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Granville County

Granville County, NC



FORMED: 1746
FORMED FROM: Edgecombe

LAND AREA: 531.57 square miles

White: 64.5%
Black/African American: 31.9% 
American Indian: 0.9%
Asian: 0.7%    
Pacific Islander: 0.1%
Two or more races: 1.9%
Hispanic/Latino: 8.5% (of any race)

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


Granville County

Piedmont region


REGION: Piedmont
RIVER BASIN: Neuse, Roanoke, Tar-Pamlico, Map
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES: Durham, Franklin, Person, Vance, Wake

Granville County, NC

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

by Allyson C. Criner, 2006

Granville County, located in the Piedmont region of north central North Carolina and partially bordered by the state of Virginia, was formed in 1746 from Edgecombe County. It was named for John Lord Carteret, second Earl Granville, who was granted the land of the Granville District by King George II. The county reached its present dimensions after being divided in 1752, 1764, and 1881 to form parts of Orange, Bute (no longer extant), and Vance Counties, respectively. Oxford is the county seat, having succeeded Granville Court House in that capacity in 1811. Other communities in Granville County include Butner, Creedmoor, Stem, and Stovall.

Tuscarora and Saponi Indians dominated the many tribes that once inhabited Granville County. Settlers, mostly from Virginia, began to occupy the area after the Tuscarora War of 1711-13. Agriculture, particularly the production of tobacco using slave labor, drove the early economy of Granville County, which, during slavery's peak in the mid-nineteenth century, was one of a handful of North Carolina counties with as many as 10,000 slaves. The county also had a sizable community of free blacks, including dozens of craftsmen such as the masons who helped build the homes of some of the county's more affluent families. The development in the 1850s of bright leaf tobacco, which could be cultivated in the sandy soil of the Piedmont, kept tobacco production strong in the county following the elimination of a slave-based plantation economy.

Granville County is still one of the largest tobacco-producing areas in the state, but with the introduction of manufacturing industries, the county's economy is no longer primarily agricultural. Manufactured products include apparel, tires, telecommunications equipment, cosmetics, and china. Camp Butner, a major World War II military installation, was converted for other uses, including a federal prison and state mental hospital. In 2004 the population of Granville County was estimated to be 53,000.

Annotated history of Granville 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:


Lewis Bowling, Granville County Revisited (2003).

Additional resources:

Corbitt, David Leroy. 2000. The formation of the North Carolina counties, 1663-1943 (accessed June 20, 2017).

Granville County Government:

Granville County Chamber of Commerce:

DigitalNC, Granville County:

North Carolina Digital Collections (explore by place, time period, format):

Image credits:

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

Origin - location: 


Would like to know more about the Wheeler family. Vineyard Nicholas Wheeler. In Granville co

Can you provide any information about either the Ray or Rudd families who lived in the Grassy Creek / Beaver Dam / Little River areas from the mid to late 1700's? Thanks.

I would like to know a little history of Dutchville. Why it was called the Dutch District? Any early records of the Waller family

Thank you so very much for your question! Getting started with genealogy can seem really challenging but we have resources to help you get started with your quest to find the Waller family! 

Here is a link to our getting started page:

Here are a few additional resources:

Roots Mooc:

Please feel free to contact us at if you have questions about getting started or would like a one on one consultation through our Book a Librarian service:

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library

Hey Francesca,

I have a Francesca2424 on Ancestry that comes up as my second cousin. I do have a question about the old Colored Orphanage Asylum. My grandfather and his twin sisters were orphans there. Are records available for it?

Can you tell me when you show the first records of Pettiford's in the Granville County area? I know that we are descendants of 3 brothers. The earliest records I believe 1737, give or take a few years. I know that when those brothers were freed by their Slave Owners, they left and went to various areas in the south. I know that my Grandfather grew up in Granville county, but I am interested in knowing when did we make our way there.

Dear Kimberly,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia. I will send you an email with more information.

Francesca Evans, Government & Heritage Library

Hello I am trying to track down the parents of Jesse Barnett Jr who was born anywhere from 1775-1783 in Granville, North Carolina and died in Hardin, Tenessee in 6 DEC 1851. He was married to Frances Gregory. Thank you very much!

I have traced my grandmother to this area. Her name is Rosa Della Richardson 11/25/1878 -10/28/1931. I am interested in the genealogy of the Richardson families in Granville County at the time.

I would like to know if F S Royster had a slave named James William Royster sometime in the 1700 or 1800's?

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