Waverly, Virginia

Last updated
Waverly, Virginia
Waverly VA.jpg
Downtown Waverly
Location of Waverly, Virginia
Coordinates: 37°2′2″N77°5′43″W / 37.03389°N 77.09528°W / 37.03389; -77.09528 Coordinates: 37°2′2″N77°5′43″W / 37.03389°N 77.09528°W / 37.03389; -77.09528
CountryUnited States
State Virginia
County Sussex
  Total3.08 sq mi (7.99 km2)
  Land3.08 sq mi (7.99 km2)
  Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
112 ft (34 m)
(2017) [2]
  Density647.33/sq mi (249.94/km2)
Time zone UTC−5 (Eastern (EST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−4 (EDT)
ZIP codes
Area code(s) 804
FIPS code 51-83600 [3]
GNIS feature ID1500286 [4]

Waverly is an incorporated town in Sussex County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,309 at the 2000 census.

An incorporated town is a town that is a municipal corporation.

Sussex County, Virginia County in the United States

Sussex County is a rural county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,087. Its county seat is Sussex. It was formed in 1754 from Surry County. The county is named after the county of Sussex, England.

Virginia State of the United States of America

Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state in the Southeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States located between the Atlantic Coast and the Appalachian Mountains. Virginia is nicknamed the "Old Dominion" due to its status as the first English colonial possession established in mainland North America and "Mother of Presidents" because eight U.S. presidents were born there, more than any other state. The geography and climate of the Commonwealth are shaped by the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Chesapeake Bay, which provide habitat for much of its flora and fauna. The capital of the Commonwealth is Richmond; Virginia Beach is the most populous city, and Fairfax County is the most populous political subdivision. The Commonwealth's estimated population as of 2018 is over 8.5 million.



Popular legend has it that William Mahone (1826–1895), builder of the Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad (now Norfolk Southern), 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 Waverly, as well as Windsor and Wakefield. She tapped the Scottish Clan "McIvor" for the name of Ivor, a small town in neighboring Southampton County. When they could not agree, it is said that they invented a new name in honor of their dispute, which is how the tiny community of Disputanta a few miles west of Waverly was named. The N&P railroad was completed in 1858.

William Mahone American civil war general and politician

William Mahone was an American civil engineer, railroad executive, Confederate States Army general, and Virginia politician.

Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad

The Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad was built between Norfolk and Petersburg, Virginia and was completed by 1858. The line was 85 miles (137 km) of 5 ft track gauge.

<i>Ivanhoe</i> 1820 Walter Scott novel

Ivanhoe is a historical novel by Sir Walter Scott, first published in 1819 in three volumes and subtitled A Romance. At the time it was written it represented a shift by Scott away from fairly realistic novels set in Scotland in the comparatively recent past, to a somewhat fanciful depiction of medieval England. It has proved to be one of the best known and most influential of Scott's novels.

William Mahone became a Major General in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War, and later, a Senator in the United States Congress. A large portion of U.S. Route 460 between Petersburg and Suffolk is named in his honor.

American Civil War Civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865

The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States from 1861 to 1865, between the North and the South. The most studied and written about episode in U.S. history, the Civil War began primarily as a result of the long-standing controversy over the enslavement of black people. War broke out in April 1861 when secessionist forces attacked Fort Sumter in South Carolina shortly after Abraham Lincoln had been inaugurated as the President of the United States. The loyalists of the Union in the North proclaimed support for the Constitution. They faced secessionists of the Confederate States in the South, who advocated for states' rights to uphold slavery.

United States Congress Legislature of the United States

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the Federal Government of the United States. The legislature consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

U.S. Route 460 in Virginia highway in Virginia

U.S. Route 460 in Virginia runs west-east through the southern part of the Commonwealth. The road has two separate pieces in Virginia, joined by a relatively short section in West Virginia. Most of US 460 is a four-lane divided highway and is a major artery in the southern third of the state.

Waverly is the second largest of the towns Gen. Mahone founded. Waverly has supplied the most state senators and delegate members to the Virginia General Assembly of any Virginia town under 3,000 people. They are Junius Edgar West, Delegate (1910–1912) and Senator (1912–1918); Thomas H. Howerton, Delegate (1912–1914); William O. Rogers, Senator (1924–1934); Garland "Peck" Gray, Senator (1942–1945 and 1948–1971); and Elmon T. Gray, Senator (1971–1992).

