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Nelson County, Virginia
Nelson Co Courthouse Dec 08.JPG
Nelson County Courthouse
Map of Virginia highlighting Nelson County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1807
Named for Thomas Nelson Jr.
Seat Lovingston
Largest community Nellysford
Area
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

474 sq mi (1,228 km²)
471 sq mi (1,220 km²)
3.5 sq mi (9 km²), 0.7
Population
 - (2020)
 - Density

14,775
Congressional district 5th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4
Website www.nelsoncounty-va.gov

Nelson County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, in the United States. As of the 2020 census, the population was 14,775.[1] Its county seat is Lovingston.[2]

Nelson County is part of the Charlottesville, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Nelson County is home to Swannanoa mansion and Wintergreen Resort, a local ski area. It is the location of Walton's Mountain, made famous by the television show The Waltons. A new Bed and Breakfast, John & Olivia's B&B, has opened recently to extend The Waltons experience. Nelson County is also home to 12 wineries/vineyards, seven craft breweries, three cideries, three distilleries, six fruit orchards as well as Crabtree Falls and White Rock Falls. Nelson County offers The Quarry Gardens, Pharsalia, and the local library's flower gardens for gardening enthusiasts.

History[]

At the time the English began settling Virginia in the 1600s, the inhabitants of what is now Nelson County were a Siouan-speaking tribe called the Nahyssan. They were probably connected to the Manahoac.[3]

Nelson County was created in 1807 from Amherst County. The government was formed the following year.[4] The county is named for Thomas Nelson Jr., a signer of the U.S. Declaration of Independence, who served as Governor of Virginia in 1781. An earlier Virginia county, also named in his honor, became part of Kentucky when it separated from Virginia in 1792.

Hurricane Camille[]

On the night of August 19–20, 1969, Nelson County was struck by disastrous flooding caused by Hurricane Camille. The hurricane hit the Gulf Coast two days earlier, weakened over land, and stalled on the eastern side of the Blue Ridge Mountains, dumping a world-record quantity of 27 inches (690 mm) of rain, mainly in a three-hour period. Over five hours, it yielded more than 37 inches (940 mm), while the previous day had seen a deluge of 5 inches (130 mm) in half an hour, with the ground already saturated. There were reports of animals drowning in trees and people who had had to cup their hands around their mouth and nose to breathe.[5]

Mudslide damage in Nelson County after the passage of Hurricane Camille

Flash floods and mudslides killed 153 people, 31 from Roseland, Tyro, and Massies Mill alone.[6] Over 133 public bridges were washed out in Nelson County, while some communities were under water.[7] In the tiny community of Davis Creek, 52 people were killed or could not be found; only 3 of 35 homes were left standing after the floodwaters receded.[6] The bodies of some people have never been found; others washed as much as 25 miles (40 km) downstream along the creeks and rivers. The entire county was virtually cut off, with many roads and virtually all bridges, telephone, radio, TV, and electric service interrupted.

The waters of the Tye, Piney, Buffalo, and Rockfish rivers flow into the James River. There was severe flooding elsewhere in Virginia, such as along the Maury River, which destroyed the town of Glasgow in Rockbridge County.

The James River and its tributaries normally drain Nelson County, but in the face of unusually high flooding from other tributaries such as Hatt Creek (along the James River some 80 miles (130 km) to the east) the James River crested more than 20 feet (6.1 m) above flood stage at Westham, as Nelson County citizens watched portions of houses and other buildings, bodies, and dead livestock flow past. Just a few miles further downstream, the James River crested at the City Locks in Richmond at 28.6 feet (8.7 m) swamping downtown areas and also flooding a substantial portion of South Richmond (formerly the separate city of Manchester[8]). The Hurricane Camille disaster did over $140 million (in 1969 dollars) in damage across Virginia, however in no other place in Virginia was the storm as devastating and deadly as in Nelson County, where one percent of the population was killed and where many bodies were never recovered. Visitors to Nelson County can participate on a self-guided tour of notable locations related to Hurricane Camille. There are exhibits dedicated to Hurricane Camille at the Oakland Museum.  

Geology[]

Nelsonite, the Virginia state rock, is named for Nelson County. Nelsonite is a distinctive igneous rock composed primarily of the minerals ilmenite and apatite, and as such it's rich in both titanium and calcium phosphate

Geography[]

The Tye River flows through the mountains and low hills of Nelson County.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 474 square miles (1,230 km2), of which 471 square miles (1,220 km2) is land and 3.5 square miles (9.1 km2) (0.7%) is water.[9] The Blue Ridge Mountains form the northwest boundary of the county; the James River forms the boundary to the southeast. Internally, Nelson consists of the Rockfish, Tye and Piney rivers, along with many known creeks.

