State of Virginia
Virginia, the northernmost of the
southern United States, is bounded n. by Pennsylvania and
Maryland, from which it is separated by the Potomac; E. by the
Atlantic; s. by North Carolina and Tennessee; w. by Kentucky;
and n. w. by Ohio. It lies between 36° 33' and 40° 43' n. lat.,
and between 75° 25' and 83° 40' w. long.; and between 6° 34' w.,
and 1° 20' e. long, from W. It is 370 miles long, and 200 broad
at its greatest width, containing 64,000 sq. miles, or
40,960,000 acres. The population in 1790, was 747,610; in 1800,
886,149; in 1810, 974,622; in 1820, 1,065,366: in 1830,
1,211,272; in 1840, 1,239,797, of which 448,987 were slaves. Of
the free white population 371,223 were white males; 369,745 do.
females; 23,814 were colored males; 26,020 do. females. Employed
in agriculture, 318,771; in commerce, 6,361; in manufactures and
trades. 54,147; navigating the ocean, 582; do. canals, rivers,
and lakes, 2,952; learned professions, &c, 3,866.
This state is divided into 119 counties, and two districts,
Eastern and Western.
County, Population, Capital
|Accomac, 17,096, Accomac C. H.
||Lancaster, 4,628, Lancaster C.
||Loudoun, 20,431, Leesburg
|Amelia, 10,320, Amelia C. H.
||Louisa, 15,433, Louisa C. H.
|Amherst, 12,576, Amherst C. H.
||Lunenburg, 11,055, Lunenburg C.
|Bedford, 20,203, Liberty
||Madison, 8,107, Madison
||Matthews, 7,442, Matthews C. H.
|Buckingham, 18,786, Buckingham
||Mecklenburg, 20,724, Boydton
|Campbell, 21,030, Campbell C.
||Middlesex, 4,392, Urbanna
|Caroline, 17,813, Bowling Green
||Nansemond, 10,795, Suffolk
|Charles City, 4,774, Charles
City C. H.
||Nelson, 12,287, Livingston
|Charlotte, 14,595, Charlotte C.
||New Kent, 6,230, New Kent C. H.
Chesterfield C. H.
||Norfolk, 27,569, Norfolk
|Culpepper, 11,393, Culpepper C.
||Northampton, 7,715, Eastville
|Cumberland, 10,399, Cumberland
Northumberland C. H
|Dinwiddie, 22,558, Dinwiddie C.
||Nottoway, 9,719, Nottoway C. H.
|Elizabeth City, 3,706, Hampton
||Orange, 9,125, Orange C. H.
|Essex, 11,309, Tappahannock
||Patrick, 8,032, Patrick C. H.
|Fairfax, 9,370, Fairfax C. H.
Pittsylvania C. H.
|Fauquier, 21,897, Warrenton
||Powhatan, 7,924, Scottsville
|Fluvanna, 8,812, Palmyra
||Princess Anne, 7,285, Princess
Anne C. H.
|Franklin, 15,832, Rocky Mount
||Prince Edward, 14,069, Prince
Edward C. H.
|Gloucester, 10,715, Gloucester
||Prince George, 7,175, City
|Goochland, 9,760, Goochland C.
||Prince William, 8,144,
|Greensville, 6,366, Hicksford
||Rappahannock, 9,257, Washington
|Greene, 4,232, Stannardsville
||Richmond, 5,965, Richmond C. H.
|Halifax, 25,936, Halifax C. H.
|Hanover, 14,968, Hanover C. H.
Spotsylvania C. H.
|Henrico, 33,076, Richmond
||Stafford, 8,454, Falmouth
|Henry, 7,335, Martinsville
||Surry, 6,480, Surry C. H.
|Isle of Wight, 9,972,
||Sussex, 11,229, Sussex C. H
|James City, 3,779, Williamsburg
||Warwick, 1,456, Warwick C. H.
|King George, 5,927, King George
Westmoreland C. H.
|King William, 9,258, King
William C. H.
||York, 4,720, Yorktown
|King and Queen, 10,862, King
and Queen C. H.
