Richmond County


Located in the both the Southern Piedmont and Sandhills regions, Richmond was formed in 1779 out of Anson County and gets its name from Charles Lennox, the third Duke of Richmond who was a known and avid supporter of the colonists. The county seat of Rockingham, like the county of Rockingham, was named in honor of former British Prime Minister Charles Watson Wentworth, the Marquis of Rockingham.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Richmond became renowned for its railroads. In the 1890s, an Englishman named John Shortridge established a woolen and saw mill along Marks Creek in what would become Hamlet. Shortridge was responsible for bestowing the town with its name after noting the scattering of houses along the banks of the creek reminded him of hamlets in England, communities smaller than a town or a village.

Shortridge successfully convinced the railroads to lay tracks and run trains through the center of Hamlet by selling the Seaboard Airline Railroad the land for $1. In 1900, Seaboard Rail built a Queen Anne-style Victorian train station, known as the Hamlet Depot, which is said to be the most photographed station in the eastern US. Hamlet became known as the “Hub of the Seaboard” with 30 passenger trains passing through the town daily. Today, the Hamlet Depot remains an active Amtrak station and museum. Visitors can take the Seaboard Trail walking tour and experience the Depot as well as 17 sites in the historic downtown district.

Richmond offers several opportunities to explore nature and natural history. The Town Creek Indian Mound located in Mt. Gilead is unusual for its long-captured interest by archaeologists and anthropologists alike. Town Creek has been studied for over fifty years. The Rankin Museum of American and Natural History in Ellerbe houses the collection of Dr. Pressley Rankin, Jr. who was an avid curator of natural, local, and Native American history.

Part of the Pee Dee National Wildlife Refuge, an 8,500-acre nature preserve, is located in Richmond as well as Sandhill Game Lands, a sprawling preserve of approximately 60,000 acres. Sandhill Game Lands is located in Richmond, Scotland, Moore, and Hoke counties and is known for its impressive long-leaf pine habitat, as well as a favorite among hunting, fishing, and hiking enthusiasts.

When it comes to recreation and political history, Richmond is known for the Rockingham Speedway, or “the Rock.” It was once said if you wanted to know who would win an election, go talk to voters at the Rockingham Speedway. Opened in 1965, the Rock has not hosted a NASCAR Cup series since 2004 and the racetrack has gone through several ownership changes since then. In the 2021 state budget, $9 million was allocated to Richmond County for infrastructure improvements at the Rockingham Speedway. While the track has hosted smaller races and concerts, the current ownership is optimistic that NASCAR could return to the Rock in 2024.

Since 2000, Richmond has gone from being a strong Democratic county to a strong Republican county. In 2012, Richmond County split its ticket for Barack Obama, who won the county by 2.9%, and Pat McCrory, who won by 3.5%. Ten years later, Richmond is no longer considered a swing county. In 2020, Donald Trump carried the county by nearly 15 points. In 2022, Ted Budd won the county by a margin of 18.7%.


County Seat: Rockingham
Biggest Cities:
  • Rockingham
  • East Rockingham
  • Cordova
  • Hamlet
  • Ellerbe
  • Hoffman
Media Market: Charlotte

Elected Officials

County Data