Brunswick County, Virginia
Seal of Brunswick County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Brunswick County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1720
Seat Lawrenceville
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

569 sq mi (1,474 km²)
566 sq mi (1,466 km²)
3 sq mi (8 km²), 0.57%
 -  Density

34/sq mi (13/km²)

Brunswick County native Andrew J. Winn, 42nd Virginia Infantry, Confederate States of America. Died at Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse, May 1864

Brunswick County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of 2009, the population was 18,505[1]. Its county seat is Lawrenceville.[2]


The first English settlers in Brunswick county swarmed into the lands near Fort Christanna during its 4 years of operation (1714–1718). Brunswick County was established in 1720 from Prince George County. In 1732 the county received more land from parts of Surry and Isle of Wight counties. The county is named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg in Germany, because one of the titles also carried by Britain's Hanoverian kings was Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg. Brunswick County is bisected by Interstate 85, U.S. 1 and U.S. Highway 58, and is mostly rural with an economy based on lumber, tobacco, and other farm crops. Cotton is grown in the far south. The county contains the small Saint Paul's College, Virginia, as well as a campus of Southside Virginia Community College. Fort Pickett Army National Guard base is partly in the County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 569 square miles (1,473.7 km2), of which 566 square miles (1,465.9 km2) is land and 3 square miles (7.8 km2) (0.57%) is water.

Brunswick Stew[]

Brunswick County is best known for being the birthplace of Brunswick Stew. The original Brunswick Stew, according to Brunswick County historians, was created in 1828 by a black chef, “Uncle” Jimmy Matthews. As the story goes, Dr. Creed Haskins, of Mount Donum on the Nottoway River and a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years, took several friends on a hunting expedition. While the group hunted, Jimmy Matthews, Dr. Haskin’s camp cook, hunted squirrel for the evening meal. Matthews slowly stewed the squirrels in butter, onions, stale bread and seasoning in a large iron pot. When the hunting party returned, they were reluctant to try the new, thick concoction, but one taste convinced them to ask for more.

Since that time, Brunswick stew has been prepared by many different stew masters. They continue to produce large batches of the “Virginia ambrosia” for church functions, local fund raisers, family reunions, and political rallies. Jimmy Matthews’s recipe for Brunswick Stew has varied through the years – as chicken has been substituted for squirrel and vegetables have been added.

During 1987, the Brunswick Industrial Development Commission and a committee of the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, with the aid of a professional advertising agency, began a program to develop balanced economic growth in Brunswick County. They decided to capitalize on the county’s home-grown, homemade, home-stirred Brunswick Stew as a brand. On February 22, 1988, at the State Capitol in Richmond, Brunswick County officially kicked off a campaign to increase awareness of its economic development opportunities. The Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and the County of Brunswick hosted a Brunswick Stew-Fest on the Capitol grounds to celebrate the General Assembly’s passing of the resolution, proclaiming Brunswick County, Virginia, as "The Original Home of Brunswick Stew". The proclamation contains a tongue-in-cheek jab at Brunswick, Georgia, which claims to have created the traditional Southern dish, setting off what has been coined, “The Stew Wars.”

One of the many traditional recipes, which requires 6 to 7 hours to cook, was renamed Brunswick Proclamation Stew for the occasion. A good Brunswick stew must be cooked down slowly, according to stew masters for the Capitol Square event, w“Until the stirring paddle stands up straight in the stew.” When the paddle stood, Brunswick Stew was served to the legislators, and hundreds of Virginians who turned out for the event to “Get a Taste of Brunswick.”

With the help of the Fearnow Brothers, the County got its own stew label, approved by the U.S.D.A. Their company also produces small quantities of Brunswick Stew for the chamber to store and use. The stew cans bear the label "Virginia’s Own – 1828-Brunswick County Stew".

A sample of Brunswick Stew, along with information on the County’s assets, has been included in the County’s promotional packages and sent to business and industry prospects. The Stew and County are tied together with the campaign’s theme: “Since 1828 when Ol’ Jimmy Matthews created Brunswick Stew, we’ve been doing things a special way. A little slow, but right.”[3]

Adjacent counties[]


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 12,827
1800 16,339 27.4%
1810 15,411 −5.7%
1820 16,687 8.3%
1830 15,767 −5.5%
1840 14,346 −9.0%
1850 13,894 −3.2%
1860 14,809 6.6%
1870 13,427 −9.3%
1880 16,707 24.4%
1890 17,245 3.2%
1900 18,217 5.6%
1910 19,244 5.6%
1920 21,025 9.3%
1930 20,486 −2.6%
1940 19,575 −4.4%
1950 20,136 2.9%
1960 17,779 −11.7%
1970 16,172 −9.0%
1980 15,632 −3.3%
1990 15,987 2.3%
2000 18,419 15.2%
2010 17,434 −5.3%

As of the census[4] of 2000, there were 18,419 people, 6,277 households, and 4,312 families residing in the county. The population density was 32 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 7,541 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 41.99% White, 56.85% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. 1.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,277 households out of which 27.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.90% were married couples living together, 16.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.00.

In the county, the population was spread out with 20.50% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 113.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.40 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,288, and the median income for a family was $38,354. Males had a median income of $26,924 versus $20,550 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,890. About 13.20% of families and 16.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.10% of those under age 18 and 19.50% of those age 65 or over.


See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Brunswick County, Virginia


  1. ^ [1]. Weldon Cooper Center Population Estimates Retrieved January 26, 2011
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  5. ^ Suzanne Campbell of Angelo State University, San Angelo, "George B. Jackson, Black (or African-American) Businessman, Rancher, and Entrepreneur," West Texas Historical Association, annual meeting, Lubbock, Texas, April 2, 2011

External links[]

Coordinates: 36°46′N 77°52′W / 36.76, -77.86

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