Timelines of Important Events in the County
1800's — Development & Conflict
|1800||The population stabilizes at 20,523. Slavery is at a peak, with 6,078, 30 percent of the total population. A slave sells for an average of $300 a person - nearly a year's typical wage. The county's population also Includes 333 free Negroes, manumitted by various state laws, 1785-1793..|
|1801||Post office established at Goshen.|
|1801-1824||Commencing with Waterford, the General Assembly establishes seven towns, appointing trustees to layout streets and manage lot sales. Hillsborough dates to 1802; Aldie, 1810; Union, 1813 (becoming Unison in 1829); Bloomfield, 1816; Upperville, 1819; and Snickersville; 1824 (becoming Bluemont in 1900). All survive.|
|1802||George Carter builds Oatlands Plantation south of Leesburg.
With completion of the bypass canal skirting the Virginia side of Great Falls, the Potomac is navigable from Cumberland, Md. to the ocean. His "Patowmack Canal," George Washington's pet project, is the first man-made waterway in America. In Loudoun, locks were complete around Seneca Falls by 1790. Washington's slaves anger settlers when, to improve navigability, they dismantle several Indian fish traps.
|1803||Described by physician John Esten Cooke, "Inflammatory BilIous Fever spreads terror and desolation through the populous county In summer and early fall. Symptoms are vomiting, blisters and convulsions; the treatment is letting of blood and emetics. As most victims reside in the hilly west, doctors attribute the malady to "mountain mists" settling into the valleys. Periodic epidemics, often influenza and typhoid, in part explain large families. Graveyards tell the story.
Agriculturist John Binns publishes his ''Treatise on Practical Farming," advocating a quartet of deep plowing, clover, grazing and gypsum to increase yields-twofold of corn and fourfold of wheat, he notes. Quakers have practiced these conservation practices almost from the time of first settlement, but they have been known only by word of mouth. After receiving a copy of the treatise, Thomas Jefferson admits, "The County of Loudoun, has, from his example, become the most productive one in Virginia."
|1805||Thomas Purcell founds Hillsboro where there has already been a mill for five years.|
|1806||Work begins on the Little River Turnpike (U.S. 50), including the toll house in Lenah, which stood until 1995, when it was accidently demolished.|
|1807||The first post office in Eastern Loudoun is opened at Lanesville, on the old Vestal’s Gap Road.|
|1809||Aldie Mill is completed. At the time, it was the “largest manufactory in Loudoun County.”
The Little River Turnpike, today's John Mosby Highway or Route 50, is complete from Alexandria to the Aldie Mill, largest manufactory in Loudoun. The toll road is the first major turnpike in the United States and is the first to make a profit, under the management of Quaker Phineas Janney. Tolls, taken each 10 miles, run from 3 cents for horseback rider to 25 cents and more for a carriage and heavy wagon.
|1810||The Snickersville Turnpike (Route 734) is incorporated, with a toll gate every five miles.|
|1813||Leesburg, with more than 1,000 residents, incorporates. Citizens can now elect officials, who have the power to tax and create laws enforceable within the town limits. Middleburg and Upperville incorporate in 1831, the latter now in Fauquier because of a shifting of the boundary in 1826. Waterford incorporates in 1836.|
|1814||The War of 1812: The Rokeby estate near Leesburg was used as a temporary refuge for the President and important state papers, including the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Thus begins the tale that Leesburg was once the nation's capital.|
|1815||Waterford Quakers establish the first bank, The Loudoun Company. The state legislature, however, will not grant it a charter, instead favoring Winchester's Bank of the Valley, which opens a Leesburg branch in 1818. The Loudoun Company folds in 1824; the Bank of the Valley prospers until the Civil War. The controversy widens the growing animus between eastern and western Loudoun. The Loudoun Company in Waterford is now a private residence.|
|1816||Virginia General Assembly passes legislation requiring that maps be drawn for each county. Six years later, surveyor John Wood completes the map of Loudoun County, which only identifies no more than 100 landmarks or physical features.
