kids encyclopedia robot

Northampton County, Virginia facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Quick facts for kids
Northampton County
Northampton County Courthouse Historic District
Northampton County Courthouse Historic District
Official seal of Northampton County
Map of Virginia highlighting Northampton County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1634
Seat Eastville
Largest town Exmore
 • Total 795 sq mi (2,060 km2)
 • Land 212 sq mi (550 km2)
 • Water 584 sq mi (1,510 km2)  73.4%
 • Total 12,282
 • Density 15.449/sq mi (5.965/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 2nd

Northampton County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population was 12,282. Its county seat is Eastville. Northampton and Accomack Counties are a part of the larger Eastern Shore of Virginia.

The county is the center of the late Eocene meteor strike that resulted in the Chesapeake Bay impact crater. The Northampton County Courthouse Historic District is part of the Eastville Historic District at the county seat.


When English colonists first arrived in the area in the early 1600s, the Virginia Eastern Shore region was governed by Debedeavon (aka "The Laughing King"), paramount chief of the Accawmacke clans who numbered around 2000 at the time. The former name of the county was Accomac Shire, one of the original shires of Virginia. In 1642, the name was changed to Northampton County by the English, to eliminate "heathen" names in the New World. (In England, "shires" and "counties" were the same thing). In 1663, Northampton County was split into two counties that still exist today. The northern two thirds took the original Accomac name, while the southern third remained as Northampton.


Notice! Persons desiring to establish Supply Stores in the Counties of Accomac and Northampton, Va. Drummondtown, Virginia, 1864
Notice to persons "desiring to establish supply stores" in Accomac and Northampton Counties, Virginia, September 19, 1864

Northampton County is notable for a colonial court case involving an indentured servant. The first free negro (a term used prior to the abolition of slavery) in North America was Anthony Johnson of Northampton County. Johnson was also the first African-American to own land.

In 1653, Johnson brought suit in Northampton County Court to argue that one of his servants, John Casor, was indentured to him for life. Casor had left him and was working for a neighbor.

Lawyers Row at Northampton Courthouse Square
Courthouse and Lawyers Row (opposite side of square from historic district photo above)

The court ruled in Johnson's favor, making Northampton County the first jurisdiction to legally acknowledge that Negros could own slaves. This court ruling decision also gives insight to how owners of indentured servants could easily choose to ignore the expiration of indentured contracts and force their servants into lifetime slavery. Although Casor, an African, had well-known white planters taking his part, he was reduced to lifetime slavery. Some planters sought more profitable methods of labor by taking advantage of Negro indentured servants, who had little recourse in the legal and social system to protect their rights.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 795 square miles (2,060 km2), of which 212 square miles (550 km2) is land and 584 square miles (1,510 km2) (73.4%) is water.

Adjacent county and independent city

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 6,889
1800 6,763 −1.8%
1810 7,474 10.5%
1820 7,705 3.1%
1830 8,641 12.1%
1840 7,715 −10.7%
1850 7,498 −2.8%
1860 7,832 4.5%
1870 8,046 2.7%
1880 9,152 13.7%
1890 10,313 12.7%
1900 13,770 33.5%
1910 16,672 21.1%
1920 17,852 7.1%
1930 18,565 4.0%
1940 17,597 −5.2%
1950 17,300 −1.7%
1960 16,966 −1.9%
1970 14,442 −14.9%
1980 14,625 1.3%
1990 13,061 −10.7%
2000 13,093 0.2%
2010 12,389 −5.4%
2020 12,282 −0.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010 2020

2020 census

Northampton County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 6,755 6,932 54.52% 56.44%
Black or African American alone (NH) 4,491 3,756 36.25% 30.58%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 26 58 0.21% 0.47%
Asian alone (NH) 81 80 0.65% 0.65%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 2 8 0.02% 0.07%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 15 30 0.12% 0.24%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 145 350 1.17% 2.85%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 874 1,068 7.05% 8.70%
Total 12,389 12,282 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2020 Census

Lawyers Row at Northampton Courthouse Square
Courthouse, Confederate Monument, and Lawyers Row in Eastville

As of the census of 2010, there were 12,389 people, 5,321 households, and 3,543 families residing in the county. The population density was 63 people per square mile (24/km2). There were 6,547 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 57.9% White, 36.5% Black or African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 7.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

The largest ancestry groups in Northampton County include: African American (36%), English American (15%), German (7%), Irish (6%) and Italian (3%)

There were 5,321 households, out of which 25.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.30% were married couples living together, 17.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.40% were non-families. 29.40% of all households were made up of individuals, and 15.60% 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 2.94.

In the county, the age distribution of the population shows 23.30% under the age of 18, 7.10% from 18 to 24, 23.60% from 25 to 44, 24.80% from 45 to 64, and 21.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 87.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,276, and the median income for a family was $35,034. Males had a median income of $26,842 versus $21,839 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,591. About 15.80% of families and 20.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.20% of those under age 18 and 16.50% of those age 65 or over.

Northampton County is home to the United States' oldest continuous court records.


  • Campbell Field Airport

Major highways

  • US 13

  • US 13 Bus.
  • SR 178
  • SR 183
  • SR 184


Bloxom depot Cape Charles VA
Cape Charles, VA


Northampton County Public Schools operates public schools in the county.

Notable people

  • John Casor, the first person of African descent in England's Thirteen Colonies to be declared as a slave for life as the result of a civil suit
  • Adrian "Ace" Custis (1974-), former NCAA All-America basketball player at Virginia Tech, which retired his jersey. He is a 1992 graduate of Northampton High School.
  • Alvy Powell (1955-), opera singer, performed National Anthem at inauguration of President George H.W. Bush. He is a 1974 graduate of Northampton High School.
  • Ralph Northam (1959-), 40th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia (2014-2018) and 73rd Governor of Virginia (2018-2022).
  • Abel Upshur (1791–1844), born in Northampton County, United States Secretary of State and United States Secretary of the Navy
  • Tyler Webb (1990-), MLB relief pitcher, currently playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.
kids search engine
Northampton County, Virginia Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.