In 1757 John Lynch opened a ferry here; in 1765 a church was built. In 1786 Lynchburg was established by act of Assembly; in 1791 the first tobacco warehouse was built. Lynchburg was incorporated as a town in 1805. In 1840 the James River and Kanawha Canal, from Richmond to Lynchburg, was opened; the section to Buchanan in 1851. Lynchburg became a city in 1852.
Trains began running on the first railroad, the Virginia and Tennessee, in 1852. Lynchburg was a main military supply center, 1862-65. Here the Confederates under General Early defeated the Union General Hunter, June 18, 1864. In 1863 Randolph-Macon Woman's College opened; in 1903, Lynchburg College. In 1920 the council-manager form of government was adopted.