Rockingham County history books credit Adam Miller as being the first permanent setter in the area in 1727 laying claim to land along the south fork of the Shenandoah River near the line that divides Rockingham and Page counties. Traveling through Virginia, Miller heard news about Governor Alexander Spotwood’s Knights of the Golden Horseshoe Expedition and was so intrigued by the stories—he moved his family to the area. Miller purchased 820 acres near Elkton in 1741 and remained there his entire life. Rockingham County was officially established in 1778 from Augusta County. Harrisonburg, VA was named as Rockingham’s county seat in 1916.
Rockingham County was named for Charles Watson-Wentworth, 2nd Marques of Rockingham. History tells us he was Great Britain’s Prime Minister twice and a support of the constitutional rights of the early colonists. In 1782 he backed the claim for independence of the Thirteen Colonies—the beginning of the end of Britain’s involvement in the Revolutionary War.
The Marques of Rockingham was popular among the early citizens of the United States. Rockingham County, NH, Rockingham County, NC and the city of Rockingham in Richmond County, NC were also named on his behalf.