The Farmville Herald was established on Nov. 21, 1890, in conjunction with the Farmville Coal and Iron Company, but it has a direct link to the whimsical birth of journalism in Farmville nearly 60 years earlier.
It was a cold day in, well a very cold day everywhere, when the first steps were taken toward establishing a newspaper in Farmville in 1832. Ironically, a frozen current directly led to coverage of current events. When the James River froze, so solidly that Theodoric B. McRobert was able to load up the presses of his Scottsville Aurora and take the heavy wagon across the ice, he moved his newspaper and established the Farmville Chronicle.
The Chronicle had other owners and identities before it was eventually purchased by J.L. Hart, who had bought the Herald in 1893, and ceased the Chronicle’s publication. After Hart’s death in 1921, J.B. Wall purchased the Herald, beginning what continued for 94 years as one of the longest-running family-owned weekly newspapers in the nation.
It became part of the Boone Newspapers Inc. family in May 2015. The newspaper is published every Wednesday and Friday.
The newspaper, its staff and ownership remain dedicated to providing residents in Buckingham, Cumberland, and Prince Edward counties with a free press, determined to provide the people with a forum of factual information and intellectual expression, the means to share news and help shape the world most immediately around them.
Farmville is located in “the Heart of Virginia” along the banks of the Appomattox River. Farmville is the county seat of Prince Edward County, though a portion of the town is in Cumberland County across the river, and has historically been the economic and cultural hub of the region, a history that continues.
Farmville is about 60 miles west of Richmond, Virginia and a 30-minute drive from the geographic center of the Commonwealth of Virginia. The town covers about seven square miles. Prince Edward County covers about 354 square miles. Cumberland County, in which a portion of Farmville is located, covers about 300-square miles. Buckingham County is also in The Farmville Herald’s coverage area and covers about 584 square miles.
Prince Edward County: 23,368
The Town of Farmville: 8,216
Cumberland County: 10,052
Buckingham County: 17,146
The Farmville area can be hot and humid in the summer, with isolated bouts of below-freezing high temperatures as daytime highs in the winter, but its springs and autumns are picture-book and winter never grips too tightly for too long, January and February generous with their 40 to 50-degree high temperatures.
Healthcare, primarly Centra Southside Community Hospital and affiliated offices; Longwood University; the Prince Edward County public school system.
The Farmville area has many schools—public and private—and state-supported Longwood University’s main campus is located a block from Main Street. Hampden-Sydney College, a private all-male institution of higher learning, is located six miles from Farmville, while Southside Virginia Community College is just 25 minutes away.
There are many social and civic organizations in the community. The Moton Museum documents the community’s civil rights history. The annual Heart of Virginia Festival on the first Saturday in May attracts 10,000-plus annually. First Fridays, sponsored by the Jaycees, is a live music event from May through September and there is a downtown live music series, too. The Waterworks Players stage plays throughout the year and there is an open-air downtown film series each summer.
Six state parks are located less than 45 minutes away and one of them, High Bridge Trail State Park, literally goes through the town, itself, and leads to the longest recreational bridge in the state, attracting large numbers of hikers, cyclists, horse enthusiasts and those who simply enjoy a good walk. The High Bridge Half Marathon has become one of the premier running competitions in the state. Two major fishing lakes are within 20 minutes of Farmville and canoeists and kayakers enjoy Farmville’s Blueway, which combines a lake, a large creek and the Appomattox River into one lovely boating adventure. The Town also has a thriving recreation program and several of its own hiking trails.
Farmville is considered by many to be the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement. On April 23, 1951, more than four years before Rosa Parks made history, African American students at R. R. Moton High School led by 16-year-old Barbara Johns went on strike against separate and unequal school facilities for black students. The students and their families then launched a legal challenge to segregation, which became a key part of the Brown v. Board of Education case and, in 1954, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring separate educational facilities inherently unequal and unconstitutional. The Griffin v. School Board of Prince Edward County decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1964 affirmed the constitutional right of every American child to a public education and it re-opened public schools in Prince Edward County, which had been closed for five years in “massive resistance” to the Brown decision.
The Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce
118 A North Main Street
P.O. Box 361
Farmville, VA 23901