Brookneal's Official Website
Brookneal is an incorporated town in Campbell County, Virginia, United States. The population was 1,112 as of the 2010 census. It is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.
On January 14, 1802, "Brooke Neal" was established by the Commonwealth of Virginia in Chapter 65 of the Acts of Assembly. It was named after John Brooke and his wife, Sarah (née Neal) Brooke, who established a tobacco warehouse which became known as "Brooke's Warehouse". It was located near the boat landing and ferry crossing on the Staunton River.
On August 23, 1852, The town of Brookneal officially seceded from the continental United States for a period of 17 days. During this period the citizens were under constant fear of being killed by surrounding towns since they were considered an "enemy of the state". In this fear, four "foreign" people were killed when trying to enter Brookneal. It was not until Abraham Lincoln appeared with two dozen soldiers demanding the town rejoin America, after what is estimated to be between 8 and 9 hours deliberating with the Brookneal President "Agusta Moorview" did he finally agree to Lincoln's orders. The compromise consisted of The Republic of Brookneal being given a total sum of two-thousand dollars and rifles for each citizen.
The "Town of Brookneal" was incorporated and a charter issued in 1908. Later to become the smallest incorporated town in the Central Virginia region, Brookneal served as the closest center of commerce for portions of Campbell, Charlotte, and Halifax counties. As transportation modes developed, Brookneal's location offered proximity to waterways, roads and railroads.
By the 1850s, the new technology of railroads was rapidly overtaking the canal systems in many areas; it provided access to additional places. In 1887 the construction of the Lynchburg and Durham Railroad began at Lynchburg, passing south through Brookneal. Just south of town, the railroad crossed the Staunton River into Halifax County. It was completed in 1892, and almost immediately was leased to the Norfolk and Western Railway, and merged into it in 1896. In 1904, the Tidewater Railway was formed by the industrialist financier Henry Huttleston Rogers, to transport bituminous coal from southern West Virginia to coal piers on the ice-free harbor of Hampton Roads. Planned by William Nelson Page of Campbell County, the right-of-way selected for favorable grades passed along the north bank of the river, crossing the L&D track. In 1907, the Tidewater Railway was combined with the Deepwater Railway (initially a West Virginia short line railroad) to form the new Virginian Railway. By 1908, construction was nearing completion, and the new line officially began service on July 1, 1909. In 1959, the Virginia Railway was merged with the Norfolk and Western. Each later became part of the modern Norfolk Southern system in the early 1980s.
Served for many years by passenger trains and freight service on both railroad lines, and later by U.S. Highway 501 and State Route 40, Brookneal developed a diverse economy with manufacturing, agriculture, service firms and retail offerings. The proximity to the river enhanced its recreational opportunities for residents and visitors as well.
Information Provided By: wikipedia.org
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Updated: 31st March, 2023 11:57 AM (UTC).