Adjacent counties[]

Nearby towns & cities[]

  • Charlottesville
  • Lynchburg
  • Waynesboro

National protected areas[]

  • Blue Ridge Parkway (part)
  • George Washington National Forest (part)
  • United States National Radio Quiet Zone (part)

Major highways[]

I-64 in Nelson County

  • I-64 (extreme northern Nelson County)
  • US 29 (Thomas Nelson Highway)
  • US 60 (Richmond Hwy)
  • US 250 (Rockfish Gap Turnpike)
  • SR 6 (Afton Mountain Rd; River Rd; joins US 29)
  • SR 56 (Crabtree Falls Hwy; Tye Brook Hwy; joins US 29 and US BUS 29 in Lovingston; James River Rd
  • SR 151 (Patrick Henry Hwy; Rockfish Valley Hwy)

Education[]

Nelson County Public Schools is a Virginia public school division. It operates two elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school. The middle and high schools are connected and located just outside Lovingston, Virginia. Nelson County also provides free GED testing to all adults.

Jefferson-Madison Regional Library is the regional library system that provides services to the citizens of Nelson.

Demographics[]

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1810 9,684
1820 10,137 4.7%
1830 11,254 11.0%
1840 12,287 9.2%
1850 12,758 3.8%
1860 13,015 2.0%
1870 13,898 6.8%
1880 16,536 19.0%
1890 15,336 −7.3%
1900 16,075 4.8%
1910 16,821 4.6%
1920 17,277 2.7%
1930 16,345 −5.4%
1940 16,241 −0.6%
1950 14,042 −13.5%
1960 12,752 −9.2%
1970 11,702 −8.2%
1980 12,204 4.3%
1990 12,778 4.7%
2000 14,445 13.0%
2010 15,020 4.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[10]
1790-1960[11] 1900-1990[12]
1990-2000[13] 2010[14] 2020[15]

2020 census[]

Nelson County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[14] Pop 2020[15] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 12,283 11,879 81.78% 80.40%
Black or African American alone (NH) 1,941 1,526 12.92% 10.33%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 43 47 0.29% 0.32%
Asian alone (NH) 66 67 0.44% 0.45%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 4 2 0.03% 0.01%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 23 68 0.15% 0.46%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 201 523 1.34% 3.54%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 459 663 3.06% 4.49%
Total 15,020 14,775 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2010 Census[]

As of the census[16] of 2010, there were 15,020 people, 6,396 households, and 4,302 families residing in the county. The population density was 31.9 people per square mile (12/km2). There were 8,554 housing units at an average density of 18 per square mile (7/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 83.3% White, 13.1% Black or African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, Z% Pacific Islander, 1.1% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino people of any race were 3.1% of the population.

There were 6,396 households, out of which 21.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.6% were married couples living together, 11.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.7% were non-families. 27.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.33 and the average family size was 2.81.

In the county, the population was spread out, with 19.3% under the age of 18, 5.7% from 18 to 24, 25.5% from 25 to 44, 29.60% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.8 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 93 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $48,118, and the median income for a family was $57,356. Males had a median income of $45,222 versus $34,842 for females. The per capita income for the county was $26,996. About 8.9% of families and 11.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 13.8% of those under the age of 18 and 9.5% ages 65 or older.

Recreation[]

A view down a ski slope at Wintergreen Resort, Nelson County, Virginia

Historical marker on Route 250 heading east over Afton Mountain

Scenic Drives are popular in Nelson County. Visitors to the county can enjoy mountain views from The Blue Ridge Parkway. The Nelson Scenic Loop is 50 miles long and comprises Route 151, Route 664, the Blue Ridge Parkway, and Route 56.

The Wintergreen Resort near Nellysford opened in 1975. A planned development begun in 1969, it offers 45 holes of championship golf; seasonal skiing, snowboarding and snowtubing. On the eastern slope of the Blue Ridge, Wintergreen is a "top down" resort in which practically all of the amenities are built on the peaks and ridges, rather than at the base like a traditional ski resort.[17]

Sections of the former Virginia Blue Ridge Railway along the Tye River are now part of the Blue Ridge Railway Trail, which was under development in the early 21st century. The trail will eventually connect the James River with the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Appalachian Trail.

