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Charles Cittie was one of four "boroughs" or "incorporations" created by the Virginia Company
in 1619. It was named for Prince Charles, second son of King James I of England, who became the Duke of Wales and
heir apparent after the death of his older brother Henry in 1612. He later became King Charles I of England after
his father's death. The Virginia Company lost its charter in 1624 under King James I, and Virginia became a royal colony. Charles City
Shire was formed in 1634 in the iVrginia Colony by order of the King. Its name was changed to Charles City County in 1643, and it is considered
one the five original shires in Virginia which are still extant in essentially the same political entity (county)
as they were originally formed in 1634.
The original central city of the county was Charles City Point, which was in an area south of the James River at
the confluence of the Appomattox River. The first Charles City County courthouses were located along the James
River at Westover and at City Point. The latter's name was shortened from Charles City Point. All of the original
area of Charles City County south of the James River was severed beginning in 1703 to form Prince George and several
other counties. The incorporated town of City Point in Prince George County was annexed by the independent city
of Hopewell in 1923.
North of the river, the area remained Charles City County. During the nineteenth century, numerous crossroad communities
developed to serve the religious, educational and mercantile needs of the citizenry of rural Charles City County.
Crossroad communities, such as Adkins Store, Cedar Grove, Binns Hall, Parrish Hill, Ruthville and Wayside, typically
included a store, church and school.
In modern times, there is actually no "Charles City", or any centralized city or town, in the county.
Charles City Court House, which has a Charles City postal address, is the focal point of government. The building
which serves as the courthouse was constructed in the 1730s and is one of only five courthouses in America that
have been in continuous use for judicial purposes since before the Revolutionary War.
Charles City County features some of the larger and older of the extant James River plantations along State Route
5. All are privately owned. Some James River plantations, listed from west to east, include Shirley Plantation,
Edgewood Plantation and Harrison's Mill, Berkeley Plantation, Westover Plantation, Belle Air Plantation, Piney
Grove at Southall's Plantation, North Bend Plantation, Sherwood Forest Plantation. Other plantations, not open
to the public, include, Evelynton Plantation, Oak Hill, and Greenway Plantation.
William Henry Harrison, the ninth president of the United States, was born at Berkeley Plantation on Feb.9, 1773.
John Tyler, the tenth president, was born at Greenway Plantation in 1790 and bought the nearby Sherwood Plantation
in 1842. Sherwood Plantation has been a continuous residence of the Tyler descendants since then.
There are no incorporated towns in Charles City County, but the following unincorporated communities are located
in the county:
* Binns Hall * Holdcroft * Ruthville * Sandy Point
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