Franklin County Courthouse in May 2010
Location within the U.S. state of Virginia
Virginia's location within the U.S.
|Named for||Benjamin Franklin|
|Largest town||Rocky Mount|
|• Total||712 sq mi (1,840 km2)|
|• Land||690 sq mi (1,800 km2)|
|• Water||21 sq mi (50 km2) 3.0%|
| • Estimate |
|• Density||79/sq mi (30/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−5 (Eastern)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−4 (EDT)|
Franklin County is a county located in the Blue Ridge foothills of the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 56,159.Its county seat is Rocky Mount.
In the United States, a county is an administrative or political subdivision of a state that consists of a geographic region with specific boundaries and usually some level of governmental authority. The term "county" is used in 48 U.S. states, while Louisiana and Alaska have functionally equivalent subdivisions called parishes and boroughs, respectively.
The Blue Ridge Mountains are a physiographic province of the larger Appalachian Mountains range. The mountain range is located in the eastern United States, and extends 550 miles southwest from southern Pennsylvania through Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia. This province consists of northern and southern physiographic regions, which divide near the Roanoke River gap. To the west of the Blue Ridge, between it and the bulk of the Appalachians, lies the Great Appalachian Valley, bordered on the west by the Ridge and Valley province of the Appalachian range.
In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders.
Franklin County is part of the Roanoke, VA Metropolitan Statistical Area and is located in the Roanoke Region of Virginia.The Roanoke River forms its northeast boundary with Bedford County.
Roanoke is an independent city in the U.S. state of Virginia. At the 2010 census, the population was 97,032. It is located in the Roanoke Valley of the Roanoke Region of Virginia.
The Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area is a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) in Virginia as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Roanoke MSA is sometimes referred to as the Roanoke Valley, even though the Roanoke MSA occupies a larger area than the Roanoke Valley. It is geographically similar to the area known as the Roanoke Region of Virginia, but while the latter includes Alleghany County, the former does not. As of the 2000 census, the MSA had a population of 288,309.
The Roanoke River is a river in southern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina in the United States, 410 miles (660 km) long. A major river of the southeastern United States, it drains a largely rural area of the coastal plain from the eastern edge of the Appalachian Mountains southeast across the Piedmont to Albemarle Sound. An important river throughout the history of the United States, it was the site of early settlement in the Virginia Colony and the Carolina Colony. An 81-mile (130 km) section of its lower course in Virginia between the Leesville Lake and Kerr Lake is known as the Staunton River, pronounced, as is the Shenandoah Valley city of that name. It is impounded along much of its middle course to form a chain of reservoirs.
The Blue Ridge Foothills had long been inhabited by indigenous peoples. At the time of European encounter, mostly Siouan-speaking tribes lived in this area.
Indigenous peoples, also known as First peoples, Aboriginal peoples or Native peoples, are ethnic groups who are the original owners and caretakers of a given region, in contrast to groups that have settled, occupied or colonized the area more recently. Groups are usually described as indigenous when they maintain traditions or other aspects of an early culture that is associated with a given region. Not all indigenous peoples share this characteristic, as many have adopted substantial elements of a colonizing culture, such as dress, religion or language. Indigenous peoples may be settled in a given region (sedentary) or exhibit a nomadic lifestyle across a large territory, but they are generally historically associated with a specific territory on which they depend. Indigenous societies are found in every inhabited climate zone and continent of the world.
A few colonists moved into the area before the American Revolutionary War, but most settlement happened afterward, as people moved west seeking new lands. Cultivation of tobacco had exhausted soils in the eastern part of the state. The county was formed in 1785 from parts of Bedford and Henry counties. It was named for Benjamin Franklin.The Piedmont and backcountry areas were largely settled by Scots-Irish, who were the last major immigrant group from the British Isles to enter the colonies before the Revolutionary War. There were also migrants from coastal areas, including free people of color, who moved to the frontier to escape racial strictures associated with the slave society of Virginia.
The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the American War of Independence, was a war between Great Britain and its Thirteen Colonies in North America which declared independence in July 1776 as the United States of America.
Bedford County is a United States county located in the Piedmont region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its county seat is the town of Bedford, which was an independent city from 1968 until rejoining the county in 2013.
