Stafford County, Virginia

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Stafford County, Virginia
Stafford VA courthouse.JPG
The Stafford County Courthouse in October 2013.
Map of Virginia highlighting Stafford County
Location in the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
Founded 1664
Named for Staffordshire, England
Seat Stafford
Largest community Aquia Harbor
 • Total 280 sq mi (725 km2)
 • Land 269 sq mi (697 km2)
 • Water 11 sq mi (28 km2), 3.9%
 • (2010) 128,961
 • Density 477.6/sq mi (184/km²)
Congressional district 1st
Time zone Eastern: UTC-5/-4

Stafford County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 128,961.[1] Its county seat is Stafford.[2]

Located across the Rappahannock River from the City of Fredericksburg, Stafford County is part of the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. In 2006, and again in 2009, Stafford was ranked as the 11th highest income county in America by Forbes magazine.


For thousands of years, various cultures of indigenous peoples succeeded each other in their territories along the Potomac River and its tributaries. By the time of English colonization, there were 32 Algonquian-speaking American Indian tribes in the present-day coastal Tidewater Virginia area, including those of the Patawomeck and numerous tribes that were part of the Powhatan Confederacy. The former small tribe, still centered in Stafford County, was recognized by the state of Virginia in 2010.

The Native Americans' first recorded encounter with Europeans in this area was in 1608, with John Smith of the Jamestown Settlement. During a time of recurring tension between the early English colonists and local Native Americans, the colonists led by Samuel Argall captured Chief Powhatan's daughter, Pocahontas while she was residing with her husband, Kocoum. It occurred in the eastern part of this county, from where they took her to a secondary English settlement, known as Henricus (or Henrico Town). Alexander Whitaker converted Pocahontas to Christianity during her captivity. He renamed the princess "Rebecca" at her baptism. Rebecca married English colonist John Rolfe on April 5, 1614 in Jamestown.[3][4]

The English colonial government of Virginia imposed its own order on the land and peoples. In 1664 it established Stafford County from territory previously part of Westmoreland County.[5] It was named after Staffordshire, England. As originally delineated, Stafford County included a much larger area than its current borders, and in fact encompassed what would later become Arlington, Fairfax, and Prince William, and the City of Alexandria.[5] It is part of the area now considered Northern Virginia. George Washington spent much of his childhood in the lower part of the county on his family's home, Ferry Farm, along the Rappahannock River across from Fredericksburg. Colonial Forge High School was built on a tract of land owned in colonial times by his father Augustine Washington.[6] George Mason, another Founding Father of the nation, also spent his formative years in Stafford.[7]

Aquia Church, built in 1757, is unusual among local structures for having been designed on the plan of a Greek cross rather than the more standard Roman Cross design. In addition, Aquia Church has a rare three-tiered pulpit; it has been designated a National Historic Landmark. The Episcopal church continues to be active today.[8]

Stafford County industry and resources were important to the colony and early nation. During the Revolutionary War, the Stafford ironworks furnished arms for the colonial rebel soldiers.[9] Aquia Creek sandstone, quarried from Government Island, was used to build the White House and the U.S. Capitol.[10]

During the American Civil War, the county was part of the battlegrounds, occupied by more than 100,000 troops for several years. The Battle of Aquia Creek took place in the Aquia Harbour area.[11] Both the Union Army and Confederate Army struggled to control the strategic Potomac Creek Bridge at various times during the war.

Falmouth, a town bordering Fredericksburg, was the home of late-19th century artist Gari Melchers, whose house, Belmont, still stands.

Stafford County today is considered part of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Many residents commute to work in Washington and its environs north on Interstate Highway 95, U.S. Route 1, and Virginia Railway Express.

In the early morning hours of May 9, 2008, a tornado touched down in the southern part of the county, severely damaging about 140 suburban homes.[12][13]

The county was also severely affected by "Snowmageddon," the massive blizzards of December 2009 and February 2010. Stafford received some of the heaviest snow in the D.C. metropolitan area, with about 25 inches of snow in December, and 19 inches in February.[14][15]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 280 square miles (730 km2), of which 269 square miles (700 km2) is land and 11 square miles (28 km2) (3.9%) is water.[16] The Potomac River flows along part of the eastern border of the county, while the Rappahannock River runs along the extent of the county's southern border. Aquia Creek empties into the tidal segment of the Potomac River at Brent Point in Stafford County.

Major bodies of water

Adjacent counties and independent city

Government and politics

The county is divided into seven magisterial districts: George Washington, Hartwood, Falmouth, Griffis-Widewater, Aquia, Garrisonville, and Rockhill. The magisterial districts each elect one supervisor to the Board of Supervisors which governs Stafford County. The County operates under the county form of the County Executive system of government, with an elected Board of Supervisors. The Board then appoints a professional, nonpartisan County Administrator to manage government agencies.

Stafford County is represented by Congressman Rob Wittman in the U.S. House of Representatives. Stafford is represented by William J. Howell in the Virginia House of Delegates. Delegate Bill Howell also serves as the Speaker of the House of Delegates.

