Zebulon owes its existence to the decision made by the Raleigh and Pamlico Sound Railroad Company, which decided to bring the rail through a dense pine forest between the Whitley and Horton family farms in 1906. That same year, Edgar B. Barbee and Falconer B. Arendell organized the Zebulon Company for development. The company received its charter on February 15, 1906. Shortly thereafter, they began to divide up their forty-nine acres into lots, blocks, streets and avenues. On February 16, 1907 the Town, consisting of 297.5 acres, was officially recognized as Zebulon, North Carolina. The Town was named after Zebulon B. Vance, the North Carolina Governor during the civil war.

The first election was held in May of 1907. The first elected mayor was Thomas J. Horton. The commissioners were Avon G. Kemp, Will S. Horton, Nathan L. Horton, Thomas F. Powell and Joseph F. Fields.

Zebulon has seen tremendous growth in recent years.  Since the 1970 census the Town's population has grown from 1,830 to its current population of 4964.  While it continues to grow and prosper, Zebulon still offers a close knit community environment and it remains "The Town of Friendly People."