Buckingham County is a rural United States county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and containing the geographic center of the state. Buckingham County is part of the Piedmont region of Virginia, and the county seat is the town of Buckingham.
Buckingham County was created in 1761 from the southeastern portion of Albemarle County and was predominantly farmland. The county was probably named in honor of the Duke of Buckingham, though the precise origin is uncertain. Several changes were made to the borders, until the existing boundaries were established in 1860.
As of the 2010 census, the county population was 17,146, and the county has experienced steady population growth over over the preceding forty years. Buckingham is also part of the Charlottesville Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Buckingham County, lying south of the James River at the geographic center of the state, was established on May 1, 1761 from the southeastern portion of Albemarle County. The origin of the county name probably comes from the Duke of Buckingham (Buckinghamshire, England). Some sources say that the county was named for Archibald Cary's estate "Buckingham" which was located on Willis Creek. This is the only Buckingham County in the United States.
In 1778 a small triangular area bordering the James River was given to Cumberland County. In 1845, another part was taken from Buckingham to form the northern portion of Appomattox County. A final adjustment of the Appomattox-Buckingham county line was made in 1860 and Buckingham's borders then became fixed in their current form. A fire destroyed the courthouse (designed by Thomas Jefferson) in 1869 and most of the early records of this county were lost.
In the nineteenth century the county was devoted chiefly to large farms, which converted from tobacco cultivation to mixed farming and pulpwood harvesting. Large tracts of land belong to companies such as WestVaco that sell pulpwood and other timber products to the paper mills and wood product producers. It is still largely rural with areas devoted to great recreation such as fishing and hunting. The County is home to families that can trace their ancestry back to the very early beginnings of Virginia History. Many families still live on tracts of land that were given to their families as land grants. These land grants were originally given to French Huguenots who first settled the south western part of the county in the early 1700s.
Lee’s army marched through the county during Lee’s retreat on their way to Appomattox, Virginia. A marker in the cemetery of Trinity Presbyterian Church in New Canton reads, "According to the oral history of Trinity Presbyterian Church and this community, here are 45 Confederate and Union soldiers buried in mass graves directly behind this church. They left Appomattox after the surrender and headed for their homes north of here. Sick with disease, they died in a nearby camp. That they may not be forgotten, this plaque is placed by the Elliott Grays UDC Chapter #1877 2003"
In 2011, the county celebrated its 250th Anniversary.