For years I lived in the small town of Bristow in Virginia, which is beautifully situated within sight of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
|Brentsville Historic Centre|
Quite often I would drive near the historic town of Brentsville.
With my love of Virginia's 18th century history, I was beckoned to seek that era in the 19th century town. One brisk autumnal day, I drove in for a visit.
I've blogged much on the 17th and 18th century history of Virginia's tobacco farming. One of the popular ports was in nearby Dumfries. By 1820 agriculture had taken a turn, causing residents to move west. Although the county seat of Prince William County had resided in Dumfries, the exodus relocated the county seat to the new town of Brentsville.
Brentsville was built near Broad Run, which even ran near my house down the road. Eventually draining into the Chesepeake via the Occoquan, it orginates near the Bull Run Mountains.
|Broad Run near my home|
Interestingly the land had been confiscated from a Tory from the American Revolution, Robert Bristow.
Despite the attempts of the residents of Brentsville to bring the Orange and Alexandria Railroad to their town, the banks of Broad Run proved to not be conducive to railroad crossings. So the track was laid 3 miles to the west in Bristoe Station, where 2 battles of the Civil War were fought. And there is quite the railroad story from the Battle of Bristoe Station!
|The Orange and Alexandria Railroad at Bristow Station (you can just see the train through the trees)|
Because of various Civil War encampments in the town (from both the North and the South) most of the buildings were damaged by the end of the war. The town never recovered. In 1893 the Prince William County seat moved to nearby Manassas.
Today the Brentsville Historic Center preserves these old buildings as part of their museum.