|"A Homesteader's Hand Print"
|"Brentsville Courthouse & School"
The town of Brentsville was located around the new courthouse in
1822, Joseph Martin reports in the Virginia Gazetteer of 1835. He goes
on to say, The Courthouse, clerk’s office and jail are handsomely
situated on the main street, in a public square of three acres. Besides
stores, 2 handsome taverns built of brick and stocked, 1 house of
entertainment, 1 house of entertainment, 1 house of public worship,
free for all Denominations, a Bible society, a Sunday school, a
temperance and tract society…. There is in the vicinity a common
school in which the rudiments of English education are taught,
population 130 persons, of whom 3 are attorneys and 3 regular
physicians. (p.113, Prince William: The Story of Its People and Its
Places, Work Projects Administration. The Bethlehem Good
Housekeeping Club, 1976.
)Brentsville served as the 4th Prince William seat from 1820-1894.
During the Civil War, the town’s proximity to both Manassas Junction
and Bristoe Station made her vulnerable to the same destruction
bestowed upon these towns following the Battles of 1st and 2nd
Manassas. Homes like General Eppa Hunton’s (8thVA) were burned
and the Brentsville Courthouse roof was destroyed. Descriptions from
Union soldiers also tell of court records that were strewn in the streets
of Brentsville and burned as fuel. Brentsville native sons were
recruited and drilled on the Courthouse grounds in preparation for
service with the 4th VA Cavalry and the 49th VA.
Following the Civil War, Brentsville remained the center of Prince
William County government until January 1, 1894, when the county
seat was moved to Manassas. However, the Town of Brentsville still
straddles historic Bristow Road (VA Route 619) in the exact geographic
center of Prince William County today.
Sign & History
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