The Role of Religion in the Early Settlement of Loudoun County, VA

Learn about how religion played a role in the early settlement of Loudoun County VA during colonial times including its contributions during WWI & WWII.

The Role of Religion in the Early Settlement of Loudoun County, VA

The settlement of Loudoun County, Virginia began in the 1720s when it was still owned by Lord Fairfax. Colonists from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Maryland, as well as English Cavalier lineage settlers from eastern Virginia, arrived in Lower Loudoun and established large tobacco plantations. At the time of the American Revolution, Loudoun County was the most populated county in Virginia. It was also rich in agriculture and earned the nickname 'The Granary of the Revolution' due to its grain contributions to George Washington's Continental Army.

During the War of 1812, important federal documents and government files were evacuated from Washington and stored in Leesburg. Local tradition holds that these documents were stored at Rokeby House. During World War I, Loudoun County was an important granary for supplying supplies to soldiers in Europe. Farmers in Loudoun implemented new agricultural innovations such as livestock vaccination, seed inoculation and silage.

The county experienced a boom in agricultural production with annual wheat production of 1.04 million bushels in 1917, the highest of all Virginia counties that year. The Smith—Lever Act of 1914 established greater agricultural education in Virginia counties, increasing agricultural yields. After the war, a plaque was dedicated to the 30 glorious dead of the county who died in the Great War. Five of the thirty died on the front lines while the other twenty-five died while training or elsewhere within the United States.

In 1962, Washington Dulles International Airport was built in southeastern Loudoun County, in Sterling. Since then, Loudoun County has experienced a high-tech boom and rapid growth. Consequently, many have moved east of Loudoun and become residents of planned communities such as Sterling Park, Sugarland Run, Cascades, Ashburn Village and Ashburn Farm, making that section a true part of suburban Washington. Others have moved to the county seat or to the small towns and rural communities of the Loudoun Valley. In the county, the population was dispersed with 29.80% under 18 years of age, 5.70% from 18 to 24, 38.90% from 25 to 44, 20.00% from 45 to 64 and 5.60% over 65 years of age.

The median age was 34 years. For every 100 females there were 97.80 males and for every 100 females age 18 and over there were 95.50 males. Loudoun County operates its own public bus transportation system known as the Loudoun County Commuter Bus while Washington Metro Silver Line offers service at Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn stations. Joseph Hooker began his pursuit of Lee and entered Loudoun County on June 17th and made his way to Edwards Ferry where pontoon bridges had been set up. The people who make up these institutions generously share the history and love that make Loudoun County a special place. In addition to road transport, Loudoun was also the terminus of Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad which ran between Leesburg and Alexandria. When the county line was inspected in 1958 it was determined that part of the village including the school was in Fairfax and not in Loudoun. Watson (Watson Mountain or Black Mountain): Free blacks settled on this high ridge south of Leesburg long before Civil War and Yardley Taylor designated area as Black Mountain on his map of Loudoun County in 1853. Henry Jackson director of Loudoun County Emancipation Association bought land on north side of cemetery and built house & farm buildings; his son later built house nearby. The low ridge stretches across county just west of Leesburg to Aldie where it meets Bull Run Mountain on border between Loudoun & Prince William Counties. Located on Virginia's northern border along with Potomac River Loudoun County became border area following Virginia's secession from Union in early 1861. In 1850 mill was one of thirty water-powered mills that collectively processed half a million bushels of wheat in Loudoun County making it one of state's leading flour producers at time. The Loudoun County Emancipation Association was organized in Hamilton in 1890 & annually celebrated Emancipation Day near city for its first twenty years. The Mill sold most of its products to north & was saved during Sheridan's Loudoun County “incendiary raid” in 1864. The Thomas Balch Library in Leesburg is a good resource for finding information about cultural history of Loudoun County. Emergency services are provided by Loudoun County Combined Fire & Rescue System with Office of Emergency Management. Those attending meeting elected council comprised nine most prominent citizens to draft preamble & set resolutions on county's position in crisis.

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