Lenoir County administrative offices are located at 130 South Queen Street, Kinston, NC 28502; phone: 252-559-6450.
Settlement began in the Kinston area at the end of the third decade of the 18th century, at which time it was a part of Craven County. The first land grant near the present-day City was made in 1729 to Robert Atkins for a tract of two square miles on the Neuse River. As other settlers took up grants in this area and further west, the population grew large enough to warrant the creation of a new county, Johnston, which was carved out of Craven in 1756. The new county's seat was at Walnut Creek between the present-day Kinston and Goldsboro.
As the region's population continued to grow, residents agitated for the division of the large Johnston County because of the great distances many of them had to travel to attend court sessions and other public meetings. The General Assembly voted in 1758 to split Dobbs County off from Johnston, with Walnut Creek to continue as the seat of the new county. Walnut Creek remained the official seat of Dobbs County for the next 20 years.
Again in 1779, new counties were created out of old, as the county was divided to create Wayne County in the western half, with the eastern section remaining as Dobbs. With this division, Kingston established as the county seat of Dobbs county.
In 1784, after the colonies had won their independence from England, the "g" in Kingston was dropped and the town re-named Kinston. Seven years thereafter, in 1791, Dobbs county was abolished and two new counties created from it—Glasgow (later changed to Greene) in the north and Lenoir in the south, with Kinston as the seat of the latter. Kinston's new county was named for Revolutionary War hero and statewide political leader William Lenoir of western North Carolina.