“Yattken”, a Siouan word for “land of big trees”, is attributed to the Yadkin River which in turn influenced the naming of Yadkin County and its seat of government, Yadkinville. Established in 1850, Yadkin County’s orginial inhabitants were the Saponi and Tutelo, and the first white families traveled to the region by way of the Great Wagon Road. The Yadkin River, the Yadkinville Bluegrass Contest and Fiddler’s Convention, and the Richmond Hill house are the most well-known characteristics of Yadkin County.
During the Tuscarora War, the colonies of North Carolina and South Carolina formed a political and military friendship. Two years later (1715), the Yamasee, former allies of the two colonies, rebelled against the English. The Yamasee defeat, however, ensured that what is now eastern and Piedmont North and South Carolina became virtually non-Indian land.
The most mountainous county in North Carolina, Yancey has five of the ten highest peaks east of the Mississippi River. Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain in the state, rests in Yancey, and the Black Mountain range extends into the county. Formed in 1833, the county was named after U.S. Congressman Bartlett Yancey. A notable aspect of Yancey includes the high number of artists and craftsmen and women who reside in this mountain county.
Considered by many to be the last great chief of the Cherokee, Yonaguska (also known as Drowning Bear) consistently cooperated with the United States government and later in life warned against the effects of “the black drink” on the Cherokee. Yonaguska ensured that the Treaty of 1819 was observed and his people recognized as North Carolina citizens. As a result, the United States did not remove Yoganuska’s followers from their home in the North Carolina mountains.
A little known Confederate fort that was built in anticipation of Union General George Stoneman’s Raid into Piedmont North Carolina and to protect the North Carolina Railroad Bridge, Fort York is now located adjacent to I-85 in Davidson County and across the Yadkin River from Rowan County.