Counties in Virginia and How They Were Formed

  1. Orange – 1734-1738
  2. Frederick –   formed from Orange 1738-1772
  3. Augusta  – formed  from Frederick 1738-1770 – Organized in 1745
  4. Botetourt – formed from Augusta 1772
  5. Fincastle – formed from Botetourt  1772-1776
  6. Montgomery – was formed from Fincastle 1776
  7. Washington – formed from Fincastle in 1776
  8. Kentucky – from Fincastle 1776-1780
  9. Smyth – from Washington  1832
  10. Tazewell – from Washington 1799
  11. Russell – from Washington 1786
  12. Buchanan – from Washington 1758
  13. Scott – from Washington 1814
  14. Lee – from  Washington 1792
  15. Wise –  from Lee, Scott and Russell 1856
  16. Dickenson – from Wise, Buchanan & Russell  1880.

Originally, all the land belonging to Virginia west of the Blue Ridge was embraced in the County of Orange.  In 1738, Orange county west of the Blue Ridge was divided into two counties, Frederick and Augusta; and Augusta included the territory now comprising Wise.  In 1769, Augusta County was divided and all the land southwest from Lexington was called Botetourt County, named in honor of the then governor of Virginia, Lord Botetourt; and all the extreme southwestern portion of the State as well as the whole state of Kentucky was then in Botetourt County.  Later Botetourt County was divided and Fincastle County, including all the Western Portion was cut off.  In 1777, Fincastle in turn was divided into three counties, Montgomery, Washington, and Kentucky.  Washington County, Virginia, is said to have been the first political unit ever named in honor of George Washington.  From Washington County were formed the following counties: Russell in 1786, Lee in 1792, and Scott in 1814.  Wise County was formed by taking parts of Russell, Lee and Scott Counties.  It had been estimated that the new county of Wise had but 3 percent of its land under cultivation; the remainder was in wilderness.

The above was taken from the book, , by Luther F. Addington.

I would like to add  that Dickenson County, “Virginia’s Baby” was taken from Wise, Russell and Buchanan Counties and named after W. J Dickenson. (F.S.)

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