Virginia General Assembly legislative body of Virginia, United States

The Virginia General Assembly is the legislative body of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the oldest continuous law-making body in the New World, established on July 30, 1619. The General Assembly is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house, the Virginia House of Delegates, with 100 members, and an upper house, the Senate of Virginia, with 40 members. Combined together, the General Assembly consists of 140 elected representatives from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House, while the Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. The House and Senate each elect a clerk and sergeant-at-arms. The Senate of Virginia's clerk is known as the "Clerk of the Senate".

Junius Edgar West American politician

Junius Edgar West was a Virginia politician and businessman who was born in Sussex County, Virginia, on July 12, 1866, and whose long and distinguished career culminated in two terms as the 22nd Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.

Garland Gray was a long-time Democratic member of the Virginia Senate representing Southside Virginia counties, including his native Sussex. A lumber and banking executive, Gray became head of the Democratic Caucus in the Virginia Senate, and vehemently opposed school desegregation after the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 and 1955. Although Senator Harry F. Byrd himself supported Massive Resistance, and preferred Gray over other candidates, the Byrd Organization refused to wholeheartedly support Gray's bid to become the party's gubernatorial candidate in 1957, so James Lindsay Almond Jr. won that party's primary and later the Governorship.

The Miles B. Carpenter House, Hunting Quarter, and Waverly Downtown Historic District are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [5]

Miles B. Carpenter House

The Miles B. Carpenter House, a two-story frame dwelling built in 1890, is located at the intersection of Hunter Street and U.S. Route 460 in Waverly, Sussex County, Virginia. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on November 13, 1989. In 1912 the home was purchased by Miles B. Carpenter, owner of a local sawmill, planing mill, and ice delivery business, who became a noted American folk artist. A photo of the house can be viewed at this referenced website.

Hunting Quarter

Hunting Quarter is a historic plantation house located near Sussex Court House, Sussex County, Virginia. The main house was built between 1745 and 1772, and is a 1 1/2-story, five bay, single pile, center hall, frame dwelling. It has a gambrel roof with dormers and exterior end chimneys. Attached to the main section is a rear ell added in 1887, and two small porches added in the 20th century. Also on the property are a contributing smokehouse, the sites of four outbuildings, the Harrison family cemetery, and a slave cemetery. Hunting Quarter was built by Captain Henry Harrison, son of Benjamin Harrison IV of Berkeley. During the French and Indian War, Captain Harrison was stationed at Fort Duquesne, he served as a captain under Major General Edward Braddock and later under Lieutenant Colonel George Washington. Captain Harrison was a brother of Benjamin Harrison V, signer of the Declaration of Independence. Captain Harrison was a breeder of Thoroughbred horses. Silver Heels, perhaps his most famous race horse, was listed among other Thoroughbreds in the inventory of his estate taken after his death in 1772. According to tradition, a walking cane that belonged to US President William Henry Harrison, a nephew of the builder, once hung over one of the mantels in the house. Captain Harrison is buried in the Harrison family cemetery on the property. "Hunting Quarter" remained in the Harrison family until 1887.

Waverly Downtown Historic District

The Waverly Downtown Historic District is a national historic district located at Waverly, Sussex County, Virginia. The district encompasses 48 contributing buildings, 1 contributing site, and 2 contributing structures in the central business district of Waverly. The buildings represent a variety of popular architectural styles including Folk Victorian and Italianate. They include residential, commercial, governmental, and institutional buildings dating from the mid-19th to mid-20th centuries. Notable buildings include the Waverly Municipal Hall, Atlantic and Danville Railroad Station, Masonic Lodge/Town Hall, Boarding House, Moss Hardware Building, Fleetwood Building (1904), Warner Grammer Store, Wilcox Building, former Waverly Post Office/ Palace Cigar and Pool Room (1961), and Waverly Town Shops and Water Tower (1932).

On February 24, 2016, an EF1 tornado touched down in Waverly, killing three, as verified by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. The storm also caused significant damage to the town. [6] This was all part of a massive storm system that moved rapidly across the region.

