Prince Edward County

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Riding to High BridgeWhen you visit Prince Edward County or come to live here, you notice something right away: while "Southern hospitality" is known world-wide because communities like Prince Edward County are so gracious and welcoming, visitors and newcomers experience this every day from the residents of this county. Whether driving through or stopping to chat along Main Street in one of the towns in the county, it becomes clear that no one is a stranger here for long.

Whether visitors come here for shopping or for history, the citizens of Prince Edward County appreciate the opportunity to shine.

Where tourism is concerned, Prince Edward is continuing to grow a whole new industry. The county is the birthplace of the Civil Rights movement due to the dubious honor of a school strike in 1951 protesting the very unequal education offered here. Then, in 1959, the Board of Supervisors voted to no longer fund public education rather than allow black and white children to be educated in the same schools. The history of this part of our county and our country can be found at the Moton Musuem in Farmville, Virginia. The Moton Museum is one of 50 sites along the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® - the only trail of its kind in the nation.

The Moton Museum is named for Robert Russa Moton, born in next door Amelia County to former slaves, but raised in Prince Edward County since a very young age, is undoubtedly, one of the most influential figures in African American history. Certainly, his importance is felt by the Tuskegee Airmen who might not have become American heroes without Mr. Moton, who as Chancellor of Tuskegee Institute after the end of World War I, procured the first aircraft for the school.

James Town on the Appomattox now an extinct community, but was the first commercial and residential community in the county. James Town is located near what is now known as Rice, Virginia. The history of James Town on the Appomattox is currently being explored through a series of events as part of the 400th Anniversary celebrations for the founding of this country. Each event brings visitors new opportunities to learn about the people who were instrumental in developing this community where blacks and whites lived and died side by side.

Israel Hill on the Appomattox was a social experiment where an all Black community lived in part of what is now Farmville Virginia. Richard Randolph, a nephew of Thomas Jefferson, was morally opposed to slavery. Shortly after the Revolutionary War, he decreed in his will, that upon his death, his slaves would all be freed. He died at a very young age, even for that time, and his widow honored his request. 25 acres of their plantation was deeded over to these families who then thrived alongside their white landowning neighbors. Business was done between the races – even lawsuits filed when grievances rose to that point. Black freed men suing white landowners and winning as often as losing – all based on the merits of the case, not the color of the individuals skin.

The county is also home to many sites for Civil War buffs. Virginia’s Retreat, an all volunteer organization of eleven counties and one city have created a marketing consortium to promote not only the Civil War and Lee’s Retreat which had prominence in those last years of the war, but also, the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®, the only one of its kind in the nation, as well as all avenues of outdoor activities available in the region. Thanks to participation in this organization, Prince Edward County has many Lee’s Retreat and Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® signs posted and maintained so that civil war and civil rights buffs can easily find their way to these prominent sites.

One of the very last battles to be fought in the Civil war was over High Bridge which joins Cumberland County to Prince Edward County. High Bridge played a key role during the last few days of the American Civil War. High Bridge Trail State Park, a rails to trails linear state park opened April 2012 as one of the newest Virginia's State Parks About half of the trail will be housed in Prince Edward County - and several miles will run through the town of Farmville. It is estimated that more than 1 million visitors a year will come to Prince Edward County to visit this historic, scenic non-motorized trail running more than 30 miles from Burkeville to Pamplin City. Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine came to Farmville on June 28th, 2007 to accept the ceremonial transfer of the deed for this property from Norfolk Southern Railroad.

Worsham Clerks office is the site of the original Prince Edward County Court House in the village of Worsham.

The Cannery continues to operate helping individuals and groups can their own food for 32 years.