1. Origin
  2. Growth of Marion
  3. Fire of 1894
  4. Industrial Revolution
  5. Marion Today

Finding a Location

The City of Marion, serving as the County Seat of McDowell County, was planned and built on land selected by the first County Commissioners, "after much bitterness and in‐fighting among a number of local citizens". The community was divided, many citizens wanting the County Seat to be built near the Carson House at Buck Creek several miles from its present location. Prior to creating the city boundaries, court was held at the Carson's home. Sam Carson himself did not want the town built close to his home fearing it would disrupt plantation life. To settle the matter, Mr. Carson and his family donated 50 acres for the County Seat, and the commissioners acquired an additional thirteen acres at a cost of $65 dollars. The land acquisition settled the debate, and Marion was established in a centralized location at a crossroads of the county on March 14, 1844.

Naming the City

Though referred to as Marion, it was not until 1845 that the official name City of Marion was sanctioned as the County Seat by the North Carolina State Legislature. The city was named in honor of Brigadier General Francis Marion, the American Revolutionary War Hero, who is well known for his service with the Continental Army and the South Carolina militia, where his talent in guerilla warfare earned him the name "Swamp Fox".

Establishing the City of Marion

In 1843, a committee of founding fathers whose last names are still recognized today, including Thomas Baker, Samuel W Davidson, A.D. Whitesides, David Corpening, and J.J. Erwin, were charged with selecting a site for the new town. Benjamin Burgin and David Chandler surveyed the 63 acres of acquired land and laid out the town's original jurisdictional boundaries. George S Walton, John Dobson, Andrew Hemphill, and Jesse Burgin were on the committee charged with the task of platting the new town, and for selling lots to the highest bidders.

The town was divided into 90 lots, which were sold based on size and location. According to early records, the corner lot directly across from the courthouse sold for a premium at $601, while the corner lot diagonally across the street sold for half that amount. The first town residents to officially call Marion home were Alfred M. Finley and Samuel J. Neal.