Virginia Counties That Have "Disappeared" - and Why

Alexandria County was created in 1800 when the District of Columbia was formed, retroceded to Virginia in 1846, and renamed Arlington County in 1920
Alexandria County was created in 1800 when the District of Columbia was formed, retroceded to Virginia in 1846, and renamed Arlington County in 1920
Source: US Geological Survey (USGS), Mount Vernon 30x30 topographic quadrangle (1897)

Counties come, counties go. The General Assembly has created at least 167 counties since 1634. The last one was "Virginia's Baby," created in 1880 and named Dickenson County.

There are only 95 counties in Virginia now. One county was ceded to Pennsylvania and another to the new United States under the Articles of Confederation, when Virginia was willing to trade land claims in order to increase support for the new national government. Ten counties were "lost" when Kentucky became an independent state in 1790. Another 50 counties were incorporated in the new state of West Virginia in 1863. Ten counties have been abolished, with their land incorporated within the boundaries of other counties with other names.

Virginia's counties were created to meet the needs of the English settlers, based on English laws and customs. The Native Americans had their own way of organizing their territories, but after 1607 the English "tassantassas" (strangers/aliens) imposed their own sense of order upon the political landscape.

Virginia Counties That Changed Their Name

Alexandria (renamed Arlington County in 1920, to reduce confusion with City of Alexandria)
Charles River (renamed York County in 1643, to honor the King Charles I's son, the Duke of York)
Dunmore (renamed Shenandoah County in 1788, to avoid honoring the last English governor of the colony)
Warrosquyoake (renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637, to replace a Native American name)

Virginia-Created Counties That Are Now Extinct

Elizabeth City County
Fincastle
Lower Norfolk
Nansemond
New Norfolk
Norfolk
Princess Anne
Rappahannock
Upper Norfolk
Warwick

Virginia-Created Counties That Are Now in Kentucky

Bourbon
Fayette
Jefferson
Kentucky
Lincoln
Madison
Mason
Mercer
Nelson
Woodford

Virginia-Created Counties That Are Now in Pennsylvania

Yohogania (part)

Virginia-Created Counties That Are Now in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin

Illinois

Illinois County was ceded to the new United States and became the Northwest Territory
Illinois County was ceded to the new United States and became the Northwest Territory
Map Source: ESRI, ArcGIS Online

Virginia-Created Counties That Are Now in West Virginia

Barbour
Berkeley
Boone
Braxton
Brooke
Cabell
Calhoun
Clay
Doddridge
Fayette
Gilmer
Greenbrier
Hampshire
Hancock
Hardy
Harrison
Jackson
Jefferson
Kanawha
Lewis
Logan
McDowell
Marion
Marshall
Mason
Mercer
Monongalia
Monroe
Morgan
Nicholas
Ohio
Pendleton
Pleasants
Pocahontas
Preston
Putnam
Raleigh
Randolph
Ritchie
Roane
Taylor
Tucker
Tyler
Upshur
Wayne
Webster
Wetzel
Wirt
Wood
Wyoming Yohogania (part)

Ohio and Monongalia counties are now part of West Virginia, while Yohogania County is extinct
Ohio and Monongalia counties are now part of West Virginia, while Yohogania County is extinct
Source: Wikipedia, Yohogania County, Virginia

Links


Virginia Cities That Have "Disappeared" - and Why
Counties in Virginia
Virginia Places