|Charlotte County was formed from neighboring Lunenburg County in 1764 and named for Queen Charlotte, wife of George III of England. Settlement of this new frontier began approximately 50 years before the county was formed.|
|Charlotte County was the second governing body in the 13 colonies to declare its independence from England. As the American revolutionary spirit unfolded, these people of newly acquired wealth and influence played important roles in the formation of the government. Its militia units helped to halt the advance of Cornwallis in 1781 and to hasten the end of the American Revolution. Tarleton's raiders passed through Charlotte County. Lafayette's units camped near Charlotte Court House and George Washington stopped here on his trip south after the Revolution. Distinguished people throughout the entire country trace their ancestry to Charlotte County families. People of national importance have lived in Charlotte County. It was briefly the home of the signer of the Declaration of Independence, George Walton, later of Georgia. Patrick Henry, born in Hanover County, came to Charlotte in 1795 and is buried at Red Hill, a national shrine. John Randolph, who represented Virginia in both houses of the US Congress between 1799 and 1825, lived and was buried at his home, Roanoke Plantation. Charlotte Court House was the scene of a famous debate on states' rights between Henry and Randolph.|
|In late spring 1864, Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant's Overland Campaign had ground to a bloody halt outside Petersburg and Richmond, defended by Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia. In June, to deny Lee the use of the South Side Railroad and the Richmond and Danville Railroad for supplies, Grant sent cavalry divisions of Gen. James H. Wilson and Gen. August V. Kautz south of Petersburg to destroy track and rolling stock. On June 22, the Union cavalrymen marched down the South Side Railroad and destroyed track and depots with fighting rearguard actions. On June 25, they attacked the Staunton River Bridge crossing of the Richmond and Danville Railroad, where they were decisively repulsed. At this historic site, a ragtag group of Confederate old men and young boys beat the odds and held off an assault by 5,000 Union cavalry soldiers on a bridge of strategic importance to General Lee’s army, then under siege in Petersburg.|
In later years, Ambassador David K. E. Bruce, the only man to
be ambassador to three great European powers: Britain, France and Germany, and
then to be emissary to a great Eastern power: China, lived at
Staunton Hill, a Virginia and National Historic Landmark. He served as
delegate from this county to the Virginia General Assembly just prior to World
War II. Mr. Bruce gave generously to
Charlotte County, allowing for the construction of many of the stately buildings in the
of Charlotte Court House including its agriculture (Extension) building, Red Cross
building, health department, public library and gardens. In addition, Mr.
Bruce contributed to
the construction of the county's two high schools, Randolph-Henry High and
Central High. As was his dream, Charlotte Court House, the county seat, has been
likened to Williamsburg on a smaller scale.
The village of Charlotte Court House has been listed with the state and National Registers of Historic Places as an Historic Courthouse District for its uniqueness in architecture, business and government buildings. The rich heritage of old homes is architecturally significant as they reflect the styles from the Colonial and Georgian to the Federal and Greek Revival periods. Many of these stately mansions are listed with the Virginia and National Registers of Historic Places and have been restored to their original beauty. In 1998 Charlotte County partnered with the Charlotte County Chapter of the APVA to produce a Survey of Historic Architectural Resources. From this information, many Charlotte County owners have begun the process of listing their property on these important registers.
|In 2007, The Charlotte County Heritage Book Committee compiled a unique collection of stories to record the histories of Charlotte County's families, businesses, buildings, and communities. Copies of this book are available for reference at the Charlotte County Library. The Heritage Book Committee is now working to compile a second volume. More information about this project is available here.|
|Charlotte County Rich Indeed|
|Charlotte County, Rich Indeed: A History from Prehistoric Times Through the Civil War is a 588 page hardcover publication by Timothy S. Ailsworth, Ann P. Keller, Lura B. Nichols, and Barbara R. Walker. The book was originally printed in 1979 with a second printing taking place in 1998. New copies are still available and can be purchased directly from either of the genealogical societies below.|
Charlotte County Historical and Genealogical Society
South Central Virginia Genealogical Society