North Carolina was the birthplace of both Andrew Johnson, the 17th President of the United States, and Ava Gardner, the famous Hollywood actress.
Rockingham County, North Carolina has a rich history dating back to the prehistoric era. The area was once inhabited by Native American tribes, including the Saura and Tutelo peoples. European settlement began in the late 18th century, when Scots-Irish and German immigrants arrived. In 1785, the county was officially established and named after Charles Watson-Wentworth, the Marquess of Rockingham, a British statesman who supported American independence.

During the early years, agriculture played a major role in Rockingham County's economy. The fertile soil allowed for the growth of tobacco, grains, and livestock, which provided a source of income for the residents. As the railroad expanded across the region in the mid-19th century, the county experienced economic growth, with towns like Reidsville and Madison becoming important trade and manufacturing centers.

Rockingham County played a significant role during the American Civil War. The Battle of Reidsville, fought in March 1865, saw Union troops capture the town and destroy the Confederate cotton factory. The county also saw clashes between pro-Union and pro-Confederate factions, leading to instability during the war.

In the 20th century, Rockingham County continued to evolve. Industries such as textiles, tobacco, and furniture manufacturing became prominent, attracting workers from nearby areas. The county also witnessed a rise in tourism, with the establishment of numerous recreational areas, including Mayo River State Park and Hanging Rock State Park. Today, Rockingham County remains a vibrant community with a diverse economy, combining its rich historical heritage with modern-day developments.

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

  • 1785 - Rockingham County is established as a county in North Carolina.
  • 1787 - The county seat is established in the town of Wentworth.
  • 1794 - The first courthouse is built in Wentworth.
  • 1808 - Reidsville, originally known as Wright's Crossroads, is settled.
  • 1821 - Rockingham County's first bank, the Bank of New Reidsville, is established in Reidsville.
  • 1833 - The town of Madison is incorporated as the second county seat.
  • 1838 - Construction begins on a new courthouse in Wentworth.
  • 1843 - The new courthouse in Wentworth is completed.
  • 1873 - Rockingham County's first railroad, the Richmond and Danville Railroad, is completed, connecting Wentworth to other cities.
  • 1890 - The town of Leaksville is incorporated.
  • 1907 - Leaksville, Spray, and Draper merge to form the town of Spray.
  • 1917 - The towns of Leaksville, Spray, and Draper consolidate to become the city of Eden.
  • 1921 - The Mayo River State Park is established in Rockingham County.
  • 1958 - The Rockingham County Historical Museum is established in Wentworth.
  • 1981 - Rockingham Community College opens in Wentworth.
  • 2002 - The county courthouse in Wentworth undergoes a major renovation.
  • 2019 - Rockingham County celebrates its 234th anniversary.