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Granville County, North Carolina facts for kids

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Granville County
Granville County Courthouse
Granville County Courthouse
Map of North Carolina highlighting Granville County
Location within the U.S. state of North Carolina
Map of the United States highlighting North Carolina
North Carolina's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  North Carolina
Founded 1746
Named for John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville
Seat Oxford
Largest town Butner
 • Total 536 sq mi (1,390 km2)
 • Land 532 sq mi (1,380 km2)
 • Water 4.9 sq mi (13 km2)  0.9%%
 • Estimate 
 • Density 116.5/sq mi (45.0/km2)
Congressional district 4th

Granville County is a county located on the northern border of the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of the 2020 Census, the population was 60,992. Its county seat is Oxford.

Granville County encompasses Oxford, NC Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area.

The county has access to Kerr Lake and Falls Lake and is part of the Roanoke, Tar and Neuse River watersheds.


The county was formed in 1746 from Edgecombe County. It was named for John Carteret, 2nd Earl Granville, who as heir to one of the eight original Lords Proprietors of the Province of Carolina, claimed one eighth of the land granted in the charter of 1665. The claim was established as consisting of approximately the northern half of North Carolina and this territory came to be known as the Granville District, also known as Oxford.

In 1752, parts of Granville County, Bladen County, and Johnston County were combined to form Orange County. In 1764, the eastern part of Granville County became Bute County. Finally, in 1881, parts of Granville County, Franklin County, and Warren County were combined to form Vance County.

John Penn (1741-1788) was an affluent politician of early America, as he was one of the three signers from North Carolina to sign the Declaration of Independence. After earning his admittance to the bar, Penn moved to Granville County in 1774. The county had become the hub of Carolina’s independence campaign. A remarkable orator, Penn had earned a place at the Third Provincial Congress of 1775, and he replaced Richard Caswell, joining William Hooper and Joseph Hewes in Philadelphia for the convening of the Continental Congress in 1776. Later, John Penn, with Cornelius Harnett and John Williams, signed the Articles of Confederation for North Carolina. Penn retired to Granville County, and he died at a relatively young age of 48 years in 1788. His remains are interred at the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park in Greensboro, NC.

Like most early counties on the eastern side of the early North Carolina colony, Granville was site of the Tuscarora uprising. Once the natives were defeated after the Tuscarora War, Virginia farmers and their families settled Granville County and they focused on producing tobacco. Slave labor proved vital to the fledging economy of the region, and by the start of the Civil War, Granville plantation owners worked over 10,000 slaves on their farms.

During the Civil War, more than 2,000 men from Granville County served the Confederacy. One company was known as the “Granville Grays.” Most in this regiment fought in most major battles during the war. Surprisingly, many survived until the end of the war.

Although the Civil War brought an end to the plantation and slave labor economy that had made Granville County prosperous, the agricultural sector continued to thrive in the county due to the presence of free African Americans in Oxford and the discovery of bright leaf tobacco. Many African Americans in Granville County were free before the start of the Civil War, and they made lasting contributions to the region, particularly through their skilled labor. Several black masons constructed homes for the county’s wealthy landowners. Additionally, the bright leaf tobacco crop proved a successful agricultural product for Granville County. The sandy soil and a new tobacco crop could be “flue-dried” proved a great incentive to farmers and tobacco manufacturers. According to historian William S. Powell, Granville has remained a top tobacco-producing county in North Carolina for several decades. By the late 1800s and early 1900s, Oxford had become a thriving town with new industries, schools, literary institutions, and orphanages forming due to jobs created by the bright tobacco crop.

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, northern Granville County, together with Halifax County, Virginia were important mining areas. Copper, tungsten, silver and gold were mined in the region. The Richmond to Danville Railroad was a critical lifeline to the northern part of the county and provided an important link for miners and farmers to get their goods to larger markets in Richmond and Washington, DC.

In the 1950s and 1960s, various manufacturing businesses had built up across Granville County, and the region gradually moved away from the agricultural sector. Today, the manufacturing industry produces cosmetics, tires, and clothing products in Granville County.

During the late 1800s and early 1900s, Granville County played a pivotal role as tobacco supplier for the southeast United States. With many farms and contracts tied to major tobacco companies, like American Tobacco Company, Lorillard, Brown & Williamson, and Liggett Group, the local farmers became prosperous. With the Great Depression, came a plague new to the people of Granville County. The Granville Wilt Disease, as it became known, destroyed tobacco crops all across northern North Carolina. Botanists & Horticulturists found a cure for the famine at the Tobacco Research Center located in Oxford.

