Prince Edward County, Virginia
Prince Edward County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 23,368, its county seat is Farmville. Prince Edward County, Virginia was formed in the Virginia Colony in 1754 from Amelia County, it was named for Prince Edward, second son of Frederick, Prince of Wales and younger brother of George III of the United Kingdom. The original county seat was called Prince Edward Courthouse. Near the headwaters of the Appomattox River, the Town of Farmville was formed in 1798, was incorporated in 1912; the county seat was moved from Worsham to Farmville in 1871. In the 1850s, the Southside Railroad between Petersburg and Lynchburg was built through Farmville between Burkeville and Pamplin City; the route, subsidized by a contribution from Farmville, required an expensive crossing of the Appomattox River downstream which became known as the High Bridge. The Southside Railroad was damaged during the American Civil War; the High Bridge played a key role during Confederate General Robert E. Lee's final retreat from Petersburg to Appomattox Courthouse, where the surrender to Union General Ulysses S. Grant took place in April, 1865.
After the Civil War, under the leadership of former Confederate General William "Billy" Mahone, the Southside Railroad was rebuilt. In 1870, it was combined with the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad and the Virginia and Tennessee Railroad to form Mahone's Atlantic and Ohio Railroad, which extended 400 miles across the southern tier of Virginia from Norfolk on Hampton Roads to Bristol. After the Financial Panic of 1873, the AM&O fell into default on its debt. In 1982, it became part of the current Norfolk Southern Railway system. Due to the high cost of maintaining the High Bridge over the Appomattox River, the line through Farmville was downgraded and abandoned, in favor of the Farmville Belt Line, built on a more direct line between Burkeville and Pamplin City, as had been envisioned in the planning for the Southside Railroad. Another railroad served Farmville. In the late 19th century, the narrow gauge Farmville and Powhatan Railroad was built from Farmville through Cumberland and Chesterfield counties to reach Bermuda Hundred on the navigable portion of the James River near its confluence with the Appomattox River at City Point.
It was renamed the Tidewater and Western Railroad, but was dismantled in the early 20th century. Prince Edward County is the source of Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, a case incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education, which resulted in the U. S. Supreme Court decision that racially segregated public schools were unconstitutional; this led to the desegregation of all U. S. public schools. Among the five cases decided under Brown, Davis was the only one initiated by students, after they walked out in 1951 to protest overcrowding and poor conditions at their segregated school under Jim Crow laws; the all-black R. R. Moton High School, named after Robert Russa Moton, a noted educator from neighboring Amelia County, did not have a gymnasium, cafeteria, or teachers' restrooms. Due to overcrowding, three plywood buildings had been erected, some students had to take classes in a school bus parked outside. Teachers and students did not have blackboards; the school's requests for additional funds were denied by the all-white school board.
On Monday, April 23, 1951, Barbara Johns, the sixteen-year-old niece of Reverend Vernon Johns, a civil rights activist, led students who staged a walkout protesting the conditions. The NAACP took up their case when the students agreed to petition for an integrated school rather than improved conditions at their black school; this vote passed by one count. Howard University-trained attorneys Spottswood W. Robinson and Oliver Hill filed suit against the county school system on behalf of the students; as in other Southern states, since the turn of the twentieth century black voters in Virginia had been disenfranchised, which resulted in their lacking political power. In Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, a state court rejected the suit, agreeing with defense attorney T. Justin Moore that Virginia was vigorously equalizing conditions in white schools; the state verdict was appealed to the U. S. District Court, which ruled for the plaintiffs, a decision the school district and the state appealed.
