Formed out of the western section of Bladen County, Anson County was founded in 1750. The county’s namesake is George Anson, 1st Baron Anson, the noted British admiral who circumnavigated the globe and oversaw the Royal Navy during the Seven Years’ War.
Analogous to its parent county, Bladen, Anson County was initially a large territory. Within three years, part of the northern boundary became Rowan County, and in the western boundary became Mecklenburg County. During the Revolutionary War, the remaining northern boundary was turned into Montgomery County, and finally in 1842, portions of southeast Mecklenburg County and western Anson County combined to form Union County. Many North Carolina counties undergo similar boundary changes to Anson, most notably Hyde County.
There are many important townships in Anson County. Wadesboro, the county seat, is not only the largest town, but also the place where future president Andrew Jackson was issued his license to practice law. Other towns include Ansonville, Lilesville, McFarlan, Morven, Peachland, and Polkton.
Many notables were either born or raised in Anson County. Allan McFarland, the namesake of McFarlan, was the president of the Cheraw an Salisbury Railroad. John Grady, an NC General Assembly member in 1836, and Susan Braswell, one of the first female mayors of North Carolina, hail from McFarlan. Dr. Parks Turner Beeman, one of the first physicians that fed his fever patients instead of starving them, was from Peachland. Harllee Branch Sr., a city editor for the Atlanta Journal and chairman of the U.S. Civil Aeronautics Board, called Polkton home.
Anson County is mostly rural, and despite being in the Piedmont region, its geography is rather flat. The county can be considered a sanctuary for nature lovers though, as the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge is located just south of Ansonville. In fact, the Pee Dee River runs throughout the county, and most towns integrate the river with their economy.