"Now sterner days press on. The Colony Grown strong, and ever hungry for new soil Strikes deeper in the trackless continent."

The original shires were subdivided as follows:

ACCAWMACK (1634-1642-3)—First had name changed to Northampton (1642-3) and from the latter was taken a section in 1663 that was given the name of Accomac.

NORTHAMPTON (1642-3)—From Northamptonshire, England. In compliment of Colonel Obedience Robins, a Burgess from that section, who was a native of Northamptonshire. (Green, 56).

CHARLES CITY (1634)—From it came Prince George (1703), and from this county were taken Brunswick (1732), Ameba (1736), Dinwiddie (1752). From Brunswick came Lunenburg (1746) and Greenville (1781). From Ameba came Prince Edward (1754) and Nottoway (1789). From Lunenburg came Halifax (1752), Bedford (1754), Charlotte (1765) and Mecklenburg (1765). Halifax gave Pittsylvania (1767). Bedford gave Campbell (1782) and Franklin (1786). (Part of Franklin was taken from Henry and Patrick). Pittsylvania gave Henry (1777). Henry gave Patrick (1791).

Origin of names.—Charles City, Prince Charles (Charles I). Prince George, Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne (then on the throne). Amelia, in honor of Princess Amelia Sophia, youngest daughter of George II. Dinwiddie, Lieutenant-Governor Robert Dinwiddie. Brunswick, Duchy of Brunwick, Germany. Lunenburg, one of the titles of George I, Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg. Greenville, in honor of General Green, after he won the battle of Guilford C. H. Prince Edward after Edward Augustus, son of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Nottoway, an Indian tribe. Word means snake. Halifax,—from second Earl family. Bedford,—John Russell, Fourth Duke of Bedford. Charlotte,—Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg, Queen of George III. Mecklenburg,—Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, Queen of George III. Pittsylvania, Sir William Pitt, Earl of Chatham. Campbell,—General William Campbell, the hero of the battle of Kings Mountain. Franklin,—Benjamin Franklin. Henry,—Patrick Henry. Patrick,—Patrick Henry, having been part of Henry County.

CHARLES RIVER (1634-1642-3).—Name changed to York (16423). From York came Gloucester (1651) and New Kent (1654). From Gloucester came Mathews (1791). From New Kent came King and Queen (1691 and Hanover (1721). From King and Queen came King William (1702). From Hanover came Louisa (1742).

Origin of names.—Charles River, named after the River (now York) and in honor of Charles L, then Duke of York. He became Prince of Wales on death of his brother Henry, and afterward was crowned Charles I. Gloucester, Henry, Duke of Gloucester. Third son of Charles I. New Kent, said to be named by Colonel William Claiborne after Kent Island, from which he was driven by the Maryland charter. Mathew s, Major Thomas Mathews, who was in command at Cricket Hill when Dunmore attempted to hold Guinn's Island, and Milford Haven. King and Queen, after William and Mary, joint sovereigns. Hanover, Duke of Hanover, afterward George I. King William, King William, after Mary's death. Louisa, Princess Louisa, daughter of George II. She married Frederick V., of Denmark.

ELIZABETH CITY (1634).—From Elizabeth City was formed New Norfolk (1636). New Norfolk ryas divided into Upper and Lower Norfolk (1637). From Upper Norfolk was taken Nansemond (1642). Lower Norfolk was divided into Norfolk and Princess Anne (1691).

Origin of names—Elizabeth City, first known as Kicquotan. It was named in honor of Princess Elizabeth, daughter of James I. She married Frederick, Elector Palatine, on St. Valentine's Day, February 14, 1612-13 (O. S.). New Norfolk, (Upper Norfolk, Norfolk). In honor of Norfolk, a port in England. Jefferson (1792) states as opinion that it received its name from the Duke of Norfolk. Nansemond (Nansemunds), an Indian word meaning "fishing point." A village of this name was located in that section. Princess Anne, in honor of Princess Anne, who became Queen in 1702.