State Del. Charles Fenton Mercer, of Aldie, persuades Virginia to establish a Board of Public Works. Now, if two-fifths of the funds to build a road or canal are raised by private stockholders, the state will supply the rest. By 1818, Ashby's Gap Turnpike, today's John Mosby Highway, is complete from Aldie to the Shenandoah River; Leesburg Turnpike, today's Harry Byrd Highway or Route 7, connects Washington with Leesburg; and the Snickersville Turnpike links Aldie and Snickers' Gap, now Bluemont.
|1819||U.S. Sen. Armistead Thomson Mason, of Selma, a plantation north of Leesburg, had introduced a bill allowing Quakers to pay $500 instead of serving in the military. Disagreeing, his cousin and neighbor, John Mason McCarty, called Mason, a militia general, "a disgraceful coward." Other political quarrels and McCarty's goading lead to a duel at 10 paces and the senator death.|
|1820|| Work begins on the Leesburg to Alexandria Turnpike, passing through Eastern Loudoun.
Loudoun registers its largest pre-Civil War population, 22,072. Slaves number 5,729, about 25 percent, free Negroes 829, or about 3.7 percent. Of 140 black households, 19, or 13.6 percent, own slaves. The decline in the number of slaves in Loudoun County, because of moral concerns and a large Quaker population, counters the national trend - a 65 percent increase since 1800.
Late in the year, Virginia's General Assembly receives a petition signed by more than 600 residents to create a new county comprising the wealthiest sections of Loudoun, Fauquier and Prince William counties. Because the finest soils of these three counties would be removed from each county's tax rolls, the legislature tables the petition, the last from this area asking for the formation of a new jurisdiction.
|1822||The county government establishes a 229-acre Poor Farm near present-day Unison (then called Union) to house the indigent and mentally ill. With separate quarters for blacks and whites, "inmates" work in exchange for bed and board. Gradually the farm grows to 424 acres and is a regular meeting place (with sumptuous dinners) for post-Civil War boards of supervisors. With the opening of a regional facility at Manassas, the poor house closes in 1946. Today it is a bed-and-breakfast, still known as the Poor House.|
|1823||The fifth president, James Monroe, establishes a part-time residence a few miles south of Leesburg at Oak Hill, which was designed by Thomas Jefferson and built under direction of James Hoban, designer of the White House and architect of the U.S. Capitol. At Oak Hill that autumn, the president drafts the Monroe Doctrine, warning European powers not to interfere in the Western Hemisphere's affairs. President Monroe's last public office will be that of Aldie area justice of the peace. Two other U.S. presidents-James Buchanan and John F. Kennedy-will have part-time Loudoun addresses.|
|1825||On his farewell visit to the United States he helped to create, the Marquis de Lafayette visits Loudoun in August. The Revolutionary War hero is feted by President Monroe at Oak Hill, Ludwell Lee at Belmont, and Thomas Ludwell Lee's widow, Fanny Carter Lee, at Coton, and an estimated 10,000 people gather at Leesburg - an honor unmatched for any foreign dignitary.|
|1828||Lovettsville, market town of the German Settlement, takes the name of Quaker developer David Lovett, who began selling lots in 1820. The General Assembly, in its final act of establishing trustees for a Loudoun town, sanctions the hamlet in 1836. Its churches hold bilingual services through the 1830s.|
|1830||With work progressing on the Chesapeake & Ohio Canal along the Potomac River across from Loudoun County, investors organize to build a 20-mile canal from the interior of the county to Edwards Ferry. Due to financial problems, the plan is reduced to 12 miles; only seven miles are built by 1857, when the project finally failed.|
|1830||Valentine Purcell opens a store between Lincoln (then Goose Creek) and Hamilton (then Harmony), in what is now Purcellville.|
|1831||Loudoun has 75 schools for 900 poor children, and they are open for only 70 days. In 1846, Virginia passes a bill giving counties the option of establishing public schools if two-thirds of the voters agree. Six counties, including Culpeper, vote for public education. The others, Loudoun included, reject it, fearing that the schools would admit free blacks.
Baptists, which make up one-third of the county's populace, diverge on whether there should be paid clergy, music during services, missionaries and Sunday school for children rather than having them sit through hours of preaching. The "Old School" does not hold to these ideas; the "New School," which eventually predominates, does. New Schoolers build their own churches at North Fork and Ebenezer, separated from the meetinghouses of the Old Schoolers-soon to be termed Primitive Baptists.-by shared graveyards. All four churches, unique to Virginia, still stand in pristine settings.
|1834||The Leesburg and Snickers' Gap Turnpike completes its right of way, today's old Route 7 through Hamilton, Purcellville and Round Hill. Wagons from the Shenandoah Valley make the trip to Washington in three days, from Loudoun in two. The road establishes a corridor of commercial growth through the Loudoun Valley.
