Originally a part of the State of Virginia, King Charles II of England re-drew state lines in 1665, thus putting what is now Vance County into the State of Carolina.
As the area prospered in the mid to late 1800's, the idea of creating a separate county surfaced. After original legislative efforts to name the new county as "Gilliam" and later as "Dortch" failed, Vance County was established on May 5, 1881 by the North Carolina General Assembly and was named after Governor Zebulon Baird Vance, who was known as the Civil War governor. The majority of the land territory of the new county came from Granville County and the remainder came from Warren and Franklin Counties.
When first established, Vance County's population was approximately 9,000. Today, it has grown to over 43,000. It had a tax base then of about $2 million, now its base is well over $2 billion. Kerr Lake, the largest man-made lake east of the Mississippi river, was built in the 1950's as a means of flood control for eastern N.C. Since that time it has become one of the State's largest parks and tourist attractions.