Genealogy of Danville Streets

If streets could talk, the streets of Danville, Virginia could tell some fascinating stories of people, places and events they have witnessed over the past two hundred years. As cities of the world go, Danville is a relatively young city, having been founded roughly two hundred years after the first permanent English colony in America was founded at Jamestown in 1607. Over the next two hundred years the colonists moved westward from Jamestown bringing with them slavery, firearms, tobacco and private ownership of land, which greatly influenced the history of Danville and brought wealth and prosperity to some and suffering and hardship to others.

The Dan River, which flows through Danville, has been a focal point for the city from its earliest days. Before Danville became a city, or even a town, families had established land holdings on both sides of the river near falls.  The falls became known as Wynne‟s Falls, named for William Wynne, one of the early landowners in the region.  Wynne claimed 200 acres on the south side of the Dan River in June 1738 and later added other land holdings.

Before the colonists came, Virginia was inhabited by a number of native American tribes who claimed certain areas as their own territory and defended them from intruders.  However, native American culture did not formally recognize land holdings by individuals. When the colonists came, they generally did not recognize or respect the land holdings of the Indian tribes and began to allow colonists to claim various portions of those lands by virtue of grants from English or colonial authorities. The grants varied in size and some were quite large. Because land on the western borders of the colony appeared to be plentiful and inexpensive, some early colonial inhabitants took advantage of the situation and acquired considerable land holdings which then became quite valuable in future years. Over many generations, most of the larger holdings have been broken up into smaller tracts and sometimes a street name is the only thing that remains to indicate the earlier owners.

Many Danville streets have names associated with people who lived in and around the Danville area. I recently published my book entitled "If Streets Could Talk" that compiles a history of the streets of Danville, Virginia. The book includes details about the person whose name the street bears and other interesting historical and biographical information about the person and street. If you would like to purchase a copy of my book, it is available on the web through Lulu publishing at:

If you would like to preview what the book contains, here are some brief snippets for a few of the well known Danville names:

  1. Aiken
  2. Averett
  3. Ballou
  4. Baugh
  5. Berkeley
  6. Betts
  7. Bishop
  8. Boatwright
  9. Bonner