Place:Wilkes, North Carolina, United States

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Wilkes County is a county located in the US state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 69,340. Its county seat is Wilkesboro, and its largest town is North Wilkesboro.

Wilkes County is also a part of the North Wilkesboro Micropolitan Area.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The county was formed in 1777 from parts of Surry County and Washington District (now Washington County, Tennessee). The first session of the county court was held in John Brown's house near what is today Brown's Ford. The act creating the county became effective on February 15, 1778, and the county celebrates its anniversary as February 15. It was named for the English political radical John Wilkes, who lost his position as Lord Mayor of the City of London due to his support for the colonists during the American Revolution.

In 1799 the northern and western parts of Wilkes County became Ashe County. In 1841 parts of Wilkes County and Burke County were combined to form Caldwell County. In 1847 another part of Wilkes County was combined with parts of Caldwell County and Iredell County to become Alexander County. In 1849 additional parts of Wilkes County and Caldwell County were combined with parts of Ashe County and Yancey County to form Watauga County. Numerous boundary adjustments were made thereafter, but none resulted in new counties.

Moonshine and the birth of NASCAR

Wilkes County was once known as the "Moonshine Capital of the World", and was a leading producer of illegal homemade liquor. From the 1920s to the 1950s some young Wilkes County males made their living by delivering moonshine to North Carolina's larger towns and cities. Wilkes County natives also used bootleg liquor as a means for barter far beyond the borders of North Carolina. Many Wilkes County distillers ran white liquor as far as Detroit, New Jersey and South Florida. Since this often involved outrunning local police and federal agents in auto chases, the county became one of the birthplaces of the sport of stock-car racing. The North Wilkesboro Speedway was the first NASCAR (National Association of Stock Car Auto Racing) track; it held its first race on May 18, 1947[1] and the first NASCAR sanctioned race on October 16, 1949.[2] Wilkes County native and resident Junior Johnson was one of the early superstars of NASCAR, as well as a legendary moonshiner. Johnson was turned into a national celebrity by the writer Tom Wolfe in a classic 1965 article for Esquire magazine. Wolfe's article was later turned into the 1973 movie The Last American Hero, starring Jeff Bridges and Valerie Perrine. Benny Parsons and Jimmy Pardue were two other notable NASCAR drivers from Wilkes.

The North Wilkesboro Speedway was closed following the 1996 NASCAR season after two new owners, Bob Bahre and Bruton Smith, moved North Wilkesboro's NASCAR races to their tracks in Texas and New Hampshire. Speedway Associates, Inc., obtained a three-year lease and started running races and other events at the speedway. However, in May 2011, the group announced that funding had fallen through and they were ending their lease prematurely.

Timeline

Date Event Source
1741 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1761 Court records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1777 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1777 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1778 Marriage records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1850 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1913 Birth records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 8,143
1800 7,247
1810 9,054
1820 9,967
1830 11,968
1840 12,577
1850 12,099
1860 14,749
1870 15,539
1880 19,181
1890 22,675
1900 26,872
1910 30,282
1920 32,644
1930 36,162
1940 43,003
1950 45,243
1960 45,269
1970 49,524
1980 58,657
1990 59,393

Research Tips

External links

www.rootsweb.com/~ncwilkes/


This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original content was at Wilkes County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with WeRelate, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.