North Carolina was one of the original 13 colonies and was the first state to declare independence from England's Crown.
Wilkes County, located in the northwestern part of North Carolina, has a rich and diverse history that spans over two centuries. The region was originally inhabited by Native American tribes, particularly the Cherokee, before European settlers arrived in the mid-18th century. In 1777, Wilkes County was officially established and named after British politician John Wilkes.

During the American Revolutionary War, Wilkes County played a significant role. Many residents were loyal to the cause of independence, and it became a center of patriot activity. The Battle of Kings Mountain, a crucial victory for the American forces, took place near the county's border in 1780. Wilkes County also produced several notable figures of the time, including Benjamin Cleveland and John Sevier, who were leaders in the fight for independence.

In the 19th century, Wilkes County experienced a boom in agriculture due to its fertile soil and favorable climate. The growth of the tobacco industry became its economic backbone. Large quantities of tobacco were grown and processed in the county, making it one of the leading tobacco producers in the state. This prosperity led to the development of towns and the construction of important infrastructure, such as roads and railways.

In more recent years, Wilkes County has seen a shift from agriculture to a more diverse economy. Manufacturing and healthcare have become major industries, with numerous factories and medical facilities established in the area. Additionally, the county has gained recognition for its scenic beauty, attracting tourists seeking outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, and exploring the nearby Blue Ridge Mountains. Today, Wilkes County continues to evolve while preserving its historical heritage and natural charm.

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

  • 1777: Wilkes County is formed from parts of Surry County.
  • 1794: The county seat is established in the town of Wilkesboro.
  • 1800s: Wilkes County becomes a major producer of gold and the population grows.
  • 1861-1865: Many residents of Wilkes County serve in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War.
  • 1903: The first hydroelectric power plant in the county is established.
  • 1920s: Wilkes County experiences an economic boom due to the growth of the textile industry.
  • 1968: The Blue Ridge Parkway, a scenic highway, is completed through Wilkes County.
  • 1980s: The decline of the textile industry leads to economic challenges for the county.
  • 2000s: Wilkes County focuses on diversifying its economy with industries such as advanced manufacturing and technology.