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North Carolina was the birthplace of both Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, and Ava Gardner, the famous Hollywood actress.
Ashe County, located in the northwestern part of North Carolina, has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. Before European settlers arrived, the area was inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Cherokee Nation.

The first European settlers arrived in the mid-18th century, primarily from Pennsylvania and Virginia. They were attracted to the area's fertile land and abundant natural resources. During this time, Ashe County was part of Rowan County and then became part of Wilkes County.

In 1799, Ashe County officially became its own entity, named after Colonel Samuel Ashe, a prominent Revolutionary War figure. The county grew rapidly in the early 19th century as more settlers arrived and established farms and communities. The establishment of the New River in 1803 provided transportation and trade opportunities, further contributing to the county's growth.

During the Civil War, Ashe County, like many other parts of North Carolina, was deeply divided. Many residents supported the Confederacy, while others sympathized with the Union. The county experienced significant hardship during the war, including economic struggles and the loss of many young men.

In the years following the Civil War, Ashe County gradually recovered and diversified its economy. Timber and mining industries became important sources of employment and revenue. The arrival of the railroad in the late 19th century further enhanced transportation and trade in the area.

Today, Ashe County is known for its scenic beauty, outdoor recreation opportunities, and small-town charm. It attracts tourists and residents alike with its mountains, rivers, and a strong sense of community. The county continues to evolve, balancing its rich history with a commitment to progress and sustainability.

This timeline provides a glimpse into the major events and milestones that have shaped the history of Ashe County, North Carolina.

  • 1771 - Settlement of the area begins by European pioneers
  • 1807 - Ashe County is established and named after Samuel Ashe, the ninth governor of North Carolina
  • 1849 - Jefferson becomes the county seat
  • 1861-1865 - Ashe County residents serve in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War
  • 1914 - The East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad reaches Jefferson, boosting the local economy
  • 1930s - The Great Depression causes significant economic hardship in Ashe County
  • 1940s-1950s - The construction of the Blue Ridge Parkway through Ashe County attracts tourists and stimulates growth
  • 1960s-1970s - The establishment of the nearby Appalachian State University contributes to the county's development
  • 1980s-present - Ashe County experiences growth in tourism, recreation, and agriculture industries