Isle of Wight County, Virginia

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Isle of Wight County, Virginia
Isle of Wight Courthouse, Isle of Wight, VA.jpg
The 1800 courthouse near the center of Isle of Wight County
Seal of Isle of Wight County, Virginia
Map of Virginia highlighting Isle of Wight County
Location in the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1634
Named for Isle of Wight
Seat Isle of Wight
Largest town Smithfield
 • Total 363 sq mi (940 km2)
 • Land 316 sq mi (818 km2)
 • Water 47 sq mi (122 km2), 13.0%
 • (2010) 35,270
 • Density 93/sq mi (36/km²)
Congressional district 4th
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Isle of Wight County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. It was named after the Isle of Wight, in the English Channel.[1] As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,270.[2] Its county seat is Isle of Wight.[3]

Isle of Wight County is located in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News, VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Isle of Wight County features two incorporated towns, Smithfield and Windsor. The original courthouse for the county was built in Smithfield in 1750. The original courthouse and its associated tavern (The Smithfield Inn) are still standing. A new courthouse was built near the center of the county in 1800. The 1800 courthouse and its associated tavern (Boykin's Tavern) are also still standing. The 1800 courthouse is used daily, and is the government chambers for the Board of Supervisors, as well as the meeting hall for the School Board. The chambers still occasionally serve as an actual courthouse for civil trials if the new courthouse is fully in use. The new courthouse opened in 2010 and is just across the street from the sheriff's office and county offices complex.


During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the settlement at Jamestown in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. Captain John Smith in 1608 crossed the James River and obtained fourteen bushels of corn from the Native American inhabitants, the Warrosquyoackes or Warraskoyaks. They were a tribe of the Powhatan Confederacy, who had three towns in the area of modern Smithfield. The Warraskoyaks were driven off from their villages in 1622 and 1627, as part of the reprisals for the Great Massacre of 1622.

The first English plantations along the south shore within present-day Isle of Wight were established by Puritan colonists, beginning with that of Christopher Lawne in May 1628. Several members of the Puritan Bennett family also came to settle the area, including Richard Bennett who led the Puritans to neighboring Nansemond in 1635, and later became governor of the Virginia Colony.

By 1634, the Colony consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. One of these was Warrosquyoake Shire, an Anglicisation of the indigenous name, which was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637, after the island of the same name off the south coast of England. The name was probably changed because the Isle of Wight had become the home of some of the principal colonists, namely the families of Richard Bennett, Thos. Spain, Christopher Lawne, and James Peterson (among others), though the Native American name went through multiple Anglicisations, eventually also being known as "Warwicke Squeake" among the local inhabitants.

St. Luke's Church [1], built in the 17th century, is the Virginia's oldest church building. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in recognition of its significance. Many landmark and contributing structures on the National Register are located in Smithfield including the Wentworth-Grinnan House.

In 1732 a considerable portion of the northwestern part of the original shire was added to Brunswick County; and in 1748 the entire county of Southampton was carved out of it.

During the American Civil War, Company F of the 61st Virginia Infantry of the Confederate Army was called the "Isle of Wight Avengers."


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 363 square miles (940 km2), of which 316 square miles (820 km2) is land and 47 square miles (120 km2) (13.0%) is water.[4]

The county is bounded by the James River on the north and the Blackwater River to the south. The land is generally low-lying, with many swamps and pocosins.

Adjacent counties and independent cities

Major highways


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 9,028
1800 9,342 3.5%
1810 9,186 −1.7%
1820 10,139 10.4%
1830 10,517 3.7%
1840 9,972 −5.2%
1850 9,353 −6.2%
1860 9,977 6.7%
1870 8,320 −16.6%
1880 10,572 27.1%
1890 11,313 7.0%
1900 13,102 15.8%
1910 14,929 13.9%
1920 14,433 −3.3%
1930 13,409 −7.1%
1940 13,381 −0.2%
1950 14,906 11.4%
1960 17,164 15.1%
1970 18,285 6.5%
1980 21,603 18.1%
1990 25,503 18.1%
2000 29,728 16.6%
2010 35,270 18.6%
Est. 2014 36,007 [5] 2.1%
U.S. Decennial Census[6]
1790-1960[7] 1900-1990[8]
1990-2000[9] 2010-2013[2]

As of the census[10] of 2010, there were 35,270 people, 11,319 households, and 8,670 families residing in the county. The population density was 94 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 12,066 housing units at an average density of 38 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.8% White, 24.7% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.8% Asian, 0.0% Pacific Islander, 0.5% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. 1.9% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 11,319 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.40% were non-families. 20.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 2.99.

In the county, the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 6.60% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $45,387, and the median income for a family was $52,597. Males had a median income of $37,853 versus $22,990 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,235. About 6.60% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.80% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.


Board of Supervisors

Carrsville District: Rex W. Alphin (I)

Hardy District: Rudolph Jefferson (I)

Newport District: B.B. "Buzz" Bailey (I)

Smithfield District: Alan E. "Al" Casteen (I)

Windsor District: Delores C. "DeeDee" Darden (I)

Constitutional officers

Clerk of the Circuit Court: Sharon Nelms Jones (I)

Commissioner of the Revenue: Gerald H. Gwaltney (I)

Commonwealth's Attorney: L. Wayne Farmer (I)

Sheriff: Mark A. Marshall (I)

Treasurer: Judith Crocker Wells (I)

Isle of Wight is represented by Republicans Thomas K. "Tommy" Norment and Harry B. Blevins and Democrat L. Louise Lucas in the Virginia Senate, Republican Rick L. Morris and Democrat Roslyn C. Tyler in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Republican J. Randy Forbes in the U.S. House of Representatives.



Unincorporated communities


See also


  1. Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. Govt. Print. Off. p. 167.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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