Camp Butner, opened in 1942 as a training camp for World War II soldiers, once encompassed over 40,000 acres in Granville, Person, and Durham counties. During the war, more than 30,000 soldiers were trained at Camp Butner, including the 35th and 89th Divisions. The hilly topography at Camp Butner proved helpful in teaching soldiers how to respond to gas bombings and how to use camouflage and cross rivers. Additionally, both German and Italian prisoners served as cooks and janitors at Camp Butner. Today, most of the land that was Camp Butner now belongs to the North Carolina government, and the no longer operational, Umstead Hospital was located at the Camp Butner site.

Granville County Courthouse

The Granville County Courthouse, of Greek Revival architect, was built in 1840 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 536 square miles (1,390 km2), of which 532 square miles (1,380 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (0.9%) is water.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-85
  • US 15
  • US 158
  • NC 49
  • NC 50
  • NC 56
  • NC 96


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 10,982
1800 14,015 27.6%
1810 15,576 11.1%
1820 18,222 17.0%
1830 19,355 6.2%
1840 18,817 −2.8%
1850 21,249 12.9%
1860 23,396 10.1%
1870 24,831 6.1%
1880 31,286 26.0%
1890 24,484 −21.7%
1900 23,263 −5.0%
1910 25,102 7.9%
1920 26,846 6.9%
1930 28,723 7.0%
1940 29,344 2.2%
1950 31,793 8.3%
1960 33,110 4.1%
1970 32,762 −1.1%
1980 34,043 3.9%
1990 38,345 12.6%
2000 48,498 26.5%
2010 57,538 18.6%
2020 60,992 6.0%
2021 (est.) 61,986 7.7%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

2020 census

Granville County racial composition
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 33,610 55.11%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 18,315 30.03%
Native American 205 0.34%
Asian 366 0.6%
Pacific Islander 24 0.04%
Other/Mixed 2,261 3.71%
Hispanic or Latino 6,211 10.18%

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 60,992 people, 21,400 households, and 15,182 families residing in the county.


As of the census of 2017, there were 59,557 people in 20,628 households residing in the county. The population density was 111.6 people per square mile (43.1/km2). There were 22,827 housing units at an average density of 42.5 per square mile (16.4/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 58% White, 30% Black, 8% Hispanic, 2% Two or more Races, 1% Asian, 1% American Indian.

There were 20,628 households, out of which 31.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them. The average household size was 2.90. In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.3% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 12.0% from 25 to 34, 24.1% from 35 to 49, 20.7% from 50 to 64, and 12.40% who were 65 years of age or older. For every 100 females there were 114.7 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,196, and the mean household income was $55,849. The median and mean income for a family was $56,493 and $64,311, respectively. The per capita income for the county was $21,201. About 7.6% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.4% of those under age 18 and 11.1% of those age 65 or over.


Map of Granville County North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels
Map of Granville County, North Carolina With Municipal and Township Labels




  • Brassfield
  • Dutchville
  • Fishing Creek
  • Oak Hill
  • Oxford
  • Salem
  • Sassafras Fork
  • Tally Ho
  • Walnut Grove

Unincorporated communities


The Granville County School System contains 9 elementary schools, 4 middle schools, 5 high schools

High Schools
  • J.F. Webb High School (Oxford)
    • J.F. Webb School of Health and Life Sciences
  • Granville Central High School (Stem)
  • Granville Early College High (affiliated with Vance-Granville Community College, which has a campus in Butner) (Creedmoor)
  • South Granville High School (Creedmoor)
Middle Schools
  • Butner-Stem Middle (Butner) (Traditional and Year Round)
  • G.C. Hawley Middle (Creedmoor)
  • Mary Potter Middle (Oxford)
  • Northern Granville Middle (Oxford) (Traditional and Year Round)
Elementary Schools
  • Butner-Stem Elementary (Butner) (Traditional and Year Round)
  • C.G. Credle Elementary (Oxford)
  • Creedmoor Elementary (Creedmoor)
  • Mt. Energy Elementary (Creedmoor)
  • Stovall-Shaw Elementary (Stovall)
  • Tar River Elementary (Franklinton)
  • West Oxford Elementary (Oxford) (Traditional and Year Round)
  • Wilton Elementary(Franklinton)

Notable people

  • John Penn- Signer of the Declaration of Independence (Stovall)
  • James E. Webb- NASA Administrator (Tally Ho)
  • Sam Ragan- Journalist (Berea)
  • Richard H. Moore- politician, former NC State Treasurer (Oxford)
  • Tiny Broadwick- first female parachutist (Oxford)
  • Thad Stem, Jr.- poet (Oxford)
  • Franklin Wills Hancock, Jr.- U.S. Representative (Oxford)
  • Benjamin Chavis- Civil Rights leader (Oxford)

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Condado de Granville para niños

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