Friday, April 12, 2013
County of Fauquier, Va.
The Seal of Fauquier County, Virginia.
Today I wish merely to note a bit of the history and statistics of one of the counties in Northern Virginia, within the old Northern Neck Proprietary of Lord Fairfax: Fauquier County.
Sir Francis Fauquier, namesake of the county.
Fauquier County was formed from Prince William County in 1759, and named for the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia at that time, Sir Francis Fauquier. At that point, the Governorship was a titular office, and the resident executive of the royal colony was none other than the Lt. Gov., Sir Francis Fauquier. For more on him, you might note: http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Fauquier_Francis_bap_1703-1768#start_entry
The area of Fauquier County is situated in the Virginia Piedmont, with the Blue Ridge and Rappahannock River forming the western boundary, and the Bull Run Mountains and Prince William County to the east. When first settled by the English, Fauquier County was a rather divided place -- in the south, planters from the Rappahannock came with a Tidewater attitude, while in the north, smaller frontier farmers who came through Thoroughfare Gap, dominated. Much of what is now Fauquier County was dominated by massive land grants, such that, aside from the area around The Plains, much of Fauquier remained underdeveloped until the effect of the Revolution broke up those great estates.
Fauquier County within the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Fauquier County was divided into two Established Parishes in the years before the Revolution, with Hamilton Parish in the south -- it had once included the entire region -- and, after 1770, Leeds Parish in the north (Leeds also included the northern part of Prince William County.) The pre-Revolutionary precedent in Virginia was for a new parish to precede a new county, but the Revolution kept the new county-to-be from ever being formed. As it is, Fauquier remains one of the largest counties in Virginia, at 651 square miles.
The county seat was, until the 19th century, known as Fauquier Court House, but has been known as Warrenton since 1810. More on that town tomorrow.
Today, Fauquier County is notable for its horsefarms, wineries, and splendid countryside. It is in the outer reaches of the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, so its population of 65,000 includes a number of commuters. Fauquier County has three incorporated towns: the county seat of Warrenton, The Plains (once called White Plains) in the north, and Remington (historically known as Rappahannock Station), in the south.
Here is a link to the map of the magisterial districts of the county: http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/documents/departments/registrar/pdf/magdist.pdf
As in the colonial era, Fauquier County is divided into only a couple parishes -- most of the county is in the Catholic Parish of St. John the Evangelist in Warrenton, Virginia. North of interstate 66 falls within the boundaries of St. Stephen the Martyr Parish, located in Middleburg, Loudoun County, Virginia. A small sliver of Fauquier, including Markham, in the far northwest of the county, actually falls into the parish of St. John the Baptist of Front Royal, Virginia.
This is the website of St. John the Evangelist Parish: http://www.stjohntheevangelist.org/
You might note the official website of the county: http://www.fauquiercounty.gov/
Also, the tourism site for the county is worth a visit: http://www.fauquiertourism.com/