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Pittsylvania County, Virginia facts for kids

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Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Seal of Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Pittsylvania County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the USA highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1767
Seat Chatham
Largest town Hurt
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

978 sq mi (2,533 km²)
969 sq mi (2,510 km²)
9 sq mi (23 km²), 0.9%
 - (2015)
 - Density

64/sq mi (25/km²)
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Named for: William Pitt

Pittsylvania County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 63,506. Its county seat is Chatham.

Pittsylvania County is included in the Danville, VA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

The largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States — and the seventh largest in the world — is located in Pittsylvania County. (See Uranium mining in Virginia)


Chatham Savings Bank Chatham Virginia
Main Street, Chatham, Pittsylvania County, circa 1922

Originally "Pittsylvania" was a name suggested for an unrealized British colony to be located primarily in what is now West Virginia. Pittsylvania County would not have been within this proposed colony, subsequently known as Vandalia.

The county was formed in 1767 from Halifax County. It was named for William Pitt, 1st Earl of Chatham, who served as Prime Minister of Great Britain from 1766 to 1768 and opposed harsh colonial policies.

In 1777 the western part of Pittsylvania County became Patrick Henry County.

Maud Clement's History of Pittsylvania County notes the following: ”Despite the settlers’ intentions, towns failed to develop for two reasons: the generally low level of economic activity in the area and the competition from plantation settlements already providing the kind of marketing and purchasing services typically offered by a town. Plantation settlements along the rivers, particularly at ferrying points, became commercial centers. The most important for early Pittsylvania was that of Sam Pannill, a Scots-Irishman, who at the end of the eighteenth century, while still a young man, set up a plantation town at Green Hill on the north side of the Staunton River in Campbell. (Clement 15)”

Its economy was tobacco-dominated and reliant on a growing slave labor force. It was a county without towns or a commercial center. Plantation villages on the major River thoroughfares were the only centers of trade, until the Danville emergence. (Clement 23)”

The city of Danville’s history up through the antebellum period overall is an expression of the relationship between the town and the planters who influenced its development.


Marion Post Wolcott Blairs Virginia
Loading hay, Blairs, Pittsylvania County, 1939. Marion Post Wolcott

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 978 square miles (2,530 km2), of which 969 square miles (2,510 km2) is land and 9 square miles (23 km2) (0.9%) is water. It is the largest county in Virginia by land area and second-largest by total area. The county is bounded on the north by the Roanoke River, intersected by the Banister River through the middle, and drained by the Dan River on the south.


The county is divided into seven districts: Banister, Callands-Gretna, Chatham-Blairs, Dan River, Staunton River, Tunstall, and Westover.

Adjacent counties and cities

Major highways

  • US 29
  • US 58
  • US 311
  • US 360
  • SR 40
  • SR 41
  • SR 51
  • SR 57
  • SR 360


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 11,579
1800 12,697 9.7%
1810 17,172 35.2%
1820 21,323 24.2%
1830 26,034 22.1%
1840 26,398 1.4%
1850 28,796 9.1%
1860 32,104 11.5%
1870 31,343 −2.4%
1880 52,589 67.8%
1890 59,941 14.0%
1900 46,894 −21.8%
1910 50,709 8.1%
1920 56,493 11.4%
1930 61,424 8.7%
1940 61,697 0.4%
1950 66,096 7.1%
1960 58,296 −11.8%
1970 58,789 0.8%
1980 66,147 12.5%
1990 55,655 −15.9%
2000 61,745 10.9%
2010 63,506 2.9%
Est. 2015 62,194 −2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

As of the census of 2000, there were 61,745 people, 24,684 households, and 18,216 families residing in the county. The population density was 64 people per square mile (25/km²). There were 28,011 housing units at an average density of 29 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 75.00% White, 23.66% Black or African American, 0.14% Native American, 0.19% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 0.63% from two or more races. 1.23% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 24,684 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 58.30% were married couples living together, 11.70% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.20% were non-families. 23.40% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.80% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.49 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.00% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 28.80% from 25 to 44, 26.60% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.90 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $35,153, and the median income for a family was $41,175. Males had a median income of $30,105 versus $21,382 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,991. About 8.60% of families and 11.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.80% of those under age 18 and 16.60% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

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