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.

Shenandoah County, Virginia

Shenandoah County Education, Geography, and History

Shenandoah County, Virginia Courthouse

Shenandoah County (formerly Dunmore County) is a county located in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 41,993. Its county seat is Woodstock. It is part of the Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia.

Etymology - Origin of Shenandoah County Name

Shenandoah is named for the Shenandoah River, a Native American term meaning beautiful daughter of the stars.


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Shenandoah County History

The Senedos, possibly an Iroquoian group, are thought to have occupied the area at one time, until they were said to have been slaughtered by the Catawba in the later 17th century. The name of both the Valley and of the County is most likely connected with this Native American group. It has also been attributed to General George Washington naming it in honor of John Skenando, an Oneida chief from New York who helped gain support of Oneida and Tuscarora warriors to aid the rebel colonists during the American Revolutionary War.

Colonial Governor Gooch formally purchased the entire Shenandoah Valley from the Six Nations of the Iroquois by the Treaty of Lancaster in 1744. The Iroquois controlled the valley as a hunting ground. European settlement had already begun by that time. During Pontiac's War (1763-1766), Shawnee attacks reached as far east as the current county.

Shenandoah County was established in 1772. It was originally named Dunmore County for Virginia Governor John Murray, 4th Earl of Dunmore. Woodstock was the county seat. Dunmore was Virginia's last royal governor, and was forced from office during the American Revolution. During the war, in 1778 rebels renamed the county as Shenandoah.

Shenandoah County, Virginia formed from Dunmore County (extinguished, resulting in a name change only). [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.]

Shenandoah County was named for the Shenandoah River, which passed through the county. Shenandoah is an Indian word meaning beautiful daughter of the stars. The county was named Dunmore when it was formed from Frederick County in 1772. The present name was adopted in 1778. Its area is 507 square miles, and the county seat is Woodstock.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 513 square miles (1,327 km2), of which, 512 square miles (1,327 km2) of it is land and 0 square miles (1 km2) of it (0.06%) is water. The Fort Valley and western slopes of the Massanutten Mountain are located within the county.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Hardy County, West Virginia - northwest
  • Frederick County, Virginia - northeast
  • Warren County, Virginia - east
  • Page County, Virginia - southeast
  • Rockingham County, Virginia - southwest


Stonewall Jackson High School
Strasburg High School
Central High School

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