Vance County is a county located in the U.S. state of North Carolina. As of 2000, the population was 42,954. Its county seat is Henderson.
The county was formed in 1881 from parts of Franklin County, Granville County, and Warren County. According to the 1955 book, Zeb’s Black Baby, by Samuel Thomas Peace Sr., “The formation of Vance County was accomplished largely as a political expediency. It was in 1881 when Blacks in large numbers were voting solidly Republican. Granville and Franklin Counties were nip and tuck, Democratic or Republican. From the Democratic standpoint, Warren County was hopelessly Republican. But by taking from Granville, Franklin and Warren, those sections that were heavily Republican and out of these sections forming the new county of Vance, the Democratic party could lose Vance to the Republicans and save Granville and Franklin for the Democrats. Senator Vance was a Democrat. He took kindly to this move and thanked the Legislature for honoring him with naming the new county after him. At the same time…Vance showed his humor by always referring to Vance County as ‘Zeb’s Black Baby.'” In the 1890 Census, Vance County was more than 63 percent African American.