Another railway trail is the Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel. The Blue Ridge Tunnel is a historic railroad tunnel built during the construction of the Blue Ridge Railroad in the 1850s. The trip through the tunnel is about 2.5 miles long, and the tunnel itself will be part of a greenway system connecting three counties. The tunnel runs through Afton Mountain, under Rockfish Gap, and the Appalachian Trail is located above it as well. The Eastern portal will be in Nelson County.

Fishing and camping are popular activities in Nelson County. Sections of the Tye River are also popular for whitewater boating with canoes and kayaks. The rapids are rated Class I to Class II+. Depending on water conditions, some rapids on the Tye River can approach class III.[18]

The first annual Lockn' Music Festival was held September 5–8, 2013 on a farm in Nelson County near Arrington, Virginia.[19]

Camp Jeep was held at the Oak Ridge Estate in Arrington for several years beginning in 1999, with the last event taking place in 2007.[20]

Wedding venues[]

Nelson County is well known for its wedding venues at its craft beverage producers and farms.Template:Source?

Communities[]

There are no cities or incorporated towns in Nelson County. It consists of unincorporated communities including census-designated places (CDPs).

Politics[]

Map showing the results of the 2016 presidential election in Nelson County, Virginia by precinct

Nelson County is very competitive in presidential elections. The last time any candidate exceeded 55% of the vote was 1984, when Ronald Reagan carried the county in his 49-state landslide.

United States presidential election results for Nelson County, Virginia[21]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 4,812 51.65% 4,327 46.45% 177 1.90%
2016 4,154 49.98% 3,689 44.39% 468 5.63%
2012 3,947 47.84% 4,171 50.56% 132 1.60%
2008 3,647 44.84% 4,391 53.99% 95 1.17%
2004 3,539 49.57% 3,543 49.63% 57 0.80%
2000 2,913 47.40% 2,907 47.31% 325 5.29%
1996 1,988 37.77% 2,782 52.85% 494 9.38%
1992 2,159 38.99% 2,586 46.70% 793 14.32%
1988 2,502 51.60% 2,272 46.86% 75 1.55%
1984 2,777 57.22% 2,021 41.64% 55 1.13%
1980 1,866 41.50% 2,410 53.60% 220 4.89%
1976 1,516 37.65% 2,426 60.24% 85 2.11%
1972 2,145 67.22% 954 29.90% 92 2.88%
1968 1,130 32.98% 1,120 32.69% 1,176 34.33%
1964 893 35.24% 1,635 64.52% 6 0.24%
1960 775 34.17% 1,480 65.26% 13 0.57%
1956 764 37.20% 1,215 59.15% 75 3.65%
1952 740 37.56% 1,222 62.03% 8 0.41%
1948 371 21.31% 1,204 69.16% 166 9.53%
1944 427 23.47% 1,390 76.42% 2 0.11%
1940 330 20.30% 1,291 79.40% 5 0.31%
1936 370 23.46% 1,204 76.35% 3 0.19%
1932 238 13.98% 1,457 85.61% 7 0.41%
1928 618 33.70% 1,216 66.30% 0 0.00%
1924 350 24.46% 1,042 72.82% 39 2.73%
1920 392 28.68% 973 71.18% 2 0.15%
1916 249 18.98% 1,063 81.02% 0 0.00%
1912 163 16.79% 706 72.71% 102 10.50%
1908 308 29.17% 742 70.27% 6 0.57%
1904 269 23.87% 847 75.16% 11 0.98%
1900 1,163 42.96% 1,530 56.52% 14 0.52%
1896 1,183 43.52% 1,492 54.89% 43 1.58%
1892 1,020 39.98% 1,409 55.23% 122 4.78%
1888 1,224 44.06% 1,554 55.94% 0 0.00%
1884 1,247 42.93% 1,658 57.07% 0 0.00%
1880 910 37.11% 1,542 62.89% 0 0.00%



Notable people[]

