Person County
Person County Courthouse
Flag of Person County
Official seal of Person County
Official logo of Person County
"Everything is Better in Person"
Map of North Carolina highlighting Person 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.
Coordinates: 36°23′N 78°58′W / 36.39°N 78.97°W / 36.39; -78.97
Country United States
State North Carolina
Named forThomas Person
Largest communityRoxboro
 • Total404.39 sq mi (1,047.4 km2)
 • Land392.34 sq mi (1,016.2 km2)
 • Water12.05 sq mi (31.2 km2)  2.98%
 • Total39,097
 • Estimate 
 • Density99.65/sq mi (38.48/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district4th

Person County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. The population was 39,097 as of the 2020 census.[1] The county seat is Roxboro.[2]

Person County is included in the Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Metropolitan Statistical Area, which is also included in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill, NC Combined Statistical Area, which had an estimated population of 2,368,947 in 2023.[3]


The colonial government established Person County as part of Edgecombe County in 1746. County designations kept changing, and it was part of Granville County from 1746 to 1752; included in Orange County until 1778; and part of Caswell County until 1791/1792. By dividing Caswell County into two squares–each side measuring approximately twenty (20) miles in length, the state formed two counties of 400 square miles (1,000 km2) each. The county was named after Brigadier General Thomas Person, a Revolutionary War patriot, who made significant contributions to Person County and surrounding areas.

The area was first inhabited by Native Americans over 10,000 years ago. The historical tribes encountered here by early Spanish explorers were generally Siouan-speaking, including the Saponi, Occaneechee, and other groups.

Settlement by immigrants of Scots, Scots-Irish, English, French Huguenot, and German ancestry began in the mid-17th and continued into the 19th centuries.[4][5] The settlers tended to be yeoman farmers, and few owned any slaves.

Religious affiliation in the county reflects the early settlers and is predominantly Protestant. Due to Person County's nearness to Virginia, the Carolina coast, and the Appalachian foothills, a wide variety of Southern American English dialects can be heard here, including Virginia Piedmont, Coastal Southern, South Midland, and African-American English.

Revolutionary and Civil Wars

The county was named for Brigadier General Thomas Person, a Revolutionary War patriot, who made significant contributions to Person County and surrounding areas. He was a trustee of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His generous donations were recognized by the construction and naming of Person Hall.

Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Moore, Deputy Quartermaster General of the Hillsborough district, was another Revolutionary War hero, commanding the Person County militia at the disastrous Battle of Camden. He was captured and held on the prison ship Torbay. In 1775-1776 he had purchased property in the south of Person County and named his plantation Mt. Tirzah. His home, constructed in 1778, has been renovated recently. Stephen Moore was buried in the family cemetery.

During the Civil War, Person County supplied between 800 and 1000 soldiers to the Confederate Army. A granite monument at the Courthouse honors E. Fletcher Satterfield, who carried the Confederate flag at Gettysburg.

Late 19th century

J.A. Long, W.W. Kitchin, A.R. Foushee, J.S. Bradsher, J.C. Pass, W.F. Reade, and R.E. Long were key leaders who helped make a transition to a more diversified economic base after the Civil War. The arrival of the newly constructed Norfolk and Western Railroad was a major influence around 1890, as it enabled the addition of tobacco processing plants and warehouses to the rural economy. Although the processing plants disappeared many years ago, a few of the warehouses still stand.

J.A. Long established Peoples Bank in 1891 and the Roxboro Cotton Mill in 1899, later known as Tultex Yarns. His home at Roxboro, the James A. and Laura Thompson Long House, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.[6] Long died in 1915 but was succeeded by his son, J.A. Long, Jr., who began attracting new business to Roxboro. Baker Company opened here in 1923, making textile manufacturing a major contributor to the local economy for decades. Baker was merged with Collins and Aikman Corporation (C&A), becoming a major industry in Person County for several decades before closing in August 2006. Textile manufacturers have moved to other locations in the US and overseas.

20th and 21st centuries

Residential and commercial development have grown steadily over the past few years in part due to the county's location near the Research Triangle region. The Hyco Lake area and southern portion of the county have had an influx of new home and commercial development in the late 20th and early 21st century. The county's largest employers are Duke Energy, Eaton Corporation, Georgia-Pacific Corporation and GKN Driveline.

The Holloway-Walker Dollarhite House, Henry-Vernon House, Burleigh, and Waverly Plantation are listed on the National Register of Historic Places outside Roxboro.[6]


Interactive map of Person County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 404.39 square miles (1,047.4 km2), of which 392.34 square miles (1,016.2 km2) is land and 12.05 square miles (31.2 km2) (2.98%) is water.[7]

Person County contains parts of three major river basins: the Neuse, the Roanoke and the Tar, providing essential clean drinking water to the south and east of the state. The origin of the Tar River is in southeast Person County. In the northwest section of the county is Hyco Lake, with Mayo Reservoir in the northeast section. Both lakes are used for electrical power generation and recreation. Near the western border with Caswell County is Lake Roxboro. Part of the Neuse River begins here with the Flat River, where it combines with the Little and Eno rivers to go into Falls Lake and create the Neuse.