whites, 369,398, free colored, 42,294, slaves 395,250
County, Population, Capital
|Alleghany, 2,749, Covington
||Monongalia, 17,368, Morgantown
|Augusta, 19,628, Staunton
||Monroe, 8,422, Union
|Bath, 4,300, Bath
|Berkley, 10,972, Martinsburg
||Morgan, 4,253, Berkley Springs
|Botetourt, 11,679, Fincastle
||Nicholas, 2,515, Summersville
|Braxton, 2,575, Braxton C. H.
||Ohio, 13,357, Wheeling
|Brooke, 7,948, Wellsburg
||Page, 6,194, Surry
|Cabell, 8,163, Cabell C. H.
||Pendleton, 6,940, Franklin
|Clarke, 6,353, Berryville
||Pocahontas, 2,922, Huntersville
|Fayette, 3,924, Fayetteville
||Preston, 6,866, Kingwood
|Giles, 5,307, Giles C. H.
||Pulaski, 3,739, Newbern
|Grayson, 9,087, Greensville
||Randolph, 6,203, Beverly
|Greenbrier, 8,695, Lewisburg
||Roanoke, 5,499, Salem
|Hampshire, 12,295 Romney
||Rockbridge, 14,284, Lexington
|Hardy, 7,622, Moorefield
|Harrison, 17,669, Clarksburg
||Russell, 7,878, Lebanon
|Jackson, 4,890, Ripley
||Scott, 7,303, Estiuville
|Jefferson, 14,032, Charlestown
||Shenandoah, 11,618, Woodstock
|Kanawha, 13,567, Charleston
||Smythe, 6,522, Marion
|Lee, 8,441, Jonesville
||Tazewell, 6,290, Jeffersonville
|Lewis, 8,151, Weston
||Tyler, 6,954, Middlebourne
|Logan, 4,309, Logan C. H.
||Warren, 5,627, Front Royal
|Marshall, 6,937, Elizabethtown
||Washington, 13,001, Abingdon
|Mason, 6,777, Point Pleasant
||Wood, 7,923, Parkersburg
|Mercer, 2,233, Princeton
||Wythe, 9,375, Wytheville.
whites 371,570, free colored 7,548, slaves 53,737 total,
Richmond is the capital of the state,
situated on the N. side of James River, at the head of
tide-water, and just below its lower falls.
This state has a great variety of surface and soil. From the
Atlantic to the lower falls on the rivers, which includes a
tract of from 110 to 130 miles in width, the country is low and
flat, in some places marshy, but extensively sandy, covered with
the pitch pine. On the margin of the rivers, the soil is often
rich. This is denominated the low country, and is unhealthy from
August to October. Between the head of tidewater and the Blue
Ridge, the country becomes uneven and hilly, and more so as it
approaches the mountains. The soil in this region is some of it
sandy and poor; some of it is fertile, particularly on the
margins of the rivers. Toward the mountains the country is stony
and broken, though the soil is often rich. The first ridge of
mountains in this state is generally about 150 miles from the
ocean. Beyond this the country is mountainous, traversed by
successive ridges of the Alleghany, which occupies a greater
breadth of country in Virginia than in any other state. Between
the various ridges, however, there are long valleys or table
land, parallel with them, often of considerable breadth, and
containing some of the best and most pleasant land in Virginia.
The farms are here smaller than in other parts of the state,
better cultivated, and there are fewer slaves. The climate in
this region is very healthy.
The soil in the tidewater country is generally poor, producing
Indian corn, oats, and peas. Wheat is raised in some parts of
it, and a little rice in the swamps in its southern part.
Between tidewater and the mountains is the tobacco country; but
in the northern upland counties wheat has extensively superseded
tobacco; and south of James river, sufficient cotton is raised
for homo consumption. The southeastern counties produce apples
and peaches in great abundance. Among the mountains, the farmers
raise large numbers of cattle and hogs. Indian com is cultivated
throughout the state. The country west of the mountains toward
the Ohio, is rough and wild, sometimes, but not generally
fertile; but very rich as a mineral region.
