Dobbs County was formed in 1758 from Johnston County, though the legislative act that created it did not become effective until 10 April 1759. It was named for Arthur Dobbs, Governor of North Carolina from 1754 to 1765.

     In 1779 the western part of Dobbs County became Wayne County, and the county seat was moved from its original location on Walnut Creek to the town of Kingston, which was renamed Kinston in 1784. In 1791 Dobbs County was divided into Greene County and Lenoir County, and ceased to exist.