Brunswick County, Virginia

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Brunswick County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 18,419. Its county seat is Lawrenceville.[1]



The first English settlers in Brunswick county swarmed into the lands near Fort Christanna during its 4 years of operation (1714-1718). Brunswick County was established in 1720 from Prince George County. In 1732 the county received more land from parts of Surry and Isle of Wight counties. The county is named for the former Duchy of Brunswick-Lunenburg in Germany, because one of the titles also carried by Britain's Hanoverian kings was Duke of Brunswick-Lunenburg. Brunswick County is bisected by Interstate 85, U.S. 1 and U.S. Highway 58, and is mostly rural with an economy based on lumber, tobacco, and other farm crops. Cotton is grown in the far south. The county contains the small Saint Paul's College, Virginia, as well as a campus of Southside Virginia Community College. Fort Pickett Army National Guard base is partly in the County.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 569 square miles (1,473.7 km2), of which 566 square miles (1,465.9 km2) is land and 3 square miles (7.8 km2) (0.57%) is water.

Brunswick Stew

Brunswick County is best known for being the birthplace of Brunswick Stew. The original Brunswick Stew, according to Brunswick County historians, was created in 1828 by a black chef, “Uncle” Jimmy Matthews. As the story goes, Dr. Creed Haskins, of Mount Donum on the Nottoway River and a member of the Virginia State Legislature for a number of years, took several friends on a hunting expedition. While the group hunted, Jimmy Matthews, Dr. Haskin’s camp cook, hunted squirrel for the evening meal. Matthews slowed stewed the squirrels in butter, onions, stale bread and seasoning a large iron pot. When the hunting party returned they were reluctant to try the new, thick concoction, but one taste convinced them to ask for more.

Since that time, Brunswick Stew has been prepared by many different stew masters and they continue to produce large batches of the “Virginia ambrosia” for church functions, local fund raisers, family reunions, and political rallies. While Jimmy Matthews’s recipe for Brunswick Stew has varied through the years – chicken has been substituted for squirrel and vegetables have been added – the exceptional taste and commitment to quality has never been lost.

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