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Henry County, Virginia facts for kids

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Henry County
Beaver Creek Plantation
Official seal of Henry County
Map of Virginia highlighting Henry County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
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Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1777
Named for Patrick Henry
Seat Martinsville
Largest town Ridgeway
 • Total 384 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Land 382 sq mi (990 km2)
 • Water 2 sq mi (5 km2)  0.5%
 • Total 54,151
 • Estimate 
 • Density 141.02/sq mi (54.45/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts 5th, 9th
Virginia state historical marker Henry County Virginia
Virginia state historical marker for Henry County

Henry County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 54,151. The county seat is usually identified as Martinsville; however, the administration building (where county offices are located and where the board of supervisors holds meetings), county courthouse, Henry County Sheriff's Office and its jail are located on Kings Mountain Road (SR 174) in Collinsville.

Henry County is part of the Martinsville, VA Micropolitan Statistical Area.


Major John Redd
Major John Redd, Continental Army, pioneer settler of Henry County

The county was established in 1777 when it was carved from Pittsylvania County. The new county was initially named Patrick Henry County in honor of Patrick Henry, who was then serving as the first Governor of Virginia, and some of whose relatives had settled in the area. Governor Henry also had a 10,000-acre (40 km2) plantation called "Leatherwood plantation" (for Leatherwood Creek) in the newly named county (where he ended up spending 5 years between his third and fourth gubernatorial terms).

In 1785 the northern part of Patrick Henry County was combined with part of Bedford County to form Franklin County. In 1790, Patrick Henry County was split again: the western part became Patrick County and the rest remained Henry County.

Other notable early settlers included: George Waller, Captain George Hairston and Major John Redd, all of whom were present at the surrender of General Cornwallis at Yorktown; Col. Abram Penn, a native of Amherst County, Virginia, who led his Henry County militia troops with the intention of joining General Nathanael Greene at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse during the Revolutionary War; and Brigadier General Joseph Martin, for whom Martinsville is named. Also prominent were Mordecai Hord, a native of Louisa County and explorer, who lived on his plantation called Hordsville; and Col. John Dillard, born in Amherst County, Virginia in 1751, wounded at the Battle of Princeton during the Revolution, and later a member of the Committee of Safety. Captain Robert Hairston, a noted politician in the Colony of Virginia, owned Marrowbone plantation, commanded a militia company and served as Henry County's first high sheriff.

During the War of 1812, the 64th Virginia Militia, under Captain Graves, was formed in 1815 from Henry County. Benjamin Dyer was a lieutenant, then later a captain, of the 5th company of the 64th Virginia Militia.Private Alexander Hunter Bassett would later work large tobacco plantations in the county, and Wyatt Jarrett. Tavner Hailey (b.1793) of Martinsville became an early pioneer in Tennessee and served in the War of 1812. He was 1st Cpl. in Captain Brice Edward's Company, 64th Regiment, Virginia Militia."

During the American Civil War, the 42nd Virginia Infantry was formed in part from Henry County volunteers. Its state senator, Christopher Y. Thomas, owned Henry's former Leatherwood plantation and would later briefly serve in the U.S. House of Representatives after the war. He was succeeded by George Cabell, a Confederate army veteran (38th Virginia Infantry) born in nearby Danville and from a family long prominent in the area.

In 1902, the Henry County Historical Society was incorporated at Martinsville with its first officers being John W. Carter, J. Harrison Spencer and C. B. Bryant.


Colonel Joseph Martin Greenwood
Greenwood, built by Col. Joseph Martin, son of General Joseph Martin, namesake of Martinsville, at Axton, Henry County, 1808–1810

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 384 square miles (990 km2), of which 382 square miles (990 km2) is land and 2 square miles (5.2 km2) (0.5%) is water.


The county is divided into six supervisor districts: Blackberry, Collinsville, Horsepasture, Iriswood, Reed Creek, and Ridgeway.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • I-73 (future)
  • US 58
  • US 220
  • SR 57
  • SR 87
  • SR 108
  • SR 174
  • SR 457


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 8,479
1800 5,259 −38.0%
1810 5,611 6.7%
1820 5,624 0.2%
1830 7,100 26.2%
1840 7,335 3.3%
1850 8,872 21.0%
1860 12,105 36.4%
1870 12,303 1.6%
1880 16,009 30.1%
1890 18,208 13.7%
1900 19,265 5.8%
1910 18,459 −4.2%
1920 20,238 9.6%
1930 20,088 −0.7%
1940 26,481 31.8%
1950 31,219 17.9%
1960 40,335 29.2%
1970 50,901 26.2%
1980 57,654 13.3%
1990 56,942 −1.2%
2000 57,930 1.7%
2010 54,151 −6.5%
2018 (est.) 50,953 −5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 57,930 people, 23,910 households, and 16,952 families residing in the county. The population density was 152 people per square mile (58/km2). There were 25,921 housing units at an average density of 68 per square mile (26/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 89.47% White, 10% Black or African American, 0.16% Native American, 0.41% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 1.39% from other races, and 0.92% from two or more races. 3.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 23,910 households, out of which 28.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.30% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.10% were non-families. 25.80% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.40 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.30% under the age of 18, 7.50% from 18 to 24, 29.00% from 25 to 44, 26.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,816, and the median income for a family was $38,649. Males had a median income of $26,660 versus $20,766 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,110. About 8.80% of families and 11.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 15.20% of those under age 18 and 12.60% of those age 65 or over.


Patrick Henry's Leatherwood Home Henry County Virginia
Virginia state historic marker for plantation of Patrick Henry, county's namesake, Leatherwood, Henry County

As an independent city since 1928, Martinsville is not part of Henry County, but exists as an enclave, surrounded by the county.


Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Notable people

  • Ward Armstrong
  • Alexander Hunter Bassett
  • John D. Bassett
  • John Breathitt
  • Thomas G. Burch
  • H. Clay Earles
  • Patrick Henry
  • Jeff Hensley
  • Jimmy Hensley
  • J. C. Martin
  • Joseph Martin (general)
  • Otis Martin
  • Barry Michaels
  • Shawn Moore
  • Abram Penn
  • A. L. Philpott
  • Carr Waller Pritchett Sr.
  • Robert Hairston
  • Rodney Sawyers
  • Jessamine Shumate
  • Thomas B. Stanley
  • John H. Traylor
  • Christopher Thomas
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