Patrick County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,490. Its county seat is Stuart. It is located within both the rolling hills and valleys of the Piedmont Region of Virginia and mountainous Southwest Virginia.
Prior to the formation of Patrick County, one of the Virginia colony's first frontier forts lay within the boundaries of what was then Halifax County on the banks of the North Mayo River. The location of Fort Mayo, now marked by a Virginia state historic marker, lies within present-day Patrick County. It was one of a number of such forts built from the Potomac River south to North Carolina, and was commanded by Captain Samuel Harris in 1756, the year in which George Washington made a tour of Fort Mayo and several other forts on the Virginia frontier. Fort Mayo was the southernmost of the Virginia frontier forts and saw action during the French and Indian War.
One of Patrick County's most prominent early settlers was Col. Abraham Penn (sometimes written Abram Penn), born in 1743 in what is today Amherst County, Virginia. Penn qualified as Lieutenant in the Amherst County militia in June 1768, and led a company under Col. Andrew Lewis at the Battle of Point Pleasant in 1774. Penn later moved with his wife Ruth (née Stovall) to present-day Henry County, Virginia, where he patented lands at the later site of Beaver Creek Plantation. Penn served on the Committee of Safety for both Henry and Pittsylvania counties, and as a delegate to the Virginia General Assembly from Henry County.
Eventually selling those lands to the Hairston family, Penn moved with his family a few miles farther west to what is today Patrick County, where he built his home Poplar Grove. During the American Revolution Col. Penn ordered the muster of some 300 militiamen under his command to march south to aid General Nathanael Greene at the battle of Guilford Court House, although some question whether the troops arrived in time for the fighting. Militia under Penn's command were also involved in the Battle of Eutaw Springs. Penn was later present at Yorktown to witness the surrender of the British forces under General Cornwallis. Col. Penn was one of the organizers of Patrick County, which he served many years as a justice. The unincorporated community of Penn's Store is named for Col. Penn and his descendants. The Abram Penn Highway in Patrick County is also named for Col. Penn, who died in 1801.