In 1841, parts of Burke and Wilkes counties were combined to form Caldwell County.
In 1842 additional parts of Burke and Rutherford counties were combined to form Mc Dowell County.
In the county, the population was spread out with 24.00% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 24.00% from 45 to 64, and 13.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median income for a household in the county was ,629, and the median income for a family was ,114.
Males had a median income of ,591 versus ,993 for females. About 8.00% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.60% of those under age 18 and 12.50% of those age 65 or over.
The largest Mound Builder settlement was at Joara, a 12-acre (49,000 m In 1567, a Spanish expedition arrived and built Fort San Juan, claiming the area for the colony of Spanish Florida.
They had been sent by the governor at Santa Elena (Parris Island) in South Carolina.
It was named for Thomas Burke, then serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress (1777 to 1781).
The population density was 176 people per square mile (68/km²).
Present-day Morganton later developed at this site. The following year the Indians killed nearly all the Spanish garrisoned at this and five other interior forts, and burned Fort San Juan.
It was two centuries before Europeans tried to settle again this far west in the colony.
The western Piedmont was settled by many Scots-Irish and German immigrants in the mid-to-late 18th century.
They were generally yeoman farmers and fiercely independent. Census found 9237 persons living in Burke County, which included 2471 slaves and 276 free persons of color.