The Uwharrie Mountains, part of North Carolina's easternmost mountain range, are the oldest mountain range in North America. They are the lowest mountain range in the state. The Uwharries begin in Montgomery County and terminate at Hager's Mountain in the hills of northern Person County.

The county is largely covered by rolling hills divided by farmlands and forest. The area's ridges are not narrow and sharp like those in some parts of the Piedmont, and the gullies and ditches are not as abrupt. The northern part of the county between the lakes is skirted by a plateau. The highest point of the county is a prominent hill in Roxboro, where the county seat has located its water reservoir tank. Person County claims three small mountains. Hager's Mountain is north of Roxboro. Red Mountain and Mt. Tirzah are in the southeastern part of the county. The geology of the county is dominated by igneous formation, overlaid by a variety of soils. Granite boulders are strewn across the county.

State and local protected areas

Major water bodies

See also: Category:Rivers of Person County, North Carolina

Adjacent counties

Major highways

Interstate 85 is the closest interstate highway to the county, located 29 miles south in Durham.

Major infrastructure

Raleigh-Durham International Airport, located 42 miles (68 km) south of Roxboro. Piedmont Triad International Airport, located 82 miles (132 km) southwest of Roxboro.


Historical population
2023 (est.)39,737[1]1.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1790–1960[10] 1900–1990[11]
1990–2000[12] 2010[13] 2020[1]

2020 census

Person County racial composition[14]
Race Number Percentage
White (non-Hispanic) 25,132 64.28%
Black or African American (non-Hispanic) 9,879 25.27%
Native American 240 0.61%
Asian 124 0.32%
Pacific Islander 8 0.02%
Other/Mixed 1,519 3.89%
Hispanic or Latino 2,195 5.61%

As of the 2020 census, there were 39,097 people, 15,896 households, and 10,695 families residing in the county.

2010 census

At the 2010 census,[15] there were 39,464 people, 15,826 households, and 10,979 families residing in the county. The population density was 91 people per square mile (35 people/km2). There were 15,504 housing units at an average density of 40 units per square mile (15 units/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 68.1% White, 28.3% Black, 0.61% Native American, 0.15% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.37% from other races, and 0.86% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 2.09% of the population.

There were 14,085 households, out of which 31.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.8% were married couples living together, 13.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% were non-families. 24.2% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 24.0% under the age of 18, 7.4% from 18 to 24, 30.6% from 25 to 44, 24.2% from 45 to 64, and 13.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 93.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.2 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $42,559 and the median income for a family was $54,474. Males had a median income of $30,970 versus $22,804 for females. The per capita income for the county was $22,189. About 9.4% of families and 12.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.9% of those under age 18 and 17.3% of those age 65 or over.

Law, government, and politics

Person County is a member of the Kerr-Tar Regional Council of Governments. The county government is administered by an elected county commission, and county law enforcement is administered by an elected sheriff and his officers. The county is politically conservative and Republican. No Democratic presidential candidate has carried Person County since Jimmy Carter in 1980. Before being won by George Wallace in 1968, Person County had been part of the Democratic "Solid South", voting Democrat in most elections between 1880 and 1964, except the elections in 1892 and 1908, with six consecutive Democratic presidential nominees receiving seventy-five percent of the county's vote between 1932 and 1952.

United States presidential election results for Person County, North Carolina[16]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 13,184 60.22% 8,465 38.66% 245 1.12%
2016 11,185 57.02% 7,833 39.93% 597 3.04%
2012 10,496 54.94% 8,418 44.06% 192 1.00%
2008 10,030 53.83% 8,446 45.33% 156 0.84%
2004 8,973 58.98% 6,198 40.74% 43 0.28%
2000 6,722 56.81% 5,042 42.61% 69 0.58%
1996 4,883 48.68% 4,540 45.26% 607 6.05%
1992 4,460 43.60% 4,323 42.26% 1,447 14.14%
1988 4,832 56.00% 3,777 43.78% 19 0.22%
1984 5,854 62.30% 3,528 37.54% 15 0.16%
1980 3,281 43.55% 4,111 54.57% 142 1.88%
1976 3,038 43.20% 3,977 56.55% 18 0.26%
1972 5,941 71.89% 2,246 27.18% 77 0.93%
1968 2,138 24.17% 2,644 29.89% 4,065 45.95%
1964 2,162 31.32% 4,740 68.68% 0 0.00%
1960 1,926 30.91% 4,305 69.09% 0 0.00%
1956 1,740 33.64% 3,433 66.36% 0 0.00%
1952 1,374 24.36% 4,266 75.64% 0 0.00%
1948 480 12.79% 3,087 82.28% 185 4.93%
1944 607 19.49% 2,507 80.51% 0 0.00%
1940 432 11.77% 3,239 88.23% 0 0.00%
1936 384 11.70% 2,898 88.30% 0 0.00%
1932 660 21.65% 2,372 77.80% 17 0.56%
1928 1,123 47.63% 1,235 52.37% 0 0.00%
1924 1,025 39.36% 1,576 60.52% 3 0.12%
1920 1,566 48.75% 1,646 51.25% 0 0.00%
1916 917 49.04% 953 50.96% 0 0.00%
1912 784 43.85% 820 45.86% 184 10.29%

