Brief History of Anson County:
Anson County is located in the south central Piedmont region of North Carolina. The county was named for Lord George Anson, who was the first Lord of the British Admiralty. Established in 1750, Anson County was once the largest territory in North Carolina stretching west to the Mississippi River and including portions of the State of Tennessee.Today, Anson County currently encompasses 536 square miles with a current population of 26,948 (2010 Census). Anson is bordered by Richmond, Stanly, and Union counties in North Carolina and Chesterfield County in South Carolina. The county seat is the Town of Wadesboro. Anson County enjoys a mild climate with an average temperature of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. January is the coldest month with an average temperature of 42.5 degrees. July is the hottest month with an average temperature of 78.9 degrees. The annual average rainfall in Anson County is 41.52 inches. Centrally located, Anson County is located approximately 52 miles east of Charlotte; two hours and 15 minutes from the State Capital of Raleigh; and, around two hours and 30 minutes from the mountains and around two hours and 30 minutes from the North and South Carolina beaches.
There are seven towns located in Anson County, which include the Towns of Ansonville, Lilesville, McFarlan, Morven, Peachland, Polkton, and Wadesboro. Anson County is bordered on the east and the north by the Yadkin Pee Dee River.
Town of Ansonville
First called College, the Town of Ansonville (631 pop.) was established by local planters as a settlement in 1844. The Town assumed its present name of Ansonville in 1857 and remained unincorporated until 1885. Ansonville was the home of Carolina Female College, which was one of the earliest chartered schools for women in the south (1849-1868). Ansonville was the home of Anson Technical Institute, which is now a part of South Piedmont Community College.
A number of stately homes remain in the Town of Ansonville today, which includes the Shady Oaks Plantation Bed and Breakfast (circa 1832) shown below.
Methodist and Baptist churches reaching back to 1852 and 1887 are located in and around Ansonville. All Souls Episcopal Church (established 1880) is located on US Highway 52 North next to the Ansonville Town Hall.
Gaddy’s Wild Geese Refuge, which closed in 1957, was well known to nature lovers. Gaddy’s Geese Refuge is now incorporated into the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge which is located within one mile from the Town of Ansonville.
Since 1934, thousands of Canadian geese have been flying south to Ansonville, NC to spend the winder at Lockhart Gaddy’s Wild Geese Refuge.
Gaddy’s Covered Bridge is located at Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge in Anson County. Pee Dee Wildlife consists of approximately 8,500 acres located in Anson and Richmond Counties. The wildlife refuge is located seven miles north of the Town of Wadesboro on US Highway 52 just outside of the Town of Ansonville. The diversity of habitats and management programs support a broad range of wildlife species, including over 180 bird; 49 amphibian and reptile; 28 mammal; and, over 20 fish species. The refuge lands are comprised of 3,000 acres of bottomland hardwoods; 120 acres of upland pine forest; and, 4,300 acres of cropland, old fields moist soils units and mixed pine hardwoods. Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge boosts over 35,000 visitors annually.
Town of Lilesville
The first Anson County Courthouse was believed to have been placed on the north side of the Pee Dee in the area then called Mount Pleasant across the river from the present Blewett Falls Dam, which is near Lilesville. While a post office was established in the Town of Lilesville as early as 1828, the Town was not incorporated until 1874. The Town has a population of 459 and was generally thought to be named after merchant, Nelson P. Liles; however, claims have also been made in favor of Elijah Liles and Ephraim Liles. The Town is located near Blewett Falls Lake and hydroelectric dam. In 1758 William Blewett purchased land along the Pee Dee River where he operated a ferry and a fishery. In 1905 the Blewett Falls site was chosen for a hydroelectric power plant.
Blewett Falls Lake is a 2,560 acre lake located on the Yadkin-Pee Dee River between the Anson county-seat of Wadesboro and Rockingham in neighboring Richmond County. The lake is the storage reservoir for the Blewett Falls Hydroelectric Dam. Sports enthusiast will find Blewett Falls Lake well stocked with bass, crappie, bream, stripers and catfish. Different species are known to be more active at different times of the year. However, the lake is probably best known for the large catfish that are regularly caught there, including blue cats, channel and flathead catfish.
Two boat ramps are available to the boater and angler in Anson County, and both are free to the public. The major boat landing and ramp is located close to the dam on Boat Landing Road, which branches off Blewett Falls Road, just off US Highway 74. The other boat landing is on NC Highway 109 north of Wadesboro, just beside the Highway 109 Bridge that crosses the Pee Dee River on the north end of Blewett Falls Lake.