Counties From Henrico.

HENRICO (1634).—From Henrico came Goochland (1728) and Chesterfield (1749). From Goochland came Albemarle (1744) and Cumberland (1749.) From Albemarle came Amherst (1761), Buckingham (1761) and Fluvanna (1777). From Cumberland came Powhatan (1777). From Amherst came Nelson (1808). From Buckingham came Appomattox (1845 Appomattox was also formed from sections of Prince Edward, Charlotte and Campbell.

Origin of names.—Henrico, in honor of Prince Henry, Prince of Wales, who was a patron of the colony, but died before ascending the throne. Goochland, in honor of LieutenantGovernor William Gooch. In office from 1727 to 1744. Chesterfield, in honor of the Fourth Earl of Chesterfield (Philip Dormer Stanhope). Albemarle, in honor of the Second Earl of Albemarle (William Anne Kepp) Governor-General of the colony. Cumberland, in honor of the victor of Culloden, William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. Amherst, in honor of Sir Jeffrey Amherst, the hero of Ticondaroga. He was a Colonial Governor (1763-68). Buckingham, in honor of the Duke of Buckingham. Fluvanna, is a word that means "River Ann." Perpetuates name of Queen Ann, as does following names: North and South Anna, Rivanna, Rapidan, etc. Some writers claim Germana, as belonging to this list. Powhatan, was named after the great Indian chief Nelson, in honor of General Thomas Nelson, Jr. He was the third Governor of the State. Appomattox, an Indian tribe of the Algonquin nation. Name means "A sinuous tidal estuary." Refers to the rivers James and Appomattox. Original spelling was "Apamatiku."

James City (1634.)

1. From James City was taken Surry in 1652.

2. From Surry teas taken Sussex in 1754.

Origin of names (1634)—James City named in honor of King James I. 1652—Surry, in honor of the English county of that name. 1754—Sussex, in honor of an English county.

Warrosquyoake (1634-37).

2. Name changed to Isle of Wight in 1637.

3. From Isle of Wight was taken Southampton in 1739.

Origin of Name (1634)—Warrosquyoake was named from an Indian tribe living south of the James. They were of the Powhatan Confederacy, and the name signified, "Swamp in a depression of land." 1637—Isle of Wight, from Isle of Wight, England. One of the patentees, Sir Richard Worsley, came, from Isle of Wight, England. His plantation was so named. 1739—Southampton was named in honor of Henry Wriothesley, Second Earl of Southampton. He was one of the best friends of the Colonists and a member of the Virginia Company. Associated with Edwin Sandys, he did everything possible to make the undertaking a success. He was a man of education and ability and was a great friend and patron of William Shakespeare. A number of Shakespeare's works were dedicated to him.

Warwick River ( 1634-42).

2. Name changed to Warwick in 1642. Named in honor of Robert Rich, Earl of Warwick. He was an active member of the Virginia Company.

Northumberland. (1648.)

This county was of great extent and its boundaries extended westward, without a limit being given, therefore the States of West Virginia, Kentucky, Illinois Ohio and Wisconsin (Ouisconsin), came within its borders.

1.<a href="#1" class="toolTip" title="Footnote: 1

The numbers from 1 to 12 refer to generations or sub-divisions.">[1] From Northumberland came Rappahannock (1651), Lancaster (1651), Westmoreland (1653), and Middlesex (1673).

2. From Rappahannock came Essex (1692), and Richmond (1692). From Westmoreland came Stafford (1664).

3. From Essex came Spotsylvania (1721). (NotePart of it being taken from King William and King and Queen). Caroline (1728) was also formed from Essex and parts of the two above named countiesKing William and King and Queen. From Stafford came Prince William (1731).

4. From Spotsylvania came Orange in (1734). From Richmond came King George (1721). From Prince William came Fairfax (1742), and Fauquier (1759).

5. From Orange came Frederick (1743), Augusta (1745), Culpeper (1749), and Greene (1838). From Fairfax came Loudoun (1757) and Alexandria (1847).

