Established in 1758, Leesburg is the seat of government for Loudoun County. The town's rich history spans three centuries. The following history provides an overview of the town's development through the beginning of the twenty-first century with interesting historical tidbits of local color.
Early Settlement and Founding: "indifferently built … tho' very advantageously situated" (1722-1813)
|Original map of Leesburg. James Goode Photograph Collection (VC 0010), Thomas Balch Library, Leesburg, VA.|
Following the 1722 Treaty of Albany, in which the Iroquois abandoned all lands east of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the colony of Virginia, colonists and new immigrants of a wide variety of ethnic and religious backgrounds began settling the lands that would become Loudoun County. In 1730, Thomas, the 6th Earl of Fairfax, granted 4,054 acres, including what would become Leesburg, to Francis Awbrey. At the intersection of the major north-south Carolina Road (now U.S. Highway 15) and the east-west oriented Potomac Ridge Road (now Virginia Highway 7), a small settlement emerged.
In 1757 the Assembly of Virginia selected this settlement for the location of the Loudoun County courthouse. The land was then owned by Nicholas Minor, who hired John Hough to survey and plat his 60 acres into 70 lots to form a town, which he called George Town. The name was changed to Leesburg the following year: the act establishing the Town of Leesburg by the General Assembly was signed 18 February 1813, providing for elected officials to pass laws governing the town and manage town affairs.
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