Mitchell County was formed in
1861 from Yancey, Watauga, Caldwell, Burke and McDowell
counties. It was named in honor of Dr. Elisha Mitchell,
a professor at the University of North Carolina. While on
an exploring expedition of Mt. Mitchell, the highest peak
east of the Mississippi River, Dr. Mitchell fell and was
He was buried on the top of this
lofty mountain. It is in the western section of the State
and is bounded by the state of Tennessee and Avery, McDowell
and Yancey counties.
The present land area is 220.23
square miles and the 1990 population was 14,433. The first
court was ordered to be held at Eben Child's. Commissioners
were named to acquire the land, establish a town by the
name of Calhoun, and erect a courthouse in Calhoun.
They maintained it was inconvenient
to three-fourths of the citizens. They said the matter should,
therefore, be referred to the Assembly. In 1862 an act was
passed authorizing the people to decide by ballot for Calhoun,
or for Davis as the county seat.
In 1863 an act was passed which
stipulated that the county seat should be located at the
geographical center of the county by actual survey and measurements.
In 1863 the justices met and unanimously
agreed that Norman's Hill should be selected as the county
seat. From 1861-1866 commissioners were appointed to acquire
the land and lay out a town. At the regular September term,
1866, held at Davis, the commissioners reported that they
had acquired 29 acres of land and sold the lots. In 1868
the county seat was changed from Davis to Bakersville. Bakersville
was incorporated in 1870 and is the county seat.