Midlothian is a suburban community located in Chesterfield and Powhatan Counties. Founded over 300 years ago as a coal mining village, located west of Richmond, and South of the James River in the Richmond-Petersburg region.
The Village area of Midlothian started as a settlement of coal miners in the 18th century. Midlothian produced the first commercially mined coal in the United States. According to research by the author Bettie W. Weaver, some of the first coal mines were controlled by the wealthy Wooldridge family. Wooldridge brothers came to Virginia from Scotland and built their home nearby. In developing their new business in Virginia, they compromised on the name, naming their family-owned business "Mid-Lothian Mining Company". The name was associated with the unincorporated town which grew in the area, and became used as one word: "Midlothian."
During the American Revolution, coal produced in the Midlothian coal pits supplied the cannon factory on the James River at Westham, upstream from Richmond and produced shot and shells for the Continental Army. By the end of the War, developers shipped Chesterfield coal to Philadelphia, New York and Boston. Commenting on the area's coal in his Notes on the State of Virginia (1781–82), then-Governor Thomas Jefferson said: "The country on James river, from 15 to 20 miles above Richmond, and for several miles northward and southward, is replete with mineral coal of a very excellent quality." During his presidency, Jefferson ordered coal from the Black Heath Mine in Midlothian for use in the White House.