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Rockingham County, also called the North Star County, is bordered on the east by Caswell County, on the west by Stokes County, on the south by Guilford County — and on the north by two counties in Virginia: Henry County to the northwest and Pittsylvania County to the northeast. Rockingham County’s area was part of Guilford County from 1771 to 1785. It was named after Charles Watson-Wentworth, who was the Second Marquis of Rockingham.
Rockingham County was established by a vote of the North Carolina General Assembly on December 29, 1785, from the northern half of what was Guilford County at the time — and what was the northern third of Original Guilford County, which gave up its southern third to create Randolph County in 1779. Early settlements arose in the Troublesome Creek valley. Nathanael Greene and his soldiers stayed in this area before and after the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. George Washington also visited this site in an effort to rally these troops as they continued their fight in the Revolutionary War. Interestingly enough, Banastre Tarleton, who was known for his unnecessary cruelty during the war, and his soldiers camped out in the very same location days after Greene’s army had moved on.
Leaksville and Wentworth are the two earliest towns in Rockingham County. Leaksville was established in 1795 and Wentworth, the county seat, was established in 1799. Other towns include: Eden, Madison, Mayodan, Reidsville, and Stoneville. Other communities are: Huntsville, Shiloh, Bethany, Ruffin, and Monroeton. Waterways served as an important means of transportation throughout the county’s industrial period. As a result, many textile mills were located near rivers, including both the Dan and Haw Rivers.
Once the Civil War approached, this county was initially very divided on whether or not to support the Union or the Confederates. Finally, a decision was made to secede on May 20, 1861. Rockingham County sent a total of 1,711 soldiers to the frontline and compensated each soldier and their family with $25,000. A portion of these soldiers participated in the battle of Gettysburg.
(Information is from Rockingham County: A Brief History by Lindley S. Butler, copyrighted.)