In the 16th century Sir Richard Grenville, the famous Virginian settler, did much to stimulate the commercial development of Bideford, which long maintained a very considerable trade with America, Spain and the Mediterranean ports, the import of tobacco from Maryland and Virginia being especially noteworthy.
In 1768 the Iroquois ceded whatever claim they had to the English, and in 1769 several cabins were built along the Watauga and Holston rivers upon what was thought to be Virginian soil.
On the completion of his arts course, he nominally studied divinity at Edinburgh until 1787; in1788-1789he spent rather more than a year as private tutor in a Virginian family, and from 1790 till the close of 1792 he held a similar appointment at Etruria in Staffordshire, with the family of Josiah Wedgwood, employing his spare time in experimental research and in preparing a translation of Buffon's Natural History of Birds, which was published in nine 8vo vols.
It is served by the Norfolk & Western and the Virginian railways, and has electric railway connexion with Roanoke, about 6 m.
Captain Thomas Bullitt (1730-1778), a Virginian, commanded a company under Washington at Great Meadows (July 4, 1754), was in Braddock's disastrous expedition in 1755, and after the defeat of Major James Grant in 1758 saved his disorganized army by a cleverly planned attack upon the pursuers.