The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal, heir to the Patowmack Company canal, reaches Harpers Ferry, W.Va. From seven Loudoun ferry docks and other landings, farm produce aboard flatboats crosses the Potomac to canal outlets. On barges, the produce reaches Washington in a day. The competing Baltimore & Ohio Railroad arrived at Point of Rocks, Md., in 1832 and will arrive in Harpers Ferry in 1836. There it will connect with a rail line to Winchester. Produce from the lower Shenandoah Valley and Loudoun farms near the Potomac are in Baltimore in a few hours. Turnpikes, all of them toll roads, are the losers .
|1835||Mount Hope Church at Waxpool organized.
Farmers wear overcoats and gloves in the wheat fields during a fall cold wave preceding the first recorded visit of Halley's comet in December and January.
In Joseph Martin's Gazetteer, Yardley Taylor, Quaker geographer, horticulturist and surveyor, presents Loudoun to the world with glowing write-ups of bustling villages and prosperous countryside. Little wonder, for land in the western county sells for more than $20 a raw acre, a price matched in Virginia only by upper Fauquier.
|1836-1846||Margaret Mercer, daughter of former Maryland Gov. John Francis Mercer, uses proceeds from her preeminent "school for young ladies" to free her slaves and pay for their passage to Liberia. Of the 30 sent there, only four stayed. After her death, Virginia Kephart continues the school until 1861, a record for a girls' school in Loudoun until Foxcroft School celebrates its 26th anniversary in 1940.|
|1840||Agricultural machinery has made an impact. Two Fauquier County inventions-Stephen McGormick's detachable cast-iron plow and Benjamin O'Rear's thrasher-speed tilling and harvesting. Grain separators and horse-powered assemblages are fixtures on many large farms. Mills have several burrs to grind different grains and corn at the same time. Some mills card wool and have circular saws to cut timber.|
|1842||Historic Arcola Slave Quarters is built on the Lewis farm.|
|1845||The two largest Methodist congregations in Loudoun divide over slavery. In Leesburg, the Northern Methodists, opposed to slavery, move out of the congregation's 1785 church to a church on Liberty Street, where blacks hold services in the late 1850s. (The building, almost forgotten, stands today.) In Middleburg, the breakaway pro-slavery Methodists leave that congregation's 1829 Asbury Church and move to the present 1857 church. Blacks worship at Asbury during the Civil War.|
|1846||Virginia passes a bill giving voters the option to start public schools; Loudoun County opts-out.|
|1850||The population, at 22,679, remains stable; 5,641, or about 25 percent, are slaves; 1,357, or about 6 percent, are free Negroes, a decline of 7 percent since 1840. Loudoun registers its largest pre-Civil War black population.|
|1852-53||S. Howell Brown, a cartographer from nearby Jefferson County, completes a comprehensive, accurate map of Loudoun. His work inspires Loudoun mapmaker Yardley Taylor to draw his own map, copies of which survive today.|
|1853||Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire begins construction, with plans to cross Loudoun.|
|1857||Loudoun’s iron mines and furnaces close. Last owner of the mines was John W. Geary, who in February 1862 would return to Loudoun leading the 28th Infantry Regiment U.S. Army, occupying Leesburg and northwestern Loudoun.|
|1858||Grading for AL&H Railroad reaches Leesburg; rails laid as far west as Vienna.|
|1859||John Brown’s Raid on Harpers Ferry; militia units cross Loudoun to put down the insurrection.