  • Leslie Bibb, an American actress and model. Bibb transitioned into film and television during the late 1990s, first appearing on television in 1996 with minor roles in a few television series, while first appearing on film in 1997 with a small role in Private Parts.
  • Rita Mae Brown, A social activist for gay and lesbian rights, this entertaining speaker and author has won several prestigious awards. Along with her cat, Sneaky Pie, the Nelson County resident has written a successful series of mystery novels.
  • Edward Coles, secretary to James Madison and second governor of Illinois; inherited Rockfish plantation in Nelson County and in June 1819 manumitted (freed) the slaves he brought from that plantation on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on their joint way to the Illinois Territory
  • Eli Cook, blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and record producer;[22] released six albums before his 30th birthday[23]
  • DeLane Fitzgerald, head football coach at NCAA D1 Southern Utah University
  • Jimmy Fortune, former tenor for the Statler Brothers; member of the Gospel and Country Music Hall of Fame
  • Reverend Dr. William Archer Rutherfoord Goodwin, grew up in Nelson County during the Reconstruction era after the American Civil War; priest and rector; created Colonial Williamsburg beginning in 1926
  • Earl Hamner Jr., born and raised in Schuyler; writer best known for the Emmy-winning CBS television series The Waltons, was based on his experiences of growing up in a large rural family in Depression era America
  • Dr. Gessner Harrison, in 1860 established Locust Grove Academy, a boarding school for boys in the northernmost part of the county
  • Walter Loving, commander of the Philippine Constabulary Band; first African-American to direct a musical performance at the White House
  • William Porcher Miles, South Carolina-born states' rights advocate; former U.S. and Confederate congressman; briefly managed Oak Ridge plantation near Lovingston after the Civil War
  • Robert Monroe, out-of-body experience researcher who founded the Monroe Institute; lived in Faber
  • James Leroy Murrill, last Confederate veteran of the Civil War
  • William Rives, tobacco magnate; built Oak Ridge plantation near Lovingston
  • Thomas Fortune Ryan, born near Lovingston; bought Oak Ridge plantation after becoming rich in New York City by consolidating transportation and tobacco companies

See also[]

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

References[]

  1. ^ "Nelson County, Virginia". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/profile?g=0500000US51125. Retrieved January 30, 2022. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. http://www.naco.org/Counties/Pages/FindACounty.aspx. 
  3. ^ Swanton, John R. (1952), The Indian Tribes of North America, Smithsonian Institution, p. 64, ISBN 0-8063-1730-2, OCLC 52230544, https://books.google.com/books?id=vtHI5pkJOGMC 
  4. ^ [1] Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  5. ^ Provence, Lisa (20 August 2009). "Cataclysmic Camille: After 40 years, Nelson County's wounds still fresh" (in en). http://www.readthehook.com/83659/cover-cataclysmic-camille-after-40-years-nelson-countys-wounds-still-fresh. 
  6. ^ a b [2] Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  7. ^ United States Department of Commerce (1969). "Hurricane Camille August 14–22, 1969". Environmental Science Services Administration. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/archive/storm_wallets/atlantic/atl1969-prelim/camille/TCR-1969Camille.pdf. 
  8. ^ [3] Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. https://www.census.gov/geographies/reference-files/time-series/geo/gazetteer-files.html. 
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/prod/www/decennial.html. 
  11. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. 
  12. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/cencounts/va190090.txt. 
  13. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov/population/www/cen2000/briefs/phc-t4/tables/tab02.pdf. 
  14. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Nelson County, Virginia". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=p2&g=0500000US51125&tid=DECENNIALPL2010.P2. 
  15. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Nelson County, Virginia". https://data.census.gov/cedsci/table?q=p2&g=0500000US51125&tid=DECENNIALPL2020.P2. 
  16. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. https://www.census.gov. 
  17. ^ "Wintergreen Resort, Premier Blue Ridge Mountain Virginia Vacation and Ski Resort". http://www.wintergreenresort.com/. 
  18. ^ "Nelson Downriver Race - 2005". 2005-04-30. http://www.nelsoncountyva.org/NelDRace/Race05/Race05.htm. 
  19. ^ Greene, Andy (August 2, 2013). "Interlocken Festival Unites Neil Young, Furthur and Widespread Panic". Rolling Stone. https://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/interlocken-festival-unites-neil-young-furthur-and-widespread-panic-20130802. 
  20. ^ Lindsey Ward (2007-07-25). "Camp Jeep Rolls into Nelson County". http://www.newsplex.com/news/headlines/8715842.html. 
  21. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". http://uselectionatlas.org/RESULTS. 
  22. ^ "Eli Cook". https://www.reverbnation.com/elicook. 
  23. ^ "Eli Cook | Album Discography". AllMusic. http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eli-cook-mn0000377972/discography. 

External links[]

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Template:Nelson County, Virginia

Coordinates: 37°47′N 78°53′W / 37.79, -78.88


This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Nelson County, Virginia. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.
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