Lee County is the westernmost county in the U.S. Commonwealth of Virginia. As of the 2015 census estimate, the population was 24,742.[1] Its county seat is Jonesville.[2]


1 History 2 Economy 3 Geography

3.1 Districts 3.2 Adjacent counties 3.3 National protected areas 3.4 Major highways

4 Demographics 5 Politics 6 Education

6.1 Public high schools 6.2 Public middle schools 6.3 Public elementary schools 6.4 Technical schools

7 Communities

7.1 Towns 7.2 Census-designated places 7.3 Other unincorporated communities

8 Notable residents 9 See also 10 References 11 External links

History[edit] The first Europeans to enter what is present-day Lee County were a party of Spanish explorers, Juan de Villalobos and Francisco de Silvera, sent by Hernando de Soto
Hernando de Soto
in 1540, in search of gold.[3] The county was formed in 1793 from Russell County. It was named for Light Horse Harry Lee,[4] the Governor of Virginia
from 1791 to 1794, who was famous for his exploits as a leader of light cavalry during the American Revolutionary War. He was also the father of the Confederate General
Robert E. Lee. Lee County was the final front on the Kentucky Trace, now known as the Wilderness Road
Wilderness Road
and The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. During the 1780s and 1790s, fortified buildings called "stations" were built along the trail for shelter from Indian raids as the settlers followed Daniel Boone's footsteps into Kentucky. The stations in Lee County were Yoakum Station at present-day Dryden, west to Powell River and Station Creek at today's Rocky Station, then to Mump's Fort at Jonesville, followed by Prist Station, Chadwell Station at Chadwell Gap, Martin's Station at Rose Hill, Owen Station at Ewing, and finally Gibson Station, which still bears its original name. One of the largest early landowners in the was Revolutionary War officer and explorer Joseph Martin, whom Martin's Station and Martin's Creek at Rose Hill are named for. Because of his rank, Martin had been awarded some 25,000 acres (100 km2), which he later divided up and sold. In 1814, parts of Lee County, Russell County, and Washington County were combined to form Scott County. In 1856, parts of Lee County, Russell County, and Scott County were combined to form Wise County. Economy[edit] The economy of Lee County is dependent largely on growing tobacco and mining coal. The decline of both has left a large unemployment in the county. Using the slogan Where Virginia
Begins, it has attempted to increase its tourism industry by emphasizing its role in the route used by settlers going west through the Cumberland Gap, at Lee County's western tip. Lee County shares Cumberland Gap
Cumberland Gap
National Historical Park with Kentucky and Tennessee. Attractions listed in the park include Hensley's Settlement, the Pinnacle Overlook, the Sand Cave, and the White Rocks overlooking the towns of Ewing and Rose Hill. Geography[edit]

Lee County landscape near Pennington Gap

Mountains near Rose Hill

According to the U.S. Census
Bureau, the county has a total area of 437 square miles (1,130 km2), of which 436 square miles (1,130 km2) is land and 1.9 square miles (4.9 km2) (0.4%) is water.[5] Lee County is physically closer to eight state capitals other than its own capital in Richmond: Raleigh, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; Nashville, Tennessee; Charleston, West Virginia; Frankfort, Kentucky; Columbus, Ohio, and Indianapolis, Indiana. Additionally, Cumberland Gap
Cumberland Gap
in the far western part of Lee County is closer to Montgomery, Alabama, a ninth state capital. Districts[edit] The county is divided into seven districts: Jonesville, Rocky Station, Rocky Station Mineral, Rose Hill, White Shoals, Yoakum, St. Charles, Pennington Gap, Keokee, Robbins Chapel and Yoakum Mineral. Adjacent counties[edit]

Harlan County, Kentucky
Harlan County, Kentucky
- north Wise County, Virginia
- northeast Scott County, Virginia
- east Hancock County, Tennessee
Hancock County, Tennessee
- south Claiborne County, Tennessee
Claiborne County, Tennessee
- south-southwest Bell County, Kentucky
Bell County, Kentucky
- west

National protected areas[edit]

Cumberland Gap
Cumberland Gap
National Historical Park (part) Jefferson National Forest
Jefferson National Forest

Major highways[edit]

US 23 US 58

US 58 Alt. US 421 SR 70 SR 352 SR 600


Historical population

Census Pop.

