History surrounds all that live in Statesville and Iredell County. This city and county have triumphed, have suffered tragedies and there are memories and monuments to those occasions.
In 1753, Scots-Irish Presbyterians and German Lutherans who originally settled in Pennsylvania began arriving here to plant their crops in fertile soil where game and water were plentiful. The settlement, which became known as Fourth Creek Congregation, was named for the fresh water stream, the fourth creek west of the neighboring settlement of Salisbury. The center of the settlement was the log cabin where the Presbyterians worshiped and where First Presbyterian Church is located today. Adjacent to this church is the original cemetery where many of those pioneer settlers are buried.
In 1755, the royal Governor Arthur Dobbs authorized the construction of the colony's frontier fort which was located approximately three miles due north of the Fourth Creek settlement. Built and garrisoned by North Carolina Provincial soldiers, Fort Dobbs defined the British North America's western frontier in the colony of North Carolina during the French and Indian War (1754-1763), sometimes called the Seven Years War. It combined the functions of a military barracks, fortification, refuge for settlers, provisioning depot and center for negotiations with Indians. On February 27, 1760, Fort Dobbs was attacked by a party of 60 Cherokee who were defeated. The Treaty of Paris officially concluded the war and as Arthur Dobbs predicted the colonial frontier extended beyond the mountains. By 1764 Fort Dobbs was no longer in use by the colony.
Situated in the Piedmont region of North Carolina near the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fort Dobbs State Historic Site provides a window into this tumultuous period of history known as the French and Indian War (1754-1763). As the only state historic site associated with the period, it represents North Carolina's link with a global war for empire that crossed five continents, lasted nearly a decade and sowed the seeds for independence.
By 1788 the state legislature divided Rowan County and the new county was named Iredell for James Iredell, associate justice of the first Supreme Court during the presidency of George Washington.
One year later the legislature selected a spot for the county seat. The Fourth Creek Congregation was chosen and the settlement became known as Statesville.
As early as 1833, Statesville's leaders were pursuing the idea of railroads to connect the Piedmont area of North Carolina with the rest of the country. The only immediate benefit from this effort was improved stage routes. When the rails arrived in Statesville in 1858, the town was small and struggling to recover from a disastrous fire six years earlier that destroyed virtually everything. Located at the end of the rail line, Statesville soon began growing, leading the state in the production of tobacco and tobacco products, the manufacture and blending of whiskey, and was the largest distribution center of roots and herbs in the world. By 1862 there were two railroads operating in Statesville.
Following the Civil War, all rail lines to Statesville were severed, primarily to provide replacement railing in the areas where it was destroyed.
Areas of interest include: Fort Dobbs historic site, Kit Carson's birthplace, Darshana Plantation and Ebeneezer Academy, the oldest schoolhouse standing in Iredell County. Another unique spot in Iredell County is Love Valley. This small country western town located north of Statesville is a high attraction for rodeos, horseback riding and nature-loving enthusiasts.
Indians lived here, Daniel Boone hunted here, Kit Carson was born in North Iredell, Buffalo Bill, General and Mrs. Tom Thumb and William Jennings Bryan are but a few famous people who have visited or performed here. Hollywood has found our community and several movies have been filmed here.
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