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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Person County

Person County seal



FORMED: 1791

LAND AREA: 392.32 square miles

White: 70.0%
Black/African American: 26.8%
American Indian: 0.9%    
Asian: 0.4%    
Pacific Islander: <0.1%
Two or more races: 1.9%
Hispanic/Latino: 4.5% (of any race)

From State & County QuickFacts, US Census Bureau, 2020.


Person County

Piedmont region


REGION: Piedmont
RIVER BASIN: Neuse, Roanoke, Tar-Pamlico, Map
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES: Caswell, Durham, Granville, Orange

Person County NC

See also: North Carolina Counties (to access links to NCpedia articles for all 100 counties)

by Jay Mazzocchi, 2006

Person County, located in the Piedmont region of northern North Carolina, was formed in 1791 from Caswell County and named for Revolutionary War general Thomas Person. It is partially bordered by the state of Virginia. Early inhabitants of the area included the Occaneechi Indians, followed by English and German settlers. The county seat, Roxboro, was incorporated in 1855 and named for the town of Roxburgh, Scotland. Person County's other communities include Hurdle Mills, Gordonton, Bushy Fork, Brooksdale, Moriah, Bethel Hill, and Concord. Notable physical features of the county include Hyco Lake, constructed by Carolina Power & Light Company in the early 1960s as a cooling reservoir for a steam electric-generating plant, Flat River, Castle Creek, and the Tar River.

Person County historic sites include Webb House, built in the early 1800s, and Hall House, built ca. 1900 and considered the oldest brick house in Roxboro. Cultural institutions include the Roxboro Little Theatre, the Person County Museum of History, the Person Players, Timberlake Art Gallery, and the Person County Nature Society. Person County hosts several annual events and festivals, including the Person County Agricultural Fair, the Person-ality Festival, and Pops in Person.

Agricultural crops grown in Person County include tobacco, wheat, corn, and soybeans. Manufactured products include parachutes, aluminum siding, textiles, and auto parts. Minerals such as pyrite, limonite, kyanite, malachite, and azurite are mined in the county. In 2004 Person County's population was estimated to be 37,000.

Annotated history of Person County's formation:

For an annotated history of the county's formation, with the laws affecting the county, boundary lines and changes, and other origin information, visit these references in The Formation of the North Carolina Counties (Corbitt, 2000), available online at North Carolina Digital Collections (note, there may be additional items of interest for the county not listed here):

County formation history:

Index entry for the county:


Stuart T. Wright, Historical Sketch of Person County (1974).

Additional resources:

Corbitt, David Leroy. 2000. The formation of the North Carolina counties, 1663-1943 (accessed June 20, 2017).

Person County Government:

Roxboro Area Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development:

DigitalNC, Person County:

North Carolina Digital Collections (explore by place, time period, format):

Image credits:

Rudersdorf, Amy. 2010. "NC County Maps." Government & Heritage Library, State Library of North Carolina.