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Cities and Towns in Vance County

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History of Vance County

Kerr Lake - Vance County, North Carolina

Vance was formed in 1881 from Granville, Warren, and Franklin counties. It was named in honor of Zebulon Baird Vance, a member of Congress, Governor of North Carolina, and a United States Senator. It is in the northeastern section of the state and is bounded by Warren, Franklin, and Granville counties and the state of Virginia. The present land area is 253.52 square miles and the 2000 population was 42,954. The act directed the county commissioners to select a site in Henderson for the erection of the courthouse. Henderson is the county seat. 

"The formation of Vance County was accomplished largely as a political expediency. It was in 1881, when negroes in large numbers were voting solidly Republican, Granville and Franklin Counties were nip and tuck, Democratic or Republican. From the Democratic standpoint, Warren County was hopelessly Republican. But by taking from Granville, Franklin, and Warren, those sections that were heavily Republican and out of these sections forming the new county of Vance, the Democratic party could lose Vance to the Republicans and save Granville and Franklin for the Democrats. [U.S.] Senator [Zebulon Baird] Vance was a Democrat. He took kindly to this move and thanked the [North Carolina] Legislature for honoring him with naming the new county after him. At the same time Senator Zebulon Baird Vance showed his humor by always referring to Vance County as 'Zeb's Black Baby.'" - from Zeb's Black Baby, by Samuel Thomas Peace Sr., published 1955, Henderson, NC.
Originally a part of the State of Virginia, King Charles II of England redrew colony lines in 1665 with the second charter to the eight Lords Proprietors, thus putting what is now Vance County into what is the present state of North Carolina. As the area prospered in the mid to late 1800s, the idea of creating a separate county surfaced. After original legislative efforts to name the new county as "Gilliam" and later as "Dortch" failed, Vance County was established on May 5, 1881 by the North Carolina General Assembly and was named after Governor Zebulon Baird Vance, who was known as the Civil War governor. Seventy-three percent of the land territory of the new county came from Granville County and the remaining twenty-three percent came from Warren and Franklin counties.

When first established, Vance County's population was approximately 9,000. Today, it has grown to over 42,000. It had a tax base then of about $2 million, now its base is well over $2 billion. Kerr Lake, the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi river, was built in the 1950s as a means of flood control for eastern North Carolina. Since that time it has become one of the state's largest parks and tourist attractions.

To say Kerr Lake is big is an understatement. Its over 850 miles of shoreline stretches across Vance County and the North Carolina/Virginia state line, making it one of the largest lakes in the Southeast.

It's also one of the most beautiful. From wooded shores to secluded coves to tranquil picnic areas.

Located conveniently along Interstate 85, Kerr Lake is just a short drive from Raleigh (45 miles), Richmond, Va. (110 miles), Charlotte (180 miles) and Washington, D.C. (200 miles).

Vance County Tourism invites you to explore Kerr Lake and enjoy the fishing, camping, boating, skiing, sailing, wind surfing, nature walking, bird watching, golfing, and even the bright lights of fireworks on the Fourth of July.

- Source: J.D. Lewis - Little River, SC


More Information

As of the census[2] of 2000, there were 42,954 people, 16,199 households, and 11,647 families residing in the county. The population density was 169 people per square mile (65/km²). There were 18,196 housing units at an average density of 72 per square mile (28/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 48.21% White, 48.31% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.39% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.03% from other races, and 0.84% from two or more races. 4.56% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 16,199 households out of which 33.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.00% were married couples living together, 20.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.10% were non-families. 24.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.06.

The county had the highest teen pregnancy rate in the state for the year 2005 as researched by the Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Coalition of North Carolina. The rate was 110.4 per 1000 teens, significantly above the state average of 61.7 per 1000 teens.

In the county the population was spread out with 27.10% under the age of 18, 8.90% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 22.60% from 45 to 64, and 12.60% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 89.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,301, and the median income for a family was $36,389. Males had a median income of $28,284 versus $21,433 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,897. About 16.30% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.70% of those under age 18 and 19.30% of those age 65 or over.

- Source: Wikipedia