Forsyth County History and Local Information
The Forsyth County area was originally settled by German-speaking Moravians from Pennsylvania, who purchased nearly 100,000 acres from Lord Granville in 1753. This tract, which they called Wachovia, included much of present-day Forsyth County. At the time, this area was a part of Rowan County. In 1770, the northern part of Rowan County became Surry County, and in 1789 Surry was further subdivided to form Stokes. In 1849, the new county of Forsyth was formed from the southern part of Stokes.
Forsyth County was named in honor of Colonel Benjamin Forsyth, a native of Stokes County who fell on the northern frontier in the second war with England. The act establishing the county ordered the first court to be held at the town hall of Salem, at which time the justices were to select a place for future courts until a courthouse could be erected. Commissioners were named to select a place for the public buildings, acquire the land, and lay out a town. In 1851 an act was passed naming the county seat Winston. In 1879 an act was passed authorizing that Winston and Salem be combined, provided the people voted for the same. In 1913 Winston and Salem were incorporated as one town and Winston-Salem became the county seat.
Forsyth County is in the central section of the state and is bounded by Guilford, Davidson, Davie, Yadkin, and Stokes Counties. The present land area is 408.64 square miles and the 2000 population was 306,067.
Also see the publications page for some histories of Forsyth County.
Forsyth County Public Library
North Carolina Room
660 West Fifth Street
Winston-Salem NC 27101
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem NC 27109