Located in the northeast Piedmont region of North Carolina, and formed in the midst of the American Revolutionary War, Franklin County was carved out of the abolished Bute County and established in 1779. The county’s name is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, a politician, statesman, and iconic founding father of the United States.
Although many times overshadowed by its neighbor, Wake County, Franklin County has significant destinations and has played a role in North Carolina’s economic history. The county seat, Louisburg, is named in honor of King Louis XVI. Within its borders in 1805, the first junior college in the United States, now called Louisburg College, was founded. The Person Place, a restored eighteenth-century home in Louisburg, attracts many tourists. Within Franklinton, a small town in the western Franklin County, an example of North Carolina’s scientific inquiry and technology exists: Novozymes North America Inc. plant, the largest multi-purpose enzyme manufacturing plant in the nation. Other important communities are Bunn, Centerville, and Youngsville.
A few historical notables and famous athletes have called Franklin County home. Thomas B. W. Bickett, the 54th Governor of North Carolina, lived in Louisburg for some time. Franklinton (population just under 2,000) has produced more famous athletes than many areas significantly larger. Boxer Jack Johnson, basketball player Henry Bibby, baseball players Jim Bibby (brother to Henry) and Wilbur Wade Card, and NFL player Wilmont Perry all hail from the small town. Other natives include U.S. Diplomat Moses A. Hopkins and country music singer Jason Michael Carroll.
Franklin County has many of the rolling hills that grace the North Carolina Piedmont countryside, but the Tar River also runs through it and provides an even more picturesque setting while providing a formerly important transportation route for the area’s agricultural, lumber, and textile industries. For its scenery, Franklin County has, in some ways, become a bedroom community as people commute to neighboring Wake County, Raleigh, or Research Triangle Park to work.