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Amherst County is a county, located in the Piedmont region and near the center of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. The county is part of the Lynchburg, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area, and its county seat is also called Amherst.[1]

Amherst County, Virginia
Amherst County Courthouse.jpg
Amherst County Courthouse
Seal of Amherst County, Virginia
Seal
Map of Virginia highlighting Amherst County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Founded1761
Named forJeffery Amherst
SeatAmherst
Largest townAmherst
Area
 • Total479 sq mi (1,241 km2)
 • Land474 sq mi (1,228 km2)
 • Water4.9 sq mi (13 km2), 1.0%
Population (est.)
 • (2015)31,914
 • Density68/sq mi (26.3/km2)
Congressional district6th
Time zoneEastern Coordinates: 37°37′N 79°08′W / 37.61°N 79.14°W / 37.61; -79.14
Websitewww.countyofamherst.com

Amherst County was created in 1761 out of Albemarle County, and it was named in honor of Lord Jeffery Amherst, the so-called "Conqueror of Canada". In 1807 as population increased, the county was reduced in size in order to form Nelson County. Tobacco was the major cash crop of the county during its early years. The labor-intensive crop was worked and processed by enslaved Africans and African Americans before the American Civil War.

As of the 2010 census, the population of the rural county was 32,353, a small increase from the 31,894 people reported in the 2000 census.[2]

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
Jeffery Amherst, called the "Conqueror of Canada", for whom the county was named

Beginning thousands of years in the past, Native Americans were the first humans to populate the area. They hunted and fished mainly along the countless rivers and streams in the county. With the establishment of the Virginia Colony in 1607, English emigrants arrived in North America. By the late 17th century English explorers and traders had traveled up the James River to this area. Early trading posts were established between 1710 and 1720. By 1730, many new English colonial families moved into the area currently known as Amherst County, drawn by the desire for land and the good tobacco-growing soil.

Amherst County was formed in 1761, from part of southwestern Albemarle County. The original county seat had been in Cabelsville, now Colleen, in what would later become Nelson County. The county was named for Lord Amherst, known as the "Conqueror of Canada", who commanded the British forces that successfully secured Canada from the French during the Seven Years War. Jeffery Amherst had previously been named as Governor of Virginia, although he never came to this colony.

In 1806 the county took its present proportions, when Nelson County was formed from its northern half. At that point, the county seat was moved to the village of Five Oaks, later renamed Amherst. The present county courthouse was built in 1870 and has served the county ever since. Amherst County produced more Confederate soldiers per capita than anywhere else in the Confederate States of America.

In the early days, the major crop raised in Amherst County was tobacco. Apple orchards were part of mixed farming that replaced tobacco, especially in the late 19th century. Timber, mining and milling were also important industries. The introduction of the railroad in the late 19th century greatly influenced the county's growth. The county contains many good examples of 18th, 19th and early 20th century rural and small town architecture. The downtown area of Amherst is a classic example of early 20th century commercial architecture.

Recreation and attractionsEdit

Recreational attractions are located throughout the county. There are four recreational and public lakes, namely Mill Creek, Thrashers Lake, Otter Lake and Stonehouse Lake, which offer opportunities to fish, canoe or kayak.[3] There are many parks and trails in the county, including about 25 miles of the Appalachian Trail, which runs through the George Washington National Forest.[4] Offshoot trails lead to peaks in Amherst, such at Mount Pleasant, Cole Mountain, and Tar Jacket Ridge.[4]

Festivals in the areaEdit

  • Rebec Vineyard's Garlic Festival
  • Lazy Days Vineyard's Summer Solstice Festival
  • Amherst County Sorghum Festival
  • The Batteau Festival

GeographyEdit

 
Looking toward U.S. 29 in Madison Heights

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 479 square miles (1,240 km2), of which 474 square miles (1,230 km2) is land and 4.9 square miles (13 km2) (1.0%) is water.[5]

Adjacent counties / Independent cityEdit

National protected areasEdit

Major highwaysEdit

  •   US 29 (N & S Amherst Hwy, S. Amherst Hwy is US BUS 29 south of Amherst and then turns into the Lynchburg Expressway in Madison Heights; Monacan Trail)
  •   US 60 (Lexington Turnpike; Richmond Hwy)
  •   US 501 (joins SR 130 and becomes Elon Rd.)
  •   SR 130 (Elon Rd; Amelon Hey)
  •   SR 151 (Patrick Henry Hwy)
  •   SR 163 (S Amherst Hwy)
  •   SR 210 (Old Town Connector)

DemographicsEdit

Census Pop.
179013,703
180016,80122.6%
181010,548−37.2%
182010,423−1.2%
183012,07115.8%
184012,5764.2%
185012,6991.0%
186013,7428.2%
187014,9008.4%
188018,70925.6%
189017,551−6.2%
190017,8641.8%
191018,9326.0%
192019,7714.4%
193019,020−3.8%
194020,2736.6%
195020,3320.3%
196022,95312.9%
197026,07213.6%
198029,12211.7%
199028,578−1.9%
200031,89411.6%
201032,3531.4%
Est. 201631,633[6]−2.2%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790–1960[8] 1900–1990[9]
1990–2000[10] 2010–2013[2]

