Bedford County, Virginia

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Bedford County
Bedford County Courthouse
Bedford County Courthouse
Official seal of Bedford County
Map of Virginia highlighting Bedford County
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Map of the United States highlighting Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 37°19′N 79°32′W / 37.31°N 79.53°W / 37.31; -79.53
Country United States
State Virginia
Founded1754
Named forJohn Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford
SeatBedford
Largest townBedford
Area
 • Total769 sq mi (1,990 km2)
 • Land753 sq mi (1,950 km2)
 • Water16 sq mi (40 km2)  2.1%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total79,462
 • Density100/sq mi (40/km2)
Time zoneUTC−5 (Eastern)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−4 (EDT)
Congressional districts5th, 6th
Websitewww.bedfordcountyva.gov

Bedford County is a United States county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its county seat is the town of Bedford, which was an independent city from 1968 until rejoining the county in 2013.[1]

Bedford County was created in 1753 from parts of Lunenburg County, and several changes in alignment were made until the present borders were established in 1786. The county was named in honor of John Russell, an English statesman and fourth Duke of Bedford.

Bedford County is part of the Lynchburg, Virginia Metropolitan Statistical Area. As of the 2020 census, Bedford's population was 79,462.[2] The county population has more than doubled since 1980.[3]

History[edit]

John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford, for whom the county was named

The Piedmont area had long been inhabited by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, mostly Siouan-speaking tribes lived in this area.

Bedford County was established by European Americans on December 13, 1753 from parts of Lunenburg County. Later in 1756, a portion of Albemarle County lying south of the James River was added. The county is named for John Russell, the fourth Duke of Bedford, who was a Secretary of State of Great Britain.[4] In 1782, Campbell County was formed from eastern Bedford County and the county seat was moved from New London to Liberty (now Bedford). Also in 1786, the portion of Bedford County south of the Staunton (Roanoke) River was taken with part of Henry County to form Franklin County.

The town of Bedford became an independent city in 1968, and remained the county seat. On September 14, 2011, the Bedford City Council voted to transition into a town and end its independent city status. The supervisors of Bedford County also voted to accept the town of Bedford as part of the county when it lost city status. The town of Bedford once more became part of Bedford County on July 1, 2013.[5]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 769 square miles (1,990 km2), of which 753 square miles (1,950 km2) is land and 16 square miles (41 km2) (2.1%) is water.[6]

Adjacent counties and city[edit]

National protected areas[edit]

State Park[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
179010,531
180014,12534.1%
181016,14814.3%
182019,30519.6%
183020,2464.9%
184020,203−0.2%
185024,08019.2%
186025,0684.1%
187025,3271.0%
188031,20523.2%
189031,2130.0%
190030,356−2.7%
191029,549−2.7%
192030,6693.8%
193029,091−5.1%
194029,6872.0%
195029,627−0.2%
196031,0284.7%
197026,728−13.9%
198034,92730.7%
199045,65630.7%
200060,37132.2%
201068,67613.8%
202079,46215.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010[11] 2020[12]

2020 census[edit]

Bedford County, Virginia - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / Ethnicity Pop 2010[11] Pop 2020[12] % 2010 % 2020
White alone (NH) 62,035 68,128 90.33% 85.74%
Black or African American alone (NH) 3,909 4,864 5.69% 6.12%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH) 172 167 0.25% 0.21%
Asian alone (NH) 700 967 1.02% 1.22%
Pacific Islander alone (NH) 14 33 0.02% 0.04%
Some Other Race alone (NH) 47 329 0.07% 0.41%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH) 709 2,919 1.03% 3.67%
Hispanic or Latino (any race) 1,090 2,055 1.59% 2.59%
Total 68,676 79,462 100.00% 100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.


2000 Census[edit]

As of the census[13] of 2000, there were 60,371 people, 23,838 households, and 18,164 families residing in the county. The population density was 80 people per square mile (31/km2). There were 26,841 housing units at an average density of 36 per square mile (14/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 92.18% White, 6.24% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.43% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.20% from other races, and 0.74% from two or more races. 0.74% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 28.2% were of American, 15.6% English, 11.0% German and 9.6% Irish ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 23,838 households, out of which 32.50% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 65.40% were married couples living together, 7.50% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.80% were non-families. 20.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 7.30% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.52 and the average family size was 2.89.

In the county, the population's age distribution was: 24.00% under the age of 18, 5.80% from 18 to 24, 29.90% from 25 to 44, 27.50% from 45 to 64, and 12.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 99.50 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.50 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $43,136, and the median income for a family was $49,303. Males had a median income of $35,117 versus $23,906 for females. The per capita income for the county was $21,582. About 5.20% of families and 7.10% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.30% of those under age 18 and 10.50% of those age 65 or over.

2017[edit]

As of 2017, the largest self-reported ancestry groups were:[14]

Government[edit]

Board of Supervisors[edit]

  • District 1: Mickey M. Johnson (R)
  • District 2: Edgar Tuck, Vice Chairman (I)
  • District 3: Charla Bansley (R)
  • District 4: John Sharp, Chairman (R)
  • District 5: Tommy W. Scott (R)
  • District 6: Bob W. Davis (R)
  • District 7: Tamara F. "Tammy" Parker (R)

Constitutional officers[edit]

  • Clerk of the Circuit Court: Judy Reynolds (R)
  • Commissioner of the Revenue: Julie Creasy (R)
  • Commonwealth's Attorney: Wes Nance (R)
  • Sheriff: Michael Miller (R)
  • Treasurer: Kim Snow (R)

Bedford County is represented by Republicans David R. Suetterlein (19th District) and Stephen D. "Steve" Newman (23rd District) in the Virginia Senate; Republicans Terry L. Austin (19th District), Kathy J. Byron (22nd District) and Wendell S. Walker (23rd District) in the Virginia House of Delegates; and Republicans Bob Good (VA 5th District) and Ben Cline (VA 6th District) in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Economy[edit]

Historically, Bedford County was an agricultural economy. While agriculture is still an important factor in the county's economy, Bedford County has significant residential development to serve Lynchburg, Roanoke, and Smith Mountain Lake. Tourism and retail are also becoming more significant with some new industry near Forest and New London.

