Randolph County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2010)



Peyton Randolph - 1st President of the Continental Congress in 1774


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1750s / Settlers of Guilford County

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started

Battles & Skirmishes / Militia

Coming Later

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Airports in Randolph County

Maps of Randolph County

Books About Randolph County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Randolph County

The Home of the Richard Petty Museum - Randolph County

The Act establishing Randolph County authorized the first court and all subsequent courts to be held at the home of Abraham Reese unless otherwise decided upon by the justices of the peace until a court house could be built. Commissioners were named in 1783 to select a site for the county seat. This act directed that court be held at the home of William Bell until the court house was completed. In 1785, an Act was passed removing the court from the home of William Bell and allowing the justices to decide where the next court would meet until the court house was completed. In 1788, a town was established at the court house on the land of Thomas Dougan. This town was named Johnstonville in honor of Governor Samuel Johnston. In 1791, an Act was passed authorizing the construction of a prison at the court house. In 1792, an Act was passed authorizing commissioners to select a site in the center of the county and have a new court house erected, as the old court house was not in the center of the county. In 1796, Asheborough was established as the county seat on the land of Jesse Henley. In 1819, a new court house was authorized to be built in Asheborough. Asheboro has been the county seat ever since.
Randolph County was formed in 1779 from Guilford County. It was named in honor of Peyton Randolph, a member of the notable Virginia family and the first President of the Continental Congress (1774-75). Randolph County is in the central section of the state and is bounded by Chatham, Moore, Montgomery, Davidson, Guilford, and Alamance Counties. Its present area is 790 square miles. Asheboro was established as the county seat on the land of Jesse Henley in 1796. A new court house was authorized to be built in 1819 at Asheboro. The average elevation of Randolph County is 870 feet above sea level.
Randolph County is a part of the largest metropolitan area located entirely within North Carolina. There are ten individually-listed National Register properties in the county. They include the Deep River-Columbia Manufacturing Company in Ramseur, the Pisgah Covered Bridge, and three archaeological sites. There also are two districts listed in the National Register in Coleridge and Franklinville. A 1997 state grant is assisting preparation of a National Register nomination for the Liberty Historic District.

Randolph County has twenty townships or subdivisions. Trinity is the largest township in terms of population: 23,838. Randolph County is home to the North Carolina State Zoological Park, destined to become the world's largest natural habitat zoo, the Uwharrie National Forest, the Richard Petty Museum, home of NASCAR's all-time career victory leader, and the Seagrove area potteries, which enjoy an international reputation for exceptional hand thrown pottery.

Archdale, originally Bush Hill, was dominated by Quakers, and this led to a change in the name to honor John Archdale, Quaker Governor of North Carolina (1695-96).

Asheboro (originally Asheborough) was named for Samuel Ashe, governor (1795-98).

Central Falls was named for the waterfall on Deep River.

Erect honors the eminent posture of a native, one Tom Bray.

Franklinville was named for Jesse Franklin, North Carolina Governor (1820-21).

Liberty, once Liberty Oak, named (perhaps) because Union soldiers camped here during negotiations between General William T. Sherman and General Joseph Johnston for surrender of the Confederate Army in 1865.

Ramseur was once Columbia. In 1878, W. H. Watkins and associates bought the mill and changed the name to honor General Stephen D. Ramseur, Watkins' old commander.

Seagrove was named for a railway official, Samuel Seagrove.

Randleman's first name was Dicks, named for Peter Dicks, a pioneer mill man. It was renamed for John B. Randleman who, with John H. Ferree in 1872, acquired a cotton mill in the town.

Staley was named for Colonel John W. Staley, a Confederate officer.

Whynot's name always puzzles newcomers. For the record, we repeat: At a town meeting, there were so many queries of "Why not name the new town this" or "Why not name the new town that" -- all without agreement -- that finally one fellow rose and said, "Why not name the town Whynot and let's go home?"

Worthville was named for either Dr. J. M. or Hal Worth, who built a cotton mill here, or perhaps for Governor Jonathan Worth.

Covered Bridges:

One of Randolph's famous covered bridges remain and will be preserved. It is over a tributary of Little River, 1-1/2 miles from the community of Pisgah, southwest of Asheboro. It is not in use now. Randolph's bridges are "famous" because there were so many of them. In 1933, no less than fifty-one covered bridges were still in existence. There are two explanations given; "Some say it is just because Randolph was a progressive county and wanted to improve communication." Another is that this county has always been "close politically." So the candidates running for office competed with each other in pledging to build bridges.

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