Pound, Virginia

Coordinates: 37°7′26″N 82°36′28″W / 37.12389°N 82.60778°W / 37.12389; -82.60778
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Pound, Virginia
Main Street (2017)
Main Street (2017)
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Location in the Commonwealth of Virginia
Coordinates: 37°7′26″N 82°36′28″W / 37.12389°N 82.60778°W / 37.12389; -82.60778[1]
CountryUnited States
 • MayorStacey Carson
 • Total2.61 sq mi (6.75 km2)
 • Land2.60 sq mi (6.75 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.01 km2)
Elevation1,565 ft (477 m)
 • Total1,037
 • Estimate 
 • Density352.40/sq mi (136.04/km2)
Time zoneUTC-5 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-4 (EDT)
ZIP code
Area code276
FIPS code51-64272 [1]
GNIS ID1499906 [1]

Pound is a town in Wise County, Virginia, United States.[1] The population was recorded as 1,037 in the 2010 United States Census.


The Pound area was explored in 1751 by Christopher Gist, and it is traditionally said to be the oldest settlement in Wise County.[4] Also known as "The Pound," the name may derive from a family name, or from a pounding mill built in the area in 1815. The county's first post office was established there in 1848. Pound was not incorporated until 1950, the last town in Wise County to do so.[5][4]

Historically, the town's economy benefited from the area's coal mining industry. In the 1940s, the town had nearly a dozen bars catering to miners from nearby Kentucky. As mining declined in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Pound—like much of Southwest Virginia—saw its economy and tax base collapse.[5] Over the following decades, fiscal and political difficulties led the Virginia General Assembly to pass a law in 2022 that would revoke the town's charter in 2023 unless improvements were made.[5] Its charter was restored on February 2, 2023.[6]

The Flat Gap High School and Sunnydale Farm are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[7]

Notable crimes[edit]

On November 30, 1927, Leonard Woods, a black coal miner and resident of Jenkins, Kentucky, was lynched on the Virginia-Kentucky border in Pound. Woods had been jailed in Kentucky for the murder of 29-year-old Herschel Deaton of Coeburn, Virginia, following an altercation on November 27.[8] On the night of the lynching, a crowd estimated between 400-500 surrounded the Kentucky jail Woods was held in and demanded he be released to their custody. The crowd then transported Woods to a wooden structure located in Pound adjacent to the recently constructed US 23 highway. By this time the mob, estimated at 1,500, oversaw the hanging of Woods, followed by the firing of over 500 shots at his body, according to a local reporter. Both Virginia and Kentucky authorities claimed they were not responsible for investigating the crime, and no one was prosecuted for the death of Leonard Woods.[9]

In 1935, Pound gained national attention for the case of Edith Maxwell, who was convicted in 1935 of murdering her father, Trigg Maxwell. She was pardoned in 1941 after appeals from Eleanor Roosevelt and the Washington Post raised funds for her legal defense.


Pound is located at 37°7′26″N 82°36′28″W / 37.12389°N 82.60778°W / 37.12389; -82.60778 (37.123820, -82.607859).[10]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 2.6 square miles (6.8 km2), all land.


The climate in this area is characterized by relatively high temperatures and evenly distributed precipitation throughout the year. The Köppen Climate System describes the weather as humid subtropical, and uses the abbreviation Cfa.[11]


Historical population
2019 (est.)918[3]−11.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[12]

At the 2000 census there were 1,089 people, 455 households and 322 families in the town. The population density was 417.6 per square mile (161.1/km2). There were 516 housing units at an average density of 197.9 per square mile (76.3/km2). The racial makeup of the town was 98.71% White, 0.09% Native American, 0.09% from other races, and 1.10% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.18%.[13]

Of the 455 households 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.5% were married couples living together, 15.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.2% were non-families. 25.9% of households were one person and 14.3% were one person aged 65 or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.88.

The age distribution was 24.0% under the age of 18, 8.8% from 18 to 24, 29.8% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 16.0% 65 or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 87.8 males. For every 100 females aged 18 and over, there were 80.8 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $29,107, and the median family income was $33,688. Males had a median income of $32,065 versus $22,143 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,375. About 19.4% of families and 23.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 37.9% of those under age 18 and 9.8% of those age 65 or over.


The town is governed by an elected mayor and council. It employs a paid town manager, who has often been the same person as the mayor.[5]

The town council adopted an ordinance forbidding dancing without a permit (Section 127-138). When the town turned down a dance application, the ordinance was challenged and overturned by the federal District Court in 1999 as "unconstitutional on its face", 18 years after ordinance was created.[14]

In the 2020s, financial and political issues plagued the town government. The town failed to pass a budget by its deadline, closed its police department, and was required by the state government to turn over its wastewater treatment facility to Wise County.[5] Resignations and attendance problems deprived the town council of a quorum, resulting in a judge appointing replacement members. In 2021, the county board of supervisors requested that the Virginia General Assembly revoke the town's charter.[5] In 2022, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law, a bill to revoke the charter without a local referendum, as of November 1, 2023, unless the town government sufficiently improved before then.[5] On February 2, 2023, the General Assembly passed, and the Governor signed into law, a bill to restore the town's charter.[6]


Pound has one public school: James Woodrow Adams Combined School.[15]



US 23 runs through Pound and crosses into Kentucky at Pound Gap. Pound is also the proposed connection to US 23 for the planned Coalfield Expressway.

Places of interest[edit]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Pound, Virginia", Geographic Names Information System, United States Geological Survey, United States Department of the Interior
  2. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 16, 2020. Retrieved August 7, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Archived from the original on April 21, 2019. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Pound, Virginia Historical Marker". www.hmdb.org. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Schneider, Gregory S. (May 23, 2022). "Va. lawmakers voted to dissolve a troubled town. Can residents save it?". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 24, 2022.
  6. ^ a b "Town of Pound emerges from death sentence in Virginia Assembly". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 4, 2023.
  7. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  8. ^ "Leonard Woods in Wise Racial Terror: Lynching in Virginia, 1877-1927". Archived from the original on June 22, 2019. Retrieved June 22, 2019.
  9. ^ Leidholdy, Alexander (Winter 2011). ""Never Thot This Could Happen in the South!" the". Appalachian Journal. 38 (2/3): 198–232. JSTOR 41320297.
  10. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Archived from the original on August 24, 2019. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  11. ^ "Climate Summary for Pound, Virginia". Archived from the original on September 10, 2015. Retrieved September 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Archived from the original on October 3, 2014. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  13. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  14. ^ "Grunge - the world is weirder than you think". Archived from the original on February 5, 2017. Retrieved February 4, 2017.
  15. ^ "School Information". Archived from the original on May 18, 2013. Retrieved November 12, 2006.
  16. ^ "Pound Virginia - Birthplace of Napoleon Hill Author of Think and Grow Rich". Archived from the original on December 7, 2014. Retrieved December 1, 2014.

External links[edit]