Glenns-West Point-New Kent-Bottom's Bridge; 37.6 m. State 33.
Asphalt-surfaced roadbed throughout. Accommodations at a few tourists camps and in West Point.
This highway crosses the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey and traverses wooded lowlands and elevations. The countryside has a charm derived from old homesteads, old churches, and neat farmhouses.
State 33 branches from US 17 (see Tour 6a) at GLENNS, 0 m.
CENTERVILLE, 8 m. (50 pop.), is at a junction with State 14 (see Tour 1b).
State 33 spans the Mattaponi River, 11.8 m., cleared and improved after 1788 by order of the Virginia Assembly as far as the 'Mattaponi Trustees' believed necessary to give it 'a sufficient depth and width of water to navigate boats, batteaus, or canoes, capable of carrying four hogsheads of tobacco.'
WEST POINT, 12.7 m. (1,800 pop.), on the peninsula made where the Mattaponi and the Pamunkey unite to form the York, has developed since the completion of the railroad between West Point and Richmond in 1861. The town, which has a few industrial plants, is characterized by neat, shaded streets, bright residences, and steepled churches. Baltimore boats of the Chesapeake Steamship Company stop regularly at the West Point wharf.
West Point was named for the West brothers, Thomas, Francis, Nathaniel, and John-three of them governors of Virginia-but especially for John, who patented the land embracing the town's site. In 1607 West Point was called Pamunkee or Pamunkey and was the chief village of the Pamunkey of the Powhatan Confederacy. From Pamunkey, Powhatan's brother and successor, Opechancanough carried out the massacres of 1622 and 1644. In 1646 Governor Berkeley led a company of soldiers against the chief, captured him, and bore him wounded on a stretcher to Jamestown, where he was shot by a sentry appointed to guard him. Opechancanough was succeeded by Necotowance, son of Powhatan's eldest sister, then by the Queen of Pamunkey, who was reigning in 1676. In that year, when trouble with northern Indians was threatening, she was invited to Jamestown to confer with the governor and council. The chairman asked her how many men she could furnish the colony in the war that seemed impending. At first she declined to speak, but finally uttered vehement reproaches against the English for their injustice and ingratitude. Her husband, Totopotomoi, had been slain with many of his men while assisting the settlers against the Ricahecreans, and she had never had 'any compensation for her loss.' After further parley, she 'abruptly quitted the room.'
In 1691 the general assembly directed that West Point be created a port of entry and in 1705 the burgesses authorized the town to qualify as a 'free borough' and named it Delaware, for Governor Thomas West, third Lord Delaware. The old name was resumed when the railroad was constructed.
The pulp and paper plant, western edge of town, odoriferously changes native pine wood into sulphate pulp and paper board. The olfactory nerves of local residents seem immune to the odor that other York River people, who have suffered because polluted water has brought about decline of the once profitable oyster business, find objectionable. West Point is at a junction with State 30 (see Tour 20A).
State 33 crosses the PAMUNKEY RIVER, 13.1 m., which was also an early transportation route. The traffic on the river was disturbed in June 1862, when boats conveying McClellan's supplies hurried upstream in the drive on Richmond, and later hurried down. A correspondent of the New York Times wrote: 'The river was crowded with descending crafts of all sizes and shapes laden with provisions and stores, barges lashed together and crowded, jibbering contrabands [Negroes] looking like flies upon a pancake . . .'
At 14.7 m. is a junction with a dirt road.
Right here 1.0 m. to the SITE OF ELTHAM, on the bank of the Pamunkey. The house, destroyed by fire in 1876, was built about 1730 by Colonel William Bassett, who married Martha Washington's sister, Anna Maria.
Washington often stopped here on his journeys between Mount Vernon and Williamsburg. In the spring of 1771 he was escorting his wife and her daughter, Martha Custis, whom he called 'Patcy,' to Williamsburg to obtain medical treatment for Patsy. On the journey Washington paid 'for 4 bottles of Fit Drops' for the invalid, who died two years later at the age of 16.
