Caldwell County, carved from the
counties of Burke and Wilkes, was actually formed in January
1841, several weeks after the bill was introduced in the
The bill to establish the county
was rejected in 1839 because a faction within the state
legislature wished to form two Democratic counties instead
of one Whig county. The bill was reintroduced by Representative
Elisha P. Miller on November 19, 1840. The bill of 1840
proposed to establish a county from Burke and Wilkes to
be named Boone.
It was first read and rejected on
December 5, 1840. It was read a second time and passed by
the casting vote of the Speaker, Robert B. Gilliam on December
14, 1840. There was some confusion over the selection of
the name, however, but when Charles Manley, Clerk of the
House, suggested to Representative Miller that the county
be named for Dr. Joseph Caldwell, former President of the
University of North Carolina and advocator of a public school
system and a railroad system stretching from Morehead City
through the questioned county to Tennessee, the bill was
ratified and signed on January 11, 1841.
FACTS AND FIGURES
1771 The regions settlers
petitioned for creation of a new county.
1790 The Caldwell area had
a population of about 2,675
1791 Caldwells first
industries were located on Gunpowder Creek, near Granite
Falls. Here the Pierce Iron Forge was erected and gunpowder
was manufactured for the patriots.
1825 Tuckers Barn area
became the seat of government of the new county.
1850 A toll road was built
across the Blue Ridge to Blowing Rock a road that
is now U.S. Highway 321.
1878 Grist and sawmills were
developed along streams within the county. The county had
51 grain mills, 41 sawmills and 5 furniture shops, 8 tanneries,
a pottery, an implement factory, four gold mines and innumerable
iron ore beds.
1884 The Chester and Lenoir
Railway (a narrow gauge) came to the county.
1889 The first modern furniture
factories were organized.
1910 There were 2,548 farms
in the county.
1938 Caldwell was one of the
first counties to achieve a rural electrification program.
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