In 1767, a time of simmering trouble with Britain, Pittsylvania was carved out of western Halifax County and named for William Pitt, the Elder, English statesman and staunch friend of the American colonists. Pittsylvania, Virginia's largest county, is bounded on the south by North Carolina and on the north by the Staunton (Roanoke) River. The land between is rolling country broken by mountain ridges.
In Pittsylvania County, as in most of Southside, tobacco was the mainstay of the economy for many years. With increased mechanism, small farms are dying out and the consolidated acreages are growing larger and larger. Log tobacco barns still dot the landscape but are fast disappearing and being replaced by efficient bulk barns that look like giant shoe boxes stranded in the fields. Cattle and the attendant meadows and fields of feed corn are another part of the economic mix, as are the forests that supply raw material for the woodworking industry. In this slow-moving county, a fair number of late-eighteenth- and early-nineteenth-century structures are still standing. Chatham is the county seat, and the independent City of Danville is located in the center of Pittsylvania's southern border with North Carolina.
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