Isle of Wight County is a county located in the South Hampton Roads region of the Commonwealth of Virginia, a state of the United States. As of 2000, the population was 29,728. Its county seat is Isle of Wight
During the 17th century, shortly after establishment of the settlement at Jamestown
in 1607, English settlers explored and began settling the areas adjacent to Hampton Roads
. Captain John Smith
in 1608 crossed the James River
and obtained fourteen bushels of corn from a tribe of Native Americans
In the next few years, several plantations were established along the shore in the area south of the river.
By 1634, the Virginia Colony consisted of eight shires or counties with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. One of these was Warrosquyoake Shire, renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637, after the island in the English Channel of the same name. The name was probably changed due to the difficulty of spelling and pronouncing its Native American name and because the Isle of Wight had been the home of some of the principal colonists.
National Historic Landmark, St. Luke's Church , built in 1632, the nation's only original Gothic church and the oldest existing church of English foundation in America is located in the county.
In 1732 a considerable portion of the northwestern part of the original shire was added to Brunswick County; and in 1748 the entire county of Southampton was carved out of it.
During the American Civil War, Company F of the 61st Virginia Infantry of the Confederate Army was called the "Isle of Wight Avengers."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau
, the county has a total area of 363 square miles
), of which, 316 square miles (818 km²) of it is land and 47 square miles (121 km²) of it (12.93%) is water.
The county is bounded by the James River on the north and the Blackwater River to the south. The land is generally low-lying, with many swamps and pocosins.
As of the census
of 2000, there were 29,728 people, 11,319 households, and 8,670 families residing in the county. The population density
was 94 people per square mile (36/km²). There were 12,066 housing units at an average density of 38 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 71.08% White
, 27.15% Black
or African American
, 0.26% Native American
, 0.34% Asian
, 0.03% Pacific Islander
, 0.28% from other races
, and 0.86% from two or more races. 0.85% of the population were Hispanic
of any race.
There were 11,319 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 60.40% were married couples living together, 12.20% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.40% were non-families. 20.00% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.60% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.61 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the county, the population was spread out with 25.40% under the age of 18, 6.60% from 18 to 24, 29.60% from 25 to 44, 26.20% from 45 to 64, and 12.20% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 95.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.70 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $45,387, and the median income for a family was $52,597. Males had a median income of $37,853 versus $22,990 for females. The per capita income for the county was $20,235. About 6.60% of families and 8.30% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.80% of those under age 18 and 11.90% of those age 65 or over.
Unincorporated towns & communities
- As one of the original eight Shires of Virginia established in 1634, of which five have survived continuously in their original form, Isle of Wight County is one of the oldest county governments in the United States of America.