The county was formed in 1779 from the southern half of Bute County. It was named for Benjamin Franklin. The act establishing the county authorized that the first court be held at the home of Benjamin Seawell. The justices were to determine where subsequent courts were to be held until the courthouse could be erected. In 1779 Lewisburg was established on land purchased by the commissioners for the erection of the courthouse. Louisburg is the county seat.