The area was chosen as the county seat with the founding of Yadkin County in 1850. It was first known as Wilson, in honor of Louis D. Wilson, a legislator who died in the Mexican War. However, the name was changed to Yadkinville in 1852 after it was discovered that another area, Wilson, North Carolina, already had the name. At the time the county seat was established, there was only one house in town.
Yadkinville was incorporated in 1857. The first courthouse, a two-story brick building, was built in 1853 by William White of Hamptonville, North Carolina. The bricks were handmade on a farm north of town. The courthouse was torn down in 1958 and a new building was constructed.
The median income for a household in the town was $31,250, and the median income for a family was $45,000. Males had a median income of $25,172 versus $25,273 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,792. About 10.6% of families and 14.4% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.1% of those under age 18 and 13.9% of those age 65 or over.