Brief History of Danville, Virginia

The deed to the lots required the owners to “erect or build thereon a dwelling hose sixteen feet square, at
least, with a brick or stone chimney to be completed and finished for habitation within five years” from the
date of purchase. The first deeds to Danville lots were recorded in Feb. of 1796; after the large tract
containing the lots had been sold.  Between the 25-acre tracts which were laid off for the town of Danville
was an old race which initially powered a saw mill near what is now the area of Main and Bridge Streets.  

Actually Larkin Dix owned the land in 1793 when the town was chartered.  He applied to build a grist mill in
1792 and sold the land to John Barnett in 1795.  Dix probably did not build his mill, but John Barnett, in
partnership with Halcott Townes built a water powered grist mill at this location in 1796.  When Riverside
Cotton Mills began in 1882, the old mill here was called Noel’s Corn Mill.

The community on the north side of the Dan River was at different times called Neapolis and North
Danville.  It was annexed into Danville in 1896.
Please Note:  Geographically, Danville is in southern Pittsylvania County, Virginia.
However, in Virginia the cities and counties are separate political entities.
track of the Lynchburg and Danville Railroad, which was completed in 1874. This is the same
track used by the famous Old 97 train, which wrecked just a short distance west of the mill.

Richard Yarbrough came to Danville in 1831. He was known as a master carpenter and replaced
the Main Street Bridge after it washed away in 1850.  He was a partner with Thomas Worsham,
land owner, in building the water-powered grist mill on Dan River near the bridge, and opposite
the Town of Danville. His son, George Washington Yarbrough, later operated the mill.  

Below is a 1886 Map showing Mr. Yarbrough's grist mill.