Clay County, North Carolina

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Clay County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 8,775. Its county seat is Hayesville[1].



The county was formed in 1861 from the southeastern part of Cherokee County. John Covington Moore was the first white settler in the region. It was named for Henry Clay, famous American statesman, member of the United States Senate from Kentucky and United States Secretary of State in the 19th century.

Law and government

Clay County is a member of the regional Southwestern Commission council of governments.


Clay County is the smallest county in area in North Carolina. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 221 square miles (572.4 km2), of which 215 square miles (556.8 km2) is land and 6 square miles (15.5 km2) (2.67%) is water.

Clay County is bordered to the south by the state of Georgia and the Chattahoochee National Forest. The Nantahala River forms part of its northeastern border. The county is drained by the Hiwassee River. In the southern part of Clay County is Chatuge Lake, on the North Carolina–Georgia border. Much of Clay County exists within the Nantahala National Forest. Fires Creek Bear Reserve is north of the township of Tusquittee


The county is divided into six townships: Brasstown, Hayesville, Hiawassee, Shooting Creek, Sweetwater, and Tusquittee.

Adjacent counties

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