North Carolina Counties
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North Carolina Counties

North Carolina is divided into one hundred counties. The establishment of North Carolina counties stretches over 240 years, beginning in 1668 with the creation of Albemarle County and ending with the 1911 creation of Avery and Hoke counties. Five counties have been divided or abolished altogether, the last being Dobbs County in 1791.

Ashe County, North Carolina

Ashe County Education, Geography, and HistoryAshe County, North Carolina Courthouse

Ashe County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 27,281. Its county seat is Jefferson.

Etymology - Origin of Ashe County Name

It was named in honor of Samuel Ashe, a Revolutionary patriot, a superior court judge, and Governor of the State.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Ashe County History

Ashe was formed in 1799 from Wilkes. It was named in honor of Samuel Ashe, a Revolutionary patriot, a superior court judge, and Governor of the State. It is in the northwestern section of the State and is bounded by the states of Tennessee and Virginia and Alleghany, Wilkes and Watauga counties. The present land area is 426.03 square miles and the 2000 population was 24,384. In 1803 the town of Jefferson was laid out and the public buildings erected. Jefferson is the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 429 square miles (1,110 km2), of which 426 square miles (1,100 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (0.7%) is water.

Ashe County is located in extreme northwestern North Carolina. The county is bordered by two states: Virginia on the north; and Tennessee to the west. The county is located entirely within the Appalachian Mountains region of North Carolina. Most of the county is located atop a rolling plateau that ranges from 2,500 feet (760 m) to 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level. On the county's southeastern border the land drops to about 2,300 feet (700 m) toward the Foothills region of North Carolina in neighboring Wilkes County, North Carolina. Numerous mountains and hills dot the plateau. The highest being The Peak at 5,195 feet. In total five mountains tower 5,000 feet plus. Among the highest peak is Mount Jefferson, which is a State Natural Area and rises to 4,665 feet (1,422 m), and towers more than 1,600 feet (490 m) above the towns of Jefferson and West Jefferson.

The county's main river is the New River, which is one of the oldest rivers in the world, and one of the few major rivers in the southeastern United States to flow primarily north instead of south, east, or west. There are 34 recorded creeks and streams that flow into the New River in Ashe County. In 1998 the river was designated an "American Heritage River" by President Bill Clinton, and it is famed for its beautiful rural scenery, clear water, fly fishing, and kayaking and canoeing.

Ashe County generally is known for its mountain scenery, and the tourism industry is an important mainstay of the county's economy. The Blue Ridge Parkway runs along the county's southeastern border. Ashe County has historically consisted of rural farmland, with numerous cattle and poultry farms. However, cattle farming in recent decades has given way to the industry of raising Christmas trees. Many cattle farmers have switched to growing Christmas trees, and in 1997, 2007, 2008, and 2012, an Ashe County Christmas tree was selected as the official White House Christmas Tree by the National Christmas Tree Association. The tree was put on display in the Blue Room (White House). As of 2014 Ashe County grows more Christmas Trees than any other County in the Eastern United States.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Grayson County, Virginia - north
  • Alleghany County, North Carolina - east
  • Wilkes County, North Carolina - southeast
  • Watauga County, North Carolina - southwest
  • Johnson County, Tennessee - west


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