Guilford County was established
in 1771 from Orange County (which formed about the eastern third) and
Rowan County (which formed about the western two-thirds). It included
what is now Randolph County (which separated in 1779) and Rockingham
County (which separated in 1785).
Settlement began in the late
1740s and grew rapidly in the 1750s.
Settlers came from Virginia,
Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Nantucket Island in
Massachusetts, and the eastern and central counties of North Carolina.
Migration into Guilford County
was frequently over the Great Wagon Road through the Valley of Virginia.
Group migrations were made by
German Lutherans and Reformed settlers from Pennsylvania beginning in
the late 1740s; Scots-Irish Presbyterians from the
Pennsylvania-Maryland border area in the 1750s; Quakers from many
locations in the 1750s; scattered Virginia Baptists organized meetings
in the 1750s; and Methodists from the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the
1770s and 1780s.
"Moving On" to the south, west
and northwest began almost immediately and picked up speed about 1800.
Upper Georgia and South Carolina were favored, then sights were set on
the Cumberland Gap as a way to Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, and Indiana.
The Battle at Guilford
was fought on 15 March 1781. Cornwallis won, but the victory left the
British army so weak that it caused them to lose the campaign in the
southern colonies, and led to the surrender at Yorktown.