Subsequently, it was one of five cases incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark case in which the U. S. Supreme Court in 1954 ruled. In 1956, the Virginia General Assembly passed a series of laws to implement Massive Resistance, a policy promoted by the Byrd Organization led by former Virginia governor and U. S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, to avoid compliance with the Supreme Court ruling in Brown and its direction to integrate public schools; the state legislature created a program of "tuition grants," which could be given to students so they could attend a private school of their choice. In practice, this meant state support of all-white schools that were developed as a way to evade integration of public schools; these newly formed schools became known as the "segregation academies". As a result of the Brown decision, changes in Virginia laws, in 1959, the Board of Supervisors for Prince Edward County refused to appropriate any funds at all for the County School Board, it closed all public schools rather than i
Brunswick County, Virginia
Brunswick County is a United States county located on the southern border of the Commonwealth of Virginia. This rural county is known as one the claimants to be the namesake of Brunswick stew. Brunswick County was created in 1720, its lands were taken from parts of Prince George and Isle of Wight counties; the county was named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg, a British possession in the 18th century. As of the 2010 census, the county population was 17,434, which represents a decrease of more than five percent from the 18,419 reported in the 2000 census; the Brunswick county seat is Lawrenceville. The first English settlers, in what was to become Brunswick County, swarmed into the protected lands near Fort Christanna during its 4 years of operation. Among them were indentured servants, including men deported from Scotland in 1716 after being convicted by the Crown in the Jacobite rising of 1715, they were required to work under indenture to pay the Crown back for their ship passage.
The colonists pushed many of the Native Americans out of the area. An example of such a Scots rebel who started in the colony as a convict was James Pittillo, he in 1726 was granted 242 acres on Wagua Creek. He became a major landowner in the area, he was appointed as a tobacco inspector in Bristol Parish in 1728 and that year served with William Byrd II on his spring and fall expeditions to survey the border between Virginia and North Carolina. Taking advantage of land grants due to headrights, for people whose passage he paid to the colony, outright purchases, Pittillo owned more than 4,000 acres in the area of Prince George County and Dinwiddie counties in Southside Virginia. Brunswick County was established in 1720 from Prince George County; the county is named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg in Germany. One of the titles carried by Britain's Hanoverian kings was Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg. In 1732 the county received more land from parts of Isle of Wight counties. Brunswick County reached the Blue Ridge Mountains until 1745, when increasing population in the region resulted in the formation of a series of new counties, Brunswick's current western border was established.
In 1780, during the American Revolutionary War, Greensville County was formed from part of Brunswick's eastern side. In 1787 the county's eastern border was finalized with a minor adjustment. Today Brunswick County is bisected by Interstate 85, U. S. 1 and U. S. Highway 58. Planters cultivated the land for tobacco by slave labor in colonial times; as tobacco exhausted the soil and the markets changed and smaller farmers diversified the rural economy by raising mixed crops and harvesting lumber before the American Civil War. As a result of these changes, slaveholders in the Upper South had surplus slaves, it fed the development of cotton plantations in the Deep South. Altogether, more than one million enslaved African Americans were sold South in the antebellum years in this forced migration, which broke up many families. Saint Paul's College, Virginia was established in this county in association with the church. In the early 21st century, the county has a campus of Southside Virginia Community College.
The Fort Pickett Army National Guard base is in the county. According to the U. S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 569 square miles, of which 566 square miles is land and 3.2 square miles is water. Mecklenburg County – west Lunenburg County – west Nottoway County – northwest Dinwiddie County – north Greensville County – east Northampton County, North Carolina – south I-85 US 1 US 58 SR 46 SR 136 SR 137 SR 378 As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 17,434 people residing in the county. 57.3% were Black or African American, 40.4% White, 0.3% Asian, 0.2% Native American, 0.8% of some other race and 0.9% of two or more races. 1.7 % were Latino. As of the census of 2000, there were 18,419 people, 6,277 households, 4,312 families residing in the county; the population density was 32 people per square mile. There were 7,541 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile; 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, 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, 31.30% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone, 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 age distribution of the population shows 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, 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, 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. Meherrin district: John Zubrod Powellton district: Welton Tyler Red Oak
1910 United States Census
The Thirteenth United States Census, conducted by the Census Bureau on April 15, 1910, determined the resident population of the United States to be 92,228,496, an increase of 21.0 percent over the 76,212,168 persons enumerated during the 1900 Census. The 1910 Census switched from a portrait page orientation to a landscape orientation; the 1910 census collected the following information: Full documentation for the 1910 census, including census forms and enumerator instructions, is available from the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. The column titles in the census form are as follows: LOCATION. Street, road, etc. House number. 1. Number of dwelling house in order of visitation. 2. Number of family in order of visitation. 3. NAME of each person whose place of abode on April 15, 1910, was in this family. Enter surname first the given name and middle initial, if any. Include every person living on April 15, 1910. Omit children born since April 15, 1910. RELATION. 4. Relationship of this person to the head of the family.
