Brentsville-A Historic Center

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 them, the village contains 19
dwelling houses, 3 miscellaneous 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.
“It Happened Here”
My Original Photograph of Brentsville
Historical Sign with text from
“Our Heritage” Friends of Brentsville
Centre Web-Site