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Front Royal is a town in Warren County, Virginia, United States. The population was 14,440 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Warren County.
Several theories regarding the origins of the name "Front Royal" have been suggested.
A common theory is that the town was named for a giant oak tree – the "Royal" Tree of England – that stood in the public square during colonial days where Chester and Main Streets now join. It was there that the local militia were drilled. During drills, a frequent command given by the drill sergeant was, "front the Royal Oak!" The command was repeated and eventually shortened to simply "Front Royal". This theory is supported by a bulletin published by the United States Geological Survey in 1905, which states that the town was first known as Royal Oak, with the current name being derived from the commands of a confused colonel.
A second account holds that when local militia were stationed around the town during the American Revolution, the sentry would call out "Front", to which the required entry password was to respond "Royal". Eventually their military post became known as "Camp Front Royal".
A third version holds that, in early decades of European settlement, the area was referred to in French as "le front royal", meaning the British frontier. French settlers, trappers, and explorers in the Ohio Country of the mid-18th century were referring to the land grant made by King Charles II, then in control of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron. In English, "le front royal" is translated to the "Royal Frontier".
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