Main Births etc
Rockbridge County, Virginia
Church Hill on Timber Ridge, cropped.jpg
Church Hill (Lexington, Virginia)
Seal of Rockbridge County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Rockbridge County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1778
Named for Natural Bridge
Seat Lexington
Largest town Lexington
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

601 sq mi (1,557 km²)
598 sq mi (1,549 km²)
3.4 sq mi (9 km²), 0.6
 -  Density

Congressional district 6th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Rockbridge County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 22,307.[1] Its county seat is Lexington.[2] The independent cities of Buena Vista (6,680) and Lexington (7,170) are both enclaved within the county's geographical borders.


Maple Hall, antebellum home in Rockbridge County north of Lexington

Rockbridge County was established in October, 1777 from parts of now neighboring Augusta and Botetourt counties, and the first county elections were held in May 1778. Rockbridge County was named for Natural Bridge, a notable landmark in the southern portion of the county. Rockbridge County was formed during an act of assembly intended to reduce the amount of travel to the nearest courthouse, and to ensure trials were held fairly, and among friends rather than strangers. The first court session in Rockbridge County was held at the home of Samuel Wallace on April 7, 1778. Slaves were far fewer in Rockbridge County than in many parts of Virginia, and, thus, the anti-slavery movement was stronger in Rockbridge than in many other counties of Virginia. For instance, several faculty members at Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) vigorously opposed slavery. However, many of the wealthiest residents of Rockbridge County owned slaves and passed down those slaves to their widows and children.[3]

Cyrus McCormick invented the reaper near Steele's Tavern at the northern end of the county.


View of the Maury River, Lexington, Rockbridge County

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 601 square miles (1,560 km2), of which 598 square miles (1,550 km2) is land and 3.4 square miles (8.8 km2) (0.6%) is water.[4]

Adjacent counties[]


National protected areas[]

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

Major highways[]

  • I-64
  • I-81
  • US 11
  • US 60
  • US 501
  • SR 39
  • SR 56
  • SR 130
  • SR 251
  • SR 252


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1790 6,548
1800 8,945 36.6%
1810 10,318 15.3%
1820 11,945 15.8%
1830 14,244 19.2%
1840 14,284 0.3%
1850 16,045 12.3%
1860 17,248 7.5%
1870 16,058 −6.9%
1880 20,003 24.6%
1890 23,062 15.3%
1900 21,799 −5.5%
1910 21,171 −2.9%
1920 20,626 −2.6%
1930 20,902 1.3%
1940 22,384 7.1%
1950 23,359 4.4%
1960 24,039 2.9%
1970 16,637 −30.8%
1980 17,911 7.7%
1990 18,350 2.5%
2000 20,808 13.4%
2010 22,307 7.2%
Est. 2018 22,752 [5] 9.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790–1960[7] 1900–1990[8]
1990–2000[9] 2010–2013[1]

As of the census[10] of 2000, there were 20,808 people, 8,486 households, and 6,075 families residing in the county. The population density was 35 people per square mile (13/km2). There were 9,550 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 95.42% White, 2.97% Black or African American, 0.26% Native American, 0.44% Asian, 0.12% from other races, and 0.78% from two or more races. 0.58% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 8,486 households out of which 29.20% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 57.50% were married couples living together, 9.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.40% were non-families. 23.90% 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 2.43 and the average family size was 2.84.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.20% under the age of 18, 7.90% from 18 to 24, 27.20% from 25 to 44, 27.10% from 45 to 64, and 15.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 100.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.00 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $36,035, and the median income for a family was $41,324. Males had a median income of $28,217 versus $19,946 for females. The per capita income for the county was $18,356. About 6.60% of families and 9.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.40% of those under age 18 and 9.60% of those age 65 or over.



The independent cities of Buena Vista and Lexington are separate political jurisdictions located within Rockbridge County. Lexington is the county seat (in spite of its independent status), and it shares three constitutional officers with Rockbridge County: Sheriff, Clerk of the Circuit Court and Commonwealth's Attorney. Buena Vista does not share constitutional officers with either Rockbridge County or Lexington.


  • Glasgow
  • Goshen

Census-designated place[]

  • East Lexington

Raphine, Virginia

Other unincorporated communities[]

  • Brownsburg
  • Fairfield
  • Natural Bridge Station
  • Raphine

Notable people[]

  • Robert H. Adams (1792–1832), born in Rockbridge County, United States Senator from Mississippi [11]
  • John Allen (soldier) (1771–1813), born in Rockbridge County, a Kentucky political figure and colonel of militia, killed in the War of 1812
  • Adam Rankin Alexander (1772–1851), born in Rockbridge County, United States Congressman from Tennessee[11]
  • Archibald Alexander (1772–1851), born in Rockbridge County, noted Presbyterian clergyman, president of Hampden–Sydney College and one of the founders of and the first professor of Princeton Theological Seminary[11]
  • Samuel Dale (1772–1841), born in Rockbridge County, American frontiersman, known as the ""Daniel Boone of Alabama" and a veteran of the Creek War of 1813–1814
  • William C. Friday (1920–2012), American educator, public servant and President of University of North Carolina (1956–1986), born in Raphine, Rockbridge County.
  • Sam Houston (1793–1863), born in Rockbridge County, the only man to be Governor of two U.S. states (Texas, Tennessee). Also, victor at the Battle of San Jacinto, President of the Republic of Texas, and U.S. Senator.
  • Miles Poindexter (1868-1946), Graduate of Fancy Hill Academy and Washington & Lee University, United States Senator from Washington, 1920 Republican Primary Presidential Candidate, United States Ambassador to Peru, Author, retired to and died in his home in Arnolds Valley.
  • Stonewall Jackson, General in the C.S.A. Army, lived in Lexington, the county seat.
  • Robert E. Lee, former commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia in the U.S. Civil War, who, after the war, accepted the presidency of Washington and Lee University (then Washington College)
  • Cyrus McCormick, inventor of the reaper
  • Sally Mann (born 1951), celebrated American photographer
  • Charlie Manuel, American and Japanese baseball player and World Series champion manager of the Philadelphia Phillies
  • Rick Mast, Fan favorite Winston Cup and Busch Series driver
  • Samuel B. Pryor, (1816–1866), First mayor of Dallas, TX. He was in the first class of the Virginia Military Institute.
  • Archibald Roane, who later became governor of Tennessee, lived in Rockbridge County in the 1780s
  • Absalom Willis Robertson, U.S. Senator, father of Pat Robertson
  • Pat Robertson (b. 1930), American minister, university president and media figure
  • Archibald Stuart, Founder of Phi Beta Kappa
  • Cy Twombly, American ex-patriate painter, born in Lexington
  • Pierre Daura, Spanish/Catalan painter, naturalized American


See also[]

  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Rockbridge County, Virginia
  • FOR Swimming


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 7, 2011. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ See, e.g., Alfred L. Brophy & Douglas Thie, "'Land, Slaves, and Bonds': Trust and Probate in the Pre-Civil War Shenandoah Valley," West Virginia Law Review vol. 119 (2016):345. Script error: No such module "webarchive".
  4. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Archived from the original on 2012-03-05. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  5. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Archived from the original on May 29, 2017. Retrieved July 14, 2018. 
  6. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 5, 2014. 
  10. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14. 
  11. ^ a b c Who Was Who in America, Historical Volume, 1607–1896. Marquis Who's Who. 1967. 
  12. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Archived from the original on 23 March 2018. Retrieved 7 May 2018. 

External links[]

Coordinates: 37°49′N 79°27′W / 37.81, -79.45

This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Rockbridge 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.