Welcome to SoSi, one of many hidden gems of history within the Commonwealth of Virginia! As we unite to reflect, commemorate, learn, and honor our state’s 250th anniversary, we welcome you to explore the rich stories that Danville and Pittsylvania County have to offer.
For generations, the people here have made things, have grown things, and have built deep connections with one another. Prior to European conquest among North American shores, our region was home to the Saponi, Monacan, and Tutelo tribes, who still have a presence today in our communities. The Dan River was their center, as it continues to be the heart of our region today.
Typically Danville and Pittsylvania County are recognized for histories of textiles and tobacco, agriculture, the Civil War, and the Civil Rights Movement. We encourage you to explore these important facets of our region’s story and dive deeper with us, as we look closer to our ties with the American Revolution. With so much to do and so much to see, you won’t regret celebrating in SoSi!
Pittsylvania County was established in 1767 and named in honor of William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham, in recognition of his support of the American colonies during the Stamp Act crisis. Formed from the western lands of Halifax County, Pittsylvania County took its current size in 1777 when the land that would become Henry and Patrick counties was separated from it.
By taking up arms in defense of liberty, and by providing desperately needed supplies to the armies, the people of Pittsylvania County made essential contributions throughout the desperate struggle to secure American independence. During the war, gunpowder was manufactured at Clement Hill in the northern part of the county, while the now-vanished town of Peytonsburg was the home of factories producing canteens and horseshoes for the Patriot cause and became a vital supply depot—one of nine established by Virginia—through which food, arms, and equipment were funneled to the Southern theater. While the Pittsylvania militia served with distinction across the country, their courageous stand at the Battle of Guilford Courthouse was particularly notable, helping set in motion the events that ended with the British surrender at Yorktown. As was true across America, however, not all Pittsylvanians supported independence. Although the details are lost in time, in October 1780 Pittsylvania authorities uncovered and thwarted what Governor Thomas Jefferson called “a very dangerous insurrection,” seizing the Loyalist ringleaders in their beds. The divided loyalties of the people of the county added to the dangers of life here during the Revolution.
Situated along the banks of the Dan River, the settlement of Wynne’s Falls became, in 1793, the town of Danville and a tobacco inspection station for the fledgling Commonwealth of Virginia. For a decade or more before then, veterans of the Revolutionary War met every year at Wynne’s Falls to fish, recall old times, share war stories and, no doubt, tall tales too.
In the years after 1793, Danville’s growth mirrored that of the new country. The inspection station became larger and helped attract new residents and businesses. Ultimately, Danville became a leading, innovative tobacco market and, by the end of the 19th century, the home of what would become Dan River, Inc., the largest single-unit textile mill in the world.
Today, with the industries of tobacco and textiles waning, Danville is reimagining itself and finding new businesses and industries to lead it forward in the 21st century.
VA250 commemorates the revolution of ideas that brought us here today. As Virginians, our state holds some of the most powerful moments in American history– the first permanent settlement of Virginia in 1607, the first enslaved Africans were brought to Jamestown in 1619, eight presidents are from our state, & the landmark case, Loving v. Virginia, just to name a few. VA250 gives us the opportunity to connect, contemplate, and celebrate our story. So what are you waiting for? Visit SoSi with a big heart and an open mind and we will greet you with just the same.
While there are currently no events listed specifically for City of Danville, search the VA250 Statewide Calendar of Events for a comprehensive listing of programs across the state.