Ross, Thomas E. One land, three peoples: a geography of Robeson County, North Carolina. 3rd ed. Southern Pines, NC: Carolinas Press, 2005. 176 pages (including index).
This wide-ranging compendium provides an invaluable introduction to Robeson County, North Carolina through text, maps, photographs, and statistical tables. It comprises sixteen topical chapters, authored by Ross or by specialists from UNC-Pembroke or in other capacities in the county. It also has a useful introduction/background essay and a conclusion, both by Ross.The chapters survey both the geographical and geological features of the county (soils, topography, and surface drainage; groundwater hydrology; the Lumber River and Lumber River State Park; vegetation cover; and climate) and its human, social, and cultural aspects (population; housing; transportation; economic activities; human service agencies; health and health care; a history of education; libraries; the arts, cultural, historical, and recreational sites; science and technology; and political geography). Most chapters conclude with a bibliography.Besides painting a comprehensive portrait of the county, One land, three peoples supplies, through its 72 maps, photographs, and statistical tables, a wealth of reference data. The following are a few examples:• Figure 1.3, Robeson County towns and communities• Table 4.1, Float time (on the Lumber River) from one boat access to another• Table 7.2, Robeson County population 1990 and 2000, by race and township• Table 7.7, Population of Robeson County towns and census-designated places, 2000, total and by race• Figure 10.1, Robeson County employment, by sector, 2003• Table 10.2, Estimated value of farm commodities, Robeson County, 2003• Figure 10.3, Cropland by township, Robeson County• Table 11.1, Social services, Robeson County• Table 15.1, Robeson County historical markers• Table 17.2, Presidential election votes, by township, 2000 and 2004 (percentages), for Robeson CountyIn the book's preface, author and geographer Thomas E. Ross, who has lived in, taught in, and studied Robeson County for years, characterizes the county as follows:"Robeson County is a place where good people have wisely utilized the scarce natural resources to their advantage. It is a place that has produced outstanding leaders in education, business, religion and politics. It is a place that has attracted people of substance. It is also a place that possesses some of the negative characteristics found in all places. It is, though, to its great disadvantage, a place that falls prey to much criticism from its natives and from outsiders, most of it unwarranted. It is also a place that suffers from lack of a positive self-image. Overall, though Robeson County is not the 'goodliest land,' it is a good place to live, work and play (p. ix)."