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Westmoreland County, Virginia facts for kids

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Westmoreland County
Westmoreland County Courthouse in Montross
Westmoreland County Courthouse in Montross
Official seal of Westmoreland County
Seal
Map of Virginia highlighting Westmoreland 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
Named for Westmorland
Seat Montross
Largest town Colonial Beach
Area
 • Total 253 sq mi (660 km2)
 • Land 229 sq mi (590 km2)
 • Water 24 sq mi (60 km2)  9.3%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total 18,477
 • Density 73.03/sq mi (28.20/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional district 1st

Westmoreland County is a county located in the Northern Neck of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2020 census, the population sits at 18,477. Its county seat is Montross.

History

Nomini Hall Westmoreland County Virginia
Nomini Hall, Carter family plantation in Westmoreland County. Built in 1730 by Robert Carter II on land purchased from heirs of Nicholas Spencer by Robert "King" Carter

As originally established by the Virginia colony's House of Burgesses, it was separated out of Northumberland County in 1653, and the territory of Westmoreland County encompassed much of what later became the various counties and cities of Northern Virginia, including the city of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Prince William County. These were part of Westmoreland until 1664, when Stafford County was formed.

Westmoreland County was the birthplace of George Washington, the first President of the United States (at the former settlement of Bridges Creek, Virginia); of James Monroe, the fifth President; and of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies.

The county was the place of residence for Colonel Nicholas Spencer (1633-1689), who patented the land at Mount Vernon in 1674 with his friend Lt. Col. John Washington, ancestor of George Washington. Spencer, who served as President of the Council and acting Governor of the Colony of Virginia, was the cousin of, and agent for, the Barons Colepeper, proprietors of the Northern Neck. Spencer lived at his plantation, Nomini, which his descendants later sold to Robert Carter I. Robert Carter's grandson, Robert Carter III, voluntarily freed almost 500 slaves from Nomini Hall beginning in 1791 and settled many on lands he gave them. His manumission is the largest known release of slaves in North America prior to the American Civil War and the largest number ever manumitted by an individual in the U.S.

Geography

Westmoreland County water tower
Rural Westmoreland County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (660 km2), of which 229 square miles (590 km2) is land and 24 square miles (62 km2) (9.3%) is water. The county is located on the Northern Neck and is part of the Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA winemaking appellation.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas

Demographics

Historical population
Census Pop.
1820 6,901
1830 8,396 21.7%
1840 8,019 −4.5%
1850 8,080 0.8%
1860 8,282 2.5%
1870 7,682 −7.2%
1880 8,846 15.2%
1890 8,399 −5.1%
1900 9,243 10.0%
1910 9,313 0.8%
1920 10,240 10.0%
1930 8,497 −17.0%
1940 9,512 11.9%
1950 10,148 6.7%
1960 11,042 8.8%
1970 12,142 10.0%
1980 14,041 15.6%
1990 15,480 10.2%
2000 16,718 8.0%
2010 17,454 4.4%
2020 18,477 5.9%
U.S. Decennial Census
1790-1960 1900-1990
1990-2000 2010-2013

At the 2000 census, there were 16,718 people, 6,846 households and 4,689 families residing in the county. The population density was 73/sq mi (28/km2). There were 9,286 housing units at an average density of 40/sq mi (15/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 65.41% White, 30.89% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.75% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 3.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,846 households, of which 25.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.70% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.43 and the average family size was 2.91.

23.00% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 27.80% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.90 males.

The median household income was $35,797 and the median family income was $41,357. Males had a median income of $31,333 and females $22,221. The per capita income was $19,473. About 11.20% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.10% of those under age 18 and 12.50% of those age 65 or over.

Communities

Towns

Economy

The county's economy is largely based on agriculture. Tourism is another significant economic driver, related to historical sites such as George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Robert E. Lee's birthplace, Stratford Hall Plantation, and the Westmoreland County Museum as well as gambling activities available in Colonial Beach. The county is also an extended exurb of Washington, D.C.

Northern Neck Coca-Cola Bottling Inc. (makers of Northern Neck Ginger Ale) and the weekly Westmoreland News are located in Montross.

Notable residents

Stratford Hall .entrance Westmoreland Virginia
View of the main facade, Stratford Hall, ancestral home of the Lee family of Virginia, Westmoreland County
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