Jones County was founded in 1779 from the southwestern portion of Craven County. The county seat is Trenton. Jones County covers an area of 473 square miles where only one square mile is covered by water. The county received its name in honor of Willie Jones who was a Revolutionary leader and president of the North Carolina Council of Safety. It is noted that Willie Jones was the state’s chief opponent of ratification of the United States Constitution; he very much was opposed to the idea and declined an invitation to the Constitutional Convention.
A portion of the Croatan National Forest is located within Jones County and is a national protected area. Jones County is divided into seven townships, which include Beaver Creek, Chinquapin, Cypress Creek, Pollocksville, Trenton, Tuckahoe and White Oak.
In the February 2008 issue of Progressive Farmer Magazine, Jones County was ranked as the best rural county located in North Carolina. This ranking was based on several factors, which included land and home affordability prices, crime statistics, the environment, the educational system, economic factors, access to health care and many other criteria.
The famous Foscue Plantation House, which was built in 1803 and belonged to the Simon Foscue family. The plantation once covered over 10,000 acres and was operated by slave labor. The plantation served as a hospital for the Northern troops during the Civil War. It is the only remaining house along what is now Highway 17 in Jones County.