Onslow County was formed in 1734 from New Hanover County and was named
for Sir Arthur Onslow, speaker of the House of Commons in the British
Parliament. Records in the Register of Deeds office at the Onslow
County Courthouse date back to 1713. Onslow County
is the ninth largest North Carolina county by population. Jacksonville,
the county seat, is located at the fourth historical site of the Onslow
County Courthouse. From a farming community in
1940, Jacksonville has become one of the largest regional shopping
centers in Eastern North Carolina.
Location: Onslow County is located in
Southeastern North Carolina. The terrain is flat, gently rolling and
sloping, from an altitude of 63 ft. at Richlands to sea level. It is
one of the few counties facing directly on the ocean; however, the
beaches are now separated from the mainland by the Intra-Coastal
Waterway. Through the heart of the county twists the beautiful New
River, the only large river in North Carolina to have both its
headwaters and mouth in the same county. New River is 40 miles long and
from 2 to 5 miles wide, most of its length below Jacksonville. The
White Oak River is the northeastern county border to the Atlantic
Ocean, where Swansboro is located.
Area: Onslow County is eleventh in size among
the 100 counties in North Carolina. It is 756 square miles and
Jacksonville is 39.98 square miles. Its elevation is 23 feet above mean
sea level. Onslow County has a population of 154,000. The city of
Jacksonville has a population of 75,094.
Camp Lejeune: Jacksonville is home of Camp
Lejeune Marine Corps Base, "Home of Expeditionary Forces in Readiness."
Camp Lejeune is the permanent home of the Second Marine Division and
Force Service Support Group, Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic. Established
in 1941, the United States Marine Corps reservation occupies 170 square
miles, and supports approximately 123,500 Marines and sailors.
Climate: The climate of Onslow County is mild
to moderate. The average length of the freeze-free growing season in
Jacksonville is 230 days. The last freeze is about March 20th, and the
earliest freeze is around November 15th. Temperatures do not go below
20 degrees more than once or twice a year. The annual average rainfall
is 54 inches, and although a few flakes of snow are seen nearly every
winter, measurable amounts occur very rarely. The little snow that does
fall usually melts within a short time. The average annual temperature
is 63 degrees, with the coldest month being January and the hottest
month being July.
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