PENDER COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Pender County native Gary Traywick is a Special Superior Court Judge for North Carolina. Having that role means he has to travel to different parts of the state to hold trials.
Next week, he will be on the bench in Ashe County, and that will make him only the seventh Superior Court Judge in the state to hold court in all of North Carolina's 100 counties.
Traywick is also a historian, and will receive a special honor in that field next month. He began practicing law in his home town of Burgaw in 1969. And has been on the bench for 18 years.
Some ten years ago, he started a book, detailing the history of Pender County. He wanted to make sure there was an updated publication of how Pender County got started and events that have taken place there thru the years.
"I thought we should have a book that people, especially new people, could come and see what the county was all about, where their new home was and what had gone on here," said Traywick.
In the book, Traywick details the early explorers who came to this part of the state, via the Cape Fear and Northeast Cape Fear Rivers, and later about commerce along the waterways.
He tells readers how this man started the farming areas of St. Helena and Van Eeden, and how a first lady visited the Penderlea community.
Traywick also talks about churches that have played a role in the development of Pender County, including the Saint Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Church at Saint Helena, and Hopewell Presbyterian Church, where the body of the first student at the University of North Carolina, Hinton James is buried.
But he said while doing research for the book, the biggest thing that surprised him was the disparity between the races as the county was growing - especially when it came to public education.
"I guess, if you grew up in the South, as you and I were, we know that things were not equal, I just did not realize it was to that extent," said Traywick.
Traywick is continuing to work on a new publication, combining a series of commentaries he has written over the years, and putting them together in a book form. He will continue to educate people about the county he has called home for over sixty years, a county that has changed greatly since being named for a Confederate general, and has become one of the fastest growing counties in North Carolina.
Next month, the Lower Cape Fear Historical Society will honor Judge Traywick with their Clarendon Award, given to people for their work in helping to preserve and promote the history of the Cape Fear region.
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