1800 3,538

1810 4,694


1820 4,256


1830 6,461


1840 8,441


1850 10,267


1860 11,032


1870 13,268


1880 15,116


1890 18,216


1900 19,856


1910 23,840


1920 25,293


1930 30,419


1940 39,296


1950 36,106


1960 25,824


1970 20,321


1980 25,956


1990 24,496


2000 23,589


2010 25,587


Est. 2016 24,179 [6] −5.5%

U.S. Decennial Census[7] 1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9] 1990-2000[10] 2010-2015[1]

As of the 2010 United States
United States
Census, there were 25,587 people residing in the county. 94.2% were White, 3.7% Black or African American, 0.4% Native American, 0.2% Asian, 0.6% of some other race and 0.9% of two or more races. 1.6% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race). According to the census[11] 2009 estimates, there were 25001 people, 11,587 households, and 6,852 families residing in the county. The population density was 54 people per square mile (21/km²). There were 11,587 housing units at an average density of 25 per square mile (10/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 96.3% White, 2.9% Black or African American, 0.2% Asian, 0.1% from other races, 0.7% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. The largest ancestry groups in Lee County include:English (14 percent), Irish (11 percent), German (9 percent), and Scots-Irish (3 percent).[12] There were 9,706 households out of which 29.0 percent had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0 percent were married couples living together, 11.7 percent had a female householder with no husband present, and 29.4 percent were non-families. 27.0 percent of all households were made up of individuals and 12.1 percent had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.41 and the average family size was 2.91. In the county, the population was spread out with 22.8 percent under the age of 18, 8.0 percent from 18 to 24, 27.5 percent from 25 to 44, 26.3 percent from 45 to 64, and 15.4 percent who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.3 males. The median income for a household in the county was $29,889, and the median income for a family was $40,721. The per capita income for the county was $16,317. About 20.3 percent of families and 22.7 percent of the population were below the poverty line, including 30.1 percent of those under age 18 and 23.3 percent of those age 65 or over.[13] Politics[edit]

Presidential Elections Results[14]

Year Republican Democratic Third Parties

2016 80.3% 7,543 17.3% 1,627 2.4% 229

2012 71.3% 6,847 26.9% 2,583 1.8% 168

2008 63.1% 5,825 34.9% 3,219 2.0% 183

2004 58.0% 5,664 41.0% 4,005 1.0% 101

2000 52.0% 4,551 46.1% 4,031 1.9% 166

1996 37.5% 3,225 51.7% 4,444 10.9% 935

1992 35.8% 3,504 53.2% 5,215 11.0% 1,077

1988 45.1% 4,080 54.2% 4,906 0.7% 59

1984 50.8% 5,365 48.2% 5,085 1.0% 104

1980 47.1% 4,417 50.7% 4,758 2.2% 202

1976 45.5% 4,679 52.7% 5,415 1.9% 190

1972 62.4% 4,957 35.6% 2,825 2.1% 163

1968 47.4% 4,450 43.7% 4,105 9.0% 844

1964 40.2% 3,463 59.7% 5,151 0.1% 12

1960 46.3% 3,363 53.2% 3,867 0.5% 35

1956 54.8% 4,548 44.7% 3,714 0.5% 42

1952 52.0% 4,622 47.7% 4,242 0.3% 27

1948 50.8% 4,297 48.1% 4,069 1.2% 100

1944 46.7% 3,921 53.2% 4,470 0.1% 8

1940 38.5% 2,623 61.4% 4,180 0.1% 6

1936 33.3% 2,066 66.5% 4,120 0.2% 13

1932 40.4% 1,985 58.8% 2,892 0.8% 38

1928 58.3% 3,337 41.7% 2,383

1924 49.7% 2,456 48.0% 2,376 2.3% 114

1920 57.5% 2,162 42.3% 1,592 0.2% 7

1916 54.7% 1,569 44.9% 1,287 0.5% 13

1912 30.2% 699 44.1% 1,023 25.7% 596

Like much of southwestern Virginia, Lee County used to lean Democratic. Since 2000, however, it has started trending towards the Republican Party. It is now solidly Republican. Education[edit] Public high schools[edit]

