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Franklin county was formed in 1779 from Bute County in the midst of the American Revolution and was named in honor of Benjamin Franklin who had recently negotiated an alliance and secured loan agreements with France that would eventually help to win America's independence. The abolishment of Bute county came at the urging of area resident and strong political activist, Benjamin Seawell, who introduced a bill to separate from the county which had been named after the Earl of Bute. Seawell had also been among those selected to represent the county at the Halifax Congress of April 1776. Fellow representatives of Bute at that meeting included Green Hill, William Alston, Thomas Sherrod, Thomas Eaton, Benjamin Person, Benjamin Word, and Philemon Hawkins. The act establishing the county authorized that the first court be held at the home of Benjamin Seawell and it was left to the justices to determine where subsequent courts were to be held until a courthouse could be erected - a goal that was finally met in 1781 with the construction of a log courthouse.
Louisburg, the county seat, was also chartered in 1779 and is believed to have been named for King Louis XVI of France who was a strong American ally. There is disagreement among historians as to when the town was first named, with estimates ranging from as early as 1758, though historians generally agree that the name of the town was originally spelled "Lewisburg". Once the charter had been established, 100 acres of land were purchased from Patewells & Jacobina Milner for the platting of the new county seat. The initial survey for the town was performed by William Christmas who was also responsible for the layout of Raleigh, North Carolina. Louisburg remained the only town in the county until after the Revolutionary War.
Situated in the northeastern section of the State, Franklin county is bounded by Nash, Wake, Granville, Vance, and Warren counties. The present land area is 492.02 square miles and the population has grown from roughly 7,500 at the dawn of the 19th century to 47,260 in the year 2000. The soil is fertile and, in some areas, chock-full of granite. Originally a community focused primarily on agriculture and livestock and boasting 3,367 farms covering 267,530 acres in the year 1900, today Franklin County is home to 574 farms encompassing 128,412 total acres. The county is now focused on broadening her economic base through encouragement of real estate development and much attention is now given to enticing large corporations to bring their operations to the county.
Destruction of 100 years of Franklin County Records
Read about the tragedy of the loss of countless historical records that were destroyed on Dec. 6, 2013
Follow up from North Carolina Genealogical Society, posted December 17, 2013:
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County Coordinator: Deloris Williams