History

Chesterfield County traces its past to the Native Americans who lived here for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first English settlers in 1611 to establish the second permanent settlement in the New World. It also is the place of Revolutionary War engagements and major Civil War campaigns, and boasts of many firsts, including the first commercial cultivation of tobacco, the first ironworks and the first commercially-mined coal in North America. Found out about all this interesting history and more!

  1. Firsts in Chesterfield
  2. Founding of Chesterfield
  3. Historic Programs and Activities
  4. Timeline of Historic Events

Historic Firsts in Chesterfield

YearEvent
1607Sir Christopher Newport explored the James and Appomattox Rivers along the Chesterfield borders five days before the Jamestown was settled
1612Tobacco was first cultivated scientifically in America at Bermuda Hundred by John Rolfe.
1614Bermuda Hundred was incorporated as the first town in America.
1619Falling Creek was the site of the first iron furnace in the New World.
1621Falling Creek was the site of the first lead mines in America.
1622Mount Malady near Dutch Gap was the site of the first American hospital.
1709Midlothian produced the first commercially mined coal in America.
1795Bosher’s Dam near Bon Air was the first large multipurpose dam in Virginia.
1807Midlothian Turnpike was the first paved road in Virginia.
1811The first commercial tramway in America, the predecessor of the railroads, was operated from the Brown, Page and Burr gunpowder plant on Falling Creek to its storage magazine a mile away.
1812The first school for deaf mutes in the United States was located at Cobbs on the lower Appomattox.
1831The Midlothian to Manchester Railroad was the first in Virginia.
1862Cpl. John B. Mackie was the U.S. Marine Corps’ first recipient of the Medal of Honor, which he was awarded for his brave and courageous conduct while on board the USS Galena during the May 15, 1862 battle of Drewry’s Bluff.
1864Bermuda Hundred Civil War Campaign - the only campaign fought entirely in one county.
1921Father’s day was originated by three ladies from Drewry’s Bluff.
1934The first wayside park in Virginia featured the Old Stone Bridge over Falling Creek, completed in 1826.
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6