PERSONAL DESCRIPTION. 5. Sex. 6. Color or race. 7. Age at last birthday. 8. Whether single, widowed, or divorced. 9. Number of years of present marriage. 10. Mother of how many children: Number born. 11. Mother of how many children: Number now living. NATIVITY. Place of birth of each person and parents of each person enumerated. If born in the United States, give the state or territory. If of foreign birth, give the country. 12. Place of birth of this Person. 13. Place of birth of Father of this person. 14. Place of birth of Mother of this person. CITIZENSHIP. 15. Year of immigration to the United States. 16. Whether naturalized or alien. 17. Whether able to speak English. OCCUPATION. 18. Trade or profession of, or particular kind of work done by this person, as spinner, laborer, etc. 19. General nature of industry, business, or establishment in which this person works, as cotton mill, dry goods store, etc. 20. Whether as employer, employee, or work on own account. If an employee— 21. Whether out of work on April 15, 1910.
22. Number of weeks out of work during year 1909. EDUCATION. 23. Whether able to read. 24. Whether able to write. 25. Attended school any time since September 1, 1909. OWNERSHIP OF HOME. 26. Owned or rented. 27. Owned free or mortgaged. 28. Farm or house. 29. Number of farm schedule. 30. Whether a survivor of the Union or Confederate Army or Navy. 31. Whether blind. 32. Whether deaf and dumb. Special Notation In 1912 and 1959, New Mexico, Arizona and Hawaii would become the 47th, 48th, 49th and 50th states admitted to the Union; the 1910 population count for each of these areas was 327,301, 204,354, 64,356 and 191,909 respectively. On this basis, the ranking list above would be modified as follows: First 42 ranked states - positions unchanged New Mexico, Arizona, Hawaii, Wyoming and Alaska; the original census enumeration sheets were microfilmed by the Census Bureau in the 1940s. The microfilmed census is available in rolls from the National Records Administration. Several organizations host images of the microfilmed census online, along which digital indices.
Microdata from the 1910 census are available through the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series. Aggregate data for small areas, together with electronic boundary files, can be downloaded from the National Historical Geographic Information System. 1911 U. S Census Report Contains 1910 Census results Historic US Census data census.gov/population/www/censusdata/PopulationofStatesandCountiesoftheUnitedStates1790-1990.pdf
2010 United States Census
The 2010 United States Census is the twenty-third and most recent United States national census. National Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2010; the census was taken via mail-in citizen self-reporting, with enumerators serving to spot-check randomly selected neighborhoods and communities. As part of a drive to increase the count's accuracy, 635,000 temporary enumerators were hired; the population of the United States was counted as 308,745,538, a 9.7% increase from the 2000 Census. This was the first census in which all states recorded a population of over half a million, as well as the first in which all 100 largest cities recorded populations of over 200,000; as required by the United States Constitution, the U. S. census has been conducted every 10 years since 1790. The 2000 U. S. Census was the previous census completed. Participation in the U. S. Census is required by law in Title 13 of the United States Code. On January 25, 2010, Census Bureau Director Robert Groves inaugurated the 2010 Census enumeration by counting World War II veteran Clifton Jackson, a resident of Noorvik, Alaska.
