Saturday, August 29, 2015

Formation of Randolph County

Virginia colonists founded the Carolinas in 1653. In 1664, the first two counties were formed. Albemarle and Clarendon Counties were the original two counties. Albemarle comprised the northern part of the state, and Clarendon the southern part of the state. In 1667, the Clarendon settlement was abandoned; the county was thus discontinued.

By the time Albemarle County was six years old, in 1670, four precincts formed. Starting at the coast and working westward, the precincts were Currituck, Pasquotank, Berkeley, and Shaftesbury. Eleven years later, Berkeley precinct was renamed Perquimans precinct. Just four years later, in 1685, Shaftesbury precinct changed its name to Chowan precinct. In 1689, Albemarle County dissolved leaving behind the four independent precincts.

In 1696, Bath County formed just south of the existing precincts. Nine years later, in 1705, Bath gained its own precincts. Starting at the coast and going westward, the precincts were named Wickham, Pamptecough, and Archdale. (Archdale was slightly south of Pamptecough.)

North Carolina and South Carolina separated from one another into distinct colonies in 1710.

Seven years after Bath segregated in to its precincts, all three precincts changed names. From east to west again, the precincts were now Hyde, Beaufort, and Craven. (Craven was slightly south of Beaufort.)

North Carolina didn't see any changes for about 10 years after that, but in 1722, a couple more changes happened. Chowan precinct, located in the former Albemarle County, splintered into two. Chowan remained the eastern section, and the new precinct Bertie formed in the western section. In Bath County, Craven precinct split into two. Craven remained in the northwestern part of the region, and Carteret precinct took over the southeastern region.

Bath County and precincts of the former Albemarle County saw more changes in 1729. Before now, the northernmost precincts of North Carolina were Currituck, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, and Bertie. Tyrrell precinct formed from the southernmost portions of Currituck, Pasquotank, Chowan, and Bertie. Because it took from all of those precincts, Tyrrell extended from the intracoastal waterway all the way to the precincts of Bertie and Beaufort. In Bath County, New Hanover precinct broke off from what was previously part of Craven precinct. New Hanover formed near what was originally Clarendon County.

Five years after the formation of New Hanover, the precinct split into three sections. Onslow precinct was the easternmost (and smallest) section, New Hanover remained in the middle, and Bladen was formed from the western most section.

In 1739, all of the "precincts" were redesignated as "counties." This meant North Carolina suddenly went from one county (Bath) and several precincts to having 13 counties. (Bath no longer had any designated area, so it ceased to function as a county.)

Edgecombe and Northampton Counties formed in 1741 from Bertie County. Northampton County claimed a small region in the northern part of the county, while Bertie County remained in the southeastern most section. Edgecombe County now consume the entire western part of the former County extending all the way down cutting off Beaufort County and sharing a new border with Craven County.

Over the next few years, North Carolina's counties saw many changes. In 1745, Hyde County expanded and claimed some of what was previously Currituck County. The next year, Edgecombe and Craven Counties both split. Granville County took over the westernmost part of Edgecombe, and Johnston County took over the westernmost part of Craven. In 1750, Anson formed out of the western part of Bladen and Duplin claimed the upper third of New Hanover.

In 1752, Orange County formed. It was made up of the northeasternmost part of Bladen and the westernmost parts of Granville and Johnston Counties. By now, all the counties in the state had definitive borders with the exception of Anson County, which comprised the western half of the state.

Anson divided into a northern and a southern section in 1753. Anson remained in the southern part, and Rowan County became the northern part. The next year, Cumberland formed in the top half of Bladen County.

Beaufort County took some land from its southern neighbor, Craven, in 1757. Halifax formed in the northeast section of Edgecombe County, and Dobbs County claimed the northernmost part of Johnston County by 1758. The following year, Hertford County formed from a combination of land from Bertie, Chowan, and Northampton. Pitt County formed in the western part of Beaufort County in 1760.

Mecklenburg County formed in 1762 from the western section of Anson County. In 1764, the southernmost tip of North Carolina became Brunswick County after taking land from both Bladen and New Hanover Counties. The same year, the eastern part of Granville County became Bute County. Tryon County took over the western part of Mecklenburg in 1768.

1770 brought a lot of sudden changes in the state. Guilford County formed from the western half of the Orange and the eastern part of Rowan. Wake County formed by taking pieces from Johnston, Orange, and Cumberland Counties. The remaining section of Orange County segmented further so that Chatham County formed out of the lower third of the county. The leftover Rowan County split into a northern and southern portion. The northern portion became Surry County; the lower remained Rowan. And Carteret County gained Ocracoke Island.

A couple of years later, in 1773, Surry took some additional land from Rowan County. Martin County took over the eastern portion of Halifax and the western portion of Tyrell in 1774. By 1776, the western border of the state started to take shape as the District of Washington formed at the ends of Surry, Rowan, and Tryon Counties.

More development came in 1777. Camden formed in the northern section of Pasquotank. Edgecombe's western half became Nash County. Caswell claimed the top part of Orange County. Wilkes County formed out of Surry and the District of Washington. Rowan split, and the western portion became Burke County. And District of Washington became Washington County, located in what is today's Tennessee.

The next year, Gates County formed from pieces of Chowan, Hertford, and Perquimans. The southwest portion of Craven County became Jones. Anson's northernmost part became Montgomery County. And, finally, in 1778, Randolph County formed in the lower portion of Guilford County.
Map highlighting Randolph County, North Carolina from
North Carolina's counties have changed a lot since 1778, meaning Randolph's bordering counties changed a few times in the coming 100 years, but Randolph County's borders haven't changed much themselves. Today, Randolph County shares its borders with Alamance, Chatham, Davidson, Guilford, Montgomery, and Moore.


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