Lunenburg County Courthouse
The Old Free State
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
|• Total||432 sq mi (1,120 km2)|
|• Land||432 sq mi (1,120 km2)|
|• Water||0.7 sq mi (2 km2) 0.2%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||30/sq mi (12/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Lunenburg County was established on May 1, 1746, from Brunswick County. The county is named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lünenburg in Germany, because one of the titles also carried by Britain's Hanoverian kings was Duke of Brunswick-Lünenburg. It is nicknamed "The Old Free State" because during the buildup of the Civil War, it let Virginia know the county would break off if the state did not join The Confederacy.
Among the earliest settlers of the county was William Taylor, born in King William County, Virginia. He was the son of Rev. Daniel Taylor, a Virginia native and Anglican priest educated at Trinity College, Cambridge University in England, and his wife Alice (Littlepage) Taylor. William Taylor married Martha Waller, a daughter of Benjamin Waller of Williamsburg, Virginia.
In 1760 Taylor purchased three adjoining tracts of land in Lunenburg County totaling 827 acres (3.35 km2). Taylor soon became one of the county's leading citizens, representing Lunenburg in the Virginia House of Burgesses from 1765 until 1768. In that capacity, Taylor voted in 1765 to support statesman Patrick Henry's Virginia Resolves in 1765. Taylor served as County Clerk for 51 years (1763–1814).
Taylor was succeeded as County Clerk by his son William Henry Taylor, who held the office for another 32 years—from 1814 until 1846. Another son, General Waller Taylor, represented Lunenburg in the Virginia legislature, then moved to Vincennes, Indiana. There he became a judge and subsequently Adjutant General of the United States Army under General William Henry Harrison in the War of 1812. General Waller Taylor later served as one of the first United States senators from the newly created state of Indiana from 1816 to 1825. He died on a visit home to see his relatives in Lunenburg County in 1826.
During much of the American Civil War, the family of Missionary Bishop Henry C. Lay lived in Lunenberg County, where Mrs. Lay (the former Eliza Withers Atkinson) grew up. Both of Bishop Lay's brothers served as Confederate colonels, and Mrs. Lay's uncle, Thomas Atkinson was bishop of North Carolina.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 432 square miles (1,120 km2), of which 432 square miles (1,118 km2) is land and 1 square mile (2 km2) (0.16%) is water.
- Brunswick County (east)
- Charlotte County (west)
- Mecklenburg County (south)
- Nottoway County (northeast)
- Prince Edward County (north)
- US 360 (Eastbound Only – Three-Sixty Hwy)
- SR 40 (Lunenburg County Rd; joins SR 49 and becomes Courthouse Rd; Court St and Main St in Victoria; K-V Rd; Main St and S Broad St in Kenbridge, Blackstone Rd)
- SR 49 (Falls Rd; joins SR 40 in Victoria and becomes Main St; Courthouse Rd
- SR 137 (E 5th Ave; S Hill Rd; Dundas Rd)
- SR 138 (E 5th Ave; S Hill Rd)
|U.S. Decennial Census|
As of the census of 2000, there were 13,146 people, 4,998 households, and 3,383 families residing in the county. The population density was 30 people per square mile (12/km2). There were 5,736 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 59.12% White, 38.58% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.21% Asian, 0.05% Pacific Islander, 0.75% from other races, and 1.14% from two or more races. 1.79% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 4,998 households, out of which 27.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.50% were married couples living together, 13.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.30% were non-families. 28.70% of all households were made up of individuals, and 14.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.91.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 21.30% under the age of 18, 8.00% from 18 to 24, 28.10% from 25 to 44, 25.80% from 45 to 64, and 16.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 113.80 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $27,899, and the median income for a family was $34,302. Males had a median income of $26,496 versus $20,237 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,951. About 14.90% of families and 20.00% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.30% of those under age 18 and 22.80% of those age 65 or over.
Lunenburg County Public Schools operates the following schools:
- Kenbridge Elementary School- Kenbridge, VA
- Victoria Elementary School- Victoria, VA
- Lunenburg Middle School- Victoria, VA
- Central High School- Victoria, VA
There are no private or independent schools in Lunenburg County, and no colleges or universities are located there. Kenston Forest School in Nottoway County, approximately 20 minutes away, offers the closest K-12 private education available to Lunenburg County residents.
Other unincorporated communities
- Lewis Archer Boswell, experimented with flying aircraft. Local legends claim he achieved heavier-than-air flight before the Wright Brothers, though there is no historical evidence.
- Justice Paul Carrington (1733–1818), second member appointed of the Virginia Supreme Court.
- Roy Clark, born in Meherrin, he became a highly acclaimed country musician and a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador.
- Henry W. Collier, born in the county, was elected fourteenth Governor of Alabama, from 1849 to 1853.
- Alfred L. Cralle, born in the county, became an inventor and businessman in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is best remembered for inventing the lever-operated ice cream scoop in 1897.
- Anthony Davis, an NFL football player, currently for the New Orleans Saints (beginning 2009). From Lunenburg County, he attended Central High School in Victoria, Virginia.
- Richard Ellis, born and raised in Lunenburg County, settled in Alabama where he was a member of Alabama's Constitutional Convention in 1818 and an Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court (1819–1826).
- James Greene Hardy, a county native, was elected Lt. Governor of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, serving from 1855 to 1856.
- John A. Murrell (1806?–1844), born in the county, bandit, known for the Mystic Clan or Mystic Confederacy and Murrell Insurrection Conspiracy
- Verner Moore White (1863–1923), born in the county, was a noted landscape and portrait artist.
- Thomas C. Wright Jr. Member of House of Delegates (2001–present) Lifelong resident of Victoria, VA
- Sheriff A. B. Shackleton, who served as Head Sheriff of Lunenburg County from 1903 to 1955. At the time of his retirement, Sheriff Shackleton was not only the oldest active *Sheriff in the United States, but also remains the longest-serving Sheriff in history.
- Sheriff Arthur Townsend Jr, the first African American sheriff of the county elected in 2006 is still the current Sheriff of the county.
- "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved July 14, 2019.
- "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 192.
- The Old Free State: A Contribution to the History of Lunenburg County and Southside Virginia. Landon Covington Bell. 1927. Pp. 578ff. Reprint: 1974, 2005, Genealogical Publishing Company. ISBN 9780806306230. Google Books.
- Admissions to the College of St. John the Evangelist in the University of Cambridge, Part III, Robert Forsyth Scott, The University Press, Cambridge, 1903
- Listing: "Rev. Daniel Taylor", Virginia Magazine of History and biography, Vol. VIII, Virginia Historical Society, Printed by William Ellis Jones, Richmond, Va., 1901
- Lyon Gardiner Tyler, Encyclopedia of Virginia Biography, Vol. I, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, New York, 1915
- At his death in 1820, a Richmond newspaper noted in its obituary of William Taylor that he was the last man known to be alive who had heard Patrick Henry's famous "Give me liberty or give me death" speech in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
- Pattie B. Seay, Survey Report, The Taylor Cemetery Archived February 19, 2012, at the Wayback Machine, Library of Virginia Digital Collection
- "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.
- "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
- Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved December 9, 2020.