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Historical Markers | Henry County, Martinsville, & Patrick County, VA
Martinsville Speedway - Click to enlargeMartinsville Speedway: Route 220 South of Martinsville
H. Clay Earles (1913-1999) opened Martinsville Speedway in 1947 with seating for 750. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) first raced here in 1948. Martinsville Speedway was one of eight tracks to host the inaugural 1949 season of NASCAR's Strictly Stock division, later called Winston Cup and then NEXTEL Cup racing. It is the only original NASCAR track still hosting the highest division as of 2007. It features a short .526-mile track and seats more than 68,000. Earle's fan-friendly philosophy has endured, and the track draws fans from across the United States.
Waller's Ford - Click to Enlarge Waller's Ford: Field Avenue: Fieldale
George Waller (1734-1814) and his wife, Anne Winston Waller (1735-1839), established their plantation at Waller's Ford on the Smith River near here about 1770. George Waller helped establish Henry County, serving as one of its first justices and as an early tax commissioner and sheriff, and he was one of Martinsville's first trustees. Waller was an officer in the local militia, which mustered on his plantation. In 1781, Major Waller marched 21 militia companies to North Carolina, where they fought in the Battle of Guilford Court House. They were present at Yorktown for the surrender of British forces on 19 Oct. 1781.
Fayette StreetFayette Street: Martinsville
Since the late 19th century, Fayette Street has been a gateway to the business, social, and cultural life of African Americans here. Institutions such as Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church (founded in 1870), St. Mary's Hospital (1926-1952), Piedmont Christian Institute (1900-1934), and Imperial Savings and Loan (founded in 1929) were pillars of this community. A part of the street known as Baldwin's Block (1920s-1960s) represented the entrepreneurial spirit of the people. Dr. Dana o. Baldwin and his brothers founded the June German Ball, which was held at a number of venues. This annual musical and dance festival hosted world-renowned African American musicians that player to regional audiences.
Patrick Henry Marker - Click to EnlargePatrick Henry Estate Marker: Route 620 (Old Danville Road)
This large granite marker may be found a short distance off Route 58 east of Martinsville on Route 620. Look for it in a cleared area on the right. Patrick Henry lived in the vicinity of this marker from June 1779 until December 1784, when he left to serve his fourth term as governor of Virginia. Henry was one of the largest landowners of the area and served five terms as a member of the House of Delegates from Henry County.
Martinsville - Click to EnlargeMartinsville: Downtown Courthouse Square
Named for Joseph Martin, pioneer, who settled here in 1773. In 1793 the courthouse of Henry County was moved here and the town was established. Patrick Henry, for whom the county was named, lived near here once. In 1865, Stoneman, moving south to join Sherman, captured Martinsville. It was incorporated as a town in 1873 and as a city in 1929.
Fort Trial - Click to EnlargeFort Trial: Route 57: 6 miles north of Martinsville
Near here stood Fort Trial, one of a chain of forts built in 1756, in the French and Indian War, as places of refuge in Indian attacks. Washington visited it soon after its erection.
Patrick Henry's Leatherwood Home - Click to EnlargePatrick Henry's Leatherwood Home: Rt 58 east near Patrick Henry Farms
Once located to the south was Leatherwood, the plantation of Patrick Henry, governor of Virginia and great orator of the American Revolution. Henry is especially famous for his "Liberty or Death" speech made in 1775 in Saint John's Church in Richmond. Henry initially purchased ten thousand acres of land lying on Leatherwood Creek, built a house and lived there from 1779 to 1784. While residing there, Henry served in the Virginia General Assembly (1780-1784). He was elected governor of Virginia in November 1784 and moved to Chesterfield County that same year.
Belleview - Click to Enlarge
Belleview: Route 220: 4 miles south of Martinsville
Three miles southwest is Belleview, home of Major John Redd, a pioneer in this section. Redd served in the Indian wars and in the Revolution, being present at the siege of Yorktown in 1781.

Click to Enlarge William Byrd's Camp: Route 220; 3.5 miles southwest of Ridgeway
Near here, on Matrimony Creek, William Byrd pitched his camp, November, 1728, while determining the Virginia-North Carolina boundary line.


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