Born during the turmoil of the Civil War, Bland County was formed in 1861 from parts of neighboring Wythe, Tazewell, and Giles counties. Named for Revolutionary War patriot Richard Bland from eastern Virginia, the county was settled during the mid-eighteenth century by people of Scots-Irish and English descent. Big Walker Mountain to the south, Brushy Mountain to the north, and the valley between are the county's principal physical features. Early settlements and communities, such as Bland, Mechanicsburg, and Ceres, are located along VA 42, a route roughly paralleling Walkers Creek. A north-south route through the county is now eased by I-77, which crosses over, tunnels through, and slices the county's valleys and mountain ridges. During the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, log dwellings and farm buildings dotted the rural landscape, but later, frame farmhouses were common. With a small population and no large industries, Bland County has changed little since the early twentieth century and continues to offer sweeping vistas of mountains and valleys little touched by human efforts. The town of Bland, the county seat since 1861, even now contains only a handful of buildings.
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