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.

Johnston County, North Carolina

Johnston County Education, Geography, and HistoryJohnston County, North Carolina Courthouse

Johnston County is a county located in the state of North Carolina. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 168,878. Its county seat is Smithfield.

Johnston County is included in the Raleigh, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area

Etymology - Origin of Johnston County Name

It was named in honor of Gabriel Johnston, Governor of North Carolina, 1734-1752.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Johnston County History

Johnston was formed in 1746 from Craven. It was named in honor of Gabriel Johnston, Governor of North Carolina, 1734-1752. It is in the eastern section of the State and is bounded by Wilson, Wayne, Sampson, Cumberland, Harnett, Wake and Nash counties. The present land area is 791.85 square miles and the 2000 population was 121,900. The first court was held at the home of Francis Stringer at the Ferry of Neuse River. Court was held at Hinton's Quarter on the south side of Neuse River, 1759-1760, and probably before that date. In August, 1771, it was held at John Smith's. From 1771 to 1776 the county seat was called Johnston Court House. In 1771 Smithfield was established "where the Court House, prison and stocks now stand." Smithfield is the county seat.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 796 square miles (2,060 km2), of which 791 square miles (2,050 km2) is land and 4.2 square miles (11 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Nash County (northeast)
  • Wilson County (east)
  • Wayne County (southeast)
  • Sampson County (south)
  • Harnett County (southwest)
  • Wake County (northwest)


Students in Johnston County are served by the Johnston County School District, which has 44 schools.

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