Place:Middlesex, Virginia, United States

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NameMiddlesex
Alt namesMiddlesexsource: Getty Vocabulary Program
TypeCounty
Coordinates37.6°N 76.567°W
Located inVirginia, United States     (1669 - )
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Middlesex County is a county located on the Middle Peninsula in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 10,959. Its county seat is Saluda.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

This area was long settled by indigenous peoples; those encountered by Europeans were of the Algonquian-speaking peoples, part of loose alliance of tribes known as the Powhatan Confederacy. The Nimcock had a village on the river where Urbanna was later developed. English settlement of the area began around 1640, with the county being officially formed in 1669 from a part of Lancaster County. This settlement pushed the Nimcock upriver. The county's only incorporated town, Urbanna, was established by the colonial Assembly in 1680 as one of 20 50-acre port towns designated for trade. It served initially as a port on the Rappahannock River for shipping agricultural products, especially the tobacco commodity crop. As the county developed, it became its commercial and governmental center.

The Rosegill Estate was developed as a plantation by Ralph Wormeley beginning in 1649, with construction of its major buildings through the 17th century. It served as the temporary seat of the colony under two royal Governors of Virginia, (Sir Henry Chicheley, who served under Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway, and Lord Francis Howard, 5th Baron Howard of Effingham). This and other plantations in the county were developed for the commodity crop of tobacco through the 18th century, which was highly dependent on the skilled labor of enslaved African Americans.

In the 19th century, many planters from the Upper South sold slaves to the Deep South after switching from tobacco to mixed crops, which required less labor. Others migrated to the Deep South to develop new land and plantations, taking slaves with them, as did Thomas Wingfield, who moved to Wilkes County, Georgia in 1783, accompanied by 23 slaves. Following the American Civil War and emancipation, numerous freedmen stayed in the rural area of Middlesex County, working on the land for pay or a share of crops. Others moved to towns or cities as artisans, seeking more opportunities.

The Rosegill mansion continues to be used as a private residence to this day. Most of the land of the estate was purchased in the 21st century by a Northern Virginia development firm, which plans to develop it as a 700-home subdivision. An archaeological survey of the property included in the first phase of the planned development has revealed what appear to be parts of the Nimcock village. It also has uncovered evidence of the Rosegill slave community of African Americans. The developer intends to proceed with building houses over a portion of the artifacts, which will render excavation and study of them impossible.

During the American Civil War, Urbanna was planned as the point of landing for General George B. McClellan's 1862 Peninsula Campaign of 1862 to take Richmond. McClellan shifted to use Fort Monroe as the starting point, almost doubling the distance by land that troops had to travel to the Confederate citadel. Delays in reaching the gates of Richmond allowed the Confederates ample time to erect substantial defensive batteries, contributing to the Union failure in this campaign.

The Historic Middlesex County Courthouse was built in 1850-1874 by architects William R. Jones and John P. Hill. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Construction of a new 21st-century county courthouse began in 2003 and was completed in 2004. It was not occupied until September 2007, however, due to a legal dispute between the county and the architect. The Historic Courthouse has been remodeled and now serves as the Board of Supervisors meeting room and the Registrar's Office.

Urbanna was incorporated on April 2, 1902, comprising an area of . The Town of Urbanna remains the county's largest commercial center and its only incorporated area. The county seat was moved to the Village of Saluda on U.S. Route 17. To the east, almost to Stingray Point, the Village of Deltaville is situated on State Route 33 between the mouths of the Rappahannock and Piankatank rivers. Once a major center for wooden boat building, the village has become known as a commercial and recreational center. Its waterfront and east to Stingray Point how has many marinas, with a concentration on Broad Creek.

Timeline

Date Event Source
1669 County formed Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1673 Court records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1673 Land records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1673 Probate records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1740 Marriage records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources
1790 First census Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1790 No significant boundary changes after this year Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
1853 Birth records recorded Source:Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources

Population History

source: Source:Population of States and Counties of the United States: 1790-1990
Census Year Population
1790 4,140
1800 4,203
1810 4,414
1820 4,057
1830 4,122
1840 4,392
1850 4,394
1860 4,364
1870 4,981
1880 6,252
1890 7,458
1900 8,220
1910 8,852
1920 8,157
1930 7,273
1940 6,673
1950 6,715
1960 6,319
1970 6,295
1980 7,719
1990 8,653

Research Tips

  • Piankatank Parish was in now Middlesex County (formed from Lancaster in 1669.) It was consolidated into Christ Parish, Middlesex, in 1669. It's parish register survives and has been published, most recently (with a revised index), in 1988 (Southern Historical Press).


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