Written By: Prince William County
On March, 25, 1731, the Virginia House of Burgesses created a new county named in honor of Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland. The original County included modern day Prince William, Fauquier, Loudoun, Fairfax and Arlington Counties as well as the Cities of Manassas, Manassas Park, Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax. We truly are the birthplace of Northern Virginia! Prince William was the third and youngest son of King George II and was the Duke of Cumberland from 1726 onward. He is best remembered for his role in putting down the Jacobite Rising at the Battle of Culloden in 1746, which made him immensely popular throughout Britain, but despite his triumph at Culloden, he had a largely unsuccessful military career. Following the Convention of Klosterzeven in 1757 ending the British involvement in the Seven Year’s War, he never again held active military command and switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.
The exact legislation read:
“An Act for erecting a new County on the Heads of Stafford and King George Counties.
I. WHEREAS divers and sundry inconveniences attend the upper inhabitants of the said counties, by reason of their great distance from their respective court-houses, and other places, usually appointed for public meetings: Be it therefore enacted, by the Lieut. Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That from and immediately after the twenty fifth day of March, one thousand seven hundred and thirty one, all the land, on the heads of the said counties, above Chopawansick Creek, on Potomack river, and Deep run, on Rappahannock river, and a south- west line to be made, from the head of the north branch of the said creek, to the head of the said Deep run, be divided and exempt from the said counties, and from all dependences, offices, and charges, for, or in respect thereof; and also discharged from all duties whatsoever, relating to the same; and be made a distinct county, and shall be called, & known by the name of Prince William county. And for the due administration of justice, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, and it is hereby enacted, That after the time aforesaid, a court, for the said county of Prince William, be constantly held by the justices thereof, upon the third Wednesday in every month, in such manner, as by the laws of this country, is provided, and shall be, by their commission, directed. And whereas, the said counties have considerable claims from the public for killing of wolves, Be it also enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That each of the said counties respectively, shall contribute their proportions of the said claims, to the inhabitants taken out of the said counties, into the county of Prince William, according to their number of tithables.”
We annually commemorate the founding of Prince William County with the Prince William/Manassas History Symposium every March. Make sure to join us on Saturday, March 25th to learn about various topics of Prince William County history and the release of the annual Prince William History Journal.