Varina High School.

Many older families still will proudly claim to have been “residents” of “Varina” or of “Fuquay Springs. ” Roughly the Varina area encompassed streets from near the First Methodist Church to the FV Presbyterian Church and all the area north on Broad and Main and west on Wake Chapel Rd and Highway 55, plus some surrounding rural area.

Our two names do have their definite history which we recount with pride.

We hope that everyone now knows more of the story! However, today, we know that our hyphenated name establishes for the world that we are “A Dash More.”