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Union County

Union County seal



FORMED: 1842
FORMED FROM: Anson, Mecklenburg

LAND AREA: 631.52 square miles

White: 81.1%
Black/African American: 12.5%    
American Indian: 0.6%        
Asian: 3.6%    
Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Two or more races: 2.0%
Hispanic/Latino: 11.5% (of any race)

From State & County QuickFacts, US Census Bureau, 2020.


Union County

Piedmont region


REGION: Piedmont
RIVER BASIN: Catawba, Yadkin-Pee Dee, Map
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES: Anson, Cabarrus, Mecklenburg, Stanly

Union County, NC

See also: North Carolina Counties (to access links to NCpedia articles for all 100 counties)

by William S. Powell, 2006

Union County, located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, was formed in 1842 from Mecklenburg and Anson Counties. Democrats wanted to name it for one of their leaders (Andrew Jackson) and Whigs for one of theirs (Henry Clay), so "Union" was chosen as a compromise. It is situated along the South Carolina border. Early inhabitants of the area included the Waxhaw and Catawba Indians; German, Scotch-Irish, English, and Welsh settlers followed. Monroe, the county seat, was incorporated in 1844 and named for President James Monroe. Other communities in the county include Weddington, Indian Trail, Stallings, Wingate, Marvin, Lake Park, New Salem, and Fairview. Union County's notable physical features include the Rocky River, Lake Twiddy, Lee Branch, and Richardson and Beaverdam Creeks.

President Andrew Jackson was born in the Waxhaws area on the border of North Carolina and South Carolina, and both states claim to be his authentic birthplace. Union County maintains the Museum of the Waxhaws and Andrew Jackson Memorial to honor Jackson. Wingate University was established in Wingate (near Monroe) in 1896. Union County landmarks and historic sites include the Old Union Courthouse, built in 1886; the Confederate Memorial, erected in 1910; and the North Corner Boundary Stone, dated to 1818. Cultural institutions include the Union County Heritage Room; the Jesse Helms Center, an educational institution promoting free enterprise and other values championed by the Monroe native and longtime U.S. senator; the Rainbow Theatre; and the Waxhaw Historical Festival and Drama Association. The county hosts popular festivals and annual events such as the Waxhaw Scottish Fair and Games, the Blooming Arts Festival in Monroe, the Marshville Boll Weevil Festival, and the Weddington Fall Festival.

Part of the fast-growing Charlotte metropolitan area, Union County experienced rapid growth in the late twentieth century. By 2004 it had an estimated population of 151,800. Despite increased urbanization, agriculture remains vital to parts of Union County. Its agricultural goods include soybeans, grains, cotton, eggs, dairy products, poultry, and hogs. Manufactured products include industrial pumps, furniture, textile machinery, and plastic containers.

Annotated history of Union County's formation:

For an annotated history of the county's formation, with the laws affecting the county, boundary lines and changes, and other origin information, visit these references in The Formation of the North Carolina Counties (Corbitt, 2000), available online at North Carolina Digital Collections (note, there may be additional items of interest for the county not listed here):

County formation history:

Index entry for the county:


Kendrick, Virginia A. S., ed. The Heritage of Union County, North Carolina. Monroe: Carolinas Genealogical Society, 1993.

Additional resources:

Corbitt, David Leroy. The Formation of the North Carolina Counties, 1663-1943. Raleigh: Division of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, 1987. (accessed June 20, 2017).

Union County Government. (accessed February 15, 2019).

Union County Chamber of Commerce. "Welcome tot he Union County Chamber." (accessed February 15, 2019).

DigitalNC. "Union County." North Carolina Digital Heritage Center. (accessed February 15, 2019).

North Carolina Digital Collections. "Explore by ... [place, time period, format]." North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. (accessed February 15, 2019).

Image credits:

Rudersdorf, Amy. "NC County Maps." Raleigh: Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina, 2010.

Origin - location: 


Forgot the town of Unionville and the northern part of Union county towns of New Salem Fairview Unionville Wingate and Marshville being a part of the foothills of the Uwharrie Mountain range Rocky River areas to the Pee Dee basin

What is the industry history of Union County? Which industries have been along since the beginning?

Good afternoon,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your question.  And I apologize for the delay replying to your post.

Are you still looking for this information?  If so, please reply and I will be very glad to help you. 

Union County is considered part of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg County area.  As the area developed economically, Charlotte and surrounding areas, along with Gaston County, became a textile industry hub, as one of the leading industries in the area. 

Here are some NCpedia articles that you might find relevant for this:

Search results for textiles:

Search results for Industry:

Manufacturing, multi-part article:

Search results for mills:

You may also want to contact the Union County public library.  Librarians will also be able to help you with information about the county’s history.

I hope some of this helps.  Please let me know if you need additional help or have more questions and we can try to locate more information.

Best wishes,
Kelly Agan

Can a county change it's logo and discontinue using the official deal at will - county commissioners or county managers office or are there general statutes that have to be changed?

What is the county nickname?

Dear Gggf,

Thank you for your interesting question.

Unfortunately, I'm not able to find a nickname for Union County. It may well be that they do not have one. I also looked to see if the county seat, Monroe, had a nickname. I did not discover one; however, it does have a motto: "a heritage of progress." It was named for the fifth president, James Monroe. Union County's largest town -- Indian Trail -- has the motto "Crossing paths." 

Thank you.

Mike Millner, NC Government and Heritage Library

helpful recomended

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