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Virginia Counties
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Virginia Counties

The Commonwealth of Virginia is divided into ninety-five counties and thirty-eight independent cities, which are considered county-equivalents for census purposes.

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Accomack County, Virginia

Accomack County Education, Geography, and History

Accomack County, Virginia Courthouse

Accomack County is a county located in the Eastern edge of the Commonwealth of Virginia. Together, Accomack and Northampton counties make up the Eastern Shore of Virginia, which in turn is part of the Delmarva Peninsula, bordered by the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The Accomack county seat is the town of Accomac.

The Eastern Shore of Virginia was known as "Accomac Shire", until it was renamed Northampton County in 1642. The present Accomack County was created from Northampton County in 1663. The county and the original shire were named for the Accawmack Indians, who resided in the area when the English first explored it in 1603.

As of the 2010 census, the total population was 33,164 people.

Etymology - Origin of Accomack County Name

Accomack is named for a Native American word describing the Eastern Shore as accawmacke, or, in English, across the water place


County QuickFacts: Census Bureau Quick Facts

Accomack County History

Accomack County, Virginia formed from Northampton County. Legislative enactment in 1661. Organized in 1662. [Virginia Counties: Those Resulting from Virginia Legislation, by Morgan Poitiaux Robinson, originally published as Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, Volume 9, January, April, July 1916, reprinted 1992 by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., Baltimore, MD.]

Accomack County is on the peninsula that separates the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean. The westernmost point in the county is Tangier Island, accessible from the county by tour boat during the summer, and the easternmost point is Assateague Island accessible by causeway. One may watch the sunrise over the Atlantic and the sunset over the Chesapeake. Between are acres of woodland and fields interspersed with towns and villages with unique shops and stores.

Accomac Shire was established in 1634 as one of the original eight shires of Virginia. The shire's name comes from the Native American word Accawmack, meaning "on the other side".

The original shire of Accomac, created in 1634, covered the entire Eastern Shore. The name of the shire was changed to Northampton in 1642. This name change was part of an effort by the English to eliminate "heathen" names in the New World. So, an English name, Northampton, was chosen.

Since many settlers were choosing the Eastern Shore as their new home, in 1663 it was decided that the area should be divided into two counties. So, the northern half was renamed Accomac.

Accomac County was abolished for a time in 1670. Governor William Berkeley, wanted to arrest Col. Edmund Scarburgh for the murders of some Native American chiefs. This was one of the incidents that led to Bacon's Rebellion in 1676. Scarburgh claimed to be a Burgess for Accomac, and members of the General Assembly were immune to arrest. So, to circumvent this situation, Governor Berkeley nullified the law that created the county. This eliminated Scarburgh's protection from being arrested. When Scarburgh died in 1671, the General Assembly re-created Accomac County.


As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,310 square miles (3,400 km2), of which 450 square miles (1,200 km2) is land and 861 square miles (2,230 km2) (65.7%) is water.It is the largest county in Virginia by total area.

The state of Delaware is roughly 36 miles away from the Virginia and Maryland state-line in Greenbackville.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Somerset County, Maryland - northwest
  • Worcester County, Maryland - northeast
  • Northampton County, Virginia - south
  • Middlesex County, Virginia - west (water boundary only, in Chesapeake Bay)
  • Lancaster County, Virginia - west (water boundary only, in Chesapeake Bay)
  • Northumberland County, Virginia - west (water boundary only, in Chesapeake Bay)


The county is served by Accomack County Public Schools

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