Annexed from the Rutherford and Burke counties, McDowell County rests in the mountains of North Carolina. Once the gold producing center during the North Carolina gold rush, McDowell has various historic and cultural attractions throughout its forest-covered land. The Arrowhead Monument, the Carson House, and Andrew Geyser are visited annually by tourists from around the state.
Formed from Craven County, Jones County was established in 1779, and its county seat is Trenton. Before the Civil War, the plantation-style economy thrived in the county, and Jones became one of the richest counties of the antebellum period. President Washington, President Monroe, and John C. Calhoun all visited Jones County in the late 1700s and early 1800s.
Named after Joseph Caldwell, the first president of the University of North Carolina, Caldwell County was created in 1841 and formed out of Burke and Wilkes counties by the North Carolina legislature.
A southern county located in North Carolina’s piedmont area, Cleveland County was formed in 1841, and it is named after Benjamin Cleveland, leader of the victory at the decisive Battle of King’s Mountain. Gardner-Webb University is located in the county, and the city of Shelby was once home to the political machine known as the “Shelby Dynasty.”
Home to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Qualla Boundary, Swain County was formed in 1871 and rests in the mountains of North Carolina. The Eastern Band of Cherokee call the county their home, and the tribe’s cultural and historical influence is significant in Swain County. Tourism and the gaming industry (Harrah’s Casino) is the primary industry of the region.
A county in North Carolina’s “High Country,” Avery was established in 1911 and earned the county the distinction as the hundredth-county in the state. One of the highest counties in the eastern United States, Avery County is in the Blue Ridge Mountains and is home to the man-made Linn Cove Viaduct and the natural-wonder Grandfather Mountain. Year after year, numerous tourists visit Avery, bringing over $50 million into the county’s economy annually.
Established from Iredell, Caldwell, and Wilkes counties in 1847, Alexander County was named in honor of William Julius Alexander. Its county seat is Taylorsville, and the city of Hiddenite remains a prime mining community. The largest emerald in North America, named “Carolina,” was found in Hiddenite in 1969.
The home of the Lumbee tribe and the Lumber River, Robeson County is the proud home of Native Americans who have resided there for centuries. Annexed in 1787 from Bladen County, Robeson’s county seat is Lumberton; it is named after the Lumber River. Angus W. McLean and Henry Berry Lowrie are two famous natives of Robeson County.
Established in 1784, Sampson County was named after John Sampson, an early political figure who served in neighboring Duplin County. Scotch-Irish immigrants were the first Europeans to settle the region in the 1740s and 1750s. The annual Hollerin’ Contest at Spivey’s Corner celebrates the lost art of hollering.
Greene County, established in 1791, was the site of an important battle in the Tuscarora War. Its county’s seat is Snow Hill, and the county is named after General Nathanael Greene, Patriot general and victor at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse.