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Westmoreland County, Virginia
Seal of Westmoreland County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Westmoreland County
Location in the state of Virginia
Map of the U.S. highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded information needed
Seat Montross
 - Total
 - Land
 - Water

253 sq mi (655 km²)
229 sq mi (593 km²)
23 sq mi (60 km²), 9.29%
 -  Density

73/sq mi (28/km²)

Westmoreland County is a county located in the Northern Neck of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state in the United States. In 2010, the population was 17,454.[1] Its county seat is Montross.[2]

View of the main facade, Stratford Hall, ancestral home of the Lee family of Virginia, Westmoreland County


Nomini Hall, Carter family plantation in Westmoreland County. Built in 1730 by Robert Carter II on land purchased from heirs of Nicholas Spencer by Robert "King" Carter

As originally established by the House of Burgesses from Northumberland County, Virginia in 1653, the territory of Westmoreland County encompassed much of what later became the various counties and cities of Northern Virginia, including the city of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Prince William County. These remained Westmoreland until 1664, when Stafford County, Virginia was formed.

Westmoreland County was the birthplace of George Washington, the first President of the United States (at the former settlement of Bridges Creek, Virginia);[3] James Monroe, the fifth President of the United States; and General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies. It was the residence of Col. Nicholas Spencer, who patented the land at Mount Vernon in 1674 with his friend Lt. Col. John Washington, ancestor of George Washington. Spencer, who served as President of the Council and acting Governor of Virginia, was the cousin of and agent for the Barons Colepeper, proprietors of the Northern Neck. Spencer lived at his plantation Nomini, which his descendants later sold to Robert Carter I. Carter's grandson, Robert Carter III voluntarily freed almost 500 slaves from Nomini Hall beginning in 1791 and settled many on his lands, which he gave them. His manumission is the largest known release of slaves in North American history prior to the American Civil War and the largest number ever manumitted by an individual in the US.[4]

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According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 253 square miles (660 km2), of which 229 square miles (590 km2) is land and 23 square miles (60 km2) (9.29%) is water. The county is located on the Northern Neck peninsula and is part of the Northern Neck George Washington Birthplace AVA winemaking appellation.

Rural Westmoreland County

Adjacent counties[]

National protected areas[]

  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument
  • Rappahannock River Valley National Wildlife Refuge (part) Mothershead unit


Historical populations
Census Pop.
1820 6,901
1830 8,396 21.7%
1840 8,019 −4.5%
1850 8,080 0.8%
1860 8,282 2.5%
1870 7,682 −7.2%
1880 8,846 15.2%
1890 8,399 −5.1%
1900 9,243 10.0%
1910 9,313 0.8%
1920 10,240 10.0%
1930 8,497 −17.0%
1940 9,512 11.9%
1950 10,148 6.7%
1960 11,042 8.8%
1970 12,142 10.0%
1980 14,041 15.6%
1990 15,480 10.2%
2000 16,718 8.0%
2010 17,454 4.4%

At the 2000 census[5], there were 16,718 people, 6,846 households and 4,689 families residing in the county. The population density was 73 /sq mi (28 /km2). There were 9,286 housing units at an average density of 40 /sq mi (15 /km2). The racial makeup of the county was 65.41% White, 30.89% Black or African American, 0.28% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.75% from other races, and 1.29% from two or more races. 3.46% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 6,846 households of which 25.70% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.70% were married couples living together, 13.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.50% were non-families. 26.90% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.60% 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 2.91.

23.00% of the population were under the age of 18, 6.30% from 18 to 24, 23.90% from 25 to 44, 27.80% from 45 to 64, and 19.00% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 92.30 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.90 males.

The median household income was $35,797 and the median family income was $41,357. Males had a median income of $31,333 compared with $22,221 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,473. About 11.20% of families and 14.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.10% of those under age 18 and 12.50% of those age 65 or over.

Business and economy[]

The county's economy is largely based on agriculture, primarily dairy.[6] Tourism is another significant economic driver, related to historical sites such as George Washington Birthplace National Monument and Robert E. Lee's birthplace, Stratford Hall Plantation, as well as gambling activities available in Colonial Beach. The county is also an extended exurb of Washington, D.C.

Northern Neck Coca-Cola Bottling Inc. (makers of Northern Neck Ginger Ale) and the weekly Westmoreland News are located in Montross.

Distinguished residents[]

George Washington Birthplace National Monument

  • John Washington (1631-1677) great-grandfather of George Washington
  • George Washington (1732-1799), the first president of the United States
  • James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth president of the United States
  • Robert E. Lee (1807-1870), a general best known for fighting on behalf of the Confederate Army in the American Civil War
  • Thomas Brown, the second governor of Florida
  • Nicholas Spencer, acting governor of Virginia, co-patentee of Mount Vernon estate
  • Thomas Lee, a leading political figure in colonial Virginia
  • Richard "Squire" Lee
  • Richard Henry Lee, a signatory of the United States Declaration of Independence, United States Senator, and the sixth president of the United States in Congress Assembled (under the Articles of Confederation)
  • Francis Lightfoot Lee, a signer of United States Declaration of Independence
  • Walter Balderson, Emmy Award-winning video engineer
  • John dos Passos, the author of the U.S.A. trilogy and other works
  • Sloan Wilson, the author of The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit
  • Rob Wittman, United States Congressman (VA-1, Republican)
  • Captain John Marshall "Of the Forest" (1700-1752) Grandfather of Chief Justice John Marshall


  • Colonial Beach
  • Montross
  • George Washington Birthplace National Monument
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Westmoreland County, Virginia
  • Stratford Hall Plantation


  1. ^ [1]. Weldon Cooper Center 2010 Census Count Retrieved September 9, 2011
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ Marquis, A.N. Company. Who's Who In America, vol. 1:Historical Volume (1607-1896), revised ed., Marquis, A.N. Company., 1967.
  4. ^ Andrew Levy, The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father who freed his slaves. New York: Random House, 2005 (ISBN 0-375-50865-1)
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  6. ^ [2]

External links[]

Coordinates: 38°07′N 76°48′W / 38.11, -76.80

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