Prince Edward County Virginia
Prince Edward County administrative offices are located at 111 South Street, Farmville, VA 23901; phone: 434-392-8837.
Prince Edward County lies in south-central Virginia in the Piedmont Plateau. The county occupies 357 square miles or 228,480 acres, having altitudes ranging from 300-800 feet. Prince Edward County lies near the headwaters of the Appomattox River and tributaries of this river drain most of the county. A small area in the southeastern section of the county is drained by the Nottoway River and its tributaries. Nearly two-thirds of the area is forested, having over 6,000 acres in the southeastern part of the county, which constitutes the Prince Edward Gallion State Forest.
Prince Edward County was formed in 1754 from Amelia County and was named for Prince Edward Augustus, son of Frederick, Prince of Wales. Evidence indicates Indians were living in the area in the 1600s, with the first white settlers arriving around 1730. The first courthouse was completed in 1787 and was located at Worsham, then known only as Prince Edward Courthouse. The county seat remained at Worsham until 1872 when it was moved to Farmville. The original county courthouse in Farmville dates to 1939.
The early economy of the county was based largely on tobacco. Transportation of this important product was provided by the Appomattox River, which remained navigable to bateaux as far west as Farmville, until at least 1878 when the last such boat left Farmville. The development of railroads in the 1840s provided the farmers and merchants of the area with a better means of transportation and lessened the importance of the river as a transport route.
Farmville, the main town in the county, was founded in 1798 and thrived because of the river and the tobacco warehouses. The provision of railroad service to the town ensured its continued growth. Another town located on the Appomattox River, east of Farmville, did not fare as well. Jamestown was founded in 1796, and like its neighbor to the west, prospered early because of the river and its ability to transport tobacco. However, as the river lost importance because of the railroad, Jamestown began to decline. When the bridge over the Appomattox River, connecting the Town of Jamestown to Cumberland County, was washed away in the 1930s, the town's fate was sealed. The last building was abandoned in 1938.
† Commonwealth Regional Council, Prince Edward County 2014 Comprehensive Plan, 2014, www.co.prince-edward.va.us, accessed June, 2018.