The mountains chosen for the background picture on our website are special in a way that is unique to Stokes County. The view is from the west looking east. The mountain range you see is the Sauratown Mountain range. It is named for the Saura Indians who inhabited the region before the white man settled in the area. There was a Saura Indian "Town" located on the Dan river just outside of the town of Walnut Cove which is just beyond the mountains in this picture. The mountain in the foreground is commonly known as Sauratown mountain. In years past it was known as "Eaton's Peak" after the Eaton family that settled at the base of the mountain. On the mountain just on the other side of Sauratown mountain to the right is "Cook's Wall" and to the left is "Moore's Knob". Just beyond Moore's Knob and out of sight is Hanging Rock State Park. The last mountain just beyond Hanging Rock is "Flat Shoals" mountain. The thing that makes these mountains unique to Stokes County is the fact that the Sauratown Mountain Range is the only mountain range in the continental United States that is contained completely within the borders of only one county.

Did you know?

George Washington, the Father of our country and our first President of the United States once spent two nights in Stokes County! It's true. On his tour of the southern states in 1792 George Washington stayed two nights in Old Salem. Yes, Old Salem is in Forsyth County today but in 1792 Forsyth County was still a part of Stokes County. Forsyth County was not formed until 1849. So, when Father George stayed in Old Salem he was in Stokes County.

John Stokes

Stokes County's namesake, John Stokes, was the first Federal Judge appointed by George Washington.

Our Scots-Irish Heritage

The term, Scots-Irish, refers to the Presbyterian Scots who settled in Ulster (modern-day Northern Ireland) during the seventeenth century. Scots-Irish is an Americanism, generally unknown in Scotland and Ireland, and rarely used by British historians. These are the people of Scottish descent, who, having lived for a time in the north of Ireland, migrated in considerable numbers to the American colonies.
The great migration of Scots-Irish to America took place from 1717 through 1776. An estimated 250,000 individuals came to America during this period. At the time of the Revolution, they may have comprised ten to fifteen percent of the population of the United States. Their negative feelings toward England played a large part in the attitudes that led to the American Revolution.

The Scots-Irish left Ulster as a result of British economic pressures in the region, requirements that they pay ten percent of their income to the Anglican Church, friction with their Catholic Irish neighbors, and greater economic opportunities in the New World. A second Irish immigration occurred during the period 1846-1856 resulting from the potato famine. An estimated two million Irishmen, mostly Catholic, immigrated to America.

The majority of the immigrants entered America through Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and made their way west through the Cumberland Valley and into Maryland and Virginia. Eventually, they began to move south to the Carolinas in search of rich farmland. Their common route south became one of the most impressive highways of colonial times, The Great Wagon Road, which covered a distance of 435 miles from the Yadkin River through Virginia to Philadelphia. The third great region of Scots-Irish settlement was in the Piedmont country of North and South Carolina.

William H. McGee, writing in the Stokes County Heritage Book published in 1981, lists the following families as known Scots-Irish settlers in Stokes County. Of course, there are dozens more, many of whom spell their names beginning with the characteristic, Mc.:

McCormack Carroll
McMillian McGee
Campbell McMurry
Laird McAnally
McCall McCamens
Gammel Lyons


USS Stokes (AKA-68), shown here in her camoflage colors, was a Tolland class attack cargo ship named for Stokes County, North Carolina. The Stokes was designed to carry military cargo and landing craft, and to use the latter to land weapons, supplies, and Marines on enemy shores during amphibious operations.


Check back later and you may find more trivia.