More than 120 million census forms were delivered by the U. S. Post Office beginning March 15, 2010; the number of forms mailed out or hand-delivered by the Census Bureau was 134 million on April 1, 2010. Although the questionnaire used April 1, 2010 as the reference date as to where a person was living, an insert dated March 15, 2010 included the following printed in bold type: "Please complete and mail back the enclosed census form today." The 2010 Census national mail participation rate was 74%. From April through July 2010, census takers visited households that did not return a form, an operation called "non-response follow-up". In December 2010, the U. S. Census Bureau delivered population information to the U. S. President for apportionment, in March 2011, complete redistricting data was delivered to states. Identifiable information will be available in 2082; the Census Bureau did not use a long form for the 2010 Census. In several previous censuses, one in six households received this long form, which asked for detailed social and economic information.
The 2010 Census used only a short form asking ten basic questions: How many people were living or staying in this house, apartment, or mobile home on April 1, 2010? Were there any additional people staying here on April 1, 2010 that you did not include in Question 1? Mark all that apply: Is this house, apartment, or mobile home – What is your telephone number? What is Person 1's name? What is Person 1's sex? What is Person 1's age and Person 1's date of birth? Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin? What is Person 1's race? Does Person 1 sometimes live or stay somewhere else? The form included space to repeat all of these questions for up to twelve residents total. In contrast to the 2000 census, an Internet response option was not offered, nor was the form available for download. Detailed socioeconomic information collected during past censuses will continue to be collected through the American Community Survey; the survey provides data about communities in the United States on a 1-year or 3-year cycle, depending on the size of the community, rather than once every 10 years.
A small percentage of the population on a rotating basis will receive the survey each year, no household will receive it more than once every five years. In June 2009, the U. S. Census Bureau announced. However, the final form did not contain a separate "same-sex married couple" option; when noting the relationship between household members, same-sex couples who are married could mark their spouses as being "Husband or wife", the same response given by opposite-sex married couples. An "unmarried partner" option was available for couples; the 2010 census cost $13 billion $42 per capita. Operational costs were $5.4 billion under the $7 billion budget. In December 2010 the Government Accountability Office noted that the cost of conducting the census has doubled each decade since 1970. In a detailed 2004 report to Congress, the GAO called on the Census Bureau to address cost and design issues, at that time, had estimated the 2010 Census cost to be $11 billion. In August 2010, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced that the census operational costs came in under budget.
Locke credited the management practices of Census Bureau director Robert Groves, citing in particular the decision to buy additional advertising in locations where responses lagged, which improved the overall response rate. The agency has begun to rely more on questioning neighbors or other reliable third parties when a person could not be reached at home, which reduced the cost of follow-up visits. Census data for about 22% of U. S. househol
Henry C. Lay
Henry Champlin Lay D. D. L. L. D. was a bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Born to Richmond merchant John Olmstead Lay and his wife Lucy Anna May of Petersburg, Henry Champlin Lay was baptized in historic St. John's Church, although his parents were members of the city's Monument Church parish, his mother died when Henry was 10, his father six years later. Lay attended the Richmond Academy run by Socrates Maupin, he entered the University of Virginia on September 1, 1839 and graduated with a Master of Arts degree on July 4, 1842. Lay tutored the children of General William H. Broadnax at Kingston in Dinwiddie County for nearly two years. Realizing that he had a call to ministry, Lay began theological studies at Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia on October 12, 1844, taking the first and second year courses simultaneously, he graduated in due course and on July 10, 1846 was ordained deacon by William Meade and assigned to the historic Lynnhaven parish near Virginia Beach, which operated a free school pursuant to the bequest of its rector who had died as the American Revolution began.
