Location, Location, Location

A historical view of the North Carolina district known now as Iredell County soon reveals how many changes of boundaries and names of counties have occurred since Iredell acquired county status in 1788.

Frontier peoples were naturally on the move because inexpensive and workable land was the object of their search. As populations clustered and moved on, boundaries shifted to better represent them. The political climate was evolving from a colony governed from abroad, to regional Proprietors—most often absentee landlords—and finally to local, independent landowners. Sale transactions and deeds needed to be recorded and preserved. People needed to be counted and categorized for military purposes as well as to collect taxes. Courts and jails were established to impose collective order on their various districts. Incidentally, county name changes also served to keep future family historians on their toes.

The English colony of Carolina itself divided into a northern and southern one as early as 1729. A county named Anson was formed in 1750 and soon after, Rowan County in 1753, which used to include all the northwestern section of North Carolina. By 1771, sections of Rowan were breaking away and forming new, smaller counties. One of these became Iredell named in 1788 for James Iredell an early influential citizen.

Among the communities of settlers moving southward were the Welsh, the German, the English and the Scotch-Irish of which Thomas and Margaret Cook were a part. The historian of colonial Rowan County, Samuel Ervin Jr. claimed the Scotch-Irish settled mainly west of the Yadkin River and among his tally of early families were: Cathey, Davidson, Hughes, Brevard, Winslow, Moore, Kerr, Torrence, Houston and others.5