There were in this state in 1840, 326,439 horses and mules;
1,024,148 neat cattle; 1,293,772 sheep; 1,992,155 swine; poultry
to the value of $754,698. There were produced 10,109,716 bush-els
of wheat; 87,430 of barley; 13,451,062 of oats; 1,482,799 of
rye; 243,822 of buckwheat; 34,577,591 of Indian corn; 2,538,374
pounds of wool; 10,597 of hops; 65,020 of wax; 2,944,660 bushels
of potatoes; 364,708 tons of hay; 25,594 of hemp and flax;
75,347,106 pounds of tobacco; 2,956 of rice; 3,494,483 of
cotton; 3,191 of silk cocoons; 1,541,833 of sugar. The products
of the dairy were valued at $1,480,488; of the orchard $705,765;
value of lumber produced $538,092; 13,911 gallons of wine were
The mineral wealth of Virginia is very great. Gold, copper,
lead, iron, coal, salt, limestone, and marble are found,
together with a number of valuable mineral springs. An attention
to the business of mining has recently been excited, and in
1840, 2,000 persons were employed in it. The belt of country in
which gold is found, extends through Spotsylvania county and the
adjacent country, and in a s. w. direction, passes into North
and South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama. The gold in this state
is not sufficiently concentrated to render it profitable,
excepting in a few places, to engage in mining it. The coal
fields in Virginia are very extensive, and afford both the
bituminous and the anthracite. Large quantities have been
obtained and exported from the vicinity of Richmond. Salt
springs have been found in various places, and salt has been
extensively manufactured on the Great Kanawha River, near
Charleston. The warm springs, at Bath, the hot springs, a few
miles distant, the sulphur springs, in Greenbrier and Montgomery
counties, and the sweet springs, of Botetourt County, are much
resorted to by those in pursuit of health and of pleasure.
The natural bridge, in Rockbridge
County, and Weyer's cave, in Augusta County, are great
The staple productions of the state are wheat and tobacco
The Potomac River separates this state from Maryland. James
River is the largest which belongs to this state. It is 500
miles in length, and flows from the mountains in the interior,
behind the Blue Ridge, through which it passes. It is navigable
for sloops 120 miles, and for boats much fur-ther, and enters
into Chesapeake Bay. The Appomattox is 130 miles long, and
enters James River 100 miles above Hampton roads, and is
navigable 12 miles, to Petersburg. The Rappahannock rises in the
Blue Ridge, is 130 miles long, is navigable 110 miles for
sloops, and enters into the Chesapeake. York River enters the
Chesapeake 30 miles below the Rappahannock, and is navigable 40
miles for ships. The Shenandoah enters the Potomac just before
its passage through the Blue Ridge. Of the rivers w. of the
mountains, the Great Kanawha rises in North Carolina, passes
through this state and enters the Ohio. The Little Kanawha also
enters into the Ohio. The Monongahela rises in this state,
though it runs chiefly in Pennsylvania.
The lower part of Chesapeake Bay lies
wholly in this state, is 15 miles wide at its mouth, and enters
the Atlantic between Cape Charles and Cape Henry. Norfolk, 8
miles from Hampton roads, has a fine harbor, much the best in
the state, spacious, safe, and well defended; and it is the most
commercial place in Virginia: but Richmond and Petersburg are
more populous, and have an extensive trade. Besides these,
Wheeling, Lynchburg, Fredericksburg, and Winchester, are
The exports of this state in 1840, amounted to $4,778,220; and
the imports to $545,685. There were 31 commercial and 64
commission houses engaged in foreign trade, with a capital of
$4,299,500; 2,736 retail drygoods and other stores, with a
capital of $16,684,413; 1,454 persons employed in the lumber
trade, with a capital of $113,210; 931 persons engaged in
internal transportation, who, with 103 butchers, packers, &c,
employed a capital of $100,680; 556 persons employed in the
fisheries, with a capital of $28,383.