The following spring, after marrying as discussed below, Lay moved to Huntsville, Alabama to serve as rector of the Church of the Nativity. Nicholas H. Cobbs ordained Lay a priest on July 12, 1848. During his eleven-year leadership, the sixty member congregation built a brick church, still standing, which could seat 600. Lay was chosen as a deputy to the General Convention in 1850 and 1859. Between those terms, in 1857, he received a Doctor of Divinity D. D. degree from Hobart College in New York. In 1859, while attending the General Convention in Richmond during the controversy over John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, Lay was elected missionary bishop of the Southwest, with jurisdiction over "Arkansas, the Indian territory and New Mexico", consecrated by Meade, Leonidas Polk, Stephen Elliott and several others on October 23, 1859. Lay moved to Arkansas, planning that his wife and three children would follow when he settled down. After an exploratory trip around his new diocese, Lay decided to make his base in Fort Smith, where Polk had established Christ Church in 1840.
After returning to Huntsville for the birth of his son, Lay went on an extended tour from Savannah, Georgia to New York City to raise funds for his missionary work. In the summer of 1860, Lay moved his wife, four children and three slaves to Fort Smith, where a gift from a Virginia cousin enabled them to buy a small house so they could plant a vegetable garden and keep pigs, a chicken and a cow; when the American Civil War began, Fort Smith's military garrison surrendered to the Confederate forces on April 24, 1861. Lay returned home from a diocesan tour to check on his family decided to advise his clergy that they no longer needed pray for the President, he wrote after the fall of Fort Sumter, "I am now Southern and all that. But I could weep day and night for the misery before us and the folly that has brought us to it." His brothers colonels George Lay and John Lay sided with the Confederate cause. His young son Thomas soon was buried in the garden. For the next four years, the Lay family never again settled — traveling first to Little Rock returning to Huntsville shortly before its capture by federal forcess under General Ormsby Mitchell in April 1862.
Lay was among the twelve prominent Huntsville citizen hostages locked in the Probate Judge's office for thirteen days as security their fellow citizens' "good behavior" towards the occupying enemy. Three weeks after his release, Mrs. Lay delivered her seventh child, a son, but days their daughter Lucy died. In August 1862 the Federal troops retreated from Huntsville, but they left about 100 Union soldiers too sick to move. Bishop Lay began visiting them, but soon resumed his travels, he left his eldest son in a Virginia boarding school n October, proceeded to Augusta, Georgia to attend the first General Council of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Confederate States of America. After the council, Lay returned to Arkansas by himself, though by now neighboring Indian territory was under Federal control. By January 1863, he had settled at Little Rock, which served as the base for the Confederate Trans-Mississippi Department; the city had five improvised army hospitals, Lay dismantled the interior of Christ Church and with his parishioners turned it into the sixth.
In the late spring 1863, Lay made a 30-day, 400-mile horseback trip of his diocese, by early summer began substituting in Louisiana for Bishop Polk, who had become a Confederate General. With the fall of Vicksburg, crossing the Mississippi River into Arkansas had became dangerous. Lay learned his family had returned to Lunenburg County, Virginia, so he returned to Virginia and for several months visited the hospitals and prisons there. In June, 1864, at the invitation of Stephen Elliott, Confederate Presiding Bishop and Bishop of Georgia, Lay traveled to Fort Sumter to hold services for the Confederate garrison, as well as to attend Polk's funeral in Augusta and serve Charleston's citizens and soldiers. During the siege of Atlanta, Georgia, he visited the troops defending the city and those in its hospitals, he assisted chaplain Charles Todd Quintard in the months after Polk's death, counseled General Hood. After the city fell, General William Sherman gave Lay permission to cross Union lines to visit his wife and return.
Lay traveled by trains and boats north throu
Victoria is an incorporated town in Lunenburg County, United States. The population was 1,725 at the 2010 census, down from the 1,821 reported in 2000. Lunenburg County in the Southside region was established on May 1, 1746 in Great Britain's Virginia Colony from Brunswick County; the county is named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg in Germany, because one of the titles carried by Britain's Hanoverian kings was Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg. After statehood, Virginia grew as part of the original 13 United States. Beginning in 1816, the Virginia Board of Public Works began providing engineering and financial assistance to internal improvements around the state in transportation which continued during most of the 19th century. However, Lunenburg County had been passed by as canals and railroads were built across much of Virginia. At the beginning of the 20th century, the area, to become Victoria was farmland and woodlands. Victoria was founded in 1906 as a planned community on what had been undeveloped land during the construction of the Tidewater Railway.
