About the County
Charles City County residents are proud of their County's unique history and cultures, and are more than willing and eager to share them with others. Come make your own history in Charles City County!
Charles City County is a quiet, rural haven of 7,256 residents located in the east-central portion of the Commonwealth of Virginia. In 1634, the colonial General Assembly met at Jamestown and divided the Virginia Colony into eight shires, similar to those in England. These were Accomack, Charles River, Henrico, Elizabeth City, James City, Warwick River, Warrosquyoake and Charles City. The Charles City shire was named for the English King's son, Charles, who later became King Charles I. When first established, Charles City comprised a large area on both sides of the James River, but gradually it lost land area to the formation of other counties.
Settlement in Charles City County began as early as 1613. Many of the famous estates were patented in these early years. Charles Carter built Shirley Plantation about 1769. It is believed to be the first Virginia plantation. Today the Carter family still owns Shirley Plantation. Benjamin Harrison IV, built the Berkeley Plantation mansion in 1726. Berkeley was the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and Governor of Virginia. Berkeley was also the home of William Henry Harrison, the ninth President of the United States. John Tyler, tenth President of the United States, purchased Sherwood Forest in 1842. William Byrd III, a notable Virginia planter, author, and colonial official constructed Westover Plantation about 1730. Evelynton Plantation was originally part of William Byrd's expansive Westover Plantation. Since 1847, it has been the home to the Ruffin family. Also of historic interest is Westover Parish Church. Erected in 1737, Westover Church has counted among its membership the families of William Byrd II, President William Henry Harrison and President John Tyler.
The Land Lost in Time
Charles City County is a reflection of America's past. Its historic and archaeological resources provide important data concerning the development of early settlements of Native Americans, the entry of the Europeans and African-Americans into the New World, and the colonial and plantation periods. Many of the historic and archaeological resources can be seen in a pristine setting. The Washington Post has called Charles City County "the land lost in time" because it remains virtually untouched by new development. Now, Charles City County stands of pine and hardwood trees greeting visitors at every entrance to the County. Small residential communities are nestled within the County's predominant land-use forest. Stately plantations and other historic sites remind visitors and residents alike of the long history of the County.
Charles City County has a County Administrator and a three-member Board of Supervisors. The County has a comprehensive plan and zoning and subdivision ordinances. Charles City is the county seat. There are no incorporated towns within the county.