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Cities and Towns in Catawba County

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Lake Norman of Catawba
Mountain View
Sherrills Ford
St. Stephens

History of Catawba County

Catawba County Museum of History

Catawba was formed in 1842 from Lincoln County. It was named for the Indian tribe which lived in that section of the state. It is in the west central section of the state and is bounded by Iredell Lincoln, Burke, Caldwell, and Alexander counties. The present land area is 399.97 square miles and the 2000 population was 141,686. The act establishing the county named commissioners to acquire land within two miles of the center of the county, lay out a town by the name of Newton, and erect a courthouse. Controversy developed over the location. Consequently in 1845, an act was passed authorizing the erecting of the courthouse in Newton, which is now the county seat. 

Early Catawbans were either refugees or descendants of refugees from European political strife. Most were German and Scots-Irish, who initially settled in Pennsylvania and migrated to the south when converging factors of crowding and under-employment evolved. Many, after being attracted by the fertile ground of the valley of Virginia, moved into the Catawba County area in the 1740s after troubles developed in Virginia. The specter of future crowding, plus the growing danger of Indian attack from nations in the Ohio Valley were the primary reasons.

At the turn of the century, gold mining was a successful industry in Catawba County. Catawba County was part of one of the largest gold producing areas in the entire country. North Carolina maintained its leadership in gold production until 1848 when it was eclipsed in importance by the great rush to California.

In the 1940s Catawba County was recognized nationally for the courage of its people in conquering a polio epidemic. In 55 working hours people joined together to turn a youth camp into a hospital.

After the Civil War, Catawba County began an annual event to honor its military - the Old Soldiers Reunion. It has evolved into a large festival held the third week of August, and is the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the United States.

- Source: J.D. Lewis - Little River, SC


More Information

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 141,685 people, 55,533 households, and 39,095 families residing in the county. The population density was 354 people per square mile (137/km²). There were 59,919 housing units at an average density of 150 per square mile (58/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.99% White, 8.37% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 2.93% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.26% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. 5.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 55,533 households out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.10% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.60% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,536, and the median income for a family was $47,474. Males had a median income of $30,822 versus $23,352 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,358. About 6.50% of families and 9.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.50% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.

- Source: Wikipedia