Founded in 1668, Currituck County was an original port for the colony of North Carolina. A northern Outer Banks county, Currituck serves as an important tourist and outdoor enthusiasts attraction, with the Currituck Lighthouse and the Whalehead Club being the most well-known historical sites. It is recognized as the home to a significant “Banker” pony population.
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.
Formed in 1788 from Rowan County, Iredell County was named after Justice James Iredell. Some notable attractions and historic sites in Iredell include Fort Dobbs, Race City USA, and the western-themed campgrounds of Love Valley. Lake Norman, one of the largest man-made lakes in the nation, covers over 500 miles in Iredell County.
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.
The Pamlico Indians resided in present-day Pamlico County before European settlers arrived in the mid-1600s. Formally established in 1872, the county’s seat is Bayboro, named for the Bay River. One important tourist attraction is the Oriental Regatta, a highly acclaimed sailboat race.
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.
On the border of the Piedmont and the coastal region, Nash was incorporated in 1777. Its namesake is General Francis Nash who died while serving the Patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. An important agricultural county, Nash County farmers grow crops ranging from tobacco to cucumbers to cotton. The first Hardee’s Restaurant opened in Nash County in 1960, and Jim Thorpe started his baseball career in the region with the Rocky Mount Railroaders.
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.
Home to the culturally significant Duplin Winery and Warsaw Veterans Day Celebration, Duplin County was established in 1852. Its county seat is Kenansville, and other townships within the area include Warsaw, Magnolia, and Rose Hill. The state’s first Presbyterian church, the Grove congregation, was formed in the 1700s, and the church continues in its affluence in present Duplin County.