The History of Chesterfield County

Author: Attorney Tammy S. Ruble

Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen opened a branch office in Chesterfield County many years ago just a bit east of the intersection of Courthouse Road and Hull Street Road. As Chesterfield County grew in population, and as the population centers shifted, the time was right in 2009 for a move several miles west of the original location to a site near the intersection of Route 288 and Hull Street Road. The new office is located at the intersection of Mockingbird Lane and Hull Street Road, very near the busy Commonwealth Center shopping area and the neighborhoods of Brandermill, Woodlake and Ashbrook.

The geographical area that comprises Chesterfield County was being established within just a few years of the founding of the Jamestown Settlement. The first town incorporated in America, in 1614, was Chesterfield’s Bermuda Creek. Chesterfield County was a part of neighboring Henrico County until established as a separate political entity on May 25, 1749. The County is named after British statesman politician Philip Dormer Stanhope, Fourth Earl of Chesterfield. In 1870, the County Board of Supervisors ordered the creation of the county seal, which depicts a miner leaning against his pick, standing before a river, a nod to the importance of coal mining in the early days of the County and of the two rivers running through the County, the Appomattox and the James.

Chesterfield County is rich in historical sites. It was explored by Sir Christopher Newport and tobacco was planted there by John Rolfe. Midlothian Turnpike, a major east-west thoroughfare through the County, was the first gravel surfaced road in Virginia. The County was also the location of the first hospital (Mount Malady, near Dutch Gap) and of the first iron furnace in America. The Village Of Midothian, formerly known as “Coalfield Station” produced the first commercially mined coal in America and, for the purpose of transporting that coal, the second railroad in America was completed in 1831, the 13 mile long Chesterfield Railroad.

Chesterfield County sits on the southern side of the City of Richmond and is home to an estimated 311,000 people. The population is projected to increase by another 100,000 residents over the next 20 years. Chesterfield’s school system enrolls over 58,000 students in 64 schools, including 38 elementary schools, 14 middle schools, 11 high schools and a technical center located near the Chesterfield Courts Building. In addition, the County has several specialty centers available for qualified students, including such opportunities as a Spanish Immersion Center, a Center for Leadership and International Studies and the Center for Health Sciences. In January, 2009, Chesterfield County Public Schools were recognized by the Commonwealth of Virginia with the Virginia Index of Performance awards, earning more of these awards than any other school system in Central Virginia. Ten schools achieved the highest honor, the Governor’s Award for Educational Excellence.

The Chesterfield Library System has ten branches spread across the county, including a law library at the Central Branch, near the Chesterfield Courts Building. Library programs are available for all age groups. Recent events include presentations about the life of Edgar Allen Poe, financial planning, and a celebration of the Barbie doll on the occasion of her 50th birthday. There are a variety of book clubs available for those interested. The libraries have extensive sections for children and young adults, computers for public use, and meeting rooms available for use by local non-profit groups. The Central Branch has a local history room with extensive history materials about the County, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the Civil War. The Library Information Network of Chesterfield County is an online service which allows patrons to search the catalogue, reserve items, and renew check-outs. Wi-fi is available free of charge at every library.

The County offers a large variety of adult and senior education opportunities, including classes in finance, dance, languages, photography and karate. Athletic leagues for soccer, baseball, volleyball and cheerleading are popular options, as are nature and historical walks organized by the County.

Chesterfield County has a wealth of recreational activities. The county is home to several golf courses, including a First Tee course to encourage youngsters to take up the sport at an early age, the Swift Creek reservoir, a popular location for many water-based activities, numerous soccer fields, and Pocahontas State Park, which offers camping facilities, swimming, and a boat launch. The County has dozens of shopping centers, movie theaters and restaurants and even a small family winery on Genito Road west of the reservoir.

If you haven’t visited Chesterfield County lately, you might just be surprised at how much there is to do and see. If you’re in our neighborhood, please stop by. We’d love to talk to you about the County and how happy we are to be a member of the community.

About the Author: Tammy Ruble is a long time Chesterfield resident and an attorney with Allen & Allen. She serves as a resource on issues in her special fields of expertise which include the crafting of Complaints and documents relating to infant settlements, wrongful death settlements, due diligence, and discovery.