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How the Counties Got Their Names

 

ALAMANCE Formed in 1849. Name taken from an Indian word, Anamonsi, meaning unknown.
ALEXANDER Formed in 1847. Named for William Julius Alexander, of Mecklenburg County, prominent civic leader of his time.
ALLEGHANY Formed in 1859. Name taken from an Indian word, AIlegiwi meaning “a fine stream.”
ANSON Formed in 1748. Named for Lord George Anson, an English admiral.
ASHE Formed in 1799; Named for Governor Samuel Ashe. a Revolutionary Patriot of New Hanover County.
AVERY Formed in 1911 as last of states 100 counties. Named for Col. Waightsill Avery, once challenged to a duel by Andrew Jackson.
BEAUFORT Formed in 1705. Named for Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort, who became one of Carolina’s Lord Proprietors.
BERTIE Formed in 1722. Named for James and Henry Bertie, two Lords Proprietors who owned an eighth of Carolina.
BLADEN Formed in 1734, Named for Martin Bladen, a member of the British Board of Trade and Colonial affairs.
BRUNSWICK Formed in 1764. Named for the; royal houses of England of which Kings George 1st, 2nd, and 3rd were members.
BUNCOMBE Formed in 1791. Named for Col. Edward Buncombe of Tyrrell County, over the door of whose home was the inscription “Welcome all to Buncombe Hall.”
BURKE Formed in 1777. Named for Dr. Thomas Burke. Governor and member of the Continental Congress.
CABARRUS Formed in 1792. Named for Stephen Cabarrus of Edenton. speaker of the State House of Commons.
CALDWELL Formed in 1841. Named for President Joseph Caldwell of the University of North Carolina.
CAMDEN Formed in 1777. Named for Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden.
CARTERET Formed in 1722. Named for Sir George Carteret, who later became a peer of England under the title of Earl Granville.
CASWELL Formed in 1777. Named for General Richard Caswell of Kinston, one of the State’s first governors.
CATAWBA Formed in 1842. Named for the Catawba Indians.
CHATHAM Formed in 1770. Named for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, a friend and supporter of the American colonists in the English Parliament.
CHEROKEE Formed in 1839. Named for the Cherokee Nation the most powerful tribe of Indians in the state.
CHOWAN Formed in 1672. Named for the Chowanoke tribe of Indians, a Tsucarora word meaning “They of the South.”
CLAY Formed in 1861. Named for Henry Clay of Kentucky, one of the leading early American statesmen and orators.
CLEVELAND Formed in 1841. Named for Col. Benj. Cleveland, noted Revolutionary Patriot.
COLUMBUS Formed in 1808. Named for Christopher Columbus, discoverer of the New World.
CRAVEN Formed in 1712. Named for William Lord Craven, one of the original Lords Proprietors of Carolina.
CUMBERLAND Formed in 1754. Named for William Augustus Duke of Cumberland, and second son of King George 3rd.
CURRITUCK Formed in 1672. Named for a small Algonquian tribe of Indians.
DARE Formed in 1870. Named for Virginia Dare, first white child born in America.
DAVIDSON Formed in 1822. Named for General William Lee Davidson, Revolutionary War hero.
DAVIE Formed in 1836. Named for General William Richardson Davie, founder of the State University.
DUPLIN Formed in 1749. Named for George Henry Hay, Lord Duplin. an English nobleman.
DURHAM Formed in 1881. Named for Dr. Bartholomew Durham, a noted physician.
EDGECOMBE Formed in 1735. Named for Richard Edgecombe, an English nobleman and Lord of the British Treasury.
FORSYTH Formed in 1819. Named for Col. Benjamin Forsyth, U. S. A., killed in battle during the second War with Great Britain.
FRANKLIN Formed in 1779. Named for Benjamin Franklin, famous American Patriot.
GASTON Formed in 1846. Named for Associate Justice William Gaston. who wrote the official state song, “Old North State.”
GATES Formed in 1779. Named for General Horatio Gates of the Revolutionary Army.
GRAHAM Formed in 1872. Named for William A. Graham, Governor, United Slates Senator, Confederate Slates Senator and Secretary of the United States Navy.
GRANVILLE Formed in 1746. Named for Earl Granville, Prime Minister under King George 2nd.
GREENE Formed in 1799. Named for General Nathaniel Greene famous Revolutionary hero.
