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Rappahannock was formed in 1831, from Culpeper. It is named from the river which runs on its northern boundary. Its soil is fertile, and productive in wheat and corn. Length about 18, breadth 17 miles. Pop. in 1840, whites 5,307, slaves 3,663, free colored 287; total, 9,257.
Washington, the seat of justice, is 123 miles Nw. of Richmond, and 75 from Washington city. It is a fine village, near the foot of the Blue Ridge, in a fertile country, and upon one of the head branches of the Rappahannock. It contains a church, an academy, 2 stores, and about 60 dwellings. Sperryville, 6 miles s. of the C. H., Woodville, 10 miles from it, and Flint Hill, contain each about 30 dwellings.
Ritchie was formed in 1843, from Harrison, Lewis, and Wood, and named in honor of Thomas Ritchie, Esq.: it is about 25 miles long, and 20 broad. The surface is generally hilly and broken, and the soil not fertile, except on the streams, where there is considerable champaign country.
Harrisville, the county-seat, lies about 37 miles east of Parkersburg, and 4 miles s. of the Nw. turnpike: it contains 2 stores, 1 tannery, 1 Baptist and 1 Methodist church, and about 15 dwellings. Estimated population of the county, 1,800.
Roanoke was formed from Botetourt, in 1838. The name is probably derived from the Indian word Roenoke.or Rawrenoke, signifying the Indian shell-money. It is a small county, with a mean length of about 20, and mean width of 18 miles. The Blue Ridge forms its eastern boundary; the western parts are mountainous. Much of the soil of the county, particularly on the Roanoke River in the vicinity of Big Lick, is of almost unequalled fertility, and productive in hemp, wheat, and tobacco. Pop. in 1840, whites 3,843, slaves 1,553, free colored 101; total, 5,499.
Salem, the county-seat, is in the valley of Virginia, on the west bank of Roanoke River, 178 miles westerly from Richmond, 25 miles Ne. of C^hristiansburg, and 23 from Fincastle. The navigation of the Roanoke, from Weldon, N. C, to this place, 244 miles, is completed by canals, sluices, &.c. Salem is a neat village, and contains 6 stores, 1 Presbyterian, 1 Baptist, and 1 Methodist church, and a population of about 450. Big Lick, 7 miles E. of Salem, on the main stage-road, contains a Baptist church and a few dwellings. The' skeleton of a mammoth was found a few years since in this vicinity. Burlington contains a few dwellings.
The Botetourt Springs, in. the northern part of the county, IS miles from Fincastle, are quite popular, and the improvements are sufficient to accommodate a large number of visitors. The spring contains sulphur, magnesia, carbonic acid gas, &c.
Rockbridge derives its name from the celebrated natural bridge: it was formed in 1778, from Augusta and Botetourt. Its mean length is 31, mean breadth 22 miles. This county is principally watered by North River—a branch of James River—and its tributaries. It flows diagonally through the county, and joins the main branch of James River at the foot of the Blue Ridge, where their united waters force a passage through. Much of the soil is of a superior quality, and highly cultivated. It is one of the most wealthy agricultural counties in the state. Pop. in 1840, whites 10,448, slaves 3,510, free colored 326; total, 14,284.
Brownsburg, 12 miles Ne. of Lexington, on the road to Staunton, contains about 30 dwellings; near it is the old church, long known as the New Providence meeting-house. Fairfield, 13 miles »xe. of Lexington, contains a Methodist and a free church, and about 25 dwellings.
Lexington, the county-seat, 146 miles from Richmond, 188 from Washington city, 35 from Lynchburg, 35 from Staunton, and 37 from Fincastle, is beautifully situated on the west bank of North River, one of the main branches of the James. It was founded in 1778, and was originally composed almost exclusively of wooden buildings, most of which were destroyed by fire in 1794. The town speedily recovered from the effects of the catastrophe. It is now quite compact, many of the buildings are of brick, and some of the private mansions—among which is that of the governor of Virginia, James M'Dowell, Esq.—are beautifully situated. A recent English traveller says, "The town, as a settlement, has many attractions. It is surrounded by beauty, and stands at the head of a valley flowing with milk and honey. House-rent is low, provisions are cheap, abundant, and of the best quality. Flowers and gardens are more prized here than in most places." Lexing ton contains 13 mercantile stores, 2 newspaper printing offices, Washington College, the Virginia Military Institute, a fine classical school under the charge of Mr. Jacob Fuller, Ann Smith academy, which is a female institution. 1 Presbyterian, 1 Episcopalian, 1 Baptist, and 1 Methodist church, and about 1,200 inhabitants.
