Notes on Virginia Counties

By
John Collins


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Accawmack County and its descendants

Accawmack County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. Its name was changed to Northampton County in 1642.

Northampton County was a name change for Accawmack County in 1642.

Accomack County was formed from Northampton County in 1661. These are now the two counties on the Eastern Shore.

Charles City County and its descendants

Charles City County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. Several other counties have been formed out of it, either directly (Prince George County 1703) or indirectly (Brunswick County 1732; Amelia County 1735; Prince Edward County 1754). What now remains as Charles City County lies on the north bank of the James River, between James City County (another of the original shires) to its east and Chesterfield County (formed from Henrico County, another original shire, in 1749) to its west: it is bordered by New Kent County to its north and Henrico County to its north-west.

Prince George County was formed out of Charles City County in 1702/03.

Brunswick County was formed out of Prince George County (with small parts coming from Isle of Wight and Surry Counties) in 1732 (legislative enactment 1720).

Amelia County was formed out of Prince George and Brunswick Counties in 1735. Two other counties were formed out of it: Prince Edward County (1754) and Nottoway County (1788/89).

Lunenburg County was formed from Brunswick County in 1746.

Dinwiddie County was formed from Prince George County in 1752. It is now surrounded by Prince George, Sussex, (the northern tip of) Greenville, Brunswick, Nottoway and Amelia Counties.

Prince Edward County was formed from Amelia County in 1754. It is now surrounded by Cumberland, Amelia, Nottoway, Lunenburg, Charlotte, Appomattox and Buckingham Counties.

Charlotte County was formed from Lunenburg County in 1764/65.

Nottoway County was formed from Amelia County in 1788/89. It is now surrounded by Amelia, Dinwiddie, Brunswick, Lunenburg and Prince Edward Counties.

Charles River County and its descendants

Charles River County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. In 1642/43 its name was changed to York County.

York County was a new name in 1642/43 for what had been Charles River County. What now remains as York County is on the north-east side of the Peninsula.

Gloucester County was formed from York County in 1651

New Kent County was largely formed out of York County in 1654 (with a little bit coming from James City County).

King and Queen County was formed from New Kent County in 1691.

King William County was formed from King and Queen County in 1701.

Hanover County was formed from New Kent County in 1720/21.

Louisa County was formed from Hanover County in 1742.

Matthews County was formed from Gloucester County in 1790.

Elizabeth City County and its descendants

Elizabeth City County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. It merged with the independent city of Hampton in 1952.

New Norfolk County was formed from Elizabeth City County (one of the original 1634 shires) in 1636, being that part lying south of Hampton Roads.

Lower Norfolk County was formed from New Norfolk County in 1637. It was extinguished upon the creation of Norfolk and Princess Anne Counties in 1691. Because Charles Iís grant to his Attorney-General, Sir Robert Heath, in 1629 was all land between 31 and 36 degrees north latitude, by default this county stretched down to 36 degrees (just north of present-day New Bern, NC).

Upper Norfolk County was formed from New Norfolk County in 1637. It was extinguished upon the organization of Nansemond County in 1643.

Nansemond County was formed from Upper Norfolk County in 1642/43. Because Charles Iís grant to his Attorney-General, Sir Robert Heath, in 1629 was all land between 31 and 36 degrees north latitude, by default this county stretched down to 36 degrees (just north of present-day New Bern, NC). Even after the northern boundary of Carolina was adjusted northwards from 36 degrees by Charles II in 1665, part of what is now Gates County, NC adjoining Bennetts Creek continued to be treated as part of the Upper Parish of Nansemond County until the dividing line betwixt Virginia and North Carolina was finally settled by survey in 1728. Extinguished in 1972 when Nansemond City was incorporated. Nansemond City extinguished 1974 when consolidated with City of Suffolk.

Norfolk County was formed from Lower Norfolk County in 1691. It was extinguished in 1962 when independent city of Chesapeake was chartered. The oldest known deed for land now in North Carolina, dated September 24, 1660, was discovered accidentally in 1965 among Norfolk County records in Chesapeake.

Princess Anne County was formed from Lower Norfolk County in 1691. It was absorbed by independent city of Virginia Beach in 1963.

Henrico County and its descendants

Henrico County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634.

Chesterfield County was formed from Henrico County in 1749.

James City County and its descendants

James City County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. Later, portions gained from New Kent County and from York County.

Surry County was formed from James City County in 1652, being that part lying south of the James River. It is between Isle Of Wight County (a 1637 name change for Warrosquoake County, one of the original 1634 shires) and Prince George County, with Sussex County (formed from Surry County in 1753/54) to its south-west.

New Kent County was formed in 1654 from James City County and York County. James City County gave only a small portion, possibly at a later date.

Sussex County was formed from Surry County in 1753/54.

Warrosquyoake County and its descendants

Warrosquyoake County was one of the original Virginia shires of 1634. Its name was changed to Isle Of Wight County in 1637.

Isle of Wight County was a name change for Warrasquyoake County in 1637. Later, portions added from Upper Norfolk and parts of Nansemond. It lies on the south side of the James River, now surrounded by the City of Suffolk, Southampton and Surry Counties.

Southampton County was formed from Isle of Wight and Nansemond Counties in 1749. Nansemond County gave only a small portion, possibly at a later date.

Printed by permission of John Collins