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Guide to Ashe County, North Carolina ancestry, family history, and genealogy birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, family history, and military records.

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Ashe County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Ashe County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
Location of North Carolina in the U.S.
Founded 1799
County Seat Jefferson
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County Courthouse

Beginning Dates for Ashe County, North Carolina Genealogy Government Records

Ashe County Courthouse
 Court Street, P O Box 367
Jefferson, NC 28640
Phone: 704-694-3212

Register of Deeds has birth records from 1913
marriage records from 1853, divorce records from 1750
and court records from 1770[1]

Register of Deeds
150 Government Circle, Suite 2300
Jefferson, NC 28640-9378
Phone: 336-846-5580

Clerk of Superior Court
150 Government Circle, Suite 3100
Jefferson, NC 28640

Brief History

The line between Virginia and North Carolina was established in 1749 by a surveying party led by Peter Jefferson, thus establishing the northern border of what became Ashe County. The first recorded visit to the area occurred in 1752 when Bishop Augustus Spangenberg, head of the Moravian Church of America, came, looking for 100,000 acres of land upon which to settle.

The area that became Ashe County was part of Anson County during the early colonial period, part of Rowan County in 1753, Surry County in 1771, Wilkes County in 1777 and, from 1784-1789, was part of the State of Franklin.

After being associated with the State of Franklin. the territory was claimed as part of Washington County which, in turn, was a part of the Southwest Territory, and later Tennessee. This was the case until it was annexed back by North Carolina into Wilkes County again in 1792.[2]

Ashe County was incorporated as a separate entity by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1799. The county was named for Samuel Ashe, a Revolutionary War patriot, Governor of North Carolina, and superior court judge.

Ashe County is the northwestern-most county in the state of North Carolina, and covers 427 square miles. The county seat is the city of Jefferson, established in 1799. This was the first city in America to be named for Thomas Jefferson. He was Vice-President of the United States at the time.

Jefferson, the county seat, was platted in 1803. An early courthouse was destroyed in 1865. The old 1904 courthouse is now a historic landmark in Jefferson.

See also:

Parent County

1799 -- Ashe County was created 18 November 1799 from Wilkes County. County seat: Jefferson [3]

Boundary Changes

The area that became Ashe County had, at various times, been a part of Anson County, Rowan County, Surry County, and Wilkes County. Both Alleghany and Watauga Counties were formed out of Ashe County.

For animated maps illustrating North Carolina county boundary changes, "Rotating Formation North Carolina County Boundary Maps" (1664-1965) may be viewed for free at the website.

Record Loss

1865 -- The Ashe County Courthouse in Jefferson was destroyed by fire in 1865. Many of the records survived.

For a list of record loss in North Carolina counties see: North Carolina Counties with Burned Courthouses


Populated Places

Municipalities include:

Unincorporated communities include:

See also:

Current townships (19):

U.S. Federal Census Townships (names bold on first appearance)

  • 1860 - Jefferson, North Eastern District, North Fork, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Scattering, South Eastern District, Town
  • 1870 - Chestnut Hill, Helton, Horse Creek, Jefferson, Laurel, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Staggs Creek
  • 1880 - Chestnut Hill, Helton, Horse Creek, Jefferson, Laurel, North Fork, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Staggs Creek
  • 1900 - Chestnut Hill, Clifton, Creston, Grassy Creek, Helton, Horse Creek, Jefferson, Laurel, North Fork, Obids, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Walnut Hill
  • 1910 - Chestnut Hill, Clifton, Grassy Creek, Helton, Horse Creek, Jefferson, Laurel, North Fork, Obids, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Walnut Hill
  • 1920 - Chestnut Hill, Clifton, Creston, Grassy Creek, Helton, Horse Creek, Jefferson, Laurel, North Fork, Obids, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Walnut Hill
  • 1930 - Chestnut Hill, Clifton, Creston, Elk, Grassy Creek, Helton, Horse Creek, Hurricane, Jefferson, Lansing, Laurel, North Fork, Obids, Oldfields, Peak Creek, Pine Swamp, Piney Creek, Pond Mountain, Todd, Walnut Hill, West Jefferson

Population Statistics by Township, Year

  1870 1880 1900 1910 1920 1930
Dwellings 88          
Families 88          
People 456          
  • White Males
  • White Female
  • Colored Males
  • Colored Females
  • Foreign-born Males
  • Foreign-born Females
  • Blind
Real Estate $36,880          
Personal Estate $47,620          

Neighboring Counties





Specific Cemeteries


For tips on accessing Ashe County, North Carolina Genealogy census records online, see: North Carolina Census.




Genealogies and Biographies


Local Histories

County histories often provide important details of events and people of the local area. They often list such things as the names of first settlers, dates of settlement of communities, names of those who served in military organizations, details about the establishment of churches and businesses in the county and its towns, and many other facts helpful to the genealogist and family historian.

