Granville County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Granville County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Granville County
Location in the state of North Carolina
Map of the U.S. highlighting North Carolina
Location of North Carolina in the U.S.
Founded June 28, 1746
County Seat Oxford
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  North Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Granville County

County Courthouse

The first court sessions for  Granville County were held in the home of William Eaton. In 1749, a court house and jail were built by contract, for £150 Virginia currency. The dimensions of the court house were 32 feet long, 20 feet wide, and 11 feet pitch, with two windows on each side, and one window in each end above stairs, with shutters, but without glass. The jail was 20 feet long and 10 feet wide. That remarkable good order prevailed in Granville at this early period, is naturally inferred from the scanty provision made by the court for the safe keeping of criminals.

The court house was located in what is now Warren county, seven miles above Gaston, on Rocky Creek, near Boiling Spring. Bute county was formed from Granville in 1764, which was, in 1779, divided into Warren and Franklin, and the name of Bute was obliterated from the list of counties in North Carolina. Granville being reduced in 1764 to its present dimensions, the place for holding its courts was removed some two miles above the town of Henderson, at the mouth of Mr. Brodie's lane, on the road leading to Oxford, where one or two terms of the court were held, when it was removed to Harrisburg, and after holding one court, it was removed to Oxford about 1769.


Granville County was formed in 1746 from Edgecombe County, in honor of the Earl of Granville, "the owner of the soil". As Edgecombe came out of Craven about 1733, Granville is therefore a grandson of Craven. When it was first established in 1746 Granville embraced for a period of five years, until 1751, all of present Warren, Franklin and Vance, most of Orange, including the present Person, Caswell, Orange, and Wake, Chatham, Durham, Alamance, a part of Guilford and perhaps all of Rockingham, a vast territory, of which one William Person was the first Sheriff. After 1751 Orange County and Granville dominated this wide Virginia line area until Wake and Chatham were formed around 1770, for the evident purpose of forestalling the restless and embryonic "regulator" element, who were becoming enraged over the aggravating fees and burden levied by the prosperous "office holders" of the two large domains. In 1764, Bute County was established out of the territory now embraced by Warren and Franklin Counties, and thus Granville's size was again appreciably reduced. From 1764 until 1851, a period of eighty-seven (87) years, Granville County included its present boundaries plus most of present Vance Co.  The first officers of the County were Wm. Person, 1st Sheriff; Robert Foster, Clerk; Robert Jones, Jr., King's Attorney; Wm. Eaton, William Person, James Payne, Edw'd Jones, Edw'd Martin, John Wade, Lemuel Lanier, Gideon Macon, John Brantly, West Harris, Lemuel Henderson, and Jonathan White, Justices of the Peace. According to the earliest records of North Carolina, the area that became Granville was first settled around 1715, at which time most of the Native American Indians migrated to other locations leaving it ripe for new settlements. Among the first settlements in Granville were those along the northern border on Nutbush and Grassy Creek, and on Tar River.

Parent County

1746--Granville County was established 28 June 1746 from Edgecombe County.
County seat: Oxford [1]

Boundary Changes

Granville County has gone through many boundary changes over the years since it was originally an extremely large area that engulfed much of the northern  Piedmont section of the territory along the Virginia border.  As stated above, most of the counties in the area were once a part of Granville, first when Orange was formed from parts of Granville, Bladen & Johnston in 1752, and then in 1764 when Bute County was formed.  Both Orange and Bute Counties spawned new counties of their own over the succeeding years, and current day Granville only covers a small portion of its once vast holdings. 

Then in 1786, there was another slight variation in County lines. While Bute County had been retired in 1779 when it was divided to form Franklin County from its sourthern half and Warren from the northern half, there was a further change a few years later.   According to "Formation of the NC Counties 1663-1943", by David Leroy Corbitt, part of  Granville was annexed to Warren in 1786 "Beginning at the point where the line of division between Warren and Granville counties shall touch the line of division between this State and the State of Virginia, and running thence west along the said line to Nutbush creek; thence up said creek it meanders to the mouth of Anderson's swamp, thence to Stark's mill, thence by a line to be run due south until it shall touch the aforesaid line of division between Warren and Granville, be, and the same is hereby annexed to and shall remain a part of the county of Warren..."

This same area later became a part of Vance County in 1881 when that county was formed mostly from Granville and parts of Warren County.

Record Loss

Many early Marriage Bonds missing.


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties






Local Histories






Vital Records

Societies and Libraries 

Web Sites


  1. The Handybook for Genealogists: United States of America,10th ed. (Draper, UT:Everton Publishers, 2002).