As of the census[11] of 2000, there were 31,894 people, 11,941 households, and 8,645 families residing in the county. The population density was 67 people per square mile (26/km²). There were 12,958 housing units at an average density of 27 per square mile (11/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 77.67% White, 19.79% Black or African American, 0.81% Native American, 0.35% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.41% from other races, and 0.94% from two or more races. 0.96% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,941 households out of which 31.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.00% were married couples living together, 12.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.60% were non-families. 24.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 2.95.

In the county, the population was spread out with 23.50% under the age of 18, 9.70% from 18 to 24, 27.70% from 25 to 44, 25.30% from 45 to 64, and 13.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 91.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 87.10 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $37,393, and the median income for a family was $42,876. Males had a median income of $31,493 versus $22,155 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,952. About 8.00% of families and 10.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.20% of those under age 18 and 11.60% of those age 65 or over.

GovernmentEdit

The Board of Supervisors are elected from single-member districts.

Board of SupervisorsEdit

  • District 1: Ken Campbell (I) Vice Chairman
  • District 2: Claudia Tucker (I)
  • District 3: Jimmy Ayers (I) Chairman
  • District 4: David Pugh, Jr. (R)
  • District 5: Jennifer Moore (I)

Constitutional officersEdit

  • Clerk of the Circuit Court: Deborah C. Mozingo [12]
  • Commissioner of the Revenue: Jane Irby (I)[12]
  • Commonwealth's Attorney: W. Lyle Carver[13]
  • Sheriff: E.W. Viar Jr.[14] (I)
  • Treasurer: Joanne Carden [13]

Amherst County is represented by Republican Tom A. Garrett, Jr. in the Virginia Senate, Republican T. Scott Garrett and Republican Ben L. Cline in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Republican Robert W. "Bob" Goodlatte in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Presidential elections results
Presidential elections results[15]
Year Republican Democratic Third parties
2016 63.1% 9,719 32.9% 5,057 4.0% 620
2012 59.3% 8,876 39.4% 5,900 1.3% 194
2008 57.6% 8,470 41.5% 6,094 0.9% 136
2004 61.1% 7,758 38.3% 4,866 0.6% 71
2000 56.9% 6,660 41.1% 4,812 2.1% 240
1996 46.6% 5,094 44.5% 4,864 8.8% 966
1992 50.3% 5,482 37.6% 4,101 12.1% 1,325
1988 64.1% 6,507 35.1% 3,567 0.8% 77
1984 66.5% 7,004 32.4% 3,409 1.1% 117
1980 57.6% 5,088 39.3% 3,476 3.1% 276
1976 50.9% 3,956 47.3% 3,675 1.9% 145
1972 73.9% 4,909 22.8% 1,512 3.3% 218
1968 39.8% 2,656 23.1% 1,543 37.1% 2,475
1964 49.5% 2,675 50.5% 2,730 0.1% 5
1960 38.8% 1,455 60.9% 2,280 0.3% 12
1956 42.6% 1,529 53.8% 1,933 3.6% 128
1952 40.2% 1,407 59.4% 2,078 0.4% 15
1948 18.7% 460 60.1% 1,481 21.3% 525
1944 14.5% 442 85.1% 2,585 0.4% 12
1940 12.4% 292 87.3% 2,048 0.3% 7
1936 11.9% 236 87.8% 1,734 0.3% 6
1932 9.9% 195 89.1% 1,764 1.1% 21
1928 23.7% 447 76.3% 1,442
1924 9.7% 129 82.3% 1,092 8.0% 106
1920 13.2% 168 86.1% 1,094 0.6% 8
1916 7.5% 93 91.6% 1,142 1.0% 12
1912 7.1% 64 85.3% 765 7.6% 68

CommunitiesEdit

TownEdit

Census-designated placeEdit

Other unincorporated communitiesEdit

Notable residentsEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  2. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  3. ^ "Lakes". Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  4. ^ a b "Trails". www.countyofamherst.com. Amherst County, Virginia. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  6. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved December 31, 2013.
  11. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  12. ^ a b [1]
  13. ^ a b https://www.countyofamherst.com/egov/apps/staff/directory.egov
  14. ^ "Staff Directory / Details / / Amherst County, VA". www.countyofamherst.com. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  15. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved 2018-08-17.
  16. ^ a b c d e Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who. 1963.
  17. ^ "10 Great Places To Go On A Haunted Hike". USA Today. July 28, 2006.
  18. ^ http://www.trails.com/list_12425_haunted-forests-north-america.html
  19. ^ Perry, Tristan. Ghostly Legends of the Appalachian Trail. Wever, Iowa: Quixote Press, 2008. Pages 93-102.