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A Rich History
tobacco farm girl
tobacco barn
thomas day house

Caswell County, named for the first governor of NC, was established in 1777 and has always been primarily agricultural. Its prosperous history is evident in the stately 18th-century homes gracing its country roads, the Milton streetscape, and the stately Courthouse on Court Square in Yanceyville.

 

Today, its rolling landscapes and picturesque farms are a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Farming is still a favored profession in Caswell County. We have generational farms that have been passed down as well as a new generation of farmers that are helping to diversify from tobacco to crops of produce, cattle operations and free-range egg production.

OurArea

Milton

Incorporated in 1796 and designated as a historic district since 1973, Milton, North Carolina not only continues to preserve its history by being a ‘museum without walls’ and welcomes and embraces the businesses that encourage locals and tourists to enjoy all this small notable town has to offer. Our historic ‘commercial row’ is one of the best preserved main streets.

 

Yanceyville

Located geographically in the center of the county, the Town of Yanceyville is the largest city in the county with a population of just under 2000 citizens.
Yanceyville was named the county seat in 1792 and was named in honor of U.S. Congressman Bartlett Yancey, Jr.

 

The Town is the hub of the county where most of the small businesses are
located, nestled into a quaint downtown square that is part of a recognized
historical district. The highlight of the district is the historic courthouse built
between 1858 and 1861. Its architectural design make this one of the finest
Victorian courthouses in North Carolina. Preserving the deep-rooted
agriculture heritage is an important part of this community.

The Countryside

The majority of Caswell is a beautiful landscape of rolling terrain with fields and forests and dotted with small ponds. Although the two towns provide a place for county services, gathering and supplies, the communities across the county, each have their unique personalities and beauty. As you travel across the area you’ll likely see historical markers and small road signs identifying the relevance in history and communities you are visiting.

caswell_county farm field shed

Our Story

Caswell County, North Carolina, was established in 1777. Originally part of Orange County, Caswell County was carved out of the larger county in order to make government services more accessible. The petition for the partition was submitted in 1771 but it wasn't until after the Revolutionary War had begun that Caswell was officially created. It was named after Richard Caswell, the first governor of the State of North Carolina. John Graves was appointed Captain and James Saunders Colonel. Both families still have descendants living in Caswell County today. In 1792, neighboring Person County was eventually carved out of the original Caswell County partition. Leasburg was named the original county seat, but after the division into Person and Caswell, the county seat was relocated to what is now known as Yanceyville. The towns of Milton, Leasburg and Yanceyville would play significant importance in shaping the county's history over the next century.

caswell county tobacco field

The Early Years

Caswell County would continue to grow and prosper between the turn of the nineteenth century and the Civil War. From 1830 to the 1860s, Caswell enjoyed what is now called the Boom Era. During this antebellum period the county saw development of flour and lumber mills, mostly due to its access to water power. This included the Milton Cotton Factory, the Yarbrough Foundry, the Yanceyville Silk Company, and the free-slave furniture maker Thomas Day. However, the leading product for Caswell County was tobacco. The accidental discovery of Bright Leaf Tobacco in 1839 by Stephen, the slave of Abisha Slade, launched an explosion in demand for the new product and catapulted Caswell County into the richest counties in the state. This discovery also boosted North Carolina into a dominant position within the entire tobacco industry, earning it the nickname of the "Tobacco State" for many years. In fact, North Carolina and Kentucky accounted for nearly 75% of the tobacco produced in the U.S. in 2020.

The beginning of the Civil War in 1861 marked the beginning of the end of the Boom Era for Caswell County. Although, tobacco is still produced in Caswell County, farmers today have expanded their operations into a variety of crops as well as livestock such as cows, goats, and chickens. Some of our modern-day farms offer tours and educational opportunities for those who want to learn more about sustainable living and producing fresh food. A local Farmers Market featuring these offerings is open from April to September on Thursdays at the Town of Yanceyville Pavilion.

