Warren County, North Carolina

Year Established

County Seat

Significance of County Name

Population (2020)



Dr. Joseph Warren


Legislative Act Creating County

First Settled / By

County Evolution by Decade

Official County Website

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1720s / Virginians

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Historical Post Offices

American Revolution

American Civil War

Significant Education Events

Alphabetical / Date Started


Camps & Forts / Troops

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Airports in Warren County

Maps of Warren County

Books About Warren County

Genealogy Sources

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A History of Warren County

Norlina Train & Rairoad Museum

The Act establishing Warren County specified that the first court was to be held at the court house of Bute County, from which Warren County was created in 1779. Bute County was therefore abolished, its name relegated only to history. The Act also provided that subsequent courts were to be held at a place decided upon by the justices of the peace until a court house could be constructed. Commissioners were named to select a site at the center of the county, purchase land, and have the court house, prison, and stocks constructed. In 1779, another Act was passed establishing Warrenton. This Act provided that the courts were to be held at the home of Thomas Christmas until the court house could be built. Warrenton has since been the only county seat of Warren County.

The county was named after Dr. Joseph Warren, who was commissioned a Major General in the Massachusetts Patriot Militia shortly before the June 17, 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. Rather than exercising his rank, Dr. Warren served in the battle as a private soldier, and was killed in combat when British troops stormed the redoubt atop Breed's Hill.

It is only natural that Norlina would use the symbol of a locomotive on our town seal as the very existence of our community was the result of the Raleigh & Gaston and Seaboard & Roanoke Railroads.

In 1837, we were called Ridgeway Junction and the expanding railroad found it necessary to stop in this area for refueling and resupplying. Local citizens, eager to supplement their income from this boom-town industry, began selling wood and water to the railroad.

Soon this had expanded to other supplies and services, such as camp-like food, provisions and supplies for arriving and departing travelers. In the 1860s, we became known as the "Woodyard," and in the 1870s the railroads merged to form the Seaboard & Raleigh Railroad, and we had become an area of commerce, trade and business.

Now known throughout the South as the "Junction," this area had grown from a small crossroads supplying roadside meals to a thriving community which included several smithing shops, two mercantile hardware stores, and a horse-drawn taxi service providing transportation to outlying areas.

In 1900, the Seaboard Air Line Railway was established through a series of mergers and acquisitions. Under the leadership of John Williams, a regional entrepreneur, the Seaboard Air Line quickly grew from 1,110 miles to over 4,680 miles.

During this period, the "Junction" exploded with growth, the Rail & Train Depot was established, and our historic hotel and restaurant were built to supply the traveling public with a clean bed and bath, and their specialty meal...quail on toast.

No one really knows how the name "Norlina" came about...whether it was the influence of the railroad to 'shorten' the name North Carolina to Norrr-lllina, or if was a decision of some of our first citizens. In any event, in 1913, a group of local citizens stepped off one mile square (with the railroad depot exactly in the center), sent a petition to the North Carolina General Assembly for charter, and we became known as.... Norlina.... where North Carolina begins.

Norlina was granted a U.S. Post Office on December 8, 1900, and the first Postmaster was Mr. George W. Hundley.

In 1876, the citizens of Warrenton finally decided to build the Warrenton Railroad, which was a 2.9 mile connector to Warren Plains to link up with the Seaboard & Raleigh Railroad. It was completed in 1884, and it remained very useful until the line was closed down in 1985.

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