Pittsylvania County, Virginia
Before the Civil War

Edited by Henry Mitchell.

G. W. Dyer was an instructor in economics and sociology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville at the time of the publication of his book Democracy in the South Before the Civil War (Publishing House of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Nashville, Tennessee, 1905, pp. 60-65). The book was apparently intended to make a number of points, including that the South was neither impoverished nor non-industrial before the Civil War, and that its difficulties after the war were due to the destruction caused by the war itself, not simply problems caused by the earlier institution of slavery. (Dyer decried the fact that a peaceful emancipation did not occur.)

In the process of making his arguments, Dyer gathered information from Pittsylvania County, and referenced his sources as “Land and Property Books, etc. in Pittsylvania County, Va., Clerk's Office.”

The following data is Dyer's compilation of figures from 1860, prior to the beginning of the war. It is interesting to compare his numbers with current census data.

Population Figures

White Population Slave Population No. White Males over 21 Years Old No. Slave Owners Per Cent of White Males over 21 Years Old Owning Slaves
Amelia 2,897 7,655 677 486 71.7
Henry 6,773 5,018 1,454 480 33
Pittsylvania 17,105 14,340 3,253 1,225 37.6
Bedford 14,388 10,176 3,013 1,098 36.4
Campbell 13,588 8,886 1,921 866 45
Franklin 13,692 6,351 2,628 668 25.4
Roanoke 5,250 2,643 1,156 311 18.2
Washington 6,500 1,100 1,257 177 14

Capital Assets

The Amount of Capital Invested in Mining or Manufacturing in 1860 According to the Property Books in Some of the Counties.

Henry County $85,000
Pittsylvania County 35,700
Franklin County 50,634
Roanoke County 41,265

The above amounts do not represent all of the manufacturing done in the counties named. In this investigation no account is taken of manufacturing done in towns.

Total Value of Money, Bonds, Claims, Etc., In Some of the Counties.

Amelia County $528,591
Henry County 286,915
Pittsylvania County 1,155,050
Franklin County 443,906
Roanoke County 427,565


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