Kinston City Hall is located at 207 East King Street, Kinston, NC 28501; phone: 252-939-3110.
Settlement began in the Kinston area at the end of the 1730s, at which time it was a part of Craven County.
In 1784, after the colonies had won their independence from England, the "g" in Kingston was dropped and the town renamed Kinston. Seven years thereafter, in 1791, Dobbs county was abolished and two new counties created from it—Glasgow (later changed to Greene) in the north and Lenoir in the south, with Kinston as the seat of the latter.
By 1850, Kinston's population had grown to 455 largely because of its status as a county seat and its situation on the Neuse River where it served as a trade center for the surrounding area whose economy was based on agriculture. As could be expected, the community boasted two hotels or boarding houses, and its population included several merchants, farmers, lawyers, physicians, carpenters, harness-makers, a mason, a bookkeeper, a watchmaker, a barkeeper, and a number of county officials.
The town had been incorporated in 1826, but the commissioners appointed by the General Assembly failed to qualify for office, a further symptom of the lethargy of the times. But when the town was reincorporated in 1849, individuals were available who were ready to lead Kinston into a new era of prosperity. The appointed Board of Aldermen consisted of John F. Wooten, a lawyer and native of Virginia; Pinckney Hardee, who was the first county equivalent of superintendent of schools; John H. Peebles, a merchant; James W. Cox, a farmer; and W. C. Loftin, a merchant who also operated one of the two hotels. In the first election of town officials (January 1850), the following officers were chosen: Moses Patterson, Mayor; Dr. John Woodley, town clerk; Richard W. King, town treasurer; and James B. Weeks, town sergeant. At this time, portions of the 50 acres which had originally been set off for a town common were divided into lots for sale.