Brunswick County, Virginia
|Brunswick County, Virginia|
Brunswick County Courthouse in Lawrenceville
Location in the state of Virginia
Virginia's location in the U.S.
|Named for||Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg|
|• Total||569 sq mi (1,474 km2)|
|• Land||566 sq mi (1,466 km2)|
|• Water||3 sq mi (8 km2), 0.57%|
|• Density||34/sq mi (13/km²)|
The first English settlers in Brunswick county swarmed into the lands near Fort Christanna during its 4 years of operation (1714–1718). Brunswick County was established in 1720 from Prince George County. In 1732 the county received more land from parts of Surry and Isle of Wight counties. Brunswick County stretched all the way to the Blue Ridge until 1745, when a series of new counties was formed and the current western border established. In 1780 Greensville County was formed from part of Brunswick's eastern side and in 1787 the county's eastern border was finalized with a minor adjustment.
Today Brunswick County is bisected by Interstate 85, U.S. 1 and U.S. Highway 58. Originally cultivated for tobacco by slave labor in colonial times, its mostly rural economy was diversified for lumber and other mixed farm crops before the American Civil War. Cotton is grown in the far south.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 569 square miles (1,473.7 km2), of which 566 square miles (1,465.9 km2) is land and 3 square miles (7.8 km2) (0.57%) is water.
Brunswick County is best known as the origin place for Brunswick Stew. The original Brunswick Stew, according to Brunswick County historians, was created in 1828 by an African-American chef, Mr. Jimmy Matthews, also referred to as "Uncle" by some locals. As the story goes, Dr. Creed Haskins of Mount Donum on the Nottoway River, a member of the Virginia State Legislature, took several friends on a hunting expedition. While the group hunted, Mr. Matthews, Haskin’s enslaved camp cook, hunted squirrel for the evening meal. Mr. Matthews slowly stewed the squirrels in butter, with onions, stale bread and seasoning in a large iron pot. When the hunting party returned, they were reluctant to try the new, thick concoction, but one taste convinced them to ask for more.
Since that time, Brunswick stew has been prepared by many different "stew masters." It is often associated with the harvest season in the fall and completion of tobacco processing. Cooks produce large batches of the “Virginia ambrosia” for church functions, local fund raisers, family reunions, and political rallies. Each cook and generation adds its variations to Jimmy Matthews’s recipe for Brunswick Stew: chicken has been substituted for squirrel and vegetables have been added.
During 1987, the Brunswick Industrial Development Commission and a committee of the Brunswick Chamber of Commerce, with the aid of a professional advertising agency, began a program to develop balanced economic growth in Brunswick County. They decided to capitalize on the county’s home-grown Brunswick Stew as a brand. On February 22, 1988, at the State Capitol in Richmond, Brunswick County officially kicked off a campaign to increase awareness of its economic development opportunities. The Brunswick Chamber of Commerce and the County of Brunswick hosted a Brunswick Stew-Fest on the Capitol grounds to celebrate the General Assembly’s passing of a resolution proclaiming Brunswick County, Virginia, as "The Original Home of Brunswick Stew". The proclamation contains a tongue-in-cheek jab at Brunswick, Georgia, which claims to have created the traditional Southern dish, setting off what has been coined as “The Stew Wars.”
One of the many traditional recipes, which requires 6 to 7 hours to cook, was renamed Brunswick Proclamation Stew for the occasion. A good Brunswick stew must be cooked down slowly, according to stew masters for the Capitol Square event, “Until the stirring paddle stands up straight in the stew.” When the paddle stood, Brunswick Stew was served to the legislators and hundreds of Virginians who turned out for the event to “Get a Taste of Brunswick.”
With the help of the Fearnow Brothers, the County got its own stew label, approved by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Their company also produces small quantities of canned Brunswick Stew for the Chamber of Commerce to store and use. The cans bear the label "Virginia’s Own – 1828-Brunswick County Stew".
A sample of Brunswick Stew, along with information on the County’s assets, was included in the County’s promotional packages and sent to business and industry prospects. The Stew and County are tied together with the campaign’s theme: “Since 1828 when Ol’ Jimmy Matthews created Brunswick Stew, we’ve been doing things a special way. A little slow, but right.”
As of the census of 2000, there were 18,419 people, 6,277 households, and 4,312 families residing in the county. The population density was 32 people per square mile (13/km²). There were 7,541 housing units at an average density of 13 per square mile (5/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 41.99% White, 56.85% Black or African American, 0.09% Native American, 0.22% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.34% from other races, and 0.51% from two or more races. 1.25% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 6,277 households out of which 27.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.90% were married couples living together, 16.60% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.30% were non-families. 27.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.00.
In the county, the population was spread out with 20.50% under the age of 18, 9.90% from 18 to 24, 30.70% from 25 to 44, 24.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.50% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 113.10 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 115.40 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,288, and the median income for a family was $38,354. Males had a median income of $26,924 versus $20,550 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,890. About 13.20% of families and 16.50% of the population were below the poverty line, including 20.10% of those under age 18 and 19.50% of those age 65 or over.
Board of Supervisors
Meherrin district: John Cataldo (I)
Powellton district: Welton Tyler (Vice Chairman) (I)
Red Oak district: Bernard L. Jones, Sr. (I)
Sturgeon district: Denise Clary Williams (I)
Totaro district: Barbara Jarrett Drummond (Chairwoman) (I)
Clerk of the Circuit Court: V. Earl Stanley, Jr. (I)
Commissioner of the Revenue: Wanda J. Beville (I)
Commonwealth's Attorney: Lezlie S. Green (I)
Sheriff: B.K. Roberts (I)
Treasurer: Alice Carol Maitland (I)
Brunswick County is represented by Republican Frank M. Ruff, Jr. and Democrat L. Louise Lucas in the Virginia Senate, Democrat Roslyn C. Tyler in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Republican Robert J. Hurt in the U.S. House of Representatives.
- Aaron V. Brown, Governor of Tennessee from 1845 to 1847; born in Brunswick County.
- Albertis Harrison Governor of Virginia
See list of other people in Lawrenceville article.
- George B. Jackson, born into slavery in 1850 in Brunswick County; became a Republican politician in San Angelo, Texas
- . Weldon Cooper Center 2010 Census Count Retrieved September 9, 2011
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
- "Brunswick Stew" campaign, Brunswick County Chamber of Commerce
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "BROWN, Aaron Venable, (1795 - 1859)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Retrieved September 29, 2012.
- Suzanne Campbell of Angelo State University, San Angelo, "George B. Jackson, Black (or African-American) Businessman, Rancher, and Entrepreneur," West Texas Historical Association, annual meeting, Lubbock, Texas, April 2, 2011
||Lunenburg County||Nottoway County||Dinwiddie County|
|Mecklenburg County||Greensville County|
|Warren County, North Carolina|