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Pittsylvania County, Virginia facts for kids

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Pittsylvania County
Pittsylvania County Courthouse
Official seal of Pittsylvania County
Seal
Map of Virginia highlighting Pittsylvania 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 1767
Named for William Pitt
Seat Chatham
Largest town Chatham
Area
 • Total 978 sq mi (2,530 km2)
 • Land 969 sq mi (2,510 km2)
 • Water 9 sq mi (20 km2)  0.9%
Population
 (2010)
 • Total 63,506
 • Estimate 
(2018)
60,949
 • Density 64.93/sq mi (25.071/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 5th

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

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

The largest undeveloped uranium deposit in the United States (7th largest in the world) is located in Pittsylvania County (see Uranium mining in Virginia.)

History

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.

Geography

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.

Districts

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

Demographics

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%
2018 (est.) 60,949 −4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

According to the most recent census records, there are 60,949 people, and 26,687 households residing in the county. The population density was 65.5 people per square mile (25/km2). There were 31,656 housing units at an average density of 32 per square mile (12/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 76.20% White, 21.50% Black or African American, 0.30% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 0.37% from other races, and 1.40% from two or more races. 2.70% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 26,687 households, out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them. The average household size was 2.28 and the average family size was 2.93.

The median income for a household in the county was $44,356. The per capita income for the county was $23,597. About 12.60% of the population were below the poverty line.

Communities

Towns

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

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