Henry County is a county located in the U.S. state of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 54,151. The county seat is usually identified as Martinsville; however, the administration building, county courthouse, Henry County Sheriff’s Office and its jail are located on Kings Mountain Road in Collinsville.
In the 20th century during Prohibition, local wits named Franklin County the "Moonshine Capital of the World", as moonshine production and bootlegging drove the economy. As of 2000, the local chamber of commerce had adopted the title as a heritage identification for the area. Moonshine is still being made in the area.
Prohibition is the act or practice of forbidding something by law; more particularly the term refers to the banning of the manufacture, storage, transportation, sale, possession, and consumption of alcoholic beverages. The word is also used to refer to a period of time during which such bans are enforced.
Moonshine was originally a slang term for high-proof distilled spirits that were usually produced illicitly, without government authorization. In recent years, however, commercial products labelled as moonshine have seen a resurgence of popularity.
A chamber of commerce is a form of business network, for example, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses. Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization.
Historians estimate that in the 1920s, 99 of every 100 Franklin County residents were in some way involved in the illegal liquor trade.The bootleggers became involved with gangsters from Chicago and other major cities, and some local law enforcement officials were part of the criminal activities and killing of competitors. "Between 1930 and 1935 local still operators and their business partners sold a volume of whiskey that would have generated $5,500,000 in excise taxes at the old 1920 tax rate."
A lengthy federal investigation resulted in indictments and trials for 34 suspects in 1935 for what was called the "Great Moonshine Conspiracy," which attracted national attention. The writer Sherwood Anderson was among the many outsiders who came to cover the trial. At what was then the longest trial in state history, 31 people were convicted, but their jail sentences were relatively light (two years or less). Thirteen conspirators were sentenced only to probation.
This period has recently received new attention by writers. T. Keister Greer's history The Great Moonshine Conspiracy Trial of 1935 (2002) covered the trial and its background in the county. 9781500980115, by the widow of T. Keister Greer, Ibby Greer.The writer Matt Bondurant had ancestors in the area, whose exploits during this period inspired his historical novel, The Wettest County in the World (2008). (The title was based on a statement by Anderson.) The book was adapted as a film, Lawless , in 2012. In 2014 an historical novel with lots of history about the county and town came out: "Moonshine Corner, Keys to Rocky Mount," ISBN
Since the 1980s, much residential development has occurred around Smith Mountain Lake. People live there who commute to work in the urbanized areas of Roanoke, Lynchburg, Martinsville, and Danville. Retirees have also moved in, and both groups have increased the county's population.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 712 square miles (1,840 km2), of which 690 square miles (1,800 km2) is land and 21 square miles (54 km2) (3.0%) is water. It is upriver of the fall line of the Roanoke River, located at Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina.
The county is divided into supervisor districts; a few are: Blackwater, Blue Ridge, Boones Mill, Gills Creek, Rocky Mount, Snow Creek, Union Hall, Ferrum, Glade Hill, Penhook, and Callaway
|U.S. Decennial Census |
As of the census mile (13/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 88.95% White, 9.35% Black or African American, 0.19% Native American, 0.36% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.42% from other races, and 0.71% from two or more races. 1.21% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.of 2000, there were 47,286 people, 18,963 households, and 13,918 families residing in the county. The population density was 68 people per square mile (26/km²). There were 22,717 housing units at an average density of 33 per square
There were 18,963 households out of which 29.10% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.10% were married couples living together, 9.40% had a female householder with no husband present, and 26.60% were non-families. 22.60% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 2.84.
In the county, the population was spread out with 22.20% under the age of 18, 8.10% from 18 to 24, 28.20% from 25 to 44, 27.20% from 45 to 64, and 14.30% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 97.20 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.30 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $38,056, and the median income for a family was $45,163. Males had a median income of $29,807 versus $22,215 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,605. About 7.30% of families and 9.70% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.70% of those under age 18 and 9.80% of those age 65 or over.
Franklin is represented by Republicans Ralph K. Smith and William M. Stanley, Jr. in the Virginia Senate, Republicans Charles D. Poindexter and Kathy J. Byron in the Virginia House of Delegates, and Thomas Garrett, Jr. in the U.S. House of Representatives.
