Surry was formed in 1771 from Rowan. The act became effective April 1, 1771. It was named in honor of the county of Surrey in England, birthplace of then Governor William Tryon. It is in the north central section of the State and is bounded by the state of Virginia and Stokes, Yadkin, Wilkes and Alleghany counties. The present land area is 536.52 square miles and the 2000 population was 71,219. The act erecting the county provided for the court to be held "constantly" at Gideon Wright's until the courthouse could be constructed. Commissioners were named to select the place and have the courthouse, prison and stocks erected. By 1774 some of the commissioners were named to finish the building. In 1779 the courthouse was established at Richmond on land of Colonel Martin Armstrong and William Sheppard. In 1789 Surry was divided and Stokes was formed from it. When this was done the old courthouse was inconvenient for either county. Therefore, the act dividing the county specified that the court was to be held at the home of Richard Horn until a courthouse, prison and stocks could be erected at a central place. Another act passed that year directed the old courthouse to be sold and the money be equally divided between Surry and Stokes. the proceeds to be used on their respective courthouses. In 1790 Rickford was established on fifty-three acres of land deeded by Thomas and Moses Ayres for that purpose. Commissioners were named to erect public buildings. In 1851, when Yadkin was formed from Surry, the act named and directed commissioners to locate the center of the county and fix the county seat. It also named commissioners to acquire fifty acres of land by purchase of donation and erect the courthouse. The law also stipulated that the town was to be named Dobson. Dobson is the county seat.