Catawba County, North Carolina

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Catawba County
Catawba County, North Carolina
Founded 1842

Catawba County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 141,685. Its county seat is NewtonTemplate:GR and its largest city is Hickory.

Catawba County is part of the Hickory–LenoirMorganton Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The county was formed in 1842 from Lincoln County. It was named for the Catawba tribe of Native Americans, who once inhabited the area. At the turn of the century, gold mining was a successful industry in Catawba County. The county was part of one of the largest gold producing areas in the entire country. North Carolina maintained its leadership in gold production until 1848 when it was overshadowed in importance by the great rush to California.

In the 1940s Catawba County was recognized nationally for the courage of its people in conquering a polio epidemic. In 55 working hours, people joined together to turn a youth camp into a hospital.

After the Civil War Catawba County began an annual event to honor it military, the Old Soldiers Reunion. It has evolved into a large festival held the third week of August, and is the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the United States.

In 1992 Catawba County celebrated its Sesquicentennial Anniversary. The Sesquicentennial Planning Committee adopted the County's theme, "Keeping the Spirit Alive Since 1842!" In conjunction with this celebration, the County held a flag designing contest which was won by Rosemarie Hefner. The new design was made official by the Board of Commissioners and the first copies of the flag were made by Maxine Weeks of the Catawba Flag and Pole Company. The flag was raised on January 26, 1992 during a special ceremony at the Government Center in Newton.

The County Seal was designed by Pearl (Mrs. Loy) Setzer Deal of Hickory, and officially adopted by the Board of Commissioners on September 7, 1925. The Shield is divided into four parts, representing the national colors of red, white, and blue, with the fourth color of royal purple representing the blending of the national red and blue into royal purple. The county through the royal purple stands by the national colors. The four emblems are the cross in the field of red to represent religion, which was established with the earliest settlers; the torch in the field of white representing education, which was established along with the church in the earliest days; the cow in the royal purple, representing the farming upon which the county has always depended and the dairying which made the county famous far and wide; and the wheel in the field of blue to represent the manufacturing here in the county.

Catawba County's history is a history of spirited people. With a spirit of rebellion Catawbans split with Lincoln County; a spirited people united and fought a major polio epidemic in the 1940s; an entrepreneurial spirit built a thriving economy; a patriotic spirit resulted in the oldest continuing patriotic celebration in the US€”the annual Soldier's Reunion in Newton; an artistic spirit is reflected in our furniture artisans, music, quilting, pottery, etc.

Law and government

Catawba County is a member of the regional Western Piedmont Council of Governments.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 414 square miles (1,071 km²), of which, 400 square miles (1,036 km²) of it is land and 14 square miles (35 km²) of it (3.27%) is water.


The county is divided into eleven townships: Maiden, Bandy's, Caldwell, Catawba, Clines, Hickory, Jacobs Fork, Mountain View, Newton, Claremont, and Longview.

Adjacent counties


As of the censusTemplate:GR of 2000, there were 141,685 people, 55,533 households, and 39,095 families residing in the county. The population density was 354 people per square mile (137/km²). There were 59,919 housing units at an average density of 150 per square mile (58/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.99% White, 8.37% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 2.93% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 2.26% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. 5.57% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 55,533 households out of which 31.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.10% were married couples living together, 10.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.60% were non-families. 24.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.98.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.30% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 31.10% from 25 to 44, 23.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $40,536, and the median income for a family was $47,474. Males had a median income of $30,822 versus $23,352 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,358. About 6.50% of families and 9.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.50% of those under age 18 and 9.70% of those age 65 or over.

Cities and towns

Map of Catawba County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels


Further reading

  • Freeze, Gary R. The Catawbans: Crafters of a North Carolina County, 1747-1900 Catawba County Historical Association, 1995. ISBN 0-9702776-2-8.
  • Freeze, Gary R. The Catawbans: Pioneers in Progress, Vol. 2. Catawba County Historical Association, 2002.

External links

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia adapted for use as a quick research reference on this wiki. The original content was here: Catawba County, North Carolina. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with the ENC Phillips Group Wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.