Virginia has 95 counties (as well as 39 cities). Here, with a nod of thanks and acknowledgement to the people at the Library of Virginia behind “The Hornbook of Virginia History,” are 10 counties that don’t exist anymore, with a little Virginia history thrown in.
1. Alexandria County. A portion of Fairfax County ceded to the federal government to be part of the District of Columbia, Alexandria County was returned to the commonwealth in 1846. Renamed Arlington County in 1920.
2. Charles River County. The 1634 General Assembly established eight original shires that became counties, including Charles River. Renamed York County in 1638.
3. Dunmore County. Formed in 1772, renamed Shenandoah County in 1778. The name change spanked Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia before the American Revolution.
4. Elizabeth City County. Another of the original eight shires, became part of Hampton in 1952.
5. Fincastle County. Formed in 1772, chopped into Montgomery, Washington and Kentucky counties in 1776. Kentucky County in turn was cut into three counties that became part of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in 1792.
6. Nansemond County. Merged with the City of Suffolk in 1974.
7. Norfolk County. Consolidated with the City of South Norfolk in 1963 to form the City of Chesapeake.
8. Princess Anne County. Merged with the City of Virginia Beach in 1963.
9. Warrosquyoake County. Yet another one of the original eight shires. Just three years after its formation, in 1637, it was renamed Isle of Wight County, which is much easier to pronounce, as long as you say “Wight” right.
10. Warwick County. Named Warwick River County as one of the original eight, became just Warwick in 1643, merged with Newport News in 1958.
Note: In case you’re wondering, four of the original eight shires from 1634, now counties, are still around: Accomack, Charles City, Henrico and James City.
- Paul Fletcher