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 killed. 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.
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