Caroline County

Caroline County, highlighted in map of Virginia

Caroline County was created in 1728, at the same time Goochland County was formed. Caroline was the wife of King George II. In 1727 he became the second king from the Hanover line that still governs England. (In 1917, during World War I, Edward VII changed the royal family's name to "Windsor" to avoid publicizing the connection with Germany.)

Caroline was intelligent. In an era where formal education for women was rare, she read often (to the frustration of her husband, who hated paperwork and avoided it even after becoming George II). Her interest in rational theology was acute, and was exploring deism at the royal court when Thomas Jefferson was a tiny child in Virginia.

She was also physically attractive and skilled in flirting. Her father-in-law, King George I, called her a devil - but appreciated her company. While she grew quite fat, she retained her fair complexion and flaxen hair. The royal couple had married for politics rather than for love, but they stayed on good terms despite their differences. She reportedly told the King, while on her deathbed in 1737, that he should remarry - but he declined, telling her with tears in his eyes that he preferred his mistresses.

Caroline knew all about the mistresses - he even wrote her long letters about the stages of his seduction of a countess in Hanover during a visit in 1735. His affairs did not seem to diminish their affection for each other. When George II died in 1660, after suffering a heart attack while sitting on the toilet, his will directed that he be buried next to Caroline and that one side be removed from each coffin so their dust could mingle in eternity.

on May 23, 1864, Union forces crossed the North Anna River at Jericho Mill on a pontoon bridge
on May 23, 1864, Union forces crossed the North Anna River at Jericho Mill on a pontoon bridge
Source: Smithsonian Institution, Plate 65. Jericho Mills, on the North Anna

The boundary between Caroline and Essex counties dates back to 1728, but property lines today are not aligned with historical lines on the map. In 2018, the Virginia Department of Elections notified the two counties that residents on 23 properties who had been voting in Essex County should offically be treated as Caroline County voters. Using Geographic Information System technology and data, the state agency determined that the bedrooms on those properties were located acrosss the county line and were in Caroline County.

The two counties then asked their elected members of the General Assembly to solve the problem by adjusting the boundary separating Essex and Caroline. The people who traditionally considered themselves to be residents of Essex County, and who paid taxes and went to school in that jurisdiction, needed the state legislature to move them officially into the "correct" county.1



1. "Caroline to adjust its boundary with neighboring Essex county," Free Lance-Star, November 23, 2018,; "Virginia: Individual County and Independent City Chronologies," Virginia Atlas of Historical County Boundaries, The Newberry Library, 2003, (last checked November 27, 2018)

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