The manufactures of Virginia are not so extensive as those of
some states inferior to it in territory and population. There
were in 1840, domestic or family manufactures to the amount of
$2,441,672; 41 woolen manufactories and 47 fulling mills,
employing 222 persons, producing articles to the amount of
$147,792, with a capital of $112,350; 22 cotton manufactories,
with 42,262 spindles, employing 1,816 persons, producing
articles to the amount of $446,063, with a capital of
$1,299,020; 42 furnaces producing 18,810 tons of cast-iron, and
52 forges, &c, producing 5,836 tons of bar-iron, the whole
employing 1,742 persons, and a capital of $1,246,650; 11
smelting houses employed 131 persons, and produced gold to the
amount of $51,758, employing a capital of $103,650; 5 smelting
houses employed 73 persons, and produced 878,648 pounds of lead,
employing a capital of $21,500; 12 paper manufactories,
producing articles to the amount of $216,245, and other paper
manufactories producing $1,260, the whole employing 181 persons,
and a capital of $287,750; 3,342 persons manufactured tobacco to
the amount of $2,406,671, employing a capital of $1,526,080;
hats and caps were manufactured to the amount of $155,778, and
straw bonnets to the amount of $14,700, the whole employing 340
persons, and a capital of $85,640; 660 tanneries employed 1,422
persons, and a capital of $838,141; 982 other leather
manufactories, as saddleries, &c, produced articles to the
amount of $826,597, and employed a capital of $341,957; 4
glass-houses, and 2 glass-cutting establishments employed 164
persons, producing articles to the value of $146,500, with a
capital of $132,000; 33 potteries employed 64 persons, producing
articles to the amount of $31,380, with a capital of $10,225; 36
persons produced drugs, paints, &c, to the amount of $66,633,
with a capital of $61,727; 445 persons produced machinery to the
amount of $429,858; 150 persons produced hardware and cutlery to
the amount of $50,504; 262 persons manufactured 9,330
small-arms; 40 persons manufactured granite and marble to the
amount of $16,652; 1,004 persons produced bricks and lime to the
amount of $393,253; carriages and wagons were manufactured to
the amount of $647,815, employing 1,592 persons, and a capital
of $311,625; 1,454 distilleries produced 865,725 gallons, and 5
breweries produced 32,960 gallons, employing 1,631 persons, and
a capital of $187,212; 764 flouring mills produced 1,041,526
barrels of flour, and with other mills employed 3,964 persons,
producing articles to the amount of $7,855,499, with a capital
of $5,184,669; ships were built to the amount of $136,807; 675
persons manufactured furniture to the amount of $289,391; 402
brick or stone, and 2,604 wooden houses were built, employing
4,694 persons, and cost $1,367,393; 50 printing offices, and 13
binderies, 4 daily, 12 semi-weekly, and 35 weekly newspapers,
and 5 periodicals, employed 310 persons, and a capital of
$168,850. The whole amount of capital employed in manufactures
in the state was $11,360,861.
William and Mary College, at
Williamsburg, is the oldest in the state, and one of the oldest
in the country, and was founded in 1691. Hampden Sidney College,
in Prince Edward County, was founded in 1783, and is
flourishing. Washington College, at Lexington, was founded in
1812. Randolph Macon College was founded at Boydton in 1832.
There are theological schools at Richmond, in Prince Edward
County, and in Fairfax County. But the most important literary
institution in the state is the University of Virginia, at
Charlottesville, founded in 1819. Its plan is extensive, its
endowment has been munificent, and it is a prosperous
institution. In all these, with a few smaller institutions,
there were in 1840, 1,097 students; there were in the state,
also, 332 academies, with 11,083 students; 1,561 common and
primary schools, with 35,331 scholars; and 58,787 white persons
over 20 years of age who could neither read nor write.
The Baptists, the most numerous religious denominations, have
about 437 churches; the Presbyterians 120; the Episcopalians, 65
ministers; the Methodists 170. There are also a few Lutherans,
Catholics, Unitarians, Friends, and Jews.
In January, 1840, there were in this state 8 banks and branches,
with a capital of $3,637,400, and a circulation of $2,513,412.
At the close of the same year the public debt amounted to
There is a state penitentiary located at Richmond.
