|Pittsylvania County, Virginia
BRIEF HISTORY - Pittsylvania County (1767) was formed from Halifax County (1752).
Halifax County was taken from Lunenburg County (1746), which was formerly a part of
Brunswick County (1732). The county was named for Sir William Pitt, Earl of Chatham, who
was the British Secretary of State in November of 1756. Some land was claimed in this area
during the 1730's and 1740's, but most actual settlement took place during the year 1750. My
fifth great grandfather claimed 800 acres on Sandy River beginning in 1753.
Among the earliest settlers in the south part of the county was William Wynne. He claimed
340 acres on Rutledge's Creek. Wynne and his sons owned more than 3,500 acres from the
"Great Falls" of the Dan River to North Carolina. All their land was located in what is now
On the northside of the river at Danville, Charles Clay claimed 9,600 acres reaching north to
near Pleasant Gap or White Oak Mountain. Northeast of the great Clay claim, Samuel Harris,
the famous Commander of Fort Mayo and Baptist preacher, lived on a tract of 6,592 acres.
Many owners of these large tracts never saw their land. They either sold the land or it reverted
back to the Colony when the land was not improved.
In 1756, Lt. Governor Dinwiddie sent the lists of tithables of Halifax County to the lords in
trade in London and listed only 629 whites and 141 slaves. A tax of 21 pounds of tobacco
met the expenses of operating the County government. This included what is now Halifax,
Henry, Pittsylvania and Patrick Counties and part of Franklin County. In 1756, the frontier was
just west of the present city of Martinsville, Virginia.
|This is the old 1819 house on our farm at Soapstone in western
Pittsylvania County. Our three children were young when we lived there, and they
hav emany happy memories of those years in the country.
|William C. Shelton was a country schoolmaster in the years before the Civil War. Haynes
Morgan was a Revolutionary War officer from PIttsylvania County. It was hard work
escavating Beavers' Mill but my son Bobby and I and our friends enjoyed finding the old mill
wheel and timbers along Sandy Creek. Later, I hope to include a lot more topics on County
history. Be sure to also look at our information on Danville history.