Washington College, one of the oldest literary institutions south of the Potomac, ■was established as an academy in the year 1776, under the name of Liberty Hall, by the Hanover Presbytery, (then embracing the whole of the Presbyterian church in Virginia.) Its first rector was the Rev. William Graham, a native of Pennsylvania, and a graduate of Nassau Hall, N. J. Mr. Graham was a man of extensive acquirements, great originality of thought, warm patriotism, and indomitable energy ; and to his exertions, more than to those of any other one man, the institution owes its establishment, and its continuance during the troublous times of our revolutionary struggle. Liberty Hall received its charter from the state in the year 1782, still retaining the name of an academy, although its charter authorized it "to confer literary degrees, to appoint professors, as well as masters and tutors," and, in short, to perform all the acts which properly belong to a college. In the year 1796, it received its first regular endowment, from the hands of the "Father of his country." The legislature of Virginia, " as a testimony of their gratitude for his services," and "as a mark of their respect," presented to Gen. Washington a certain number of shares in the old James' River improvement, a work then in progress; this Washington, unwilling to accept for his own private emolument, presented to Liberty Hall Academy. To perpetuate the memory of this noble act, the name of the institution was, by the unanimous vote of the trustees, changed to Washington Academy ; and in the year 1812, by an act of the legislature, still further changed to Washington College. Subsequently, John Robinson, Esq., a soldier of Washington, emulating the example of his illustrious leader, bequeathed his whole estate to the college; and still more recently, the Cincinnati Society of Va., after having accomplished the patriotic purpose for which it was established, bequeathed the residue of its funds to the college, on condition that provision should be made for military instruction in the institution.
George A. Baxter, D. D., succeeded Mr. Graham. About the year 1827, he resigned the presidency, and was succeeded by Louis Marshall, M. D., of Kentucky. Mr. Henry Vethake succeeded him in Feb., 1835. His successor was the present president of the college, the Rev. Henry Kuffner, D. D., who was inaugurated Feb. 22d, 1837.
Like most of the older literary institutions of our country, Washington College has had its seasons of adversity as well as prosperity. At the present time, its prospects appear more flattering than they have done at any previous period since its first establishment. For the last four or five years its number of students has varied from 80 to 100, as large a number as its buildings would accommodate. Additional buildings, now just completed, will enlarge the accommodations so that it can receive about 150; probably as large a number as the region from which the college draws its patronage, will furnish for years to come. The faculty of the institution at this time consists of, Henry Ruffher, D. D., president, and professor of ethics and rhetoric; Philo Calhoun, A. M., prof, of mathematics; Geo. E. Dabney, A. M., prof, of languages; Geo. D. Armstrong, A. M., Robinson prof, of natural philosophy and chemistry; Capt. Thomas H. Williamson, Cincinnati prof, of military tactics. The bill of expenses in the college are: Treasurer's bill for tuition, room-rent, deposits, and matriculation, $42 per annum; board §7J to $8 per month ; washing, fuel, candles, bed, &c, about $3 per month. Total, per session of 10 months, about $140.* With such advantages as Washington College enjoys, in its location in the midst of one of the most fertile and healthy portions of the great valley of Virginia, surrounded by a population, moral, frugal, and industrious in their habits, and prizing highly the advantages of a liberal education, we confidently expect that its prosperity will continue; and that it will continue a lasting monument to the wisdom, as well as the benevolence, of the illustrious man whose name it bears.
The Virginia Military Institute.—This is a military academy, established in connection with Washington College by an act of the legislature, passed during the session of 1838-'39. Formerly, a guard of soldiers was maintained at the expense of the state, for the purpose of affording protection to the arms deposited in the Lexington arsenal, for the use of the militia of western Virginia. About the year 1836, some zealous friends of education, among whom we may mention Gov. Jas. McDowell, thinking that the arsenal might be converted into an educational institution, without any increase of expense to the state, and affording at the same time equal security to the public arms, applied to the legislature to make the necessary change. After various delays, this application resulted in the establishment of the Virginia Military Institute, in the year
* By an act of the Board of Trustees, Indigent students, of good moral character, ore admitted without the payment of tuition fees; and such persons can, with prudence and economy, maintain Ihcuisclvos at college at from ISO to $100 per year.