6. From Frederick came Berkeley (1772), Dunmore (1772-78), and Clarke (1836). From Culpeper came Madison (1783) and Rappahannock (1835).

7. From Berkeley- carne Jefferson (1801) and Morgan (1836). Dunmore was renamed Shenandoah (1778).

8. From Shenandoah came Warren in 1836. Returning to the fifth generation from Nothumberland we find that Augusta (1745) was divided as follows :

6. From Augusta came Hampshire (1754), Botetourt (1770), Monongalia (1776), Ohio (1776), Yohogania (1776), Rockbridge (1778), Rockingham (1778), Illinois (1776), Pendleton (1788), Bath (1791), and several counties now in West Virginia, viz.: Hardy (1789), Pendleton (1789), Brooke (1797), Tyler (1814), Pocahontas (1812). From Augusta was also formed, Allegheny (1822), Page (1831), Wetzel (W. Va., 1846), Highland (1847) and Hancock (1848).

7. From Hampshire came Hardy (1786). From Botetourt came Fincastle (1772-77), Greenbrier (1778), Roanoke (1838), Craig (1851).

8. From Fincastle came Kentucky (1777-80), Montgomery (1777), Washington (1777).From Greenbrier came Kanawha (1789), _Monroe (1799), Nicholas (1818).

9. From Kentucky- came Favette (1780), Jefferson (1780, Lincoln (1780). From Montgomery came Wythe (1790), Floyd (1831), Pulaski (1839). From Washington came Russell (1786). From Kanawha came Mason (1804), Gills (1809), Cabell (1809), Boone (1847), Putnam (1848), Roane (1856). From Nicholas came Webster (1860).

10. From Wythe came Grayson (1793) and Tazewell (1800). From Giles came Logan (1824), Mercer (1837), Bland' (1861). From Russell came Lee (1793) and Dickenson (1880)). From Mason came Jackson (1831). From Cabell came Wayne (1842). From Fayette came Bourbon (1786), Woodford (1789). From Lincoln came Madison (1786) and :Mercer (1786). From Jefferson came Nelson (1785).

11. From Grayson came Carroll (1842). From Tazewell came Buchanan (1858) and -McDowell (18581. From Logan came Fayette (1831) and Wyoming (1850). From Lee came Scott (1814) and Wise (1836). From Bourbon came Mason (1789).

12. From Fayette came Raleigh (1850). From Scott came Smyth (1832).

Returning to -Monongalia (see sixth generation) we find it divided as follows:

7. From Monongalia came Harrison (1784), Preston (1818), Marion (1842).

8. From Harrison came Randolph (1787), Wood (1798), Lewis (1816), Barbour (1843), Ritchie (1843). Taylor (1844), Doddridge (1845).

9. From Randolph carne Upshur (1851 ), and Tucker (1856). From Wood came Wirt (18481, and Pleasants (1851). From Lewis came Braxton (1836), and Gilmer (1845).

10. From Gilmer came Calhoun (1856), and Clay (1858).

1. Caroline—Taken from Essex, King William and King and Queen (1728). See 3, p. 158. Named in honor of Caroline of Auspach, Queen of George II.

A number of the counties above named were granted sections of counties adjoining them, but it is not thought necessary to give other than the parent county.

Key to Tracing County Origin.

Let us presume that the tracing is wanted for Gilmer County.

Gilmer (10) came from Randolph (9). Randolph from Harrison (8). Harrison from Monongalia (7). Monongalia from Augusta (6). Augusta from Orange (5). Orange from Spotsylvania (4). Spotsylvania from Essex (3). Essex from Rappahannock (2). Rappahannock from Northumberland (1). Northumberland is the original county and Gilmer is of the tenth generation, having at different periods been a part of the counties from one to nine. Calhoun and Clay would have the same tracing.


  1. The numbers from 1 to 12 refer to generations or sub-divisions.