Position Name Affiliation First Election District
  Supervisor Cord Sterling Republican 2007 Rockhill
  Supervisor Paul Milde Republican 2005 Aquia
  Vice-Chairman Laura Sellars Democratic 2013 Garrisonville
  Chairman Gary Snellings Republican 2009 (also served 2001-2005) Hartwood
  Supervisor Meg Bohmke Republican 2013 Falmouth
  Supervisor Robert "Bob" Thomas Republican 2011 George Washington
  Chairman Jack Cavalier Independent 2011 (also served 1999-2007) Griffis-Widewater


Historical population
Census Pop.
1790 9,588
1800 9,971 4.0%
1810 9,830 −1.4%
1820 9,517 −3.2%
1830 9,362 −1.6%
1840 8,454 −9.7%
1850 8,044 −4.8%
1860 8,555 6.4%
1870 6,420 −25.0%
1880 7,211 12.3%
1890 7,362 2.1%
1900 8,097 10.0%
1910 8,070 −0.3%
1920 8,104 0.4%
1930 8,050 −0.7%
1940 9,548 18.6%
1950 11,902 24.7%
1960 16,876 41.8%
1970 24,587 45.7%
1980 40,470 64.6%
1990 61,236 51.3%
2000 92,446 51.0%
2010 128,961 39.5%
Est. 2014 139,992 [17] 8.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[18]
1790-1960[19] 1900-1990[20]
1990-2000[21] 2010-2012[1]

As of the census[22] of 2010, there were 128,961 people, 38,237 households, and 24,481 families residing in the county. The population density was 342 people per square mile (132/km²). There were 31,405 housing units at an average density of 116 per square mile (45/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.5% White, 15.6% African American, 0.4% Native American, 2.8% Asian, 0.10% Pacific Islander, 3.2% from other races, and 4.0% from two or more races. 9.2% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

By 2005 Stafford County's population was 72.8% non-Hispanic whites. African-Americans were 17.0% of the total population. Native Americans were 0.4% of the county total. Asians 2.3%. Native Hawai'ians and other Pacific islanders 0.2%, thus making Stafford County one of the high percentage NHPI population counties in the country. Latinos were 6.4% of the population, above the percentage of Latinos in all of Virginia, but far below Stafford County's northern neighbors.

As of 2000 there were 38,187 households out of which 46.90% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 68.00% were married couples living together, 9.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 18.90% were non-families. 13.80% of all households were made up of individuals and 3.40% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.01 and the average family size was 3.32.

In the county, the age distribution of the population shows 31.60% under the age of 18, 7.80% from 18 to 24, 33.70% from 25 to 44, 21.10% from 45 to 64, and 5.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 101.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $75,546, and the median income for a family was $78,575 (these figures had risen to $85,793 and $95,433 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[23]). Males had a median income of $47,080 versus $31,469 for females. The per capita income for the county was $24,762. About 2.40% of families and 3.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 3.30% of those under age 18 and 5.30% of those age 65 or over.

Points of interest

Chatham Manor




Stafford Regional Airport


Major highways

Mass transportation



High schools

Middle schools

  • T. Benton Gayle Middle School
  • Edward E. Drew Middle School
  • Stafford Middle School
  • Dixon-Smith Middle School
  • Rodney Thompson Middle
  • A.G. Wright Middle
  • H.H. Poole Middle
  • Shirley C. Heim Middle

Elementary schools

  • Conway Elementary
  • Falmouth Elementary
  • Ferry Farm Elementary
  • Grafton Village Elementary
  • Garrisonville Elementary
  • Hartwood Elementary
  • Anthony Burns Elementary
  • Margaret Brent Elementary
  • Kate Waller Barrett Elementary
  • Anne E. Moncure Elementary
  • Park Ridge Elementary
  • Rockhill Elementary
  • Rocky Run Elementary
  • Stafford Elementary
  • Hampton Oaks Elementary
  • Widewater Elementary
  • Winding Creek Elementary

Private schools

  • Holy Cross Academy
  • Fredericksburg Christian School
  • Saint William of York Catholic School


  • White Oak
  • Hampton Oaks
  • Austin Ridge
  • Settlers Landing

Notable people

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. John Rolfe Highway Marker
  4. Kidnapping of Pocahontas Highway Marker or Pocahontas Highway Marker
  5. 5.0 5.1 New Papyrus Publishing Company's On-Line Catalog: Stafford County Virginia
  6. "Colonial Forge School Improvement Plan Report" (PDF). Colonial Forge High School (See page 4). Retrieved 2007-09-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Connor Jr., Albert Z. (2003). A History of Our Own, Virginia Beach: The Donning Company Publishers.
  8. Information about historical churches, including the Aquia Episcopal Church, Simply Fredericksburg
  9. DeOnne C. Scott, Stafford County (VA): Images of America,
  11. "Battle Summary: Aquia Creek". Heritage Preservation Services. 2014. Retrieved 2014-02-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Laris, Michael; Davis, Aaron C. (May 10, 2008). "Area in 'a Daze' After Tornadoes". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-05-10.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. "2008 TORNADO COVERAGE". 2008. Retrieved 2014-02-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. |url= |title=Monster snow storm top story for 2010: Record snowfalls was top local story of 2010 |date=December 31, 2010 | |accessdate=2014-02-07
  15. "Snow blizzard hits Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia". CNN. December 19, 2009. Retrieved 2014-02-07.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "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>
  17. "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>
  18. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 5, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Stafford County, Virginia - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder

External links

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