Lee High School, Jonesville Thomas Walker High School, Ewing

Public middle schools[edit]

Pennington Middle School, Pennington Gap Jonesville Middle School, Jonesville

Public elementary schools[edit]

Dryden Elementary School, Dryden Elk Knob Elementary School, Woodway Elydale Elementary School, Elydale Flatwoods Elementary School, Flatwoods Rose Hill Elementary School, Rose Hill St. Charles Elementary School, St. Charles

Pennington Elementary School, consisting of three buildings built at various times (1912, 1917 and 1937), was demolished in 1989. A bank was constructed on its Morgan Avenue site. Three other elementary schools, Ewing, Keokee and Stickleyville, were closed in June 2012. [15] Technical schools[edit]

Lee County Vo/Career Tech, Ben Hur




Jonesville Pennington Gap St. Charles

Census-designated places[edit]

Dryden Ewing Keokee Rose Hill

Other unincorporated communities[edit]

Ben Hur Blackwater Darbyville Gibson Station Jasper Monarch Ocoonita Olinger Seminary Stickleyville Stone Creek Woodway

Notable residents[edit]

Pete DeBusk, businessman, founder of DeRoyal Industries, born in Rose Hill, VA. Frank Rowlett, cryptologist, member of the Signals Intelligence Service; born in Rose Hill, VA. [16] Campbell Slemp, congressman, father of C. Bascom Slemp, Born in Turkey Cove Lee County, VA. Andrew Taylor Still, founder of osteopathic medicine, was born near Jonesville, Va. William C. Wampler, U.S. Representative, born in Pennington Gap, VA. Barry Audia, professional boxer, born in Pennington Gap, VA. Jim Pankovits, professional major league baseball player/Coach, born Pennington Gap, VA. Elbert S. Martin, congressman, born near Jonesville, VA. John Preston Martin, congressman Senator for Kentucky, was born near Jonesville, VA. Steve Rasnic Tem, American Author, born in Jonesville, VA. Glen Morgan Williams, United States
United States
Federal Judge, born in Jonesville, VA. Don Newton, American Comic Artist, born in Saint Charles, VA. James Buchanan Richmond, congressman, born in Turkey Cove Lee County, VA. C. Bascom Slemp, congressman, born in Turkey Cove Lee County, VA. Carol Wood, American mathematician, born in Pennington Gap, VA. Claude Ely, singer/song writer, born in Pennington Gap, VA.

See also[edit]

Lee County Sheriff's Office (Virginia) National Register of Historic Places listings in Lee County, Virginia


^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States
United States
Bureau. Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved January 3, 2014.  ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on 2011-05-31. Retrieved 2011-06-07.  ^ Berrier Jr., Ralph (September 20, 2009). "The slaughter at Saltville". The Roanoke Times. Archived from the original on September 11, 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2011.  ^ Gannett, Henry (1905). The Origin of Certain Place Names in the United States. U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 184.  ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States
United States
Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23.  ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". Retrieved June 9, 2017.  ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States
United States
Bureau. Archived from the original on May 12, 2015. Retrieved January 3, 2014.  ^ "Historical Census
Browser". University of Virginia
Library. Retrieved January 3, 2014.  ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census
Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.  ^ " Census
2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States
United States
Bureau. Retrieved January 3, 2014.  ^ "American FactFinder". United States
United States
Bureau. Archived from the original on 2013-09-11. Retrieved 2011-05-14.  ^ Lee County, VA - Lee County, Virginia
- Ancestry & family history - ePodunk ^ [1] ^ ^ Lee County Public Schools Archived 2008-03-10 at the Wayback Machine. ^

