Welcome to the Bladen Journal online, a web site established for our readers, both here in our beautiful Bladen County, and elsewhere in our great world. With this site, the Journal moves into that wondrous place called cyberspace and officially makes itself part of the highest, most sophisticated form of mass communication presently known.

Both the Bladen Journal and Bladen County have had long, distinguished histories. Bladen is the third largest county in North Carolina. Its 976 square miles are occupied by slightly more than 30,000 residents. There are seven incorporated towns-Elizabethtown (the county seat), Bladenboro, Clarkton, White Lake, Tar Heel, Dublin, and the newest, East Arcadia-all small, and all grand locales for quality, family living.

Bladen is blessed with rich and expansive farmland, solid blue-chip industry, beautiful recreational lakes, and a vital river. The Cape Fear runs through the heart of the county, and supplies sustenance in many forms to a grateful populace.

Bladen is known as the Mother of Counties. At one time it was the largest county in North Carolina, before 54 others were carved from her territory. Even much of Tennessee, it is said, was part of the original Bladen. The carvings, according to The Formation of the North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943, started in 1749, about 15 years after Bladen's birth as a county. First came Anson, in 1749, followed at least in part by Orange, Rowan, and then many others.

The Bladen Journal became part of Bladen life in late 1898, but with a different name. The Clarkton Express began publication in Clarkton and survived changes in ownership and occasional lapses in continuous publication times, to become the Bladen Journal in 1909. The Bladen Journal has always had a simple, unmistakable mission-to provide the people of Bladen news about themselves and their homeland. Local news has been our beat here at the Journal, even during a period of several years when our name contained the word Daily, and our publication frequency was Monday through Friday mornings. Even then, Bladen was our beat. It continues that way today, even as we share parts of our regular Tuesday and Friday papers with the world through

Among our aims is to provide information about news events quickly after they happen. After the Bladen Journals are published each Tuesday and Friday, some of the stories in those regular publications-along with accompanying pictures-will be placed on the online edition. We will place obituary information on the web site on a daily basis, Monday through Friday. We will place scores of county sports events on the website the same way.