Henry Howe, Historical Collections of Virginia… (Charleston, SC: William R. Babcock, 1852), 447.
ROANOKE was formed from Botetourt, in 1838. The name is probably derived from the Indian word Roenoke, or Rawrenoke, signifying the Indian shell-money. It is a small county, with a mean length of about 20, and mean width of 18 miles. The Blue Ridge forms its eastern boundary; the western parts are mountainous. Much of the soil of the county, particularly on the Roanoke River in the vicinity of Big Lick, is of almost unequalled fertility, and productive in hemp, wheat, and tobacco. Pop. in 1840, whites 3,843, slaves 1,553, free colored 101; total, 5,499.