The first constitution of Virginia
was formed in 1776. This was altered and amended by a convention
assembled for that purpose, in 1830. The executive power is
vested in a governor, elected by the joint vote of the two
houses of the general assembly. He is chosen for three years,
but is ineligible for the next three. There is a council of
state, elected in like manner for three years, the seat of one
being vacated every year. The senior councilor is
lieutenant-governor. The senators can never be more than 36, and
the delegates than 150; and both are apportioned anew among the
counties every 10 years, commencing with 1841. The senators are
elected for 4 years, and the seats of one fourth of them are
vacated every year. The delegates are chosen annually. All
appointments to any office of trust, honor, or profit, by the
legislature, are given openly, or viva voce, and not by ballot.
The judges of the Supreme Court of appeals, and of the superior
courts, are elected by the joint vote of both houses of the
general assembly, and hold their offices during good behavior,
or until removed by a joint vote of two thirds of the
The right of suffrage is extended to every resident white male
citizen of 21 years of age, entitled to vote by the former
constitution; or who owns a freehold valued at $25; or a joint
interest in a freehold to that amount; or who has a life estate,
or a reversionary title to land valued at $50, having been so
possessed for 6 months; or who shall own, or be in occupation
of, a leasehold estate, having been recorded 2 months, for a
term not less than 5 years, to the annual value or rent of $200;
or who for 12 months shall have been a housekeeper and head of a
family, and paid the taxes assessed by the commonwealth.
Virginia has undertaken several important works of internal
improvement, by chartering private companies, several of which
have been liberally aided by the state. The Dismal Swamp canal
connects Chesapeake Bay with Albemarle Sound, extending from
Deep creek to Joyce's creek, 23 miles, at a cost of $879,864. It
has branches of 11 miles. The Alexandria canal extends 7½ ms.
from Georgetown to Alexandria. The James River and Kanawha canal
extends 175 miles, from Richmond to Buchanan. The Richmond,
Fredericksburg, and Potomac railroad extends 75 miles, to Aquia
creek. Louisa branch, 25 miles from Richmond, proceeds 49 miles,
Richmond and Petersburg railroad, from Richmond, extends 23
miles, to Petersburg. Petersburg and Roanoke railroad extends
from Petersburg, 59 miles, to Weldon. Greensville railroad
extends from near Hicks, for 18 miles, to Gaston, N. C. City
Point railroad extends from Petersburg, 12 miles, to City Point.
Chesterfield railroad extends from Coal Mines, 131 miles, to
Richmond. Portsmouth and Roanoke railroad extends from
Portsmouth, 8 miles, to Weldon, N. C. Winchester and Potomac
railroad extends from Harper's Ferry, 32 miles, to Winchester.
Virginia is sometimes denominated the Ancient Dominion, having
been settled in April, 1607, at Jamestown, on James River, which
was the first white settlement in the United States. It was
named Virginia, in honor of Queen Elizabeth, by Sir Walter
Raleigh, to whom she granted the country. He attempted a
settlement of it, which failed. The grant was vacated by the
execution and attainder of that nobleman, under James I. The
country was then granted to two companies, the London Company
and the Plymouth Company, and called South and North Virginia.
By the former the country was settled, and Jamestown was named
in honor of their royal patron. This country suffered many
disasters arising from the turbulence of its citizens, the wars
with the Indians, and the tyranny of the royal governors.
Virginia was a very loyal province, and was attached to the
royal party in the revolution of 1688; and was among the first
to proclaim Charles II., at the restoration. The Church of
England was established by law, in 1662. Virginia had the high
honor, in 1732, of being the birth-place of George Washington,
and it was as an officer of her colonial militia that he
commenced his career of military glory. This state was among the
first to resist the aggressions of the mother country, and her
sages and her yeomen bore a distinguished part in the struggles
of the revolution. Her Patrick Henry, as a revolutionary orator,
her Washington, as the greatest and the best in the field and in
the cabinet, and her Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, as
presidents of the United States, and her Marshall, as
chief-justice, have conferred distinguished honor on their
country. In convention, June 25th, 1788, the constitution of the
United States was adopted, yeas 89, nays 79; majority, 10. It
will be found that the constitution was adopted with most
difficulty where the spirit of freedom was the most jealous.
Table of Contents
Source: A Complete Descriptive And
Statistical Gazetteer Of The United States Of America, By Daniel
Haskel, A. M and J. Calvin Smith, Published By Sherman & Smith,
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