Lincoln County History

The information below was produced by the Lincoln County Historic Properties Commission in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce.

Lincoln County, formed in 1779, was named for Major General Benjamin Lincoln, the man elected by General George Washington to accept the official sword of the British surrender at Yorktown. The county’s history continues to grow out of religion, agriculture, iron manufacturing, and pottery.

One of the few surviving examples of early nineteenth century private academies which flourished in North Carolina. It’s students include: three governors- Texas’s James Pickney Henderson, North Carolina’s William A. Graham, and Georgia’s Hoke Smith, and two major generals, Stephen D. Ramsour and Robert F. Hoke. In the ensuing century, it has served as a residence, school, lodge, and library. In 1908, the United Daughters of the Confederacy leased the building as a depository for Civil War artifacts. The academy is one of Lincolnton’s oldest remaining structures.

Built for Daniel Forney, U.S. Congress (1815-1818), Ingleside is one of piedmont North Carolina’s finest antebellum Federal-style mansions. Its design has been attributed to Benjamin Latrobe whose architectural designs can be seen in both our nation’s Capitol and the White House.

In 1794, Daniel Asbury, a Methodist circuit-riding preacher, began Rock Springs Campground, the earliest camp meeting organization in North Carolina. The campground moved to its present site in 1830. The hand-hewed arbor stands at the campground’s center and seats one thousand persons on its pine pews. Surrounding the arbor are wooden cabins or “tents” which house campgoers during the annual early August meetings.

Built in 1826 for Paul Kistler, it stands on West Main Street in Lincolnton. Kistler operated a tannery in town. His wife Ann was the sister of David Smith, who had built the similary constructed and design Magnolia Grove two years earlier. One of its more famous residents includes Charles Raper Jonas, a prominent local attorney, and United States House representative (1952 to 1972). The house retains many of its Federal-style features.

Completed in 1923, this imposing Greek Revival building marks the center of Lincoln County. This structure is the fifth to serve as the center of justice, and is the most prominent landmark in the city. Its archives are one of the most complete in the state. Legal documents dating from colonial times are available for genealogical and scholarly research.

Built by Andrew Loretz in 1793, this Federal-style mansion is the oldest brick structure in Lincoln County. The glazed headers on the east gable denote the builders initials and year of construction. Loretz was one of the first ordained German Reformed clergyman to minister west of the Catawba River. The house has recently undergone an extensive restoration, returning it to its original glory. It is privately owned, but can be viewed from 1204 Daniels Church Road.

On June 20, 1780, 400 Militia Patriots, under the leadership of Colonel Francis Locke, defeated Lt. Colonel John Moore and 1400 Tories. At battles end, over 100 men lay dead. Those bodies were laid to rest in a mass grave site which is pointed out today. Of what importance was the battle fought on this small farm in Lincoln County? The speculation is that if the battle had never been fought or if the Tories had won, the battle of Kings Mountain would have led to a victory for the British Army. Christian Reinhardt’s farm is presently being restored as a living history museum.

Historian Alfred Nixon wrote that the two churches, “stand on the oldest spot of ground in Lincoln County dedicated to the worship of Almighty God and the cause of education, and perhaps the oldest in the state west of the Catawba River.” The cemetery serves both congregations and includes many early Lincoln County pioneers. The graves of David Warlick and Reverend Andrew Loretz can be found here.

Machpelah Cemetery was established in 1801 as a family graveyard located midway between Joseph Graham’s Vesuvius Furnace and Alexander Brevard’s Mt. Tirzah Forge. In 1848, Machpelah Presbyterian Church was erected beside the cemetery. The first pastor of the church was Dr. Robert Hall Morrison, a major figure in the Presbyterian Church of western North Carolina, first president of Davidson College, and father-in-law of Confederate General T.J. “Stonewall” Jackson. The small Greek Revival Church contains pews and slave gallery that are thought to be original. Graham, Brevard, and Morrison are buried within the rock wall cemetery.

Established in 1842, St. Lukes was the first Episcopal Church in Lincolnton. Its hand-carved alter and choir stall, probably dating from late nineteenth century, are the most striking and ornate examples of Gothic Revival style interior design in the county. General Stephen D. Ramsour and NC Supreme Court Justice William A. Hoke are buried here.

The museum was established to collect, preserve, study and exhibit authentic artifacts and other historical material related to the history and heritage of Lincoln County through permanent and temporary exhibits. The museum is located in the old First Baptist Church in downtown Lincolnton.

For more information about Lincoln County history, tours, and annual Events, please contact:

The Historic Properties Commission
Daughters of the American Revolution
Sons of Confederate Veterans
United Daughters of the Confederacy
211 West Water Street
Lincolnton, NC 28092
Tel: 704-736-8442
Fax: 704-735-0273

Jason Harpe, Lincoln County Museum of History Directory
Lincoln County Historical Association
Lincoln County Cultural Center
403 East Main Street
Lincolnton, NC 28092
Tel: 704-748-9098
Fax: 704-732-9057

Website: Lincoln County History

Why Join the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber?

"SEACORP Industry based in Lincolnton, has recently celebrated 25 years in business on August 1, 2023. As we reflect on the past 25 years, SEACORP would like to thank the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce for their ongoing support. The Chamber provides networking opportunities for business, connects our local community with local and State Representatives, and provides educational programs for both members and the public. The Chamber not only supports my company through these connections, but also stamps all of our “Certificates of Origin.” These certificates of origin documents are used for international transactions certifying the product’s country of origin.

Thank you again to the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce for their continued support of my business and for advocating on behalf of 500 members. The Chamber of Commerce improves the quality of life for our entire community. "

-Myra Heaver, Sea Express America Corporation dba SEACORP

"In my industry word-of-mouth and meeting new potential clients is key to growth. Joining the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Chamber has been a valuable investment. Having the opportunity to network regularly, learn from other more experienced business owners and accessibility to other business tools has been transformative. I encourage all business owners that are ready to increase their visibility and community knowledge to join."

-Ingrid Russell, Owner, Ingrid Russell Photography/videography/Content

"We joined the Chamber prior to our opening in 2021 and have been so happy we did. They worked with us to have a ribbon cutting to highlight our grand opening, along with hosting several events with us since we've joined. We've been able to appeal to many new customers with these events that we may not have reached otherwise! It is a great way to involve yourself in the local business community with unlimited networking opportunities. "

-Rachel Herman, Broker/Realtor, Keller Williams Realty