This was a new east-west railroad chartered in 1904 with its right of way secured in 1904 and 1905, so as to not alert the competition regarding plans to transport coal originated by its sister Deepwater Railway operating in southern West Virginia. The Tidewater Railway was chartered to cross Virginia from the West Virginia border near Glen Lyn, Virginia in Giles County by way of Roanoke and Suffolk to port at Sewell's Point on Hampton Roads near Norfolk, Virginia. Both railroads were planned and built by the team of mining manager and civil engineer William Nelson Page and industrialist and financier Henry Huttleston Rogers, added a third Hampton Roads coal exporting railhead to the existing Chesapeake and Ohio Railway and the Norfolk and Western Railway's similar facilities at Norfolk's Lambert's Point. Queen Victoria of England was a favorite of Henry Rogers, the new town was named in her honor. Victoria was the midpoint of the VGN's Norfolk Division, which extended from Sewell's Point to Roanoke.
Designated to be a "division point" on the railroad, Victoria became the location of a large equipment maintenance operation with roundhouse, turntable and water facilities for servicing steam locomotives, a large yard. According to author H. Reid in his 1961 book The Virginian Railway, investors recalled the rapid growth of Roanoke between 1882 and 1884, nicknamed the "Magic City" when the Norfolk and Western had established major facilities at the former bucolic location, earlier known as Big Lick. Comparisons were made, they could look to nearby Crewe on the N&W to see what a substantial volume of activity and employment a division point on a steam railroad could bring. Predictably, land sales at Victoria were brisk, buildings soon followed. In 1907, as they began nearing completion, the Tidewater and Deepwater Railways were combined to form the Virginian Railway. In March, the Tidewater Railway was formally rechartered by the Virginia State Corporation Commission as "The Virginian Railway Company" and William Nelson Page was elected president on April 15, 1907 at the first new board meeting in Norfolk.
On April 22, the Deepwater Railway was acquired. Passenger service from Victoria to Norfolk began on June 17, 1907; the trip from Victoria took 12 hours, operated once daily in each direction except Sundays, according to the first schedules published in the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot newspaper. That first summer and fall, in conjunction with the Norfolk and Southern Railway, service was offered to the Jamestown Exposition being held in Norfolk County that same summer. At the Exposition, VGN president Page served as Chief of International Jury of Awards and Metallurgy. United States President Theodore Roosevelt, attending the Jamestown Exposition, was one of the VGN's earliest passengers, according to author Reid. Adjacent to the Jamestown Exposition site on Hampton Roads at Sewell's Point, a new coal pier was being built. Completion of the entire railroad took 2 additional years; the low gradient VGN was considered an engineering marvel of the time when it was completed in 1909. Soon and other commodities began rolling through Victoria.
The new Norfolk Division offices of the railroad were on located on a second floor, added to the original Victoria passenger station a short time later. The Virginia General Assembly granted a charter and incorporated the Town of Victoria on March 11, 1916. Bechelbronn and Victoria High School are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Victoria's importance as a rail point declined in the 1950s when the change to diesel-electric locomotives reduced the labor and facilities needed; the last Virginian passenger train served Victoria in January, 1956. VGN steam operations ended in June, 1957. On December 1, 1959, the Virginian Railway merged with the larger Norfolk and Western Railway. Under combined operations, the through coal traffic was shifted from Victoria to the bigger road's main line through Crewe, within commuting distance for N&W's Victoria-based employees. Local customers on the former VGN line through Victoria and nearby Kenbridge were few, the portion of the line through Victoria and Kenbridge was abandoned in the 1980s.
