Mt. Willing appears to have been a rather important nineteenth-century Orange County town, with six roads intersecting there, as shown on early maps. It apparently started out as a plantation owned by Thomas Whitted Sr. just prior to 1800, and seems to have begun to decline in importance by the mid-1850s. A Whitted descendant who contacted me years ago stated that "Willing" may be a family name originating from Pennsylvania.
The first map that depicts Mt. Willing is the Price-Strother map of North Carolina, published in 1798. Mt. Willing appears on most of the early nineteenth century maps of North Carolina, but disappears from the major state maps after Colton's 1866 map. The 1893 Spoon map of Alamance County shows the "Melville and Mt. Willing Road" and the "Saxapahaw and Mt. Willing Road" and the "Oaks and Mebane Road"; it also shows Mt. Willing (as being in Thompson Township). The 1901 soil map of Alamance County shows the "Saxapahaw and Mt. Willing Road" but does not show Mt. Willing itself. It also is shown on the 1918 soil map of Orange County. The 1938 highway map of the county doesn't show Mt. Willing.
One interesting thing about the maps is that Mt. Willing begins to disappear from the state maps once Mebane begins to appear. What is now Mebane (initially called Mebane's Station, then Mebanesville in 1856, then Mebane in the 1880s) was "settled" in 1854, when the railroad went through. Perhaps Mt. Willing was a major wagon-supplied market town, and when the railroad went through the area in 1854-1855, Mt. Willing, having been bypassed, was no longer the transportation hub it once was, and Mebane (and perhaps aided by Graham in Alamance County and Hillsborough in Orange County, both of which had train depots) took over Mt. Willing's local or regional role. It is interesting that Mt. Willing is on the county line between Orange County and Alamance County (Alamance County was formed partially from Orange County in 1849), much like Mebane. Also, the 1857 Cooke map shows Mount Willing but it is handwritten, not printed, on the map. Alamance County maps from 1879, 1901 (the USDA soils map), and 1910 (postal rural delivery routes map) also do not show Mt. Willing.
Mount Willing is listed in Powell's North Carolina Gazetteer, but only mentions that it is "w Orange County on the head of Toms Creek." Mt. Willing road does appear on the 1924 and 1943 Sanborn maps of Hillsboro (Hillsborough), where King Street becomes Mt. Willing Road west of Nash Street. Today, there is still a Mt. Willing Road in Orange County, which starts at exit 161 off Interstate 85 and heads southwest, terminating at Oak Grove Church Road. There is also a Mt. Willin (also spelled Willen) Road that starts at Highway 54 (on the other side of the highway the road becomes Salem Church Road) and heads northeast, where it ends at South Jim Minor Road, very near the site of Mt. Willing. On modern maps, if one were to form an asterik-shaped intersection of Mebane Oaks Road (from the north and south), Mt. Willin/Willen Road (from the southwest), Mt. Willing Road (from the northeast), and Jones Road (from the west), and perhaps Teer Road to the southeast, one would be at the intersection where Mt. Willing was once located.
Mt. Willing was the location of a January 8th annual public dinner celebration honoring Andrew Jackson's victory during the Battle of New Orleans
over the British in 1815. The first dinner was held in 1816, and it continued at least until the beginning of the Civil War (1861). Apparently, businessmen and industrialists despised Jackson for his lack of support, but farmers loved him for his "common man" image.
An excerpt from the 1808 Price-Strother map, showing Mt. Willing
An excerpt from the 1833 Brazier map, showing Mt. Willing
An excerpt from the 1854 Colton map, showing Mt. Willing
An excerpt from the 1857 Cooke map of North Carolina, showing Mt. Willing (but hand-written on map)
An excerpt from the 1891 Tate map of Orange County, showing Mt. Willing
An excerpt from the 1893 Spoon map of Alamance County, showing Mt. Willing