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Southampton County, Virginia
Seal of Southampton County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Southampton County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1749
Seat Courtland
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

, 0.46%
 - (2000)
 - Density


Southampton County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. As of the 2000 census, the population was 17,482. Its county seat is Courtland6.


Shire to County[]

During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, English settlers and explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Southampton County was originally part of the Warrosquyoake Shire. The shire was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637.

In 1749, the portion of Isle of Wight County west of the Blackwater River became Southampton County. Later, part of Nansemond County, which is now the Independent City of Suffolk, was added to Southampton County.

Southampton County may have been named for Southampton, a major city in England, or for one of the founders of the Virginia Company and a great supporter of the colonization of Virginia, Henry Wriothesley.

Nat Turner[]

In 1831, Southampton County was the location of the most serious slave rebellion in United States history. On August 21-22, the infamous Southampton Insurrection, led by the slave Nat Turner, resulted in the deaths of 58 whites and an unknown number of blacks. Turner and his followers were captured, tried and 20 were hanged.

William Mahone[]

William Mahone (1826-1895) was born in Southampton County, in the tiny community of Monroe, which was located on the Nottoway River about 8 miles (13 km) south of present-day Courtland. His parents were Fielding and Martha Mahone. They moved to Courtland in 1840, where Fielding Mahone ran a hotel (tavern). Young Billy Mahone attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI), trained as a civil engineer, and graduated in the class of 1847. He worked as a school teacher before, in 1853, he was hired to build the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad (Now Norfolk Southern).

In 1855, he married Otelia Butler, the daughter of the late Dr. Robert Butler of Smithfield, who had been Virginia State Treasurer prior to his death in 1853. Popular legend has it that William Mahone and his cultured wife, Otelia Butler Mahone (1837-1911), traveled along the newly completed Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad naming stations. Otelia was reading Ivanhoe a book written by Sir Walter Scott. From his historical Scottish novels, Otelia chose the place names of Windsor, Waverly and Wakefield.

Otelia Mahone is said to have tapped the Scottish Clan "McIvor" for the name of Ivor. Later, when they could not agree, it is said that they became even more creative, and invented a new name, which is how the tiny community of Disputanta was created. The N&P railroad was completed in 1858.

William Mahone became a Major General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, while his wife Otelia served as a nurse in Richmond. He later led the state's Readjuster Party and became a Senator in the United States Congress.

A large portion of U.S. Highway 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk is named in honor of General William Mahone.


Southampton County from 1895 map of Virginia

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,560 km² (602 mi²). 1,553 km² (600 mi²) of it is land and 7 km² (3 mi²) of it (0.46%) is water.

William Mahone, described above, never heard the name Courtland---the town was created by the General Assembly of Virginia in 1790 as "Jerusalem." The name was changed to Courtland in 1888.

Southampton County is bounded by the Blackwater River on the east and the Meherrin River on the west. The Nottoway River flows through the center of the county. All three rivers are tributaries of the Chowan River, which flows south into Albemarle Sound, North Carolina. The Blackwater River separates Southampton County from Isle of Wight County, and the Meherrin River separates it from Greensville County.


As of the census² of 2000, there were 17,482 people, 6,279 households, and 4,502 families residing in the county. The population density was 11/km² (29/mi²). There were 7,058 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (12/mi²). The racial makeup of the county was 55.96% White, 42.87% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. 0.66% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,279 households out of which 30.80% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.10% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% were non-families. 24.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.53 and the average family size was 3.02.

In the county, the population was spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 111.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 112.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $33,995, and the median income for a family was $41,324. Males had a median income of $32,436 versus $20,831 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,930. About 11.70% of families and 14.60% of the population were below the poverty line, including 19.90% of those under age 18 and 14.50% of those age 65 or over.


Unincorporated communities[]

External links[]

Coordinates: 36°43′N 77°07′W / 36.72, -77.11

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