Amherst County, located in the center of Virginia in the beautiful Piedmont region, was formed in 1761 on land taken from Albemarle County. It was named for Lord Jeffrey Amherst, called “The Conqueror of Canada” because he led the British forces that rescued Canada from the French. He was named Governor of Virginia, although he never visited the Virginia Colony.
The County includes an area of 479 square miles – 474 square miles of land; 4.9 square miles of water. The population, according to the 2010 census, was 32,353 people; the population density was 68 people per square mile. Amherst County is the home of Sweet Briar College.
Several rivers flow through Amherst County: James River, Buffalo River, Tye River, and Piney River. Part of the County lies within two National Protected Areas: the Blue Ridge Parkway, and the George Washington National Forest.
Access to and through the County occurs on U.S Routes 29, 60, and 501, and State Routes 130, 151, 163, and 210. There are no incorporated cities within Amherst County. The town of Amherst is the only incorporated town within County boundaries. Other communities include:
- Madison Heights
- Sweet Briar
Travel on any highways can be dangerous when drivers become distracted or break the law. On rural roadways there is a greater risk of single-vehicle accidents. If you are injured, or a loved one is injured or killed, on any roadway, call Altizer Law, P.C. We are happy to answer your questions and to make a preliminary assessment of liability for the incident which resulted in the injury. We are happy to talk with you by phone, to have you come to our offices in Roanoke, or to come to you. There is no charge for your consultation, and we charge no fees until we win your case. We also help people with injury claims and lawsuits resulting from other types of events.
Prior to creation of a County, the area was originally home to Native Americans, who hunted and fished along the banks of the numerous rivers and streams of the area. The Virginia Colony was established in 1607. By the late 17th Century, English settlers and explorers followed the James River to the area. Trading posts were built between 1710 and 1720. By 1730, a number of new families had moved onto the land that became Amherst County. They wanted land and a good livelihood. They found fertile soil that was ideal for growing tobacco.
In 1807, land was taken from the northern portion of Amherst County to create Nelson County. At that time, the county seat was moved to the village of Five Oaks, which was later renamed Amherst. The county courthouse was built in 1870, and has been in use continuously since then.
Tobacco was Amherst County’s primary crop and the foundation of its economy for many years. Other important industries included mining, milling, and timber. The introduction of the railroad facilitated the growth of the County in the late 19th Century. This occurred at about the same time that tobacco fields began to give way to mixed farming and the creation of apple orchards.
The economy of Amherst County began with agriculture. Today, a good part of the local economy remains agrarian. The average size of a farm in the County is 217 acres. Livestock, poultry, and their products account for 84 percent of farm income. Roughly 93 percent of farms in the County are operated by an individual or a family. Orchards account for 152 acres of the County land.
The leading industries in Amherst County today are:
- Government (local and state)
- Retail Trade
- Health Care and Social Assistance
- Accommodation and Food Services
The County’s top employers include:
- Central Virginia Training Center
- Amherst County School Board
- Sweet Briar College
- Glad Manufacturing Co
- Residential Care
- County of Amherst
- Food Lion
- Centra Health
- Caterpillar Clubhouse
- Lowes’ Home Centers
- Commercial Steel Erection
- Bedford County Adult Detention
- Harris Trucking
- Air & Liquid Systems Corp
Altizer Law, P.C., has a long history of representing clients who have been harmed or killed due to the mistakes or the negligence of medical personnel. People sometimes make mistakes or fail their patients. When this happens, those who have been harmed, and their families, have every right to seek justice and to demand fair financial compensation for their harms and losses. The same thing is true for those whose loved ones have been harmed or killed due to nursing home abuse or neglect.
Points of Interest and Local Attractions
From wildlife to high culture, Amherst County has much to offer residents and visitors. A significant part of the Appalachian Trail runs through the part of the George Washington National Forest that is within the boundaries of the County. There are a number of smaller trails that break away from the main trail. These side trails highlight mountain peaks such as Mt. Pleasant, Cold Mountain, and Tar Jacket Ridge.
There are three recreational and public lakes: Mill Creek, Thrashers Lake and Stonehouse Lake. Combined with the local rivers and streams, these bodies of water offer abundant opportunities to enjoy boating, swimming, tubing, and fishing. The George Washington National Forest offers hunting opportunities, as well as outstanding spots for watching and photographing wildlife.
The County offers numerous parks and trails for both bicycling and hiking. The Blue Ridge Parkway also offers breathtaking scenic overlooks. There are also 25 miles of trails for All-Terrain Vehicles. There are several campgrounds and golf courses.
There are also opportunities for outdoor activities in the surrounding counties. For those interested in the history of local architecture, there are a number of good examples of 18th, 19th, and early 20th Century rural and small town architecture. The downtown section of Amherst is a fine example of the commercial architecture of the early 20th Century.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you, or a loved one, are injured due to medical malpractice, a car crash, nursing home abuse or neglect, or due to a defective or dangerous product or an ill-maintained property, we hope you will call upon us. Bettina has won or negotiated top settlements for our clients, ensuring that they see justice done. Our clients are surrounded with compassion and their interests are aggressively pursued. Our fees are charged on a contingency basis; you pay us nothing until we win a settlement for you.