Bladen County was first settled by Highland Scots who came to the Cape Fear Valley in 1734 seeking religious freedom. Once North Carolina's largest county, Bladen received its name, "Mother of Counties", because fifty-five counties have been carved from it. It now contains some 879 square miles and is the fourth largest county in the state. Originally, Bladen contained over 1,000 lakes and was the state's most beautiful county. The lakes, believed to have been created by a bombardment of meteors 100,000 years ago, have developed into important recreational areas and tourist attractions. Within its present boundaries, seven of them remain.
Bladen County is abundant in natural recreation areas. There are three rivers within its boundaries, with the Cape Fear River, the largest, bisecting the county. Fishing is reported to be excellent throughout the county. Good hunting is generally limited to squirrel and deer. White Lake is commercially developed and attracts thousands of visitors annually. Bay Tree Lake is a growing private resort development. Jones and Singletary Lakes are state owned parks. The climate is good for outdoor recreation with nine months of moderate weather per year.