Clarke County, Virginia

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Clarke County is a county in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2000 census, the population was 12,652. Its county seat is Berryville[1].



Clarke County was established in 1836 from Frederick County. The county is named Clarke after General George Rogers Clark, of the Revolutionary War. Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron built a home, Greenway Court, on part of his 5 million acre (20,000 km²) property, near what is now the village of White Post. White Post was named for the large signpost pointing the way to Lord Fairfax's home.

Many of the early settlers of what became Clarke County were children of Tidewater planters, who settled on large land grants from Lord Fairfax. 2/3 of the county was settled by the plantaion group, and the plantation lifestyle thrived until the Civil War. Clarke was known for its large crops of wheat.

During the Civil War, John S. Mosby, "the Gray Ghost" of the Confederacy, raided General Sheridan's supply train in the summer of 1864, in Berryville. The Battle of Cool Spring was fought in Clarke County on July 17 and 18th, 1864, and the Battle of Berryville on September 3, 1864.

Early in the 20th century, future Virginia politician Harry F. Byrd, Sr. and his wife established their first home near Berryville, where he undertook extensive agricultural activity growing peaches and apples. Byrd became a State senator in the upper house of the Virginia General Assembly, served a term as a Governor of Virginia, and was a United States Senator for over 30 years, heading the powerful Byrd Organization which dominated state politics between the mid 1920s and 1960s.

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