I always thought our county name was completely unique in America. It may be now, but this wasn’t always the case. At around the same time Pittsylvania County was formed (or perhaps a little earlier), a man named Landon Carter Jr. (1738 – 1801) was building a plantation in Prince William County, Virginia that he named “Pittsylvania”. The only known image of Pittsylvania Plantation is the grainy photo shown to the right, captured accidentally in a photograph taken from Henry House in 1861, after the First Battle of Manassas. Judith Henry, who was killed during the battle, was a daughter of Landon Carter Jr., and was born at “Pittsylvania”. Her husband, Dr. Isaac Henry, is buried in the Pittsylvania graveyard. The house stood on the present-day grounds of the Manassas National Battlefield Park. Alice Ewell writes in her 1931 Prince William County history that “Pittsylvania is said to have been the grandest of all [the] old Carter mansions”. In 1861, after First Manassas, the house was used as a field hospital and had already fallen into disrepair before that time. During Second Manassas in 1862, the mansion was burned and today nothing remains of the grand old home.
Pittsylvania’s builder, Landon Carter Jr., was a grandson of Robert “King” Carter (1663 – 1732), possibly the wealthiest Virginian, in land and slaves, of all time. At his death in 1732, “King” Carter owned around 300,000 acres of land and 1,000 slaves.
The tract of land above Bull Run Creek was one of many and passed to his son Landon Carter Sr. (1710 – 1778) of “Sabine Hall”. Landon Carter Sr. left a well known diary revealing much about himself, his family, and the life of an eighteenth century planter in the years leading up to the American Revolution.