Politics[edit]

Bedford voted for George Wallace, an Independent, for President in 1968.

United States presidential election results for Bedford County, Virginia[15]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 35,600 73.15% 12,176 25.02% 893 1.83%
2016 30,659 72.10% 9,768 22.97% 2,098 4.93%
2012 26,679 71.29% 10,209 27.28% 537 1.43%
2008 24,420 68.16% 11,017 30.75% 393 1.10%
2004 21,925 69.82% 9,102 28.98% 377 1.20%
2000 17,224 65.87% 8,160 31.21% 765 2.93%
1996 11,955 54.07% 7,786 35.22% 2,368 10.71%
1992 10,496 50.57% 6,792 32.72% 3,468 16.71%
1988 10,702 65.33% 5,406 33.00% 274 1.67%
1984 10,371 68.15% 4,754 31.24% 92 0.60%
1980 6,608 55.81% 4,721 39.87% 511 4.32%
1976 4,189 45.31% 4,766 51.55% 291 3.15%
1972 5,286 73.43% 1,501 20.85% 412 5.72%
1968 2,807 35.80% 1,574 20.08% 3,459 44.12%
1964 3,806 48.09% 4,076 51.50% 32 0.40%
1960 2,911 47.87% 3,150 51.80% 20 0.33%
1956 3,148 52.07% 2,649 43.81% 249 4.12%
1952 2,916 54.47% 2,426 45.32% 11 0.21%
1948 1,084 30.04% 1,556 43.11% 969 26.85%
1944 1,068 29.60% 2,534 70.23% 6 0.17%
1940 791 23.68% 2,535 75.90% 14 0.42%
1936 619 21.30% 2,276 78.32% 11 0.38%
1932 469 16.57% 2,321 81.99% 41 1.45%
1928 1,118 43.77% 1,436 56.23% 0 0.00%
1924 432 19.00% 1,811 79.64% 31 1.36%
1920 583 24.49% 1,774 74.51% 24 1.01%
1916 298 15.38% 1,628 84.05% 11 0.57%
1912 142 8.19% 1,219 70.34% 372 21.47%


Attractions[edit]

Communities[edit]

Town[edit]

Census-designated places[edit]

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

Some of these unincorporated areas have mailing addresses in Bedford town and Lynchburg.

Notable people[edit]

  • Nicholas H. Cobbs (1796-1861), former Episcopal prelate, served as the first Bishop of Alabama.
  • Colonel Chaffin (1826 – April 1873), little person who toured the United States and was billed as the "Virginia Dwarf".[16]
  • Erik Estrada (born March 16, 1949), an American actor, voice actor, and subsequent Bedford County deputy sheriff, known for his co-starring lead role in the police drama television series, CHiPs, which ran from 1977 to 1983.
  • Carl Overstreet, (1929-2015) first U2 pilot to fly over Soviet Air Space[17]
  • Thomas Jefferson had a summer retreat in Bedford County called "Poplar Forest".
  • James P. Ownby (1845–1906), Illinois state representative; was born in Bedford County.[18]
  • Lacey Putney was born and raised in Bedford County, VA.
  • Jerry Falwell Jr, former Liberty University President, lives in Bedford County on a farm.[19]
  • Sam Sloan, book publisher, lives in Bedford County and attended Boonsboro School Elementary School and High School in Bedford County

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  2. ^ "Bedford County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 30, 2022.
  3. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on July 28, 2011. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  4. ^ Salmon, edited by Emily J.; Campbell Jr., Edward D.C. (1994). The Hornbook of Virginia History : a ready-reference guide to the Old Dominion's people, places, and past (4th ed.). Richmond: Library of Virginia. ISBN 0884901777. {{cite book}}: |first1= has generic name (help)
  5. ^ Faulconer, Justin. "Bedford Reversion to Town Becomes Official Today". The News and Advance. newsadvance.com. Archived from the original on August 1, 2017. Retrieved July 21, 2013.
  6. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  7. ^ "Census of Population and Housing from 1790-2000". US Census Bureau. Retrieved January 24, 2022.
  8. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Archived from the original on August 11, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  9. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  10. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 18, 2014. Retrieved January 1, 2014.
  11. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2010: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Bedford County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau.
  12. ^ a b "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE - 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) - Bedford County, Virginia". United States Census Bureau.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2011-05-14.
  14. ^ https://factfinder.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/17_5YR/DP02/0500000US51019[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ David Leip. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". Uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved December 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Wood, Edward J. Giants and Dwarfs, p. 442-43 (1868)
  17. ^ "Remembering Carl Overstreet". www.cia.gov. June 9, 2016. Archived from the original on October 21, 2016. Retrieved October 20, 2016.
  18. ^ 'Directory of the Legislature of Illinois of 1895,' Biographical Sketch of James Polk Ownby, pg 61
  19. ^ "Biography of Jerry Falwell - About Liberty - Liberty University". www.liberty.edu. Archived from the original on May 7, 2018. Retrieved May 7, 2018.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 37°19′N 79°32′W / 37.31°N 79.53°W / 37.31; -79.53