Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Southampton County, Virginia
As of the census2 of 2000, there are 17,482 people, 6,279 households, and 4,502 families residing in the county. The population density is 11/km² (29/mi²). There are 7,058 housing units at an average density of 5/km² (12/mi²). The racial makeup of the county is 55.96% White, 42.87% Black or African American, 0.20% Native American, 0.18% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 0.25% from other races, and 0.53% from two or more races. 0.66% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There are 6,279 households out of which 30.80% have children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.10% are married couples living together, 13.50% have a female householder with no husband present, and 28.30% are non-families. 24.90% of all households are made up of individuals and 11.10% have someone living alone who is 65 years of age or older. The average household size is 2.53 and the average family size is 3.02.
In the county, the population is spread out with 22.70% under the age of 18, 8.80% from 18 to 24, 29.20% from 25 to 44, 25.00% from 45 to 64, and 14.20% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age is 39 years. For every 100 females there are 111.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there are 112.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county is $33,995, and the median income for a family is $41,324. Males have a median income of $32,436 versus $20,831 for females. The per capita income for the county is $16,930. 14.60% of the population and 11.70% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 19.90% of those under the age of 18 and 14.50% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.
Shire to County
During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the Jamestown Settlement in 1607, English settlers and explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads. By 1634, the English colony of Virginia consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Southampton County was originally part of the Warrosquyoake Shire. The shire was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637.
In 1749, the portion of Isle of Wight County west of the Blackwater River became Southampton County. Later, part of Nansemond County, which is now the Independent City of Suffolk, was added to Southampton County.
Southampton County may have been named for Southampton, a major city in England, or for one of the founders of the Virginia Company and a great supporter of the colonization of Virginia, Henry Wriothesley, 3rd Earl of Southampton.
In 1831, Southampton County was the location of the most serious slave rebellion in United States history. On August 21-22, the infamous Southampton Insurrection, led by the slave Nat Turner, resulted in the deaths of 58 whites and an unknown number of blacks. Turner and his followers were captured, tried and 20 were hanged.
William Mahone, naming Ivor
William Mahone (1826-1895) was born in Southampton County, in the tiny community of Monroe, which was located on the Nottoway River about 8 miles south of present-day Courtland. His parents were Fielding and Martha Mahone. They moved to Courtland in 1840, where Fielding Mahone ran a hotel (tavern). Young Billy Mahone attended Virginia Military Institute (VMI), trained as a civil engineer, and graduated in the class of 1847. He worked as a school teacher before, in 1853, he was hired to build the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad (Now Norfolk Southern).
In 1855, he married Otelia Butler, the daughter of the late Dr. Robert Butler of Smithfield, who had been Virginia State Treasurer prior to his death in 1853. Popular legend has it that William Mahone and his cultured wife, Otelia Butler Mahone (1837-1911), traveled along the newly completed Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad naming stations. Otelia was reading Ivanhoe a book written by Sir Walter Scott. From his historical Scottish novels, Otelia chose the place names of Windsor, Waverly and Wakefield.
Otelia Mahone is said to have tapped the Scottish Clan "McIvor" for the name of Ivor. Later, when they could not agree, it is said that they became even more creative, and invented a new name, which is how the tiny community of Disputanta was created. The N&P railroad was completed in 1858.
William Mahone became a Major General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, while his wife Otelia served as a nurse in Richmond. He later led the state's Readjuster Party and became a Senator in the United States Congress.
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