Elected officials

Elected officials in Person County (as of 2024):[17][18][19][20][21]


The economy of Person County is dominated by electrical, textile, administrative, manufacturing, aerodynamics, viticulture, brokering, food processing, automotive, aluminum and paper products. Diversification from traditional flue cured tobacco to include burley tobacco and other modes of agriculture is underway.

Person County is home to two industrial parks: Person County Business and Industrial Center (PCBIC), located on Durham Road (US 501), and North Park, located north of Roxboro on North Park Drive.

Person County is also near North Carolina's Research Triangle, home to numerous high-tech companies and enterprises.

Person County offers a strategic location for business and industry, as it is within an hour's drive of North Carolina's two major economic centers, the Research Triangle (Durham, Chapel Hill and Raleigh) and the Piedmont Triad (Greensboro, Winston-Salem and High Point), and within a two-hour drive of Richmond, Virginia.



Higher education

Public education

Person County School System

Public education is provided by the Person County School System and administers a single unified school district with a K-12 program. As of fiscal 2018–2019, the school system consists of:

Person County schools
Name Principal/Director Mascot Colors Enrollment
as of 2021-2022
Earl Bradsher Pre-School Center (Pre-K) Treco Lea-Jeffers, Director Shining Stars 186
Early Intervention & Family Services (Pre-K) Dana Faulkner, Director
Helena Elementary (K-5) Sherita Fuller, Principal Hornets Black, yellow 500
North Elementary (K-5) / Carolina Community Academy Nell Sydnor-Waugh / Renee Carmon, Principal Eagles Red, gold, orange 217
North End Elementary (K-5) Melody Wilson, Principal Jets Red, blue 179
Oak Lane Elementary (K-5) Heather Bowling, Principal Cougars Green, white 223
Stories Creek Elementary (K-5) Dusty Martin, Principal Gators Green, yellow 377
South Elementary (K-5) Whitney Sharlow, Principal Shooting Stars Orange, yellow 356
Woodland Elementary (K-5) Dwayne Johnson, Principal Lakers Blue, white 213
Northern Middle (6-8) Ashley Warren, Principal Raiders Purple, blue, black 418
Southern Middle (6-8) Patrick Holmes, Principal Panthers Blue, white 485
Person High (9-12) Michelle Honeycutt, Principal Rockets Blue, white, cardinal 1,080
Person County Learning Academy (6-10) Rhonda Daye, Director 50
Person County Schools Virtual Academy (4-12) Dr. Tisha Duncan, Principal 134
Person Early College for Innovation & Leadership Shirlrona Johnson, Principal Mavericks Green, White, Orange 151

Charter schools

The State of North Carolina also provides for a certain number of charter schools. These are administered separately from the Person County School System. Roxboro has two charter schools:

Private education


Map of Person County with municipal and township labels


Census-designated place


Unincorporated communities

Notable people

See also


  1. ^ a b c "QuickFacts: Person County, North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved March 22, 2024.
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Areas Population Totals: 2020-2023". United States Census Bureau, Population Division. March 14, 2024. Retrieved March 15, 2024.
  4. ^ "Subscription". Retrieved October 20, 2022.
  5. ^ Carson, Scott Alan (April 2004). "European Immigration to America's Great Basin, 1850–1870". The Journal of Interdisciplinary History. 34 (4): 569–594. doi:10.1162/002219504773512543. ISSN 0022-1953.
  6. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "2020 County Gazetteer Files – North Carolina". United States Census Bureau. August 23, 2022. Retrieved September 9, 2023.
  8. ^ a b "NCWRC Game Lands". Retrieved March 30, 2023.
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  10. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  11. ^ Forstall, Richard L., ed. (March 27, 1995). "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  12. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. April 2, 2001. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 27, 2010. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  13. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  14. ^ "Explore Census Data". Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  15. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  16. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Retrieved March 17, 2018.
  17. ^ "Directory of Representatives". Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  18. ^ "Person County Representation". North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  19. ^ "Sheriff Bio". Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  20. ^ "County Commissioners". Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  21. ^ "Person County School District". Retrieved February 15, 2024.
  22. ^ "African-American Inventors III". National Geographic Society. January 21, 2011. Retrieved March 17, 2018.