The area was originally claimed by Britain as part of the Clarendon settlements of the Province of Carolina, although actually populated at the time by the Cherokee. The county was founded in 1796. Landon Carter is who the county is named after, he was a General, the son of Virginia native John Carter. The area was part of the New Hanover Precint from 1729 to 1734. It was also part of Balden County from 1734 to 1749, Anson County from 1749 to 1753 and Rowan County from 1753 to 1775. The county today has a total area of 348 square miles with a population count of 56,351 residents.