Forsyth County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2010)

1849

Winston-Salem

Benjamin Forsyth

350,670

Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1753 / Moravians

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

Battles & Skirmishes

Coming Later

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Airports in Forsyth County

Maps of Forsyth County

Books About Forsyth County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Forsyth County


Forsyth County Court House - Winston-Salem, North Carolina


Forsyth County was formed in 1849 from Stokes County. It was named in honor of Brevet Lt. Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a native of Stokes County who fell on the northern frontier in the War of 1812 during June of 1814. It is in the central section of the state and is bounded by Guilford, Davidson, Davie, Yadkin, and Stokes counties. The present land area is 409.60 square miles and the 2010 population was 350,670.

The Act establishing the county ordered the first court to be held at the town hall of Salem, at which time the justices were to select a place for future courts until a court house could be erected. Commissioners were named to select a place for the public buildings, acquire the land, and lay out a town. In 1851, an Act was passed naming the county seat Winston. In 1879 an Act was passed authorizing that Winston and Salem be combined, provided the people voted for the same. In 1913, Winston and Salem were incorporated as one town and Winston-Salem became the county seat.


Forsyth County began as a Moravian settlement in 1753 when Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg acquired a hundred-thousand acre tract of land from Lord Granville, one of the Lord Proprietors of North Carolina. The Moravians called their land Wachovia after the Austrian estate of Count Nicholas Lewis von Zinzendorf, an early protector of the Moravian church.

After the two settlements of Bethabara and Bethania were established, the town of Salem was begun in 1766 as the central town in Wachovia. Salem grew rapidly both as a religious center and as a center for crafts and trades. Soon thereafter the towns of Friedland and Hope were established by the Moravians.

Forsyth County was named in honor of Lt. Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a respected landowner in Stokes County. Lt. Colonel Forsyth distinguished himself in battle during the war of 1812 at Odelltown, Canada, where he was mortally wounded.

In 1849, the North Carolina legislature created the new county of Forsyth out of part of Stokes County. In 1851, the town of Winston was named as the county seat. The court house square was laid one mile north of Salem Square with plans for the street of the two towns to run together.

In 1949, Willie H. Johnson, Jr., a Carver High School student, designed the Forsyth County seal during a contest to celebrate the County's centennial.

Forsyth County has progressed from its rustic past to a modern community which offers a variety of services to its citizens.



Old Salem Tavern - Date Not Known


© 2019 - J.D. Lewis - PO Box 1188 - Little River, SC 29566 - All Rights Reserved