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Cities and Towns in Forsyth County

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Rural Hall

History of Forsyth County

Forsyth was formed in 1849 from Stokes County. It was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a native of Stokes County who fell on the northern frontier in the second war with England. It is in the central section of the state and is bounded by Guilford, Davidson, Davie, Yadkin, and Stokes counties. The present land area is 409.60 square miles and the 2000 population was 306,067.

The act establishing the county ordered the first court to be held at the town hall of Salem, at which time the justices were to select a place for future courts until a courthouse could be erected. Commissioners were named to select a place for the public buildings, acquire the land, and lay out a town. In 1851, an act was passed naming the county seat Winston. In 1879 an act was passed authorizing that Winston and Salem be combined, provided the people voted for the same. In 1913, Winston and Salem were incorporated as one town and Winston-Salem became the county seat.

Forsyth County began as a Moravian settlement in 1753 when Bishop August Gottlieb Spangenberg acquired a hundred-thousand acre tract of land from Lord Granville, one of the Lord Proprietors of North Carolina. The Moravians called their land Wachovia after the Austrian estate of Count Nicholas Lewis von Zinzendorf, an early protector of the Moravian church.

After the two settlements of Bethabara and Bethania were established, the town of Salem was begun in 1766 as the central town in Wachovia. Salem grew rapidly both as a religious center and as a center for crafts and trades.

Forsyth County was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a respected landowner in Stokes County. Colonel Forsyth distinguished himself in battle during the war of 1812 at Odelltown, Canada, where he was mortally wounded.

In 1849, the North Carolina legislature created the new county of Forsyth out of part of Stokes County. In 1851, the town of Winston was named as the county seat. The courthouse square was laid one mile north of Salem Square with plans for the street of the two towns to run together.

In 1949, Willie H. Johnson, Jr., a Carver High School student, designed the Forsyth County seal during a contest to celebrate the County's centennial.

Forsyth County has progressed from its rustic past to a modern community which offers a variety of services to its citizens. 

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


More Information

As of the census[1] of 2000, there were 306,067 people, 123,851 households, and 81,741 families residing in the county. The population density was 747 people per square mile (289/km²). There were 133,093 housing units at an average density of 325 per square mile (125/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 68.47% White, 25.61% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 1.04% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 3.25% from other races, and 1.30% from two or more races. 6.40% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

In 2005 62.9% of Forsyth county's population was non-Hispanic whites. 25.9% of the population was African-American. 9.5% was Latino. 1.3% was Asian and 1.1% reported two or more races. The decline in the last is due to changes in counting which basically excluded all Latinos from this category.

In 2000 there were 123,851 households out of which 30.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.90% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.00% were non-families. 28.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.94.

In the county the population was spread out with 23.90% under the age of 18, 9.60% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 22.80% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 91.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,097, and the median income for a family was $52,032. Males had a median income of $36,158 versus $27,319 for females. The per capita income for the county was $23,023. About 7.90% of families and 11.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.10% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.

- Source: Wikipedia