Portraits from our Past:
Southwest Virginia Museum

The Development

Geography played an important role in the early history of elected leaders of Southwest Virginia. In 1770, all of Southwest Virginia west of present day Roanoke, was the county of Botetourt. As the area became more populated, settlements began to arise. This led to the formation of new counties. Around 1777, Montgomery and Washington Counties were formed. In 1786, Russell County was formed from Washington County. Other far Southwest Virginia counties were later formed from Russell. Both Lee County, in 1793, and Tazwell County, in 1799, were formed from Russell, Lee, and Washington Counties. In 1856, Wise County was formed from Russell, Scott, and Lee with Buchanan formed from Taxewell and Russell in 1858. The final Southwest Virginia county, Dickenson, was formed in 1880 from portions of Wise and Buchanan Counties.

Featured in this exhibit are several elected leaders who served during the change of the Virginia frontier into the geographic area known as far Southwest Virginia. Many leaders were shaped by the Civil War, with several of them being involved in the post-war debt debate. Some of the featured leaders served in office during World War I with one serving in the Navy during World War II.

The staff of the Southwest Virginia Museum Historical State Park hopes you enjoy this brief "portrait" of our region's political past.



The Southwest Virginia Museum is a member of the American
Association of Museums, the American Association of State and Local History, and the Virginia Association of Museums.