Copyright notice

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.

Is anything in this article factually incorrect? Please submit a comment.

Printer-friendly page
Average: 4 (21 votes)
Stanly County

Stanly County seal


COUNTY SEAT: Albemarle

FORMED: 1841
FORMED FROM: Montgomery

LAND AREA: 395.09 square miles

White: 84.4%
Black/African American: 11.4%    
American Indian: 0.5%        
Asian: 2.0%    
Pacific Islander:  0.3%
Two or more races: 1.5%
Hispanic/Latino: 4.4% (of any race)

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


Stanly County

Piedmont region


REGION: Piedmont
RIVER BASIN: Yadkin-Pee Dee, Map
NEIGHBORING COUNTIES: Anson, Cabarrus, Montgomery, Rowan, Union

Stanly County, NC

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

by Jay Mazzocchi, 2006

Stanly County, located in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, was formed in 1841 from Montgomery County and named for John Stanly, a Speaker of the North Carolina House of Commons and, later, a U.S. congressman. Early inhabitants of the area included the Saura (Cheraw), Keyauwee, and Tuscarora Indians, followed by German, Dutch, Scotch-Irish and English settlers. Albemarle, the county seat, was incorporated in 1857 and named for George Monck, the duke of Albemarle and one of the Lords Proprietors. Other communities in the county include Badin, Misenheimer, Richfield, New London, Locust, Stanfield, and Lambert. The Yadkin-Pee Dee River, Badin Lake, the Uwharrie Mountains, Morrow Mountain, and Little and Cucumber Creeks are a few of Stanly County's significant physical features.

Pfeiffer University, which was founded in 1885, is located in Stanly County. The county also has a variety of historic landmarks, such as the "City of Albemarle" Antique Fire Engine (1922), the Hall House (1912), and the Albemarle Town Cemetery (1844). Cultural attractions include the Stanly County Museum, the Morrow Mountain State Park and Museum, and the Uwharrie Players theater company. The county hosts annual events and festivals such as the Best of Badin Festival, Oktoberfest, the Norwood Arbor Day Festival, Beach Blast, Festival of Trees, and Downtown Albemarle Christmas.

Stanly County produces agricultural goods such as corn, soybeans, wheat, cotton, forage, and cattle and other livestock. Manufactured products include yarn, aircraft tires, ladies knitwear, manufactured homes, draperies, popcorn, and circuit breakers. Gold has also historically been mined in Stanly County. The Barringer Mine (1829) introduced subsurface gold mining to North Carolina. In 2004 the county's population was an estimated 59,000.

Annotated history of Stanly 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:


Ivey Lawrence Sharpe and Edgar Pepper Fletcher III, Stanly County, USA: The Story of an Area and an Era, 1841-1991 (1990)

Additional resources:

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

Stanly County Government:

Stanly County Chamber of Commerce:

DigitalNC, Stanly 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.

Origin - location: 


My grandparents Ernest & Mildred Carpenter lived by Rocky River, their property was on both sides of Highway 742 before you cross the bridge, coming from Oakboro. My Mom told us stories about an Indian burial ground on their property near the house, with markers. Her brother still owns the property but can't tell us anything. How can we determine anything to corroborate this or more information on the possibility this is true.


Thank you for your comment.

I dont think there is anyway to confirm ghe information. Cabarrus County was near the Sugaree tribe that live in Mecklenburg County that is believed to be a branch of the Catawba tribe. The Catawba Moved down to SC in the mid-1700s. To the north, was the Yadkin tribe that lived along the Yadkin River.

Erin Bradford, Government and Heritage Library 

I'm trying to find out what year the first public school was opened was opened in the Aquadale, Cottonville area of Stanly County. Any help would be appreciated.

Thank you for your question! Very interesting. We have many of our state documents digitized in our Digital Collections. Here is my search results for Stanly and public education in our State publications collections There are a number of publications over the early years so you should be able to find it in one of these documents. 

If you need more help, please send your question to our reference email at


Kelly, Government and Heritage Library

stanly county has more females then men

I was on and I was told that my family the now spelled Stanley was given land in south Carolina by the king is this any ties to my name.

I'm not sure but if you need some tips on getting started in your genealogy research, there is some information available on the State Library of North Carolina's Government & Heritage Library's website at

Good luck in your family history research!

Michelle Underhill

Iam looking for family tree information on the Wright families that lived in Stanley county North Carolina not referring to the Wright brothers, Aaron Wright, Zachary Taylor Wright, and others

how do i find the infomation of stanly county

Hi G'nichelle,

Thanks for visiting NCpedia and taking the time to leave your question.

Here are a couple of places to start: you can click on the link above these comments for the blue text that says "Stanly County" under Origin-Location.  This will take you to a list of all entries involving Stanly County that we have in NCpedia.  

      Origin - location: 

      Stanly County

You can also click on the links we've added to "References" for additional information about Stanly County.

Thanks for visiting and come back again!

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Staff

Add a comment

PLEASE NOTE: NCpedia provides the comments feature as a way for viewers to engage with the resources. Comments are not published until reviewed by NCpedia editors at the State Library of NC, and the editors reserve the right to not publish any comment submitted that is considered inappropriate for this resource. NCpedia will not publish personal contact information in comments, questions, or responses. If you would like a reply by email, note that some email servers, such as public school accounts, are blocked from accepting messages from outside email servers or domains. If you prefer not to leave an email address, check back at your NCpedia comment for a reply. Please allow one business day for replies from NCpedia. Complete guidelines are available at