County Divisions Prior to the Formation of Gaston County

Bath was formed in 1696 from territories south of the Albemarle River. Bladen was formed in 1734. Anson was formed from Bladen in 1750.  Mecklenburg was formed from Anson in 1762. Tryon was formed from Mecklenburg County in 1768. Tryon existed as a County until Lincoln and Rutherford were formed from Tryon County in 1779.

Prior to surveys of 1764 and 1772, "much of the territory in the north-central and north-western part of South Carolina was considered to be North Carolina. The South Carolina counties of Marlboro, Chesterfield, Lancaster, York, Chester, Union, Spartanburg, Cherokee, and portions of Greenville, Laurens and Newberry are involved." (Guide to South Carolina Research and Records, by Brent Holcomb, Colombia, SC, 1991, p. 37) Much of Tryon County, NC became SC after the 1772 survey. In fact, the Tryon County courthouse had to be moved! 

Until the 1730's the only people living west of the Catawba River were native Americans. A few hunters and traders who made contact with these Indians noted the good lands and fast-flowing streams. By the 1740's men came down the Great Wagon road from Pennsylvania and up the Broad River from Charleston, SC.
    The inhabitants of Gaston County numbered something less than 8,000, twenty-five percent of them Negro slaves and a small proportion Indians, local survivors of the once great tribe of the Catawbas. There were no towns, hardly any settlements. The crossroads store of Fred D. Hoffman and Moses Rhyne, close to the place where Dutchman's Creek flowed into the Catawba, had served as headquarters for the committee that had fought so well for the establishment of Gaston County.
   Gaston was formed in 1846 from Lincoln. It was named in honor of William Gaston, a member of Congress and a Justice of the Supreme Court of North Carolina. It is in the southwestern section of the State and is bounded by the state of South Carolina and Cleveland, Lincoln and Mecklenburg counties.
   The court was ordered to be held at the home of Jesse Holland until a courthouse could be erected. Commissioners were named to select a site for the county seat as near the center of the county as possible provided it was within two miles of Long Creek Baptist Meeting House. They were to acquire land, lay out a town by the name of Dallas, and erect a courthouse. Dallas continued to be the county seat until 1909 when Gastonia was, by popular vote, selected as the county seat. 

Please see also the Early History of Gaston County
courtesy of The Historical News


The History of Citizens South Bank

Migration through Gaston County

National Register-Gaston County buildings

Gaston County Railroad stations

Gaston County officials, circa 1900

Preliminary History of Stanley Schools

Penny Postcards from Gaston County

The Textile Heritage of Gaston County

History Finds New Life (North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry)

Gaston Gazette - Newspaper abstracts Feb-Jun 1880

Gaston County Miscellannea

First Presbyterian Church - Gastonia

First Presbyterian Church - Mt. Holly

Derick S. Hartshorn - 2008
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