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HISTORY OF HALIFAX COUNTY VIRGINIA

Halifax County, located in Southside Virginia, was created in 1752 from Lunenberg County and named for the British statesmen George Montagu Dunk, Earl of Halifax. At the time of its creation, its territory included what is today Pittsylvania, Patrick and Henry counties and parts of Franklin and Floyd counties. Its present-day boundaries were established in 1766 when Pittsylvania County was created from the western portion of the county. In addition to the Virginia counties of Pittsylvania, Charlotte, Campbell and Mecklenberg, Halifax County is also bordered by the North Carolina counties of Caswell, Person and Granville.1,2

Numbers of Halifax County families joined the great western migration out of Virginia in the period after the Revolutionary War. The destination of many were the Middle Tennessee counties of Davidson, Sumner, Smith, Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Overton and Maury.3

Present-day Halifax County covers an area of 800.41 square miles with a poplation of over 37,000. The county is mostly rural with the towns of Clover, Halifax, Scottsburg, South Boston and Virginila within its borders.2 The once-independent city of South Boston, with a population of over 7,000, reverted to town status in July 1995.4

Sources:

1. "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia, Halifax County", The Virginia Genealogist, John Frederick Dorman, Editor, Volume 12, Number 4, 1968.
2. Halifax County General Highway Map, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Transportation, 1989.
3. Traffic Jams on I-81: Migrations from Virginia to Tennessee!, Mary McCampbell Bell, 1996 NGS Conference in the States.
4. Halifax.Com website information on South Boston.


Church Parishes in Halifax County, VA

The established Church in Colonial Virginia was the Church of England. As in England, parishes were "local units of ecclesiastical and community organization".1 The Virginia General Assembly, through legislation, created parishes and defined their boundaries. Although the Church of England was dis-established as the official Church following the American Revolution and most of the duties of the vestry turned over to county officials, the parishes continued in existence. The parish boundaries were also used as geographic designations with the residence of parties to deeds being given by parish and county.

Antrim Parish was formed at the creation of Halifax County in 1752 and their boundaries were identical. When Pittsylvania County was cut off from Halifax County in 1767, the boundaries of Antrim Parish remained identical to the boundaries of Halifax County.

Source:

1. Salmon, Emily J. and Campbell, Edward D. C. Jr., Editors, The Hornbook of Virginia History, (Richmond, Cirginia: The Library of Virginia), 1994. Pages 179-182.


Halifax County, VA Historical Tidbits

Halifax, county seat since 1800, changed its name in 1890, from Banister to Houston in honor of a railroad executve who was to be asked to send factories into the town. Unfortunately, the committee sent to NY to tell the magnate about the honor they had done him, mispronounced his name, and the town received no largesse. In 1920, the town went back to its designation as the county town of Halifax County, named for the Earl of Halifax. The first county seat was at Peytonsburg, now in Pittsylvania Co. (Source: Virginia, A Guide to the Old Dominion)

By: Brian Nichols



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