The year 1859 will be remembered as .the "Year Without a Summer"; a June 4 frost is the latest on record.
|1860||AL&H Railroad service extended to Leesburg.|
|1860||The population of Loudoun County is 21 ,774 15,021 whites, 1,252 free blacks, and 5,501 slaves.|
|1861||In May, Loudoun voters ratify decision reached by Secession Convention to leave the Union. In June, the Loudoun militia is called up for Confederate service.|
|1861||Loudoun votes in favor of secession, 1,626 to 726, with the dissenting minority mostly around Lovettsville and Waterford.|
|1861||Thomas (not yet "Stonewall") Jackson orders the bridges burned at Point of Rocks, Brunsllvick and Harpers Ferry, but many fords remain. The Confederate victory at the Battle of Ball's Bluff shakes Northern confidence and elates the South.|
|1861||July 21-22: Confederate troops pass through Eastern Loudon following the First Battle of Manassas.|
|1861||Oct. 21: Battle of Ball’s Bluff.|
|1861||Elijah V. White is appointed commander of Confederate forces in Loudoun.|
|1862||The Independent Loudoun Rangers form, the only organized Union troops in the South, serving principally as scouts.|
|1862||Lt. John Singleton Mosby organizes his own Rangers, a hand-picked band of men dedicated to guerrilla operations against Federal troops and supply lines in Northern Virginia.|
|1862||Union Col. John Geary establishes headquarters ion Lovettsville.|
|1862||Aug. 26: Loudoun Rangers, a Waterford unit that fought for the Union, is attacked by E. V. White’s Confederate troops at Waterford. Two men from each side killed, many more wounded.|
|1862||Aug. 28-30: Following Second Battle of Manassas, Confederate forces pass through Eastern Loudoun in pursuit of Gen. John Pope.|
|1862||Sept : Confederate Army crosses Loudon on the way to the Battle of Antietam.|
|1862||Dec. 31: Lt. John S. Mosby meets with his Rangers at Mount Zion Church to plan their first raid.|
|1863||April 1: Mosby repels attack by superior Union force at Miskel’s Farm, in present-day Broad Run Farms.|
|1863||June 17-28: Gen. Joseph Hooker moves the Army of the Potomac north through Loudoun, the largest troop movement of the war. During this time, there are significant battles at Aldie, Middleburg and Upperville between cavalry under Gen. Fitzhugh Lee (CSA), and Gen. Judson Kilpatrick (USA). A Union signal station is established on Bridge’s Hill (near Lanesville), but soon abandoned as the men and their commander, Gen. John Reynolds, leave for the Battle of Gettysburg.|
|1864||Feb. 22: Mosby ambushes a Union formation on the Leesburg Turnpike at Anker’s Shop.|
|1864||June: Gen. Jubal Early (CSA), retreating through Loudoun after threatening Washington, D.C., is pursued by Union troops.|
|1864||July: Mosby attacks Union cavalry under Maj. William Forbes at Skinner’s farm, east of Mount Zion Church, inflicting casualties and scattering Forbes’ men.|
|1864||Aug. 16: Union troops under Gen. Philip Sheridan conduct the destructive “Burning Raid” in Loudoun and Fauquier counties, where “Mosby’s Confederacy” was located.|
|1864||In an effort to drive out Mosby, Gen. Sheridan orders Maj. Gen. Wesley Merritt to bum the Loudoun valley, "consume and destroy all forage and subsistence, burn all barns and mills and their contents and drive off all the stock in the region." The valley burns for five days.|
|1865||April 6: Gen. Robert E. Lee surrenders to Gen. U.S. Grant at Appomattox; unaware that the war has ended, Mosby attacks the Loudoun Rangers at Halltown, W.Va., defeating them.|
|1865||June 17: Mosby is the last Confederate officer to surrender.|
|1870||Virginia is readmitted to the Union. First census after the war shows a population of 20,929, including 5,691 African-Americans (27%).|
|1871||The first business opens in Ashburn (originally Farmville), Joseph Arundel's store.|
|1873||November: President U.S. Grant visits Loudoun, attending the Annual Fair at Leesburg, where he is warmly received.|
|1884||Loudoun native John Franklin Ryan (1848-1936), of Arcola, is elected to his first term to the Virginia House of Delegates, a seat he would hold until 1906. Ryan also served as Speaker of the House from 1894-1899, and 1901-1906.|
|1885-86||First telephone lines installed in Loudoun County.|
|1889||The Paeonian Springs Company is formed to promote the local spring water and set up a resort spa for Washingtonians, with a hotel and boarding houses. The spring's water, shipped by rail, sells for $1 a bottle.|
|1890||Jim Jackson opens a store at Oak Grove, which he will operate until 1930. It was the longest-running black business in Eastern Loudoun.|
|1895||Sen. William M. Stewart of Nevada purchases the old Ashburn Farm, developing it into a modern dairy operation.|