A short ferry ride across the James River from Jamestown can transport you to rural Surry County.
When the first English settlers sailed up the James River in 1607, they first landed on the south side of the river near the present town of Claremont in Surry County. They visited the Quioughcohancock Indians, allies of the Powhatan confederacy. These settlers went on to establish the first permanent English settlement in the New World on Jamestown Island.
By 1609, Smith's Fort was built in Surry, on Gray's Creek, and Hog Island contained a fort and was used to raise hogs.
Surry County was formed in 1652 from a portion of James City County and was named for the English county of Surrey.
For more than 350 years, the county has depended on an agricultural economy. The biggest crops are soybeans, corn, wheat and peanuts.
Tourist attractions range from the 17th-century Bacon's Castle — the oldest documented brick house in English North America — to the late 20th-century Nuclear Information Center. The Surry Power Station, built in the early 1970s, generates enough electricity from its two reactors to power 400,000 houses.
The county is also home to the Chippokes Plantation State Park, a 1,683-acre park overlooking the James River. The park includes a swimming complex, visitor's center, picnic facilities and trails, and formal gardens around Chippokes Mansion. The Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum is designed to recreate living on a farm in rural Virginia in 1850. Hog Island Wildlife Management Area is 3,908 acres of flat land, tidal marshes and pine forests.
— Daily Press staff
Surry County Population: 7,128Area: 301 square milesFounded: 1652Median age: 39.4Board of Supervisors Chairman: Reginald O. HarrisonContact: 757-294-5271; www.surrycountyva.govCopyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun