Southside Virginia


Southside Virginia and northeastern North Carolina are composed of all lands south of the James River, and the Appomattox River, and north of the Roanoke River and the Albemarle Sound. Some towns and cities skirting the outline of the region are: Smithfield, VA, Hopewell VA, Petersburg, VA, Farmville, VA, Lynchburg, VA, Roanoke, VAMartinsville, VA, Danville, VA, Roanoke Rapids, NC, and Edenton, NC.


Located near the mouth of the Pagan River to the James River, it was natural to become a port.  The first English colonization was made there in 1634, and became a seaport. It was established as a town in 1752.  The location is across the James River from Jamestown and downstream a few miles.  This is the port in Isle of Wight County in which some of the earliest settlers of southside Virginia landed, including some of my own ancestors.


The city was founded to take advantage of its site overlooking the James and Appomattox Rivers. City Point, the oldest part of Hopewell, was established in 1613 by Sir Thomas Dale. It was first known as “Bermuda City,” which was changed to Charles City, lengthened to Charles City Point, and later abbreviated to City Point. (At that time, Bermuda, the Atlantic archipelago, was considered part of the Colony of Virginia and appeared on its maps.) Hopewell/City Point is the oldest continuously inhabited English settlement in the United States, Jamestown no longer being inhabited at the time.


The location on the Appomattox River at the fall line (the head of navigation of rivers on the U.S. east coast) caused the town to develop there.  Fort Henry was built there in 1645 and a town developed around the fort.  Abraham Wood and his son-in-law Peter Jones were the first two commanders of the fort. Jones operated a trading post near the fort, and this settlement came to be called Peter’s Point, and eventually Petersburg.

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