Burke county was formed in 1777 from Rowan county, and was named in honor of the celebrated orator and statesman, Edmund Burke, an Irishman by birth, and possessed of all the warm and impetuous order of his countrymen. He early employed his pen in literature, and his eloquence in politics. Having been introduced to the Marquis of Rockingham, he made him his secretary and procured his election to the House of Commons. He there eloquently pleaded the cause of the Americans. During his political career he wrote much, and his compositions rank among the purest of English classics. This true friend of America died on the 8th of July, 1797, in the seventieth year of his age.
At the commencement of the Revolutionary war the territory now lying on and near the eastern base of the “Blue Ridge,” or Alleghany chain of mountains, constituted the borders of civilization, and suffered frequently from marauding bands of Cherokee Indians, the great scourge of Western North Carolina. The whole country west of Tryon county (afterward Lincoln) was sparsely settled with the families of adventurous individuals, who, confronting all dangers, had carved out homes in the mountains and raised up hardy sons, deeply imbued with the spirit of liberty, prepared to go forth, at a moment’s warning, to fight the battles of their country.