Clarke County is located at the northern tip or "top" of Virginia, and includes the towns of Boyce and the Berryville county seat, as well as some unincorporated communities.
Clarke County was named for revolutionary war hero, George Rogers Clark. Historians claim that an "e" was mistakenly added to Clark's last name, and so it remains to this day.
Clarke County was settled in the mid-1700s as part of the five million acres owned by Lord Thomas Fairfax. The future President George Washington had originally surveyed the area for Lord Fairfax and by the late 18th century, the county was mainly inhabited by wealthy plantation owners.
During the Civil war, Clarke County was the site of (Confederate Col. John) Mosby's Raid. The Battle of Cool Spring was fought along the Shenandoah River. General Robert E. Lee, whose wife had been born in Clarke County, camped there on his way to fight at Gettysburg. Although the Civil War devastated much of the orginial Clarke County, a number of the old plantation homes survived ...and still stand today.
These historic sites and homes are now visitor attractions. Canoeing and fishing on the Shenandoah River and hikes on the Appalachian Trail are two of the area's outdoor activities. Golf courses and wineries also can be found in Clarke County.
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An old cabin dots the landscape at the Blue Ridge Wildlife Center, just outside of Millwood, Virginia. Photo: Hank Zimmerman