Town of Morven
In March 1823 a post office was located in a store built by Hugh McKenzie and named Morven after McKenzie’s mother’s hometown in Scotland. McKenzie served as the first postmaster and the owner and operator of the store, which was located west of existing day Morven. With the establishment of the Cheraw and Salisbury Railroad in the late 1860’s, Morven’s population shifted to its present site, a short distance west of old Morven, which included large acreages of cotton that were grown on farms in and around this community. The Town of Morven was incorporated in 1883. An existing cotton gin is still located in current day Morven (population 498). Eliza Jane Pratt from Morven was the first woman from North Carolina to ever serve as a member in the US House of Representatives (1946).
Town of McFarlan
Located some four miles from Morven and a few miles west of the historic communities of Sneedsborough and Cairo lies the small Town of McFarlan (population ___). In April 1883 the US Post Office changed the name of its post office at Sneedsborough to conform with the new railroad station, named for Allen McFarland, president of the Cheraw & Salisbury Railroad. The town incorporated in 1885 as the name of McFarland but carries the spelling of McFarlan today as a result of the spelling in the 1900 Census.
Town of Wadesboro (county seat)
The Town of Wadesboro (pop. 5,746) serves as the county seat for Anson County. Wadesboro, established in 1783 was called New Town until 1787 when the name was changed in honor of Revolutionary War patriot Colonel Thomas Wade. The Town of Wadesboro is comprised of Uptown businesses, offices, and a Historic District with four museums.
|Anson County’s 6th courthouse Constructed 1913||18th-century Boggan-Hammond House and Museum Built by Capt. Patrick Boggan in 1796, donor of the land for the Town of Wadesborough. The house is owned and maintained by the Anson County Historical Society and is furnished in period furnishings.|
|19th-century Alexander Little House located on the same property as the Boggan-Hammond house built in 1839 and furnished with period furnishings.||Ashe-Covington Medical Museum Owned and maintained by Anson Historical Society.|
|The Leavitt House Museum is the oldest commercial building still in use in Anson County. It was constructed in 1832 as a residence for Norfleet Boggan. Wadesboro’s only Antebellum frame commercial building is a fine example of the Greek Revival Style. In 1867 the house was converted into an Inn and a rear wing was added and used as a kitchen. It remained an Inn until 1935 when purchased by the Leavitt family. The museum now houses the Tom Little Artifacts; the F.C. Allen Arrowhead collection; and, a Wadesboro High School Memorabilia room in addition to other collections. The Museum is owned and maintained by the Anson County Historical Society.||Wadesboro’s Municipal Lake is located on NC Hwy. 742 South and is open for fishing Tuesday through Sunday. The “City Pond” hosts a screened-in facility; boat rental; and a playground area for children.|
|The Wadesboro Park includes a .8-mile walking trail; two picnic shelters; restrooms; and a playground area for children.||Historic Uptown Wadesboro Business District|
Town of Peachland
Originally Mulcahy, the town was renamed in 1888 for the peach orchards owned by Pad Gray. Peachland was incorporated in 1895. A Peachland physician, Dr. Parks Turner Beeman, is known for successfully feeding fever patients while other doctors preferred to starve them. His epitaph reads: “I Fed Fever.” The area was once known for its gold-panning. In 1814, Lawyers Spring Primitive Baptist Church was started. Lawyers, on horseback from Charlotte to Wadesboro, camped at one of the many springs in the area. Population: 554 | Altitude: 446 feet
Town of Polkton
The Carolina Thread Trail winds its way through Anson County as part of a regional trail and greenway network that will link 15 counties. Not only will the Carolina thread trail create a permanent legacy of conservation for more than two million people by linking communities and attractions across North and South Carolina, it will also serve as a great place for walking, biking, commuting and simply enjoying.
The Master Plan for the Carolina Thread Trail proposes a network that comprises 7,300 square miles and links more than 40 destinations in the counties of Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cherokee, Chester, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, Union and York. The Carolina Thread Trail will preserve our natural areas, encourage healthy lifestyles and promote tourism while providing a place for exploration of nature, culture, science and history. The trail initially depends on privately funded grants to encourage local planning and participation in the creation and connection of greenways and blueways, but will be free and accessible to all.