The first slave ship to arrive in the American colonies landed in Virginia in 1619. Virginia became a center of the transatlantic slave trade, and by 1860, Virginia had the largest population of enslaved people in the United States.

Bath County, located in the western part of Virginia, has a rich and diverse history that spans several centuries. The area was originally home to Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Cherokee, who utilized the natural resources and hunting grounds. The first European explorers arrived in the late 17th century, with Colonel James Patton obtaining a land grant in 1742, which included much of present-day Bath County.

The county's name is derived from its abundant natural mineral springs, which were reportedly discovered by the legendary frontiersman, Thomas Bullitt, in the early 18th century. The springs quickly gained fame for their supposed healing properties and attracted visitors from all over the East Coast. In 1776, Bath County was established as the 52nd county in Virginia, and its mineral springs continued to be a popular destination for health seekers.

During the American Civil War, Bath County found itself caught in the conflict between the Union and Confederate forces. The Battle of McDowell, which took place in May 1862, saw a Union victory that helped secure the region for the Union army. However, Bath County was not immune to the devastation and hardships experienced during this tumultuous period in American history.

After the war, Bath County began to shift its focus from agriculture to tourism, capitalizing on its natural beauty and mineral waters. Throughout the 20th century, numerous resorts and hotels were built to accommodate the growing number of visitors. Today, Bath County continues to be known for its scenic landscapes, charming small towns, and historic sites, making it a popular tourist destination that reflects the unique heritage of the region.

  • 1630s: Native American tribes, including the Shawnee and Monacan, inhabit the area now known as Bath County, VA.
  • 1716: The French establish the first known European settlement in the county, known as Fort Willing.
  • 1727: The Virginia General Assembly creates the county of Bath, named after the famous spa city in England.
  • 1761: Bath County officially becomes part of the newly formed Commonwealth of Virginia.
  • 1766: The first courthouse is built in Warm Springs, serving as the county seat.
  • 1836: The county's name is changed from Bath to Morgan in honor of Daniel Morgan.
  • 1842: The county's name is changed back to Bath.
  • 1853: The Chesapeake and Ohio Railway reaches Bath County, bringing economic growth to the region.
  • 1861-1865: Bath County is divided during the American Civil War, with some residents supporting the Confederacy and others supporting the Union.
  • 1901: The Homestead, a famous luxury resort, opens in Hot Springs, attracting visitors from across the country.
  • 1941-1945: During World War II, the Homestead is converted into a naval hospital to treat wounded soldiers.
  • 1976: Bath County celebrates its bicentennial.
  • 2000s: Bath County becomes a popular tourist destination, known for its natural beauty, historic sites, and outdoor recreational activities.