Gaston County is the second largest county by population in North Carolina. It was founded on December 21st, 1846. The original county seat of Gaston County from 1846 until 1911 was Dallas. The current county seat is Gastonia. Gaston County covers an area of 364.5 square mile.
Gaston County got its name from William Gaston who was a United States Congressman and justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
Records show that the earliest European settlers in Gaston County were Scots, Irish, Pennsylvanian Dutch and English. The German pioneers began settling in the area in the mid 18th century, and by the late 19th century, the Germans all but disappeared from the area. The Dutch settlers built Fort at the Point because of the dispute between the settlers and the Native Americans, even though the fort was never attacked.
Early farms had to be small in size, no more than 400 acres each because of the policy restricting land grants and were cultivated mostly by white yeoman farmers. Captain Samuel Corbin was the commander of a local militia company and had one of the first grants allowed in the area on September 29th, 1750
In 1845 until 1848, Gaston County was bountiful with an industrial boom. It was during these three years that the first three cotton mills in the county were established. There are some disputes over where the first mill was established in the county. It depends upon whom you talk with as to the answer you will get. What is not in dispute is that Gaston County still leads the industry in the number of spindles in operation and in the number of bales of cotton consumed.