GUILFORD Formed in 1770. Named for Francis North, Earl of Guilford, an English nobleman.
HALIFAX Formed in 1758. Named for George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax.
HARNETT Formed in 1855. Named for Cornelius Harnett of Wilmington. noted Revolutionary Patriot.
HAYWOOD Formed in 1808. Named for John Haywood of Raleigh, State Treasurer for forty years.
HENDERSON Formed in 1838. Named for Chief Justice Leonard Henderson, of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
HERTFORD Formed in 1759. Named for Francis Seymour Conway, Marquis of Hertford.
HOKE Formed in 1911. Named for Major General Robert F. Hoke, of the Confederate army, who was designated by General Robert E. Lee for his successor should General Lee become disabled.
HYDE Formed in 1705. Named for Governor Edward Hyde of North Carolina.
IREDELL Formed in 1788. Named for James Iredell of Edenton, an Associated Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
JACKSON Formed in 1851. Named for Andrew Jackson, President of the United States.
JOHNSTON Formed in 1746. Named in honor of Gabriel Johnston, Governor of North Carolina.
JONES Formed in 1778. Named for Willie Jones of Halifax, President of the Council of Safety during the Revolution.
LEE Formed in 1907. Named for General Robert E. Lee.
LENOIR Formed in 1791. Named for General William Lenoir, of the Revolutionary Army.
LINCOLN Formed in 1779. Named for General Benjamin Lincoln of the Revolutionary Army.
MACON Formed in 1828. Named for Nathaniel Macon of Warren County, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives and United States Senator.
MADISON Formed in 185l. Named for James Madison, Fourth President of the United States.
MARTIN Formed in 1774. Named for Josiah Martin, last Royal Governor of North Carolina.
McDOWELL Formed in 1842. Named for Col. Joseph McDowell, of the Revolutionary Army.
MECKLENBURG Formed in 1762. Named for Duchess Charlotte, of Mecklenburg, Germany, wife of King George 3rd of England.
MITCHELL Formed in 1861. Named for Dr. Elisha Mitchell, of the University of North Carolina, for whom Mt. Mitchell also is named.
MONTGOMERY Formed in 1778. Named for General Richard Montgomery of the Revolution- ary Army.
MOORE Formed in 1781, Named for Captain Alfred Moore a Revolutionary patriot and later an associated Justice of the United States Supreme Court.
NASH Formed in 1777. Named for General Francis Nash of the Revolutionary Army.
NEW HANOVER Formed in 1729. Named for the Kingdom of Hanover in Germany.
NORTH HAMPTON Formed in 1741. Named forGeorge, Earl of North Hampton.
ONSLOW Formed in 1734. Named for Arthur Onslow. for more than 30 years Speaker of the British House of Commons.
ORANGE Formed in 1753. Named for Prince William of Orange, in the Netherlands, who became King William 3rd of England.
PAMLICO Formed in 1872. Named for a tribe of Indians. The old form of spelling was Pampticough.
PASQUOTANK Formed in 1672. Named for a tribe of Indians.
PENDER Formed in 1875. Named for General William Dorsey Pender of the Confederate Army.
PERQUIMANS Formed in 1672. Named for a tribe of Indians.
PERSON Formed in 1791. Named for Thomas Person, Revolutionary Army Officer and Trustee and Benefactor of the University of North Carolina.
PITT Formed in 1760. Named for William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, for whom Chatham County also is named.
POLK Formed in 1855. Named for Col. William Polk of the Revolutionary Army.
RANDOLPH Formed in 1779. Named for Peyton Randolph of Virginia, President of the First Continental Congress.
RICHMOND Formed in 1779. Named for Charles Lennox, Duke of Richmond.
ROBESON Formed in 1786. Named for Col. Thos. Robeson, of the Revolutionary Army.
ROCKINGHAM Formed in 1785. Named for Charles Watson Wentworth, Marquis of Rockingham, and Advocate of American Independence.
ROWAN Formed in 1757. Named for Matthew Rowan, a leader in North Carolina before the Revolution.
RUTHERFORD Formed in 1779. Named for General F. Griffith Rutherford, a leading Revolutionary Patriot.
SAMPSON Formed in 1784, Named for Col. John Sampson, a Member of the Council of Governor Alexander Martin.

 

-Historic Facts Concerning Buncombe County Government, 1935, George A. Digges, Jr.

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