Inspiration for Artists

There's something about the peacefulness and down-home feeling of Caswell County that has attracted artists for years. Close to the opportunities offered in nearby cities like Raleigh and Greensboro but without the noise and traffic that accompanies them, several artists have chosen to call the tranquil fields of Caswell County home. Inspired by the beautiful antebellum architecture and the rustic Americana landscape, artists Benjamin Forrest Williams and Maud Gatewood made their home in Caswell. Benjamin and his wife Margaret purchased and restored the historic Claredon Hall in the late 1980s. Benjamin was a prolific artist and curator over his 70+ year career and his opinion was sought after by hopeful artists around the globe. Their former home is still a prominent structure in downtown Yanceyville being restored by its current occupant owners.

 

Maud Gatewood was born in Yanceyville in 1934 and became one of the most prestigious artists in North Carolina in the twentieth century. Her homeplace in downtown Yanceyville, Richmond-Miles Museum, is home to the Caswell County Historical Association where tours featuring the life of Maud, and the agricultural culture from which she gained inspiration, is on display.

Yanceyville Museum of Art

Yanceyville Museum of Art

Featuring the artwork of Maud Gatewood and other regional artists, the Yanceyville Museum of Art is a must-see stop for any visitor. Here you can see the inspiration from Caswell's landscape and rural farming way of life.

Caswell Arts Council - Lee Fowlkes Gallery


Works of other local and regional artists are on display at the Caswell Arts Council located at CoSquare, the shared co-working space, in downtown Yanceyville. See unique artwork and artisanal pieces while learning more about the art community in Caswell here.

Caswell Today

Farming is still a primary industry in Caswell and residents are both proud and thankful for their rural community.  "There is just something special about Caswell County," says resident Amanda Hodges. "There is something in the soil that grounds you and connects you to this area. It is something you just have to experience for yourself to understand."

arboretum plant

Come visit us in Caswell and experience this feeling for yourself. Enjoy taking a breath, feeling the soil run through your fingers. Experience the down-home feeling of being at peace and doing nothing but being present in the moment.

waterfall
Caswell County TDA

Mission
The Mission of the
Caswell County Tourism Development Authority (CCTDA) is to further the development of travel and tourism in the county through advertising and promotion.

Meetings

The Caswell County TDA meetings are generally held the 2nd Thursday at 10:00 am at CoSquare, 106 Court Square,  Yanceyville, NC 27379 and are open to the public.  Meeting announcement changes will be communicated through the Caswell County administrative clerk’s office.

Grants

Currently the CCTDA administers a portion of its mission via providing small grant funding to small businesses and organizations that are working to increase tourism in the county. An annual grant cycle is open until all funds are awarded.

caswell county historic gas station

Board

Authority Board members, appointed by the Caswell County Board of Commissioners in accordance with Senate Bill 442, act as voting members of the Board with full authority and responsibility to determine policies, procedures, and regulations for the operation of the Authority in accordance with the N.C. Guidelines for Occupancy Tax Uniform Provisions; monitor the Authority's financial health, programs, and overall performance; and provide staff with resources to meet the needs of the destination management marketing programs.


The Board of Directors: Imtiaz Ahmed (Term 2023-2026), The Executive Inn; Kamara Barnett (Term 2024-2027), Town of Yanceyville; Rebecca Page (Term 2022-2025), Airbnb Host; Mindy Stinner (Term 2022-2025), The Animal Park at the Conservators Center; and Angela Upchurch (2023-2026), Director Milton Renaissance Foundation. The finance office of Caswell County shall be the ex-officio finance officer of the Authority. 

Formation

The Caswell County Tourism Development Authority is a public authority governed by the terms of special legislation granted by the NC General Assembly as Senate Bill 442, an Act to Authorize Caswell County and the Town of Yanceyville to Levy a Room Occupancy Tax. Per the state statute, the resolution adopted by the Caswell County Commissioners requires one third of the members be individuals who are affiliated with businesses that collect the tax in the county and at least one half of the members shall be individuals who are currently active in the promotion of travel and tourism in the county.  The finance officer for Caswell County shall be the ex-officio finance officer of the Authority.


The current occupancy tax rate is set at three percent county-wide with an additional three percent in Yanceyville.

Local Links

Below are links to other local Caswell County websites.

Policies and Procedures

Below are policies and procedures approved by the CCTDA.

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