External links[edit]

Lee County Chamber of Commerce Lee County, Virginia Lee County Tourism

Places adjacent to Lee County, Virginia

Harlan County, Kentucky Wise County

Bell County, Kentucky

Lee County, Virginia

Scott County

Claiborne County, Tennessee Hancock County, Tennessee

v t e

Municipalities and communities of Lee County, Virginia, United States

County seat: Jonesville


Jonesville Pennington Gap St. Charles


Dryden Ewing Keokee Rose Hill

Unincorporated communities

Benedict-Leona Mines Ben Hur Blackwater Bonny Blue Boons Path Buckles Bundy Calvin Caylor Collier Mill Cowan Mill Darbyville Darnell Town Ely Fleenortown Gibson Station Goodloe Hagan Hubbard Springs Imperial Jasper Leona Mines Maness Mayflower Mohawk Monarch Ocoonita Olinger Penn Lee Pocket Rawhide Seminary Shepherd Hill Sigma Smiley Stickleyville Stone Creek Turners Siding Van Wheeler Woodway

Ghost town


v t e

 Commonwealth of Virginia

Richmond (capital)


Administrative divisions Climate Colleges and universities Colony Congressional districts Delegations

Senators Representatives

Environment Furniture Government History Historic Landmarks Law Homes Music People Rights Rivers Scouting Slogan Sports teams State Fair State parks Symbols Tourist attractions Transportation Tribes

Seal of Virginia


Crime Demographics Economy Education

Newspapers Radio TV



Allegheny Mountains Atlantic Coastal Plain Blue Ridge Chesapeake Bay Cumberland Mountains Delmarva Peninsula Eastern Shore Hampton Roads Middle Peninsula Northern Neck Northern Virginia Piedmont Ridge-and-Valley Appalachians Shenandoah Valley South Hampton Roads Southside Southwest Virginia Tennessee Valley Tidewater Tri-Cities Virginia

Metro areas

Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Bluefield Bristol Charlottesville Danville Harrisonburg Lynchburg Martinsville Richmond Roanoke Staunton-Waynesboro Norfolk- Virginia
Beach Washington-Arlington-Alexandria Winchester


Accomack Albemarle Alleghany Amelia Amherst Appomattox Arlington Augusta Bath Bedford Bland Botetourt Brunswick Buchanan Buckingham Campbell Caroline Carroll Charles City Charlotte Chesterfield Clarke Craig Culpeper Cumberland Dickenson Dinwiddie Essex Fairfax Fauquier Floyd Fluvanna Franklin Frederick Giles Gloucester Goochland Grayson Greene Greensville Halifax Hanover Henrico Henry Highland Isle of Wight James City King and Queen King George King William Lancaster Lee Loudoun Louisa Lunenburg Madison Mathews Mecklenburg Middlesex Montgomery Nelson New Kent Northampton Northumberland Nottoway Orange Page Patrick Pittsylvania Powhatan Prince Edward Prince George Prince William Pulaski Rappahannock Richmond Roanoke Rockbridge Rockingham Russell Scott Shenandoah Smyth Southampton Spotsylvania Stafford Surry Sussex Tazewell Warren Washington Westmoreland Wise Wythe York

Independent cities

Alexandria Bristol Buena Vista Charlottesville Chesapeake Colonial Heights Covington Danville Emporia Fairfax Falls Church Franklin Fredericksburg Galax Hampton Harrisonburg Hopewell Lexington Lynchburg Manassas Manassas Park Martinsville Newport News Norfolk Norton Petersburg Poquoson Portsmouth Radford Richmond Roanoke Salem Staunton Suffolk Virginia
Beach Waynesboro Williamsburg Winchester

Coordinates: 36°43′N 83°08′W / 36.71°N 83.13°W / 3