Watauga County administrative offices are located at 814 West King Street, Boone, NC 28607; phone: 828-265-8000.
The human history of the area of Watauga County starts with the "Native" Americans, probably several thousand years B.C. In later eras, the Cherokee, Catawba and perhaps Shawnee hunted, camped and had some agricultural villages here. The name Watauga is probably of Cherokee origin.
A few people of European descent were here by 1730. Later, would-be settlers had no easy access from the great wagon road of the Shenandoah Valley. As early as 1760, Daniel Boone was one of the early "long hunters," who came here from the Yadkin River in the Piedmont.
In many ways, he was the original "tourist," visiting regularly, staying for a while, and then passing on to what became the states of Tennessee and Kentucky. Watauga County was created in 1849, with most of its territory derived from the large County of Wilkes. The first U.S. census for the County was in 1850, which shows the population to be small in number and dedicated largely to subsistence agriculture. Most of the County's public records were destroyed by General George Stoneman's raid through the County near the end of the Civil War in 1865 and again with the burning of the courthouse in 1872.