About four miles outside of Callaway is the Phoebe Needles Mission School, an Episcopal mission school dating from 1907. The school and mission church were used to serve the rural and mountain children of the county who could not get to the public schools in Callaway, Virginia, Ferrum, Virginia or Rocky Mount, Virginia. The school has now become a church parish, Center for Lifelong Learning and summer camp operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia.
Ferrum College was established in 1913. Ferrum College offers bachelor's degrees in twenty-eight major degree programs. The college continues to operate under the auspices of the Virginia Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church and the United Methodist Women of the Virginia Annual Conference.
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Roanoke County is a county located in the U.S. state of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 92,376. Its county seat is Salem.
Galax is an independent city in the southwestern part of the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,042. In 2018 the estimated population was 6,423.
Floyd County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 15,279. Its county seat is Floyd.
Botetourt County is a United States county that lies in the Roanoke Region of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Located in the mountainous portion of the state, the county is bordered by two major ranges, the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Mountains.
Boones Mill is a town in Franklin County, Virginia, United States. The population was 239 at the 2010 census, down from 285 at the 2000 census. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Ferrum is a census-designated place (CDP) in Franklin County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,043 at the 2010 census, an increase of over fifty percent from the 1,313 reported in 2000. Ferrum is home to Ferrum College and its Blue Ridge Folklife Festival. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Rocky Mount is a town in and the county seat of Franklin County, Virginia, United States. The town is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area, and had a population of 4,799 as of the 2010 census. It is located in the Roanoke Region of Virginia.
Westlake Corner is a census-designated place in Franklin County, Virginia, United States. The population was 976 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Roanoke Metropolitan Statistical Area.
The Roanoke Valley in southwest Virginia is an area adjacent to and including the Roanoke River between the Blue Ridge Mountains to the east and the Appalachian Plateau to the west. The valley includes much of Roanoke County, as well as the two independent cities of Roanoke and Salem.
The Roanoke Region is the area of the Commonwealth of Virginia surrounding the city of Roanoke. Its usage may refer to the metropolitan statistical area or the Roanoke Valley, but it sometimes includes areas in the Allegheny Mountains and New River Valley which includes Alleghany county, Montgomery county, Covington, Clifton Forge, Iron Gate, Blacksburg, Christiansburg, and Radford. Rarely, it may include Bedford County and Floyd County.
Henry Fork is an unincorporated community and census-designated place (CDP) in Franklin County, Virginia, United States, just south of Rocky Mount. The population as of the 2010 census was 1,234.
The Wettest County in the World is a 2008 historical novel by Matt Bondurant, an American writer who features his grandfather Jack and grand-uncles Forrest and Howard as the main characters in the novel.
Callaway is an unincorporated community in Franklin County, Virginia, United States. Callaway is 8.8 miles (14.2 km) west of Rocky Mount. Callaway has a post office with ZIP code 24067, which opened on July 14, 1871.
Washington Iron Furnace is an historic iron furnace, located in Rocky Mount, Franklin County, Virginia. The granite furnace was built around 1770, measures 30 feet on its south face, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973. Now one of the best preserved furnaces in Virginia, it was built against the side of a hill so iron ore, charcoal and limestone could be brought by wagon and dumped into the top of the furnace, although the original cart road and ten-yard-long bridge leading to the top no longer exist.
The Old Chapel Church, also known locally as the "Snow Creek Chapel", was built in 1769 as a chapel of ease for the Church of England parish in what is today Penhook, Virginia.
The Crooked Road is a heritage trail in Southwestern Virginia, that explores the musical history of the region along Southwest Virginia's Blue Ridge and Cumberland Mountains. The Crooked Road winds through almost 300 miles of scenic terrain in southwest Virginia, including 19 counties, four cities, and 54 towns.
The Phoebe Needles Mission School (1902-1943) was a noted Mission school operated by the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia in Franklin County, Virginia, near the town of Callaway, Virginia, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. At the turn of the twentieth century, the Episcopal Church wanted to increase mission outreach to isolated communities within the Commonwealth. At Phoebe Needles, the Episcopal church established a small mission church, St Peter's-on-the-Mountains, and a school. The school provided free education to rural and mountain areas where the students could not go to the public schools. The Rev. William T. Roberts organized both the Episcopal mission at Phoebe Needles, as well as St. John-of-the-Mountain in Endicott, Virginia.