Dobbs County, North Carolina

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Date: 1758 to 1791
Location: North Carolina, United Statesmap
Surnames/tags: Dobbs defunct
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Welcome to Dobbs County, North Carolina!

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In early days, Dobbs County was a former county of North Carolina and is now defunct.


Here is a small bit of history (and hopefully genealogy) of Dobbs County. (This includes counties formed on the lands before Dobbs was abolished.)

1663 A land charter was granted by King Charles II to the Eight Lords Proprietors which began the Carolinas.[1]
1664 Craven County was cut from Bath County. Bath County was made up of territory between the Albemarle and Cape Fear, according to Some Colonial History of Craven County by Francis H. Cooper p. 3.[1]
1705 Craven County was one of the precincts divided from the territory between Albemarle and Cape Fear. [1]
1746 Johnston County was split from part of Craven County.[1]
Dobbs 1758

1747 The first wave of settlers, the Scots-Irish, arrived in the western part of Rowan. The population grew so quickly that in 1753 Acting Governor Matthew Rowan signed a bill creating Rowan County and Saint Luke's Parish. Rowan was the largest and most populous county in the colony and the state until 1836 when current boundaries were drawn. Twenty-six counties were eventually formed out of Rowan County.[2]

1752 Governor Gabriel Johnston died. Next Governor was Nathaniel Rice (President of the Executive Council) and followed by Matthew Rowan as Acting Governors until 1754. [3]

French and Indian War For many centuries, England and France were enemies in differing wars. They either conflicted in their claims early when the new world was developing. The Conflicts involved settlers, native americans, and soldiers. One of these wars was the French and Indian War. [4] See also French and Indian War Project

Ft. Dobbs

Background for French and Indian War 1754 France tried to connect its claims in North America. France began military posts from the Great Lakes to the Ohio Valley. It tried to unite Canada with Louisiana. France took possession claims of England such as Province of Virginia. Virginia's Governor Dinwiddie's called for assistance. North Carolina voted to send troops outside of its border. North Carolina's 450 men and Lt. Hugh Waddel were attached to Colonel James Innes' (1700-1759) troops in the first Ohio Expedition. [4]

During Braddock's march and the New York Expedition of 1756, the North Carolina troops returned again to service under Major Edward Brice Dobbs. North Carolina sent troops throughout the war to help other colonies, then had to defend its own frontier until the Cherokee Defeat in 1761.[4]

1758-1759 In a legislation act, the General Assembly approved a decision to divide Johnston County. Its new name became Dobbs County in honor of Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs. Walnut Creek became the county seat for Dobbs County, since it was geographically close to the center of the new county. Walnut Creek had a courthouse, with records. Hinton's Quarter which was near the center of the small Johnston County was developed with a courthouse for Johnston county. [5][6]

[1] Click Here to read the 1758 Legislative Act.

1779 Dobbs County was divided. Kingston (modern name - Kinston) became its county seat. The Governor of the new state, North Carolina had property here.[5][1][6]
Dobbs Co., NC Map

1779-1784 Wayne County was formed out of the western half of Dobbs County. Walnut Creek became the seat of the new Wayne county. 1784 The county seat was moved from Walnut Creek to the new town, Kingston. [1] [6] It was renamed as Kinston in 1784[6] [5]
1790 Dobbs County population in 1790 was 6,893.[5][6]

1791 The name of Dobbs County seemed to be a reminder of the old British regime. Thus two new counties were formed leading to when Dobbs County was abolished. [5][6]
Dec 21, 1791 Glasgow/Greene County was established, from part of the abolished Dobbs County
Dec 1791 Lenoir County was the other county formed from Dobbs County. Kinston became the county seat for Lenoir County.Lenoir County was named for a speaker of the state senate, William Lenoir. At this time Dobbs County ceased to exist and became defunct. [5][1] [6]
1799 Glasgow County which was named for the Secretary of State, James Glasgow, Secretary of State. After Glasgow was found guilty of land fraud, the Glasgow county name was changed to honor a Revolutionary War hero, Major General Nathaniel Greene. [5][1]
1878 Lenoir County Courthouse burned, which destroyed Dobbs County's early records. [6]

Click here for all of the known officers and men who served in the Dobbs County Regiment of Militia during the American Revolution]. All names in "blue/underscore" can be clicked on for additional information.

When Wayne County wws formed, this decreased Dobbs County in size in 1779. At the time of abolishment in 1791, its land was ceded/or used to create Glasgow County and Lenor[7]

Arthur Dobbs has a profile on WikiTree, but this is info this author has found.

