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Gaston County Genealogy

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Originally part of colonial Bladen County, the area today called Gaston County was part of Anson County in 1750, and subsequently ceded to the newly formed Mecklenburg County in 1762. Six years later, the area was again redistricted, to the short-lived Tryon County until 1779, at which time it was incorporated into Lincoln County. Lincoln County was divided in 1846, and its southern half was renamed Gaston for William Gaston, a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1813 to 1817, and a judge of the North Carolina Supreme Court from 1833 to 1844.

Tensions between the earliest European settlers and the Native Americans were eased considerably when the dispute over the boundary between North Carolina and South Carolina was settled in 1772, after which most of the local Native Americans settled on a reservation in South Carolina. Most early farms were small, cultivated primarily by white yeoman farmers. North Carolina’s colonial policy of restricted the size of land grants, and in Gaston County they tended to be about 400 acres each. One of the earliest grants in the area was given to Captain Samuel Cobrin, commander of a local militia company, on September 29, 1750.

German Influence

Beginning in the late 17th century, thousands of Rhinelanders began immigrating to the American colonies to escape the war and religious strife. The earliest group to come to North Carolina settled in New Bern in 1710. Within a few decades significant numbers had arrived in Philadelphia and moved out into the mid-Atlantic zone and southward. In most of the Atlantic colonies, English and Scotch-Irish settlers had already staked out much of the good land, so German pioneers soon concentrated on the sparsely settled central and western piedmont areas. A few German pioneers arrived in piedmont North Carolina in the 1730s and 1740s, but German immigration increased dramatically in the mid-1750s and continued throughout the century. The largest settlement was the Wachovia tract, which was granted to Moravians who had come from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and later founded (Old) Salem. During this same period, German pioneers began settling Gaston County and establishing homesteads after setting their sights southward from the Shenandoah Valley and beyond, via the Great Wagon Road. German settlers established themselves in clusters of independent farmsteads linked by extended family connections and by participation in Lutheran, Reformed, or, less numerous, German Baptist (Dunker) congregations.

By 1790 it is estimated 10 to 30 percent of the greater Piedmont population was of German origin. Outnumbered by English and Scotch-Irish neighbors, the Germans were perceived as a distinct group, and many of them strove to maintain German culture and ways. The use of the German language continued well into the 19th century, with a period of transition from German to bilingual, with predominant English usage established between 1825 and 1850. In the late 18th century, German dominated in many churches and families; by the 1835, sermons in Reformed and Lutheran congregations were often preached in both languages. By the late 19th century, use of German had all but disappeared.

Similar patterns appeared in architecture. Traditional German construction methods– often the work of artisans trained in the fatherland– usually prevailed from the 1750s through the 1780s. From the 1780s or 1790s into the 1820s, German Carolinians were often “bilingual” in architecture as in language, blending Germanic traditions and mainstream stylistic developments. Finally, in the period from the 1820s to the Civil War, as popular national ideals gained away throughout much of the countryside, German-descended families accommodated to these trends. Source Wikipedia

Gaston County NCGenweb site

Gaston/Lincoln Genealogical Society
P.O. Box 584
Mt. Holly, NC 28120

Gaston County Historical Society
P.O. Box 429
Dallas, NC 28034

Broad River Genealogical Society, Inc.
P.O. Box 2261
Shelby, NC 28151-2261
(covers Cleveland, Gaston, Henderson, Lincoln, and Rutherford Counties in NC and a few SC counties)

The Genealogical Society of Old Tryon County
P.O. Box 938
Forest City, NC 28043
(covers Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, and Rutherford Counties in NC and a few SC counties)


Gaston County Courthouse
PO Box 1578
County Courthouse
Gastonia, NC 28053


1850 Federal Census Index – by last name only


USGS listing of cemeteries in Gaston County

Cemetery Transcriptions

Gaston County Cemetery Census

Query Forums

Gaston County, NC Query Forum

Latest North Carolina Genealogy Query posts for Gaston County from the Forum:

Gaston County, NC at Genforum

Cities and Towns of Gaston County:

Bessemer City
Catawba Heights
Gastonia (County Seat)
High Shoals
Mount Holly
Ragan Village
South Gastonia
Spencer Mountain

News related to Gaston County, NC

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