  • Anderson-Green, Paula Hathaway. A Hot-Bed of Musicians: Traditional Music in the Upper New River Valley (discusses Ashe County folk musicians and briefly mentions their family connections). Google Books
  • Arthur, John Preston. Western North Carolina: A History (from 1730 to 1913), Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company, 1914. Google Books
  • Ashe County Historical Society. Ashe County Revisited (Images of America series). Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2002 (photo history). Google Books
  • Ashe County Historical Society. Marriage Records of Ashe County, North Carolina 1801-1872, with Some After 1872. Ashe County Historical Society, 1989. Google Books
  • Ashe County, North Carolina 1870 Federal Census Index, Precision Indexing, 1993. Google Books
  • Cooper, Leland R. and Mary Lee Cooper. The People of the New River: Oral Histories from the Ashe, Alleghany, and Watauga Counties of North Carolina. McFarland, 2001. Google Books | publisher | WorldCat
  • Cox, A.B., Footprints on the Sands of Time: A History of Southwestern Virginia and Northwestern North Carolina, Sparta, North Carolina: Star Publishing Company, 1900. New River Notes (complete text)
  • Crawford, Martin. Ashe County's Civil War: Community and Society in the Appalachian South. The University Press of Virginia, 2001. Google Books | publisher | additional info
  • Fletcher, Arthur L. Ashe County: A History. Jefferson, North Carolina: Ashe County Research Assn., 1963; McFarland & Co., 2009. Google Books
  • Goss, Bernard. The Heritage of Ashe County, North Carolina. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Ashe County Heritage Book Committee in cooperation with the History Division of Hunter Publishing Co., 1984. WorldCat
  • History of Ashe County (NC Digital Collections, NC State Archives)
  • Houck, John, Clarice Weaver, and Carol Williams, Ashe County Historical Society. Ashe County (Images of America series), Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing, 2000, 2003 (a photo history of the county). Google Books | WorldCat
  • Miller, Danny. The Miller Families of Ashe County, NC, 2007. Google Books
  • Oral History Interview with Roy Ham, 1977, Interview H-0123-1, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007). Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 2007. Documenting the American South (complete text and audio)
  • People from Ashe County, North Carolina, General Books, 2010. Google Books
  • Reeves, Eleanor Baker. A Factual History of Early Ashe County, North Carolina: Its People, Places and Events. 1986.



Revolutionary War
War of 1812
Civil War (1861-1865)

Civil War Confederate units - Brief history, counties where recruited, etc.

- 4th Regiment, Virginia State Line (Cavalry and Infantry) (Confederate). Company B.[4]
- 50th Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Confederate). Company D (Wilson Rifles).[5]
- 1st Battalion, North Carolina Junior Reserves, Company D
:- 1st Regiment, North Carolina Cavalry, Company A
:- 2nd Regiment, North Carolina Detailed Men, Company G
:- 5th Battalion, North Carolina Cavalry, Company D
:- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company B
:- 5th Regiment, North Carolina Senior Reserves, Company F

World War I (1917-1918)
  • Bickett, Thomas Walter. The Ashe County Case. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina, 2002. WorldCat
  • World War I draft registration cards, 1917-1918, for Ashe County have been microfilmed. Copies of these records are available at the Family History Library (their microfilm number 1765559) and are also available online at, for a subscription fee. The original cards are maintained in the Southeast Regional Archives of the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) in East Point, Georgia and have been microfilmed by the National Archives as their Microcopy M1509.


Some older Ashe County, North Carolina news has been reported in the following:

  • The Landmark, Statesville, North Carolina (during at least the 1880s-1890s)
  • Raleigh Register, Raleigh, North Carolina (during at least the 1850s)

Other Records


The recording of wills and probate proceedings for the residents of Ashe County are the responsibility of the Clerk of Superior Court in the County Courthouse.


  • [1815] Mullins, Johnny C. "Ashe County, North Carolina - 1815 Tax List," The Mountain Empire Genealogical Quarterly, Vol. 2, No. 4 (Winter 1983):236-238; Vol. 3, No. 1 (Spring 1984):10-11. FHL US/CAN Book 975 D25m v. 2 (1983) ff.

Vital Records

Vital records maintained by Ashe County are the responsibility of the Register of Deeds in the County Courthouse. Divorces are included in the duties of the Clerk of Superior Court at the Courthouse.

  • starting 1913
  • near full compliance by 1920

Ashe County marriage records started in 1828. The Register of Deeds issued marriage licenses beginning in 1868.

  • starting in 1913
  • near full compliance by 1920
  • 1913-1966 - Ashe County Death Index 1913-1966. Batch B549463 at FamilySearch - free.[6]


Societies and Libraries

Ashe County Historical Society
Rt. 1, 148 Library Drive
West Jefferson 28694
Ashe County Historical Society

Ashe County Public Library
148 Library Dr.
West Jefferson, NC 28694
Ashe County Public Library

Family History Centers

Family History Centers provide one-on-one assistance and free access to premium genealogical websites. In addition, many centers have free how-to genealogy classes. See Family History Centers for more information. Search the online FHC directory for a nearby family history center.

Web Sites


  1. Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America, 10th ed. (Draper, Utah: Everton Pub., 2002), Ashe County, North Carolina p. 506. At various libraries (WorldCat); FHL Book 973 D27e 2002.
  2. Arthur L. Fletcher, Ashe County: A History (Jefferson, N.C.: Ashe County Research Assoc., 1963), 33-34.
  3. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).
  4. The Virginia State Line: Organizational Structure of the Virginia State Line,, accessed 11 June 2012.
  5. John C. Chapla, 50th Virginia Infantry (Lynchburg, Va.: H.E. Howard, 1997). FHL Book 975.5 M2vr v. 129.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Genealogical Society of Utah, Parish and Vital Records List (July 1998). Microfiche. Digital version at


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  • This page was last modified on 15 August 2015, at 02:11.
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