Goochland was founded in 1728 as the first county formed from Henrico shire, followed by Chesterfield County in 1749. Goochland originally included all of the land from Tuckahoe Creek, on both sides of the James River, west as far as the Blue Ridge Mountains.
Goochland was named for Sir William Gooch, 1st Baronet, the royal lieutenant governor from 1727 to 1749. As acting royal governor, Gooch promoted settlement of the Virginia backcountry as a means to insulate the Virginia colony from Native American and New France settlements in the Ohio Country.
As the colonists moved into the Piedmont west of Richmond, they first developed tobacco plantations like those of the Tidewater. After the Revolution, tobacco did not yield as high profits. In Goochland, as in other areas of Virginia, many planters switched to growing wheat and mixed crops.