The Lincoln County Courthouse is located at 1 Court Square, Lincolnton, NC 28092; phone: 704-742-7800.
The steady influx of pioneers to North Carolina's back country during the eighteenth century prompted the General Assembly to repeatedly divide and create counties as a way of establishing more effective government. In 1779 the General Assembly split Tryon County into Rutherford County and Lincoln County. When formed, Lincoln County held 1800 square miles.
During the late 18th century and 19th century until the 1840s, Lincoln County became one of North Carolina's largest, wealthiest, and most populous counties. It led the state in the value of many farm products, including wheat, orchard products, and dairy products, and was among the top producers of cotton and livestock statewide. In the late eighteenth century, forges and iron furnaces in Lincoln County were among many that were established in the western Piedmont, and by 1840 the county's ironworks lead the industry in North Carolina, producing large quantities of iron castings, bar iron, and wrought iron tools. Other manufacturing activities, such as sawmills, grist mills, tanneries, paper mills, and potteries, enlivened the economy. Of particular significance, around 1813 Michael Schenck established the first successful textile mill in the South. In 1816, it was destroyed by a flood, but three years later Schenck, James Bivins, and John Hoke erected a larger plant, the Lincoln Cotton Mills, on the South Fork of the Catawba River; it operated until the Civil War.