Warren County, North Carolina Genealogy

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Warren County, North Carolina
Map of North Carolina highlighting Warren 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 1779
County Seat Warrenton
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United States  Gotoarrow.png  North Carolina  Gotoarrow.png  Warren County

County Courthouse


Warren and Franklin Counties were formed in 1779 from Bute County which had been established in 1764. For several years the inhabitants of Bute had longed for a division of the county because of the hardships to fulfill civil duties from the remote parts of the very large county. On 26 April 1777 Mr. Benjamin Seawell introduced a petition in the North Carolina General Assembly from the several inhabitants of Bute for a division of the County. For some reason the division was not made. Two years later, in 1779, Mr. Edward Jones introduced another petition 'for the division. A bill was slated and enacted into law on 20 January 1779:

.... That from and after the passing of this Act the County of Buts shall be divided into two distinct Counties by a direct line from the Granville line to Halifax or Nash County line as the case may be, leaving in each part or division an equal quantity of Acres as near as can be ascertained ... and all that part or division which lies North of said line and adjacent to Virginia shall be a distinct County by the name of Warren, and all that part or division that lies South of said line shall be a distinct County by the name of Franklin;.. (SRNC, XXIV, 227)

On 29 January 1779 the General Assembly meeting at Halifax appointed the Commissioners for dividing Bute County. Julius Nichols, John Faulcon, William Duke, John Norwood, and Matthew Thomas were to be responsible for measuring the bounds of Bute County, running the dividing line, and choosing sites near the center of each county whore courthouses and public buildings were to be built. Later in 1779 two other acts of Assembly established Warrenton and Louisburg as County Seats of Warren and Franklin Counties respectively,

In 1786 Warren County annexed more territory, a part of Granville County:

.... 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 as it meanders to the mouth of Anderson's Swamp, thence up the said swamp to the fork, thence up the south fork of the said swamp 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 .... (SRNC, XXIV, 866)

Warren County remains today the same except for a western part which was cut off to form a part of Vance County when it was formed in 1881.

Bute Co. was formed from Granville Co. in 1764 and abolished in 1779 when it was divided into Warren Co. and Franklin Co. The courthouse of Bute Co. was located at a place called "Buffalo Rice Path" on land owned by Jethro Sumner about 6 miles southeast of present Warrenton, North Carolina. Most of the records of Bute County are still located in Warren Co. though some may be found in Franklin Co.

Parent County

1779--Warren County was created from Bute County.  Bute County was abolished in 1779.
County seat: Warrenton [1]

Boundary Changes

Record Loss

Some records are missing, reason unknown.

County Court Records from abt 1814 -1823 are missing.  There is a loss of records for around the 1935 time period.


Populated Places

Neighboring Counties





Warren County Courthouse
109 S. Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589

(252) 257-3261


Local Histories





Warren County has copies of wills and estate records available from the Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court. Please be specific about what you want when you contact the office.

Warren County Courthouse
109 S. Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Clerk of Superior Court

It is generally more cost effective to order copies of records directly from the County, however, most originals of the early records have been sent to the State Archives and what remains in the County offices are hand-copied translations of those originals, so you may want to keep that in mind.

Records can be ordered from the North Carolina State Archives by contacting them giving them specific information on what you are looking for.  Click onto this page for a detailed guide on Contacting the NC State Archives.

Most original wills, inventories, settlements and other materials associated with estate records have been sent to the State Archives. The Archives has the following  available on microfilm:

  • Records of Wills, Accounts, Inventories & Settlements, 1764-1863 (16 reels)
  • Record of Wills, 1863-1964 (3 reels)
  • Index to Wills, 1763-1963 (1 reel)
  • Record of Accounts, 1868-1964 (5 reels)
  • Record of Administrators and Guardians, 1905-1906 (1 reel)
  • Record of Administrators, 1912-1964; Cross Index to Administrators, 1866-1965 (3 reels)
  • Record of Executors, 1919-1964; Cross Index to Administrators & Executors, 1927-1936 (1 reel)
  • Record of Guardians, 1926-1964; Cross Index to Guardians, 1926-1936 (1 reel)
  • Division of Estates, 1820-1821 (1 reel)
  • Inheritance Tax Records, 1923-1964 (1 reel)
  • Record of Settlements, 1878-1964 (3 reels)

The North Carolina State Archives will give you pricing information when you contact them for ordering microfilm. 

North Carolina State Archives
4614 Mail Service Center
Raleigh, N.C. 27699-4614

Physical address:
109 E. Jones St.
Raleigh, N.C. 27601

(919) 807-7310

The early Warren County Court records have been transcribed and published and are available for purchase from the author.  The books are:

  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1780-1786
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1787-1792
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1793-1796
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1797-1800
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1801-1805
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1806-1809
  • Warren County, NC Minutes to the Court of Pleas, 1810-1813

There is an index to the books on the website where you can check for your ancestors name. Please check the site Ancestral Tracks for prices.


Vital Records

Societies and Libraries 

Web Sites


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