Surry County was named for Lord
Surrey, prominent member of Parliament who
protested the burdensome taxes placed on the
colonies. The county was formed from Rowan
County in 1770 (approved by legislation in
1771). Rowan was formed from Anson in 1753
and Anson was formed from Bladen in 1750.
Surry's first county seat was Richmond, now Old
Town, in present-day Forsyth County. The
land for this seat of justice was donated by
Martin Armstrong and William Sheppard.
In 1779 Wilkes County was formed from Surry.
Ten years later, Stokes County was formed from
Surry's eastern border. In 1790 it was
deemed necessary to have the seat of justice in
the center of the county, and Rockford was
chosen. The name Rockford came from the
White Rock Ford on the Yadkin River. The
land for this county seat was deeded by Thomas and
By 1850 the populace again asked for a county
division. This time Yadkin County was formed
from that part of Surry south of the Yadkin
River. This required a new seat of justice
for Surry. Frances and Charles Shober, heirs
of Gottlieb Shober of Salem, donated sixty acres
in the center of the county. The new county
seat was named Dobson for William Polk Dobson, one
of Surry's most prominent citizens.
Surry County is bounded on the north by Carroll
County in the Commonwealth of Virginia, on the
east by Stokes County, on the west by Wilkes and
Alleghany Counties, and on the south by Yadkin
County. It is 538 square miles in area and
has 342,300 acres of land.
According to Fred Patterson, Surry County Soil
Conservationist (1983), the county has two well
defined physiographic areas within its borders --
the Piedmont and the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The Piedmont area is the largest, covering about
85 percent of the county. This plateau is a
broad, long plateau sloping to the southeast.
Elevation averages more than 1,000 feet above sea
level. Elevation of several towns are Mount
Airy 1,048 feet; Dobson 1,265; and Elkin 873
feet. The lowest elevation is 800 feet, in
the southeast corner where the Yadkin River leaves
The highest elevation is located in the Blue Ridge
Mountains in the Northwestern section of the
county. There Fisher's Peak is 3,609 feet
above sea level.
Source: The Heritage of Surry County, North
Volume I - 1983 [Editor's Foreword]
County, NC -
A General Directory, 1913-1914
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