All tracks and all structures were removed, a portion of the l
House of Burgesses
The House of Burgesses was the elected representative element of the Virginia General Assembly, the legislative body of the Colony of Virginia. With the creation of the House of Burgesses in 1642, the General Assembly, established in 1619, became a bicameral institution. From 1642 to 1776, the House of Burgesses was an instrument of government alongside the royally-appointed colonial governor and the upper-house Council of State in the General Assembly; when the Virginia colony declared its independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland at the Fifth Virginia Convention in 1776 and became the independent Commonwealth of Virginia, the House of Burgesses became the House of Delegates, which continues to serve as the lower house of the General Assembly. A synonym of burgher or bourgeois, the word "burgess" came to mean a borough representative in local or parliamentary government; the Colony of Virginia was founded by an English stock company, the Virginia Company, as a private venture, though under a royal charter.
Early governors provided the stern leadership and harsh judgments required for the colony to survive its early difficulties. As early crises with famine, Native American attempts to retake land, the need to establish cash crops, insufficient skilled or committed labor, the colony needed to attract enough new and responsible settlers if it were to grow and prosper. To encourage settlers to come to Virginia, in November, 1618 the Virginia Company's leaders gave instructions to the new Governor Sir George Yeardley, which became known as "the great charter." Emigrants who paid their own way to Virginia would receive fifty acres of land and not be mere tenants. Civil authority would control the military. In 1619, based on the instructions, Governor Yeardley initiated the election 22 burgesses by the settlements and Jamestown, together with the royally-appointed Governor and six-member Council of State, would form the first General Assembly as a unicameral body; the governor could veto its actions and the Company still maintained overall control of the venture, but the settlers would have a limited say in the management of their own affairs, including their finances.
A House of Assembly was created at the same time in Bermuda and held its first session in 1620. A handful of Polish craftsmen, brought to the colony to supply skill in the manufacture of pitch, tar and soap ash, were denied the political rights of English settlers, they downed tools in protest, but returned to work after being declared free and enfranchised by agreement with the Virginia Company. On July 30, 1619, Governor Yeardley convened the General Assembly as the first representative legislature in the Americas for a six-day meeting at the new brick church on Jamestown Island, Virginia; the unicameral Assembly was composed of the Governor, a Council of State appointed by the Virginia Company and the 22 locally elected representatives. The Assembly's first session of July 30, 1619, accomplished little, being cut short by an outbreak of malaria; the assembly had 22 members from the following constituencies: James City, Charles City, the City of Henricus, Martin-Brandon, Smythe's Hundred, Martin's Hundred, Argall's Gift Plantation, Flowerdew Hundred Plantation, Captain Lawne's Plantation, Captain Ward's Plantation.
After the massacre of 400 colonists on March 22, 1621/22 by Native Americans, epidemics in the winters before and after the massacre, the governor and council ruled arbitrarily, showing great contempt for the assembly and allowed no dissent. By 1624, the royal government in London had heard enough about the problems of the colony and revoked the charter of the Virginia Company. Virginia became the governor and council would be appointed by the king. Nonetheless, the Assembly maintained management of local affairs with some informal royal assent, although it was not royally confirmed until 1639. In 1634, the General Assembly divided the colony into eight shires for purposes of government and the judicial system. By 1643, the expanding colony had 15 counties. All of the county offices, including a board of commissioners, sheriff and clerks, were appointed positions. Only the burgesses were elected by a vote of the people. Women had no right to vote. Only free and white men were given the right to vote, by 1670 only property owners were allowed to vote.
In 1642, Governor William Berkeley urged creation of a bicameral legislature, which the Assembly promptly implemented. In 1652, the parliamentary forces of Oliver Cromwell forced the colony to submit to being taken over by the English government. Again, the colonists were able to retain the General Assembly as their governing body. Only taxes agreed to by the assembly were to be levied. Still, most Virginia colonists were loyal to Prince Charles, were pleased at his restoration as King Charles II in 1660, he went on directly or indirectly to restrict some of the liberties of the colonists, such as requiring tobacco t