To Eltham General Washington galloped from Yorktown on November 5, 1781, to the bedside of his stepson, John Parke Custis, who had contracted camp fever during the Yorktown Campaign and lay here dying.
John Smith's map indicates that Matchot, an Indian village and scene of peace no- gotiations between the Indians and the settlers in 1613, had been on land that was later part of Eltham.
At 23.3 m. on State 33 is a junction with County 623.
Right here to a private road, 2.3 m.; L. to the SITE OF CHESTNUT GROVE, 3.4 m., birthplace of Martha Dandridge, who became the wife of George Washington, The house burned in 1927.
Martha Dandridge was born on June 2, 1731, the first child of Colonel John Dandridge and Frances Jones. Her father came here from Hampton, following his brother William (see Tour 20A), and built his house about 1722.
NEW KENT, 24.1 m. (So pop.), seat of New Kent County, is no larger now than it was in 1691, when it became the county seat.
The tiny COURTHOUSE (1906), upon a neat green, with the Confederate Monument before it, houses portraits of Martha and George Washington, executed by David Silvette, after Stuart. New Kent County, formed in 1654 from York County, was reduced in size in 1691 when its territory north of the Pamunkey River became King and Queen County. The TAVERN, once a low brick building with dormers, has been given two full stories by a frame addition. When General George B. McClellan established communication headquarters here during the Peninsular Campaign of 1862, the town, for the only time in its history, heard the click of telegraph keys. It is told that a tavern keeper of ante-bellum days, a Mr.Howle, was so unwilling to cater to guests that the Reverend Mr. Jones was moved to reprove him with the grace: 'God bless the 'Owl that ate the f owl and left t the bones for Servant Jones.'
At 26.1 m. is a junction with County 608.
Right here to County 600, 4.3 m., and R. 0.3 m. to a private road; R. here to the SITE OF THE WHITE HOUSE, 0.8 m., home of Martha Dandridge Custis at the time of her marriage to George Washington. The house was burned by Federal soldiers in 1862. The estate was acquired by the eccentric John Custis IV (see Tour 2), who gave it to his son, Daniel Parke Custis, as a home for Martha Dandridge, his bride of 1749. Eight years later he died, leaving her with two children, John Parke Custis and Martha Parke Custis. Thus, when Martha Dandridge Custis met George Washington in May 1758, she was mistress of a large plantation.
The bride's home was probably the scene of her wedding with Washington, celebrated on January 6, 1759, 'at candle light.' Home weddings had become the custom because no church was ever lighted at night-a law of the colony prohibiting meetings of any kind at churches after sundown-and no church had any means of heating in winter.
White House passed to John Parke Custis, then to his son George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's adopted son, who left it in 1857 to his grandson, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, second son of General Robert E. Lee.
Not long after General Lee's family left Arlington (see Tour 12) in 1861, Mrs. Lee came here to stay with her daughter-in-law, Charlotte Wickham Lee, and she was here when McClellan's army began the march up the Peninsula. On May 11 the women left the White House, pinning on the front door a note: 'Northern soldiers who profess to reverence Washington, forbear to desecrate the home of his first married life, the property of his wife, now owned by her descendants.' A few days later there was penned under the note: 'Lady, a Northern officer has protected your property in sight of the enemy, and at the request of your overseer.' Though the Federal army stored supplies on the estate, General McClellan gave specific protection to the White House. None the less, in the confusion after McClellan's defeat at Gaines' Mill June 27, the White House was set afire and burned.
At 4.4 m. on County 608 is the entrance to a private dirt road; R. here 1.2 m. to POPLAR GROVE, a two-story brick house formerly L-shaped but now square with a hip roof. The house was built about 1725 by Colonel William Chamberlayne, whose son, Colonel Richard Chamberlayne, was owner in May 1758 when Colonel George