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.
One of the most important early colonial counties of North Carolina, Craven County was established in 1712, and its county seat, New Bern, served as the colonial capital until 1788. The Tryon Palace Historic Site remains a popular tourist attraction in Craven County, and New Bern was the site of the first Pepsi-Cola drink ever made. Craven County was the site of the state’s first newspaper and the first charter school.
With Danbury as its county seat, Stokes County lies in the north Piedmont and adjacent to the Virginia border. The county was named after a Revolutionary Patriot, Captain John Stokes.
Formed out of Guilford County in 1785, Rockingham County was initially inhabited by the Cheraw Indians and later by the English, Germans, and Scotch-Irish. Its current population is approximately 92,000. Although not the county’s largest town, Wentworth serves as the county seat.
During the early 1800s, present-day Transylvania County was the site of a border conflict between Georgia and North Carolina. In 1803, Georgia claimed ownership of a twelve-mile strip of land in North Carolina, commonly referred to as the “orphan strip.” The minor dispute was known as the Walton War because Georgia named the region Walton County in honor of George Walton, a Georgia signer of the Declaration of Independence.
Annexed from Guilford, Randolph County was formed in 1779, and named for Peyton Randolph, a Virginian who once presided over the Continental Congress.
A border county between North Carolina’s Piedmont and Coastal Plain Regions, Moore County was established in 1784. Named after Alfred Moore, a Revolutionary War veteran and U.S. Supreme Court justice, Moore County was annexed from Cumberland County shortly after the American Revolution. Carthage, the county seat, was established in 1796.
A Coastal Plain county and the third largest in North Carolina, Bladen County is rightfully named the “Mother County.” Of the state’s 100 counties, 55 of them were originally part of Bladen County.
As its name suggests, Scotland County is a region steeped in Scottish heritage and history. Although the early Cheraw Indian tribes were the first in the area, the Highland Scots, along with English and Quaker settlers, colonized the region as early as the 1720s.
“The Golden Opportunity” county, Montgomery is named in honor of Revolutionary War Brigadier General Richard Montgomery. A rural and wooded region, Montgomery County’s primary attracts hunters and fishing and outdoor enthusiasts. It is also home to much of the Uwharrie National Forest—approximately 50,000 acres.