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Tyrrell County (1729)

A county with numerous wetlands, swamps, and bogs, Tyrrell is home to the largest habitat for black bears on the United States east coast. Outdoorsmen and naturalists visit Tyrrell County to fish, bird watch, and for water sports. Even so, Tyrrell is the least populated county in North Carolina; its wetlands, in times past, have discouraged travel, agriculture, and widespread settlement. 

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Yadkin County (1850)

“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.

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Ashe County (1799)

A northwestern corner county in the mountains of North Carolina, Ashe was formed from sections of Wilkes County in 1799, and its seat of government is Jefferson. From 1784 to 1788 Ashe and several other counties formed an independent state known as Franklin. However, the state lasted only a short time due to continual attacks by surrounding Native Americans and the indifference of the national government.

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Onslow County (1734)

Onslow County, formed in 1734 and named after Sir Arthur Onslow, is a southern coastal county in North Carolina. Its seat of government is Jacksonville, and it is home to the largest Marine base in the world, Camp Lejeune. The first time Europeans encountered Native Americans may have occurred in Onslow County.

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Haywood County (1808)

Haywood, a western, mountain county of North Carolina, was established out of Buncombe County in 1808. Named after John Haywood, the county is home to the Great Smoky Mountains, Maggie Valley, and Lake Junaluska. Waynesville, incorporated in 1871, is the county’s seat of government.

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Bertie County (1722)

Bertie County, established in 1722 from a section of the Chowan precinct, is located in the northeastern part of North Carolina.  A county of rich soil and numerous waterways, Bertie was once inhabited by the Tuscarora. Nathaniel Batts was the first white European to traverse modern-day Bertie, and the Batts House remains a testament to his settlement.

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Union County (1842)

Created from a compromise between Democrats and Whigs in the 1840s, Union County is a southern Piedmont county that borders South Carolina and is home to Wingate University, a Baptist college institution, and the Jesse Helms Center. Some historians argue that Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the United States, was born in Union.

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Durham County (1881)

Described by an early explorer as the “flower of the Carolinas”, Durham is a central Piedmont county that was annexed from Orange and Wake counties in 1881. Driven by the tobacco industry in the late 1800s and early 1900s, Durham County was the city of the affluent American Tobacco Company. Today, the Research Triangle Park (RTP) and the medical institutions make Durham a national asset. In addition, Duke University and North Carolina Central University are in the city.

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Camden County (1777)

Home to the Great Dismal Swamp, Camden County attracts numerous boaters and outdoor enthusiasts annually. The county was originally established in 1777, and its seat of government is Camden; both are named in honor of Sir Charles Pratt, Earl of Camden. Over 400 Revolutionary War captains and soldiers who served in the Continental Army were from Camden County.

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Guilford County (1771)

Formed in 1771 from parts of the Orange and Rowan counties, Guilford lies in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, and its county seat is Greensboro. The decisive Battle of Guilford Courthouse occurred in Guilford in 1781, and O. Henry, Dolly Madison, and Edward R. Murrow were all born in the county. The county is home to the two major cities of Greensboro and High Point.