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Why do they call it Leland?

Ben Steelman

Blame, or credit, the old U.S. Post Office Department.

The little community in northeast Brunswick County — which grew up where the old Village Road crossed the Wilmington, Columbia & Augusta railroad line — was a going concern by the 1890s, when it was apparently known as “Crossroads.” By 1897, a group of area residents including Joseph W. Gay sent a petition to Washington for a local post office.

According to local historian Lucille Dresser Blake, Gay submitted three possible names for the post office to the Postmaster General’s office, one of them “Leland” — which just happened to be the first name of Gay’s nephew, Leland Adams. As it turned out, Leland was the name the Post Office Department picked — and when the new post office opened on Feb. 10, 1898, Joseph W. Gay was the first postmaster.

It took another century — or, until 1989 — for Leland to be incorporated. Initially, it had about 1,800 residents, which expanded to 1,983 with the 2000 census. Rapid growth and annexation, however, pushed its population to more than 10,000 by 2009.

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