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Surry County, NC


The Surry County Genealogical Association is a non-profit organization formed in 1981. Its purpose is to create and foster interest in genealogy, assist those persons interested in compiling family histories, and to share ideas that may aid in more accurate research.

The SCGA grew out of a genealogy class taught by Carlos Surratt, Evening Dean at Surry Community College. He had long hoped for such an organization and was largely instrumental in bringing together a county-wide group.


 

Surry County was formed from Rowan County. This was while Surry County was still a British Colony. An act to form Surry County was proposed to the North Carolina Assembly in December 1770 by Martin Armstrong, Anthony Hampton and James Dunne. The legislation was passed in January 1771 and was to become effective 1 April 1771. It was named to honor Lord Surrey, a member of Parliament who protested the taxes levied on the colonists by the British.

Part of Rowan was annexed to Surry in 1773. This was to make sure that all of the Moravian’s Wachovia tract was in Surry County. When the division of Surry from Rowan occured in 1771, it left Salem in Rowan and Bethabara and Bethania in Surry. In the beginning, Surry did not want the Moravians in their county because the Moravians refused to fight and they lived differently and better.

Surry County quickly realized that not only did they need the tax money from the Moravians, they needed the friendship and knowledge. Moravian leaders were highly educated, practical, wise to the ways of the world and highly disciplined. They had markets, mills, crafts, craftsmen, stores, taverns, Inns, workshops and schools among other things.

Surry leaders went running back asking the Moravians of Salem to petition the Assembly of North Carolina to put the rest of the Wachovia Tract in Surry County borders. The Assembly refused the first petition in 1772. In 1773 Salem leaders Frederick William Marshall and Traugott Bagge went to the N.C. General Assembly at New Bern, talked with the Governor and the bill passed the third

Wilkes County was formed in 1777 from Surry and the District of Washington, now in Tennessee. The act was effective 15 February 1778. It should be noted here that this took the western part of Surry where Low Gap is located. This put Jesse Franklin and others in Wilkes County.

Stokes County was formed in 1789 from Surry, all of the Moravian Tract was now in Stokes. In 1850 Stokes County was divided and the southern part became Forsyth County. The original Moravian Tract made up a large part of Forsyth County.

Part of Wilkes County was annexed to Surry in 1792. This gave Low Gap and western Surry County back to Surry County. This was done at the request of Jesse Franklin. (He became the only NC Governor from Surry.) Researchers should note that the names of the people in the Low Gap area and others in the western part of the county will be found in the NC census of 1784-1787 and the US Federal census of 1790 in the Wilkes County listings. This also applies to Wilkes County tax lists and deeds from 1777 until 1792.

Yadkin County was formed from Surry in 1850 with the Yadkin River forming the boundary. Part of Surry on the west was annexed to Alleghany in 1869, 1870 and 1875. Corbitt says no description given in the law. It was around Aaron Woodruffs and Saddle Mountain.

(Information from Corbitt, David Leroy, The Formation of North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943, Raleigh: State Department of Archives and History, 1950, pp. 199-202.)

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