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Hanover County, Virginia

Hanover County was originally a part of New Kent County and was known as St. Paul's Parrish. It became itís own county on November 26, 1720 and is a combination rural and suburban area north of the city of Richmond, Virginia. Patrick Henry, a firebrand native son of Hanover County was one of the most influential and radical spokesmen of the American Revolution. His famous speech in nearby Richmond's St. John's Church is credited to delivering the army of Virginia to the revolutionary cause. He served Virginia as its post-colonial Governor from 1776 to 1779 and from 1784 to 1786.

Hanover County includes approximately 471 square miles and has one incorporated town, Ashland, within its boundaries. The "Mayberry" small town feel of Ashland includes train tracks running through the center of downtown where shoppers and restaurant patrons can watch Amtrak trains pull into the station from just feet away.

Hanover is about 12 miles north of Richmond and 90 south of Washington, D.C. The two major interstates that cut through the county are Interstate 95 and 295. Not far from downtown Ashland is Randolph-Macon College which is the oldest Methodist College in the United States.

War Between the States
During the Peninsula Campaign of the Civil War, the Union Army while moving through Hanover came within earshot of Richmond, but was stopped at the Chickahominy River in 1862. Union General George B. McClellan failed in the attempt to get all of his troops across the river, keeping Richmond safe for three more years. The county also saw other important battles including the Seven Days Battles and the Battle of Cold Harbor. The Battle of Cold Harbor is remembered as one of America's most lopsided and bloodiest battles. It brought together 170,000 soldiers and would prove to be General Robert E. Lee's armies last win of the war.

The town of Ashland, also known locally as the "Center of the Universe", is located in the central area of Hanover County. Originally an 1840's resort, Ashland became the still familiar small college town when Randolph Macon College moved there in 1868. The population has grown to about 6,000 residents and the town now encompasses about seven square miles. Today the quaint town lies next to I-95 and Route 1, two major highways between Richmond and Washington, DC.

In Hanover County:

  • the 2000 census showed a county population of 86,320
  • 1736 birthplace and home of Patrick Henry
  • home of the internationally known Hanover Tomato


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