“The history of a State, or a county,” writes author J. B. Alexander, “is almost entirely the history of the people who constitute the inhabitants.” Indeed, Alexander devotes a substantial portion of his History of Mecklenburg County from 1740 to 1900 to biographical sketches of former citizens of the county, often giving such information as date and place of birth, parents’ names, date of arrival in Mecklenburg County, education, profession, military service, and names of spouse and children. Many of these Mecklenburg residents descended from the Scotch-Irish immigrants who populated the early settlements of the county, which was formed in 1762 and originally encompassed a large area that included what is now Union, Cabarrus, Gaston, Lincoln, Cleveland, and Rutherford counties, as well as the upper portions of present-day South Carolina. Later waves of immigration brought settlers from Maryland, Pennsylvania, Germany, and Ireland to the area.
Surnames included in this History are Alexander, Ardrey, Avery, Balch, Barringer, Beard, Brem, Brevard, Brown, Bryce, Caldwell, Campbell, Craighead, Cummings, Davidson, Davis, Downs, Dulin, Dunlap, Dunn, Elms, Erwin, Flennikin, Foard, Garrison, Gibbon, Graham, Grier, Happoldt, Harris, Harty, Henderson, Hill, Hunter, Irwin, Jack, Jetton, Johnston, Kennon, Lafferty, Lowrie, McCaulay, McClure, McCombs, Maxwell, Miller, Morris, Morrison, Neal, Oates, Orr, Osborne, Pharr, Phifer, Polk, Pritchard, Queary, Reese, Robinson, Shipp, Spratt, Strong, Todd, Torrance, Vance, Walker, Wallace, Wallis, Waring, Watson, Wilson, Yates, and many others. Also of genealogical interest are rosters of the five Mecklenburg companies that participated in the War of 1812-1814 and the twenty-one companies that fought in the Civil War.