Revolutionary War Era
The area surrounding the Courthouse was a very strategic location during the Revolutionary War. Our leaders in this war frequented this area. March of 1775 saw Patrick Henry recite his famous speech from St. John's Church. "Give me liberty or give me death" were the words heard around the world.
Taking Up Arms
The Revolutionary War witnessed several Chesterfield residents taking up arms for the cause. These included the clerk of the court, Archibald Cary. Cary was chosen to lead a group of soldiers from the county. The courthouse area became a training camp for the war.
Of the names listed, Thomas Burfoot was the Quartermaster, Edward Steward was listed as the youngest soldier, and Barron Von Stueben was a "hard core" drills Sergeant. In 1781, General Phillips led a group of enemy soldiers into the camp and set numerous fires. This forced the camp to close. Later that year, Sheriff George Robertson was in office when the British surrendered at Yorktown.
A New Sheriff
In 1784, Sheriff Benjamin Branch was in office. Governor Patrick Henry took up residence in what is now referred to as the Salisbury section of the county. The year 1784 also saw the Jefferson family taking up residence at the Eppington plantation located in southern Chesterfield, where his two daughters were left with their aunt. One daughter died while visiting Eppington and is buried there in an unmarked grave. The cousin, Lucy Eppes, also passed away from the "whooping cough" that same year. The big social event for the county in the late 1700's was the marriage of Mary Jefferson to John Eppes of Eppington Plantation.
The County in an Uproar
In 1786, the county was in an uproar. Sheriff Branch was killed after being thrown from his horse. The Sheriff had not yet collected all of the tax levies owed and his accounts were in an unintentional snarl. The resolution of the situation took almost two decades, but the county suffered little financial loss in the end.
The Sheriff During Washington's Presidency
Sheriff Thomas Barfoot was in office when George Washington was elected as the first president of our country. Washington took office in 1789. The county's population at this time was 14,214, with half the number being slaves.