History of Pembroke, Virginia
As far as can be ascertained the first white settler to make a permanent home close to what is now Pembroke was Philip Lybrook who came with his family from Pennsylvania some time between 1748-55. His family was originally from Holland and the name was Leibroch. This family settled at a point along New River at about the place where Sinking Creek flows into New River. And then along about 1765 John Snidow and his wife and eight children started from Pennsylvania to settle near their friend Philip Lybrook. It seems that John had paid a visit to Philip earlier and had liked what he saw and had gotten a grant of land in the area that is now Pembroke. And so with his wife, Elizabeth Helm Snidow, sons Philip, Christian, John, Theophilus, and Jacob, daughters Barbara and two small girls (later killed by the Indians 1774) he started south to settle on his tract of land.
On the way south, they met a band of friendly Indians who fed them a good supper. John liked the meat they provided, so well, that he ate a great quantity of it. Then he asked them what it was. They told him it was rattlesnake, needless to say he died. However it is unknown, whether it was from overeating, shock, or something else. Elizabeth, the widow, along with her children proceeded on their journey and settled the land which now is the little town of Pembroke. Much of this original grant is still in the possession of the Snidow’s who are the descendants of Philip and Elizabeth.
Other early settlers were the Chapmans, the Johnstons, and the Burkes. The story goes that in 1845 the town was named by John Lyebrook, a descendant of Philip. John was then postmaster and he had been reading a book and ran across the name Pembroke. Some think that it may have been a copy of Shakespeares’ Sonnets which was dedicated in part to the Earl of Pembroke. He thought it was a pretty name, so he printed PEMBROKE on a board and hung it onto the post office building. Some folks who do not know today call it “pem-brook”, but it is plainly “pem-broke”.
The town was incorporated in 1948. The first mayor was Capt. T. P. Smith. The new town hall was finished in 1968. The town now has a very fine volunteer fire department. There are five councilmen and a mayor who are all elected for four year terms. The first council was composed of J.J. Miller, Jack Garman, John J. Snidow. The 2014-2018 Town Council consists of Bonnie Butler, Gabriel Caldwell, Jerry Eaton, Billy Williams and Betty Spears. The Mayor is James D. ‘Dusty’ Stump. Vice Mayor is Bonnie Butler. Pembroke has numerous Churches and local businesses.
Compiled by Louise Robinson – (Retired Librarian at Pembroke Elementary School)
For more information on Pembroke use this link http://www.snidow.org/mill.htm
OR Virginia is for Lovers http://www.virginia.org/Cities/Pembroke/
Town of Pembroke, 500 Snidow Street, Pembroke, Va. 24136
Telephone: 540-626-7191 Fax: 540-626-5523
Office Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (excluding holidays)
Also visit the Giles County website www.gilescounty.org for the New River Valley Hazard Mitigation plan 2016 Update visit http://nrvrc.org/hazardmitigation/