Arthur Dobbs (b., Ireland April 2, 1689 - d. Town Creek, NC March 28, 1765). [8]

1752 Dobbs gained the appointment following Gabriel Johnston's death. He officially became Royal Governor Nov 1, 1754 and was in office until his death in Russelborough, 1765. Dobbs tried conciliatory tactics with the Indians.. Dobbs tried to serve both the Crown and the colonists. This caused conflicts with the NC Assembly and criticism from the Assembly, the Crown, and the colonists. 1745, Dobbs and Col. John Selwyn bought 400,000 Acres in the now current Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties.Cite error 2; Invalid <ref> tag; refs with no content must have a name
His body is thought to have been buried at St. Philip's Church, as Arthur Dobbs requested. Dobbs attempted to discover the Northwest Passage. He used conciliatory measures with the Indians, but he tried administration met many obstacles due to his attempts to work with the British and the colonists. In 1745, Arthur Dobbs and Colonel John Selwyn bought 400,000 acres in current Mecklenburg and Cabarrus Counties [9] Arthur Dobbs 1689–1765, Royal Governor of North Carolina (1754–65) had gained the appointment after the death of Gabriel Johnston 1752. His governorship had conflicts with the NC Assembly due to his attempts to serve the Crown and the colonists. This caused criticism from both. Dobbs also became a shareholder in the Ohio Company of Virginia. Arthur Dobbs used his power to ensure there were funds for North Carolina to be a participant in the French and Indian War. He built a number of forts on the coast and the western frontier. With his influence, in 1756, Fort Dobbs was constructed by rangers. Its locale was the Piedmont region of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Fort Dobbs was in existence as the Colonial North Carolina frontier fort headquarters up to 1775, (the American Revolution).[9]

The body of North Carolina's Royal Governor Arthur Dobbs is thought to have been interred at St. Philip's Church, as he requested, but it has never been identified. After St. James Episcopal Church left Brunswick Town in favor of the rival port of Wilmington, the Anglican parish of St. Philip's was formed in 1741. In 1754, it began building a brick church at Brunswick Town, the seat of royal government earlier in the colony. After struggling with finances and a destructive hurricane, the church was finally completed in 1768, only to be burned by the British in 1776 (the colony's first armed resistance to the Stamp Act occurred nearby at the royal governor's residence).[10] REFERENCE: Powell, William S., ed. DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY. Vol. 2. [minor edits]

Today, the St Philip's Church appears as a rectangular shell. All that remains of St. Philip's church, the only colonial church in southeastern North Carolina are this:

25-foot-high walls, 3 feet thick
Several colonial-era graves (some of which are resurfacing with time).
The ruin's round-arched window ports are intact and suggest Georgian detailing.. There is a little solid evidence exists about the building's original appearance beyond some glazing on the brick.
Three, triptych-style windows upon the east wall.

Matthew Rowan]

Salisbury was named after a cathedral town in England. Rowan County was named after Matthew Rowan who held the land grant from the King of England. Both Salisbury and Rowen county have been in existance and welcoming visitors and travelers for over 250 years, since the days when young Daniel Boone was here. 1747 Scots-Irish, the first wave of settlers arrived in the western part of Rowan. The population grew so quickly that in 1753, that Acting Governor Matthew Rowan signed a bill creating Rowan County and Saint Luke's Parish. Rowan was the largest and most populous county in the colony and the state until 1836 when current boundaries were drawn. Twenty-six counties were eventually formed out of Rowan County.

1754 It was reported that there was an Indian settlement consisting of fifty families located on Drowning Creek. That same year, North Carolina Acting Governor Matthew Rowan proclaimed the county of Anson a "frontier to the Indians." 1743, 1744, and 1752, the colony’s General Assembly met in Bath and in 1746, Bath was considered as a location for the capital of the colony. Colonial governors Robert Daniell, Thomas Cary, Charles Eden, and Matthew Rowan all lived in the town. Arthur Dobbs, later governor of North Carolina, wrote Matthew Rowan in April of 1751: "This I hope will be delivered to you by Mr. Robert Milhouse, who with Mr. Samuel Wyly and their families and several other of my tenants, neighbours and friends, go to settle in North Carolina and have freighted a ship from Dublin to land them in Cape Fear River at Brunswick. To them. . .I have disposed of one of the 12,800-acre tracts. . .I want you to befriend them and assist them in their settlement and advise them for the best." (The South Carolina Historical Magazine) The land stretching along the Yadkin River drew Native American tribes, explorers, woodsmen, and settlers here to linger as long ago as 1670. The two Great Wagon Roads led immigrants to their new home in the south, with Scots-Irish settlers arriving as early as 1747 and the German immigrants following several years later. The convergence of those two great wagon roads–the Trading Path from eastern Virginia and the Great Wagon Road from the north–made the area easily accessible and spurred a growing population of settlers. By 1753, Acting Governor Matthew Rowan signed a bill creating Rowan County and Saint Luke’s Parish. Two years later, in 1755, Salisbury was established as the county seat. The county continued to grow and was the largest and most heavily populated county in the colony until 1836 when the boundaries were redrawn to form 26 counties out of Matthew Rowan’s original county.

Matthew Rowan, President of the Executive Council, 1753-54, was an Ulsterman. In 1746, Matthew Rowan estimated there could be only about 100 fighting men in all of the western section of North Carolina, but by 1753, he estimated this number to be 3,000. About 1750, Quakers settled in the New Garden community. In 1753, Rowan County was established which covered northwestern NC.

Upon the death of Governor Gabriel Johnston, President Nathaniel Rice was in charge until the next year, when, upon his death, Colonel Matthew Rowan succeeded to the place thus made vacant. Colonel Rowan lived in Bladen County, and was a planter of large means. He was greatly valued, and his name is perpetrated in a county which has long been important in North Carolina.

Adjacent Counties







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  10. Powell, William S., ed. DICTIONARY OF NORTH CAROLINA BIOGRAPHY. Vol. 2. [minor edits]


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