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 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. He died, whether from overeating, shock, or whatever, it is not known. 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 did 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, Derek J. Hairston 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)