Lynching of James Jordan

One of the last lynchings in Virginia happened in Waverly, on March 18, 1925. The victim, James Jordan, was a black employee at the Gray lumber mill, the town's largest employer, who after being identified by a foremen, had been arrested at the mill and jailed for allegedly attacking a married white woman and stealing a pistol belonging to her husband. Word of the alleged attack spread through Waverly and the surrounding countryside and an armed mob of approximately 500 people had descended on the jail and overcame the sheriff and his deputies, seized Jordan and marched him through the main street in Waverly to the railroad depot where he was strung up a tree and shot multiple times, before his corpse was set on fire in full view of passengers on a Norfolk and Western train that pulled into the station during the macabre proceeding. A coroner's jury convened the next morning only to learn that overnight the body had been stolen and dumped about 25 miles away near the town of Windsor [7]

The following day, Governor of Virginia, E. Lee Trinkle arrived in Waverly and admonished an assembled group of citizens to preserve order and said he deplored the fact that a mob had taken a human life in town without due process of law. A Richmond Times Dispatch report quoted Trinkle: “Virginia’s record has been virtually washed clean of mob actions, I exhort you that the name of the Commonwealth not be brought again into the limelight of such publicity as she has received from this occurrence,” added the governor. [7]

Despite the Governor's admonishment, the following week the Waverly newspaper ran an unapologetic editorial complaining about "an enormous amount of unfavorable publicity for Sussex County and the town of Waverly in particular, although it is likely that the same thing would have taken place in any other town or county in Virginia under similar provocation and circumstances.” It continued: “Now that the lynching has taken place and cannot be recalled, it should, and perhaps will, serve as an object lesson to the colored men of the ‘black belt.’"

The negative publicity surrounding the event and the lynching of another black man in the Southwest Virginia town of Wytheville in 1926 ultimately led to the passage of the Virginia Anti-Lynching Law of 1928 by the Virginia General Assembly. Among other provisions, the law gave the state the power to enforce stiff penalties against localities that didn't report vigilante murders. Signed into law by Virginia governor Harry Flood Byrd Sr. on March 14, 1928, this legislation was the first measure in the United States that defined lynching specifically as a state crime. [8]


Waverly is located at 37°2′2″N77°5′43″W / 37.03389°N 77.09528°W / 37.03389; -77.09528 (37.033914, 77.095355). [9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 3.1 square miles (8.0 km²), all of it land.


Historical population
1880 170
1900 493
1910 1,064115.8%
1920 1,30622.7%
1930 1,3553.8%
1940 1,288−4.9%
1950 1,50216.6%
1960 1,6016.6%
1970 1,7177.2%
1980 2,28433.0%
1990 2,223−2.7%
2000 2,3093.9%
2010 2,149−6.9%
Est. 20171,997 [2] −7.1%
U.S. Decennial Census [10]

As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,149 people residing in the town. The racial makeup of the town was 64.7% Black, 29.8% White, 0.0% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.0% from some other race and 1.1% from two or more races. 3.9% were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

As of the census [3] of 2000, there were 2,309 people, 880 households, and 570 families residing in the town. The population density was 752.6 people per square mile (290.4/km²). There were 960 housing units at an average density of 312.9 per square mile (120.7/km²). The racial makeup of the town was 36.73% White, 61.76% African American, 0.13% Native American, 0.04% Asian, 0.48% from other races, and 0.87% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.17% of the population.

There were 880 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 40.1% were married couples living together, 20.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.2% were non-families. 31.0% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.47 and the average family size was 3.09.

In the town, the population was spread out with 25.4% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 26.6% from 25 to 44, 23.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females, there were 88.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 80.4 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $33,698, and the median income for a family was $39,792. Males had a median income of $27,414 versus $21,279 for females. The per capita income for the town was $14,848. About 11.7% of families and 15.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.4% of those under age 18 and 17.7% of those age 65 or over.

Government and infrastructure

The Virginia Department of Corrections operates the Sussex I State Prison and the Sussex II State Prison in unincorporated Sussex County, near Waverly. [11] [12] [13] The Sussex I center houses the male death row. On August 3, 1998, the male death row moved to its current location from the Mecklenburg Correctional Center. [14]

Notable people

See also

Related Research Articles

Prince George County, Virginia County in the United States

Prince George County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 35,725. Its county seat is Prince George.

Greensville County, Virginia County in the United States

Greensville County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 12,243. Its county seat is Emporia.

Raiford, Florida Town in Florida, United States

For people with the surname, see Raiford.

Norfolk, Massachusetts Town in Massachusetts, United States

Norfolk is a town in Norfolk County, Massachusetts, United States, with a population of 11,227 people at the 2010 census. Formerly known as North Wrentham, Norfolk broke away to become an independent town in 1870.

Firthcliffe, New York CDP in New York, United States

Firthcliffe is a hamlet in Orange County, New York USA. The population was 4,949 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Poughkeepsie–Newburgh–Middletown, NY Metropolitan Statistical Area as well as the larger New York–Newark–Bridgeport, NY-NJ-CT-PA Combined Statistical Area.

Attica (town), New York Town in New York, United States

Attica is a town in Wyoming County, New York. The population is 2,470 as of July 1, 2016. The town is named after a region in Greece.

Boydton, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Boydton is a town in Mecklenburg County, Virginia, United States. The population was 431 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Mecklenburg County, and it is near Kerr Lake.

Crewe, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Crewe is a town in Nottoway County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,326 at the 2010 census.

Courtland, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Courtland is an incorporated town in Southampton County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,284 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Southampton County.

Wakefield, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Wakefield is an incorporated town in Sussex County, Virginia, United States. The population was 927 at the 2010 census.

Kermit, West Virginia Town in West Virginia, United States

Kermit is a town in Mingo County, West Virginia, United States. The population was 406 at the 2010 census. Kermit is located along the Tug Fork, opposite Warfield, Kentucky. The Norfolk Southern Railway's Kenova District runs through town.

Taycheedah, Wisconsin Town in Wisconsin, United States

Taycheedah is a town in Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, United States. The population was 3,666 at the 2000 census. The census-designated places of St. Peter and Taycheedah and the unincorporated communities of Bergen Beach, Gladstone Beach, Hopokoekau Beach, Linden Beach, Minawa Beach, Peebles, Silica, and Welling Beach are located in the town. The unincorporated community of Malone is also located partially in the town.

Jarratt, Virginia Town in Virginia, United States

Jarratt is a town in Greensville and Sussex counties in the U.S. state of Virginia. The population was 638 at the 2010 census, up from 589 at the 2000 census. In 1848, Jarrat's was a stop on the Petersburg Railroad. Jaratt was incorporated in 1938.

Surry County, Virginia County in the United States

Surry County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 7,058. Its county seat is Surry.

Otelia Butler Mahone from Smithfield, Virginia was a nurse during the American Civil War and the wife of Confederate Major General William Mahone, who was a civil engineer, teacher, railroad builder, and Senator in the United States Congress. Popularly known in Virginia as the "Hero of the Battle of the Crater" during and after the Civil War, her small-of-stature husband was nicknamed "Little Billy."

Disputanta, Virginia Unincorporated community in Virginia, United States

Disputanta is an unincorporated community in Prince George County, Virginia, United States in the Richmond-Petersburg region and is a portion of the Richmond Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA). The postal ZIP Code of Disputanta, Virginia is 23842.

Otelia McGill of Petersburg, Virginia was the daughter of Otelia Mahone and Confederate General and United States Senator William Mahone.


  1. "2017 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Mar 28, 2019.
  2. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved March 24, 2018.
  3. 1 2 "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  4. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  5. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  6. Staff, Web. "3 killed, significant damage seen after reported tornado hits Waverly". WTVR. Tribune Broadcasting. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
  7. 1 2 http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/memories-of-lynching-linger-in-waverly/article_fdd4a998-fee4-5339-8b4c-7790f0ce7e49.html
  8. https://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Antilynching_Law_of_1928
  9. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
  10. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  11. "Sussex I State Prison". Virginia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  12. "Sussex II State Prison." Virginia Department of Corrections. Retrieved on January 3, 2013.
  13. "DOC Appoints New Warden at Sussex I State Prison". Virginia Department of Corrections. March 9, 2006. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  14. "Virginia Death Row/Execution Facts". My FOX DC. Tuesday November 10, 2009. Retrieved on August 22, 2010.
  15. "Shirley MacLaine". Yahoo Movies. Retrieved 25 February 2016.