What’s one of the oldest counties in the United States? It is Henrico County, Virginia, which was founded in 1634. It was established as one of the 8 Shires of Virginia and only the second settlement of the colony, back in 1634. Henrico County Virginia is named after the Prince of Wales, the son of King James I of England.
Its footprint has shed some over the years, initially encompassing what would become 10 separate counties of Virginia, and Richmond, Colonial Heights, and Charlottesville. For instance, in 1842 when Richmond became its own independent city it dropped out of the county.
Though, a look through its history makes it known how much the lives of the people and the creation of the county rested in the balance, on the brink of destruction many times.
Finding Henrico County
The main question is how did the settlers come to the area in the first place? The Virginia Company of London chartered the voyage in 1607, sending approximately 25 men on the trip along with Captain Christopher Newport. It was given the blessing of the crown, and they set sail on behalf of the crown.
When they arrived in the colony of Virginia, they explored the area a bit before settling in at all. At one point they met up with Chief Powhatan’s Arrohattoc Indian tribe.
The American Indians were very hospitable and welcoming toward Newport’s company, having fed them. The next morning the whole crew would venture off again to explore more of the area.
Once Captain Newport was happy with an area, the crew all settled into place. He is known as having made a grand gesture, having the crew set up a cross and proclaiming the journey and space for God and England, according to the County of Henrico Virginia’s Historical Information.
However, as the settlement prospered and grew, the Indians became unsettled. Feeling threatened, they murdered families and burned the villages in hopes of scaring away the new settlers. It worked for a while, as many fled back to Jamestown.
Though, that was neither the end of the county nor the end of the challenges that Henrico County would face. The settlers, led by Nathaniel Bacon, Jr and supported by Indians, themselves became angry at the governor of Virginia in 1676.
In 1776, they sent delegates to the Continental Congress and even formed a militia to fight in the Revolutionary War. At this point, Henrico County Virginia s is well into its 400th year of existence.