James W. (James William) Head.

History and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] online

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effects of the Civil War, from which the South, in general,
after more than forty-five years, has not yet fully recovered,
as is shown by the fact that in some of the South Atlantic
states the reported acreage of farm land in 1900 was less than
it was in i860.

A continuous increase is shown in the area of improved
farm land except in the decade 1860-1870. The decrease in
the amount under cultivation, reported in the census of

*It will be understood that the total land in farms by no means equals
the total area of the County.


1870, was due to conditions growing out of the change in
the system of labor which prevented a complete rehabilitation
of agricultural industry.

Only three other of the 100 Virginia counties reported
larger improved areas in 1900, viz: Fauquier, 291.734 acres;
Pittsylvania, 280,456 and Augusta, 276,459.

Tabi^e II. — Number of Farms by Decades: Summary^ 1850 to igoo.

1900 1,948 1870 1,238

1890 1,818 1860 1,207

1880 I,i41 1850 1,256

Comparison of the number of farms reported in 185O with
the number at the last census shows an addition in fifty years
of 692 farms.

The great increase between 187O and I88O is seen at a
glance. During this period the large plantations were steadily
undergoing partition, in consequence of the social and indus-
trial changes in progress after the Civil War.

Tabi,e III. — Farms Classified by Area — igoo.

UnderSacres 22 100 and under 175 acres 396

3 and under 10 acres 155 175 and under 260 acres 324

10 and under 20 acres 171 260 and under 500 acres 274

20 and under 50 acres 246 500 and under 1,000 acres 88

SO and under 100 acres 264 1,000 acres and over 8

TabI/E IV. — Number of Farms of Specified Tenures^ June /, igoo.

Owners 1,116 Managers 48

Partowners 173 Cash tenants 232

Owners and tenants 18 Share tenants 361

Total , 1,948


The persistent high price of Loudoun lands has discour-
aged increase of population by immigration. Indeed, in more
than eighty-five years, except for the slight fluctuations of


certain decades, there has been no increase through any

The last census (1900) fixed Loudoun's population at
21,948, of which number 16,079 were whites, 5,869 negroes,
and the remaining 101 foreign born. This aggregate is even
less than that shown by the census of l820, which gave the
county a population of 22,702, or 754 more than in 1900.

The succeeding schedules, giving complete statistics of popu-
lation for Loudoun County by the latest and highest author-
ity, were taken from United States Census reports, collected
in 1900 and published in 1902.

Population, Dwellings, and Families:

jgoo. Private Families.

Population 21,948 Number 4,195

Dwellings 4,157 Population 21,690

Families 4,231 Average size 5.2

Private Families Occupying Owned and Hired and Free and Encum-
bered Homes, jgoo.

Total private families 4,195

Farm Homes Owned. Other Homes Owned.

Free 959 Free 622

Encumbered 257 Encumbered 147

Unknown 120 Unknown 81

Hired 648 Hired 1,169

Unknown 7 Unknown 185

Total 1,991 Total 2,204

Native and Foreign Born and White and Colored Population, Classified

by Sex, igoo.

Native born. Native White — Foreign Parents.

Male 10,634 Male 114

Female 11,213 Female 121

Foreign born. Foreign White.

Male 59 Male 58

Female 42 Female 42

Native White— Native Parents. Total Colored.

Male 7,583 Male 2,938

Female 8.161 Female 2,931



In i860, one year before the outbreak of the Civil War, the
County held within its boundaries 21,774 souls: 15,021 white,
5,501 slave, and 1,252 free colored. In number of slaves at
this period Loudoun ranked thirty-sixth in the list of Virginia
counties which then also included the counties now in West
Virginia. This number was distributed amongst 670 slave-
holders in the following proportions:

1 slave 124

2 slaves 84

3 slaves 61

4 slaves 83

5 slaves 46

6 slaves 39

7 slaves 35

8 slaves 27

9 slaves 22

10 and under 15 slaves 80

15 and under 20 slaves 36

20 and under 30 slaves 23

30 and under 40 slaves 4

40 and under 50 slaves 4

50 and under 70 slaves 1

100 and under 200 slaves 1

The following table gives the population of Loudoun
County decennially, from and including the first ofl&cial census
of 1790:

1900 21,948

1890 23,274

1880 23,634

1870 20,929

1860 21,774

1850 22,079

1840 20,431

1830 21,939

1820 22,702

1810 21,338

1800 20,523

1790 18,952

The reports of population by magisterial districts given
below, with a single exception, show an appreciable decrease
between the years I89O and 1900:

Broad Run district..

Jefferson district

Leesburg district....
Ivovettsville district

Mercer district

Mt. Gilead district-





The following incorporated towns for the same period are
charged with a corresponding decrease in the number of their

Hamilton ...




These circumstances of fluctuation and actual decrease
might appear singular if it could not be shown that practi-
cally the same conditions obtain elsewhere in the State and
Union, or wherever agriculture is the dominant industry.
Especially is this true of the counties of Clarke, Fauquier,
Prince William, and Fairfax, in Virginia, and Jefferson, in
West Virginia. All these farming communities adjoin Lou-
doun and exhibit what might be called corresponding fluctu-
ations of population between the above-named periods.

A decrease then in the population of any of these districts
is obviously due, in a large measure, to the partial or total
failure of the crops which causes the migration of a portion
of the population to large cities or other parts of the country.
If the failure occurs immediately preceding a census, the
decrease shown will, of course, be large.

As another contributing cause, it can be positively stated
that the disfavor in which agriculture is held by the young
men of Loudoun, who seek less arduous and more lucrative
employment in the great cities of the Bast, is, in part, re-
sponsible, if not for the depletion, certainly for the stagnation
of the county's population.


The white population of Loudoun County in 1880, I89O, and
1900 was as follows:

Census. Population.

1880 16,391

1890 16,696— 305 increase.

1900 16,079—617 decrease.

The negro population of Loudoun County for the same
periods was:

Census. Population.

1880 7,243

1890 6,578—665 decrease.

1900 5,869— 709 decrease.

The figures show that the negro population has steadily
decreased, while the white population increased from 1880 to
1890, and decreased from I89O to 1900. The proportion of
decrease for the negroes was much greater than for the whites.
As the occupations of the negroes are almost entirely farming
and domestic services, crop failures necessarily cause migra-
tion to other localities, and as Washington and Baltimore are
not far distant and offer higher wages and sometimes more
attractive occupations, there can be no doubt that the decrease
is principally due to the migration to those cities.


Agriculture, in many of its important branches, is by far
Loudoun's leading industry, and is being annually benefited
by the application of new methods in cultivation and harvest-
ing. The farmers are thrifty and happy and many of them

During the Civil War agriculture received a serious set-
back, as the County was devastated by the contending armies,
but by hard work and intelligent management of the people
the section has again been put upon a prosperous footing.

The agricultural methods in use throughout the County
are very uniform, notwithstanding the fact that there are a
comparatively large number of soil types in the area.


A system of general farming, with few variations, is prac-
ticed, although some of the soils are much better adapted to
the purpose than are other soils of the area. The system of
rotation practiced consists of drilling in wheat and timothy
seed together on the corn stubble in the fall, and sowing
clover in the following spring. The wheat is harvested in the
early summer, leaving the timothy and clover, which, after
obtaining a good growth, is grazed or cut the next year for
hay. This land is then plowed, and the following spring corn
is planted, to be followed by wheat again the next fall, thus
completing the rotation.

Loudoun's gently sweeping hills and broad valleys support
great herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and yield immense
crops of corn, wheat, oats, and other cereals. More corn is
produced and probably more live stock marketed by Loudoun
than by any other of the 100 counties of Virginia.

The wheat is either sold for shipment or ground into flour
by the many mills of the County, which mainly supply the
home demand. The surplus is shipped chiefly to Washington
and Baltimore. The major portion of the corn is used locally
for feeding beef cattle, dairy stock, and work animals. Hay
is shipped in large quantities and the rye, oats, and buck-
wheat are mostly consumed at home. Considerable pork is
fattened in the County and many hundred head of cattle are
annually grazed to supply the Washington and Baltimore

A Government statistician was responsible for the follow-
ing statement, based, no doubt, on the creditable showing
made by Loudoun in the census of 1880: "Taken as a whole,
probably the best farming in the State is now done in this
(Loudoun) County." Of Virginia counties, it stood, at that
time, first in the production of corn, butter, eggs, and wool,
and in numbers of milch cows and sheep, and second only to
Fauquier in the number of its stock cattle.

The breeding of superior stock and horses is an important
branch of the County's agricultural activities. A contributor
to Country Life in America^ in an article entitled "Country


Life in Ivoudoun County," says of it: * 'And the raising of
animals is here not the fad of men of wealth who would play
at country life. It is a serious business, productive of actual
profit and a deep-seated satisfaction as continuous and well
grounded as I have ever seen taken by men in their vocation."

The wealthier class of citizens of course specialize, each
according to his personal choice. One, with 1,500 acres, all
told, does a large dairying business and raises registered Dor-
set horn sheep, large white Yorkshire swine, registered Guern-
sey cattle, and Percheron horses. Another, with a like acre-
age, specializes in hackneys. A third, on his 3OO or more
acres, raises thoroughbreds and Irish hunters. A fourth,
with 1,000 acres, fattens cattle for market and breeds Perche-
ron horses, thoroughbreds, hackneys, and cattle. A fifth,
owning several thousand acres, fattens cattle for export. A
half dozen others, on farms ranging from 200 to 1,000 acres,
raise thoroughbreds or draft animals. These are the special-
ties; on all the farms mentioned the owners have their sec-
ondary interests.

Some of the farmers whose capital will not permit the pur-
chasing of high-priced breeding stock, have long been
engaged in the business of finishing cattle for the market, ani-
mals being shipped from Tennessee, West Virginia, and else-
where to be fattened on the wonderful grasses of Loudoun
County. These steers are pastured from several months to
two years, or according to their condition and the rapidity
with which they fatten.

Sheep are to be found on most every large farm and are
kept for both wool and mutton. Buyers visit these farms
early in the winter and contract to take the lambs at a cer-
tain time in the spring, paying a price based on their live
weight. When far enough advanced they are collected and
shipped to eastern markets.

The rapid growth of near-by cities and the development of

transportation facilities have exerted a great influence in the

progress of the dairy industry in Loudoun County, increasing

the demand for dairy produce, making possible the delivery



of such produce in said cities at a profit to the farmer, and
thereby inducing many to adopt dairy farming as a vSpecialty
instead of following it as incidental to general agriculture.

The dairy cows in Loudoun, June 1, 1900, numbered 8,563,
of which 7,882, or 92 per cent were on farms, and 681, -or 8
per cent, were in barns and enclosures elsewhere.

If the number of dairy cows, June 1, I9OO, be taken as a
basis, the five most important Virginia counties arranged in
order of rank are as follows: Loudoun, Z, ^6'^; Augusta, 7,898;
Rockingham, 7,312; Bedford, 6,951; and Washington, 6,792.

If prime consideration be given to the gallons of milk pro-
duced on farms only in 1899, the counties rank in the follow-
ing order: Loudoun, 3,736,382; Fairfax, 3,310,990; Bedford,
3,244,800; Rockingham, 3,141,906; and Augusta, 2,993,928.

If greatest weight be given to the farm value of dairy
produce, the order is as follows: Fairfax, $301,007; Henrico,
$247,428; Loudoun, $242,221; Pittsylvania, $200,174, and
Bedford, $194,560.

From every point of view but the last, Loudoun ranked as
the leading dairy county of Virginia. The relative rank of
other near competitors varied according to the basis of arrange-
ment. The value of dairy produce is materially influenced
by nearness to markets and also by the average production
per farm, and these factors assisted in modifying the rank of
Loudoun with reference to farm values of dairy produce.

The good prices obtained for apples during recent years have
led some to plant this fruit on a larger scale than heretofore, and
the result is so far quite gratifying. Apples do well on most
of the soils of Loudoun. The best are sold to buyers who
ship to large markets. The poorer qualities are kept for home
consumption, used for cider and fed to hogs. Pears are grown
in small quantities throughout the County. Peaches do well
on most of the soils, but yield irregularly on account of frosts.
All indigenous vegetables succeed well, but are mostly grown
for home consumption, market gardens being conspicuously

Hosts of summer boarders give to Loudoun a large tran-


sient population requiring for its accommodation numerous
hotels and countless boarding houses. This trade brings con-
siderable money into the County and is a factor in its pros-
perity not to be ignored.

Scattered over Loudoun may be found great numbers of
small industries, many of them employing steam, water, or
motor power. These comprise grist mills, grain elevators,
quarries, canneries, packing houses, saw mills, an artificial ice
plant, and miscellaneous enterprises. Though comparatively
insignificant taken singly, viewed collectively they show an
aggregate of energy and thrift wholly commendable.

Several of I^oudoun's more important enterprises were
launched subsequent to the last general census and this cir-
cumstance renders its reports of manufactures, at no time com-
plete or entirely reliable, of uncertain value as a symposium
of the County's manufacturing interests at the present time.
However, they are the latest reports obtainable and constitute
the only oflScial statistical exhibit of this subordinate source
of wealth. They afford at least a partial insight into the
present status of the manufacturing interests of Loudoun and,
to this end, are reprinted below:

Number of establishments 164

Number of proprietors and firm members 197

Capital: Expenses:

Land |25,957 Fuel and rent of power

Buildings 79,350 and heat $8,811

Machinery, etc 104,402 Miscellaneous 12,935

Cash and sundries 141,548 Cost of materials used... 424,538

Total $351,257 Total $446,284

Value of products $638,136


The tables appearing under this and the two succeeding
kindred headings were constructed from the latest general
census reports, and are a most complete and trustworthy
statistical exhibit of the agricultural resources and products
of Loudoun County.



Table I. — Value of all farm property, including implements and ma-
chinery and live stock, with increase and decrease, and per cent of
increase and decrease, by decades: Summary 1830 to igoo.

Census year.







Value of all farm

$11,056,109 00
10,084,650 00
10,814,381 00

12,252,017 00

11,928,830 00
9,482,757 00

Increase in

$971,459 00

J729,731 00

$1,437,636 00

323,187 00

2,446,073 00

Per cent








value per


$5,675 62
5,547 11
5,874 19
9,896 62
9,883 04
7,549 97

fValues in gold. JDecrease.

An especially great increase in the total value of farm prop-
erty will be noted in the decade from I85O to i860. Then
followed the Civil War with its great destruction of farm
property, and from this disaster the County did not fully
recover before I89O.

The average value per acre of all farm property in I,ou-
doun increased from $32.18 in I85O to $35-22 in I89O.

TabIvE II. — Value of farms with improvements, including buildings,
with increase and per cent of increase, by decades: Summary 1850 to


Value of

Increase by

Per cent



per farm.


per acre.


$9,138,560 00

8,619,730 00
9,531,254 00

10,877,006 00

10,508,211 00

8,349,371 00

$518,830 00

$911,524 00

$1,345,752 00

368,795 00

2,158,840 00





$4,691 25
4,741 33
5,177 22
8,785 95
8,706 06
6,647 59

$29 11
29 23
31 89
39 37
35 48
28 3"?






fValues in gold. {Decrease.

In 1900 there were only two counties of Virginia with
higher farm values than L,oudoun. They were Rockingham,
with $11,984,440, and Augusta, with $11,464,120.


TabIvE III. — Value of land and buildings, with the per cent of the total
represented by the value of buildings, fune /, igoo.

Land and improvements (except buildings) $6,649,690 00

Buildings 2,488,870 00

Total $9,138,560 00

Per cent in buildings 37.4

TABI.E IV.— Number of farms and number and per cent of those with
buildings^ fune i, igoo, with average values of land and buildings.

Number of farms :

Total 1,948

With buildings 1,933

Per cent with buildings 99.2

Average value of —

Land, per farm |3,414 00

Land, per acre 21 18

Buildings, per farm 1,278 00

Buildings, per farm with buildings 1,288 00

TABI.E V. — Total and average value per farm of farm implements and
machinery, with increase and decrease and per cent of increase and
decrease in the total value, by decades: Summary 1850 to igoo.

Census year.

1900 $295,910 00

1890 192,910 00

1880 183,227 00

I870t j 206,700 00

1860 1 238,264 00

1850 1 195,794 00

Value of farm



Per cent

















42,470 00

• 21.7


value per


$151 90
106 11
99 53
166 96
197 40
155 89

fValues in gold. ^Decrease.

The percentage of increase was least for the decade 4880 to
1890. After 1870 the farmers did not, until 1900, report as
large investments in machinery as they did prior to the war.

Oaly two other Virginia counties reported higher values
of farming implements and machinery in 1900. They were
Augusta, with $439,090, and Rockingham, with $436,340.





The total value of the live stock on farms only, June 1,
1900, was $1,621,639, or 14.7 per cent of $11,056,109, the
reported value of all farm property. Of the live stock value,
domestic animals, worth $1,556,935, constituted 96 per cent;
poultry, worth $58,276, 3.6 per cent; and bees, worth $6,428,
.4 per cent.^%1.— Reported value of live stock on farms with increase and de-
crease and per cent of increase and decrease, by decades^ and average
values per farm and acre.

Census year.


Increase of

Per cent



per farm.



per acre.


J5l,621,639 00
1,272,010 00
1,099,900 00
1,168,311 00
1,182,355 00
937,592 00

1349,629 00
172 110 00
t68,411 00
1:14,044 00
244,763 00

- 27.5


$832 46
699 68
597 45
943 71
979 58
746 49

$5 17
4 31

3 68

4 23
3 99






fValues in gold. ^Decrease.

Animals Sold and Slaughtered.

The census enumerators and special agents secured reports
of the amounts received from the sale of live animals in 1899,
and of the value of animals slaughtered on farms. With
reference to reports of sales, they were instructed to deduct
from the amount received from sales the amount paid for
animals purchased.

TABiyE II. — Receipts from sales of live animals and value of animals
slaughtered on farms, in iSgg, with averages and number of farms

Farms reporting domestic animals 1,911

Amount of sales |5392,852 00

Average amount of sales per farm 205 57

Value of animals slaughtered 109,618 00

Average value of animals slaughtered per farm 57 36


Neat Cattle.

The total number of neat cattle in Loudoun County re-
ported June 1, 1900, was 30,277, of which 29,432 or 97.2 per
cent were on farms, and 845 or 2.8 per cent in barns and
inclosures elsewhere.

Fauquier, with 34,098, led all counties in the number of
neat cattle, Loudoun ranking second, with 30,277. In the
number of dairy cows, Loudoun headed the list of Virginia
counties with 8,563, or 665 more than its nearest competitor,
Augusta county.

Of calves, Augusta reported 5,476; Rockingham, 5,416;
Washington, 4,177, and Loudoun, 4,090.

Tabi^b III. — Number of Heifers and Cows on Farms, fune /, igoo, with


Heifers 1 and under 2 years 1,917

Dairy cows 2 years and over 7,882

Other cows 2 years and over 588

Total 10,387

Per cent:

Heifers 18.5

Dairy cows 75. 9

Other cows. 5.6

Dairy Products,

Tabi^E IV. — Gallons of milk produced on farms in iSgg, and gallons
sold and estimated gallons consumed on the farm for specified pur-

Produced 3,736,382

Sold 875,780

Utilized in the production of —

Butter 2,198,542

Cream sold :.... 181,566

Consumed on farms:

Total 2,380,108

Per farm reporting milk. 1,321

Uses not reported 480,494

The reported quantity of butter produced on farms in 1899
was 628,155 pounds, an average of 349 pounds per farm re-
porting, and an increase of 12.4 per cent over the production
in 1889. 330,785 pounds were sold during the year 1899-


The four counties of Virginia which produced the greatest
quantity of butter on farms were, in the order named,
Bedford, 727,680 pounds; Rockingham, 658,063; Augusta,
633,360, and Loudoun, 628,155.


Of the 26,187 neat cattle 1 year old and over in I^oudoun
June 1, 1900, 14,597, or 55-7 per cent, were steers. Of this
number a few only were working oxen, as the great majority
were kept exclusively for beef.

Horses y Mules, Etc.

The number of horses reported on Loudoun farms in 1900
comprised 797 colts under 1 year old; 1,048 horses 1 and under
2 years, and 7,722 horses 2 years and over. The numbers not
on farms were, for the three classes named, 22, I3, and 684,
respectively. There was, therefore, a total for Loudoun
County of 8,406 work horses, and 1,880 too young for work,
making a grand total of 10,286 horses, of which 93 per cent
were on farms and 7 per cent in barns and inclosures else-

Oaly two counties of Virginia, i. e., Augusta and Rocking-
ham, reported more horses than Loudoun, and the last-named
County led all in number of colts.

The total number of mules of all ages in the County in
1900 was 109.

Sheep, Goats, and Swine.

There were reported in Loudoun June 1, 1900, 31,092 sheep,
of which 15,319 were lambs under one year, 15,040 ewes one
year and over, and 733 rams and wethers one year and over.
All but 0.2 per cent of that number were on farms.

Loudoun headed the list of Virginia counties in number of
lambs under one year and ranked second in number of ewes
one year and over.

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Online LibraryJames W. (James William) HeadHistory and comprehensive description of Loudoun County, Virginia [electronic resource] → online text (page 7 of 15)