Tappahannock is the oldest town in Essex County, Virginia, United States. The population was 2,375 at the 2010 census, up from 2,068 at the 2000 census. Located on the Rappahannock River, Tappahannock is the county seat of Essex County. Its name comes from an Algonquian language word lappihanne (also noted as toppehannock), meaning "Town on the rise and fall of water" or "where the tide ebbs and flows." In 1608 John Smith landed in Tapphannock and fought with the local Rappahannock tribe. After defeating them, he later made peace.