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Southampton County, Virginia facts for kids

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Southampton County
Southampton  County Courthouse
Southampton County Courthouse
Official seal of Southampton County
Map of Virginia highlighting Southampton County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 610: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
Country  United States
State  Virginia
Founded 1749
Named for either Southampton, England, or Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton
Seat Courtland
Largest town Courtland
 • Total 602 sq mi (1,560 km2)
 • Land 599 sq mi (1,550 km2)
 • Water 3.2 sq mi (8 km2)  0.5%
 • Total 18,570
 • Estimate 
 • Density 30.85/sq mi (11.910/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 4th

Southampton County is a county located on the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. North Carolina is to the south. As of the 2010 census, the population was 18,570. Its county seat is Courtland.


During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of Jamestown, Virginia in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. In 1634, the English colony of Virginia was divided into eight shires (or counties) with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Most of Southampton County was originally part of Warrosquyoake Shire. The shires were soon to be called counties. Warrosquyoake Shire was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637.

In 1749, the portion of Isle of Wight County west of the Blackwater River became Southampton County. Later, part of Nansemond County, which is now the Independent City of Suffolk, was added to Southampton County.

In August 1831, enslaved Nat Turner led a slave rebellion of Black slaves in Southampton County against local Whites. When the rebellion was crushed, Turner and his fellow rebels were executed. In the response to the uprising, white militias and mobs lynched approximately 200 blacks in Southampton County.

Southampton County may have been named for Southampton, a major city in England, or for Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton, one of the founders of the Virginia Company and a supporter of colonization in North America.


Southampton County VA 1895
Southampton County from 1895 map of Virginia

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 602 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 599 square miles (1,550 km2) is land and 3.2 square miles (8.3 km2) (0.5%) is water.

Southampton County is bounded by the Blackwater River on the east and the Meherrin River on the west. The Nottoway River flows through the center of the county. All three rivers are tributaries of the Chowan River, which flows south into Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. The Blackwater River separates Southampton County from Isle of Wight County, and the Meherrin River separates it from Greensville County.

Adjacent counties

Major highways

  • US 58
  • US 258
  • US 460
  • SR 35
  • SR 186
  • SR 189


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 12,864
1800 13,925 8.2%
1810 13,497 −3.1%
1820 14,170 5.0%
1830 16,074 13.4%
1840 14,525 −9.6%
1850 13,521 −6.9%
1860 12,915 −4.5%
1870 12,285 −4.9%
1880 18,012 46.6%
1890 20,078 11.5%
1900 22,848 13.8%
1910 26,302 15.1%
1920 27,555 4.8%
1930 26,870 −2.5%
1940 26,442 −1.6%
1950 26,522 0.3%
1960 27,195 2.5%
1970 18,582 −31.7%
1980 18,731 0.8%
1990 17,550 −6.3%
2000 17,482 −0.4%
2010 18,570 6.2%
2018 (est.) 17,586 −5.3%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790–1960 1900–1990
1990–2000 2010–2013

As of the census of 2010, there were 18,570 people, 6,279 households, and 4,502 families residing in the county. The population density was 29 people per square mile (11/km2). There were 7,058 housing units at an average density of 12 per square mile (5/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 60.4% White, 37.2% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.3% from other races, and 1.4% from two or more races. 1.1% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,279 households, out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.10% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.70% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 111.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,995, and the median income for a family was $41,324. Males had a median income of $32,436 versus $20,831 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,930. About 11.70% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.90% of those under age 18 and 14.50% of those age 65 or over.



Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities

Notable people

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