About Mitchell County

Mitchell County History

Mitchell County was formed in 1861 from parts of Burke County, Caldwell County, McDowell County, Watauga County and Yancey County. It was named in honor of Elisha Mitchell, professor of mathematics, chemistry, geology and mineralogy at the University of North Carolina from 1818 until his death in 1857.

The creation of Mitchell County was brought about by the question of secession during the build up to the Civil War. The Northern half of the region strongly supported the Union and wanted to part company with the Southern half, which favored secession. The opportunity that enabled this split came about when Jacob W. Bowman, a rising young politician from what is now Bakersville, was elected to represent Yancey County in the N.C. legislature. Eager to serve his constituents living north of Toe River, young Bowman was instrumental in the passage of an act that created the new county.