According to the State Library of North Carolina, Albemarle was the state's original county first formed in 1664 before ceasing to exist in 1689. From its ashes new counties would spring forth.

Archivist Alison Thurman with the state Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says this came as the population grew and settled across North Carolina and residents had to travel further to their county seats.

"That's really how those counties keep getting divided out of each other," Thurman says, "It's just the normal progression of the population needing a closer courthouse."

She says Hoke and Avery were the final two counties established in 1911, reaching the state's magical number of 100. But it remains unclear why no more were added at the time.

"We do know that they had petitions to form other counties during that same time period that did not get approved," Thurman says. "But again, not a lot of reasoning in the surviving records as to why."

She says there is no limitation to how many counties there can be and, over the course of the state's history, North Carolina at one time had more than 100. According to the state library, some went defunct, were renamed and three became a part of Tennessee.

Thurman says in 1933 the General Assembly decided that counties could be consolidated if voters approved, but that's never occurred.

"We don't really have any document that we can point to where they said so far that we've located, that they said that they were finished creating counties," she says. "And so again, we call it the magical figure of 100."

While a new county hasn't been established since 1911, their shapes continue to be refined slightly. In February, Forsyth and Guilford officials asked the state to mark and clarify the boundary between the two.

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