Fauquier County is located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2010 census, the population was 65,203. The county seat is Warrenton.
Fauquier County was established on May 1, 1759, from Prince William County. It is named for Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of Virginia at the time, who won the land in a poker game, according to legend. Fauquier County celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2009 with year-long events.
Steeped in equestrian tradition, and surrounded by wineries and vineyards, today Fauquier County is known for being at the heart of hunt and wine country. Famous for its horse farms and beautiful rolling land at the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fauquier offers contrast as both a natural haven and gateway to bustling Northern Virginia and the D.C. Metropolitan Area.
Dating back to the 17th century and the beginnings of our country, the area we now know as Fauquier County was listed in 1608 as part of the Northern Neck of the Colony of Virginia by Captain John Smith, explorer and leader of the Jamestowne Colony. Named after Francis Fauquier, Lieutenant Governor of the Colony of Virginia from 1758 to 1768, Fauquier County was founded from a section of land previously considered Prince William County.
The rich Civil War history in Fauquier County can be experienced through several different self-driven tours, guided tours, museums, and historical trail markers. Although no major battles were fought in Fauquier County, a number of skirmishes involving infantry and cavalry did occur.
American Civil War battles/skirmishes in Fauquier County included (in order) the First Battle of Rappahannock Station, the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap, the Battle of Kelly’s Ford, the Battle of Aldie, the Battle of Middleburg, the Battle of Upperville, the First and Second Battle of Auburn, the Battle of Buckland Mills, and the Second Battle of Rappahannock Station.
After the second Battle of Manassas, which took place just 15 minutes from Fauquier by today’s travel standards, over 1,800 wounded soldiers were brought to Warrenton to makeshift hospitals set up in Warrenton’s businesses, churches and homes. In 1862, Union General McClellan said farewell to his troops, as Commander of the Army of the Potomac, from the balcony of what is now the Warren Green Building.
Other interesting facts
- In 1909 Warrenton experienced a major fire that destroyed close to half its structures, including the county courthouse
- Wallis Warfield Spencer, the future Duchess of Windsor, set up residency at the Warren Green Hotel to get her first divorce
- President Teddy Roosevelt (1901-1909) rode horseback from Washington to Warrenton and back in one day to prove such a trip was possible
- The John Kennedy family came to Fauquier for recreation during their years in Washington
The county is primarily rural and agricultural. There is some industry in Fauquier County, however the largest employer in the County is the county government and the hospital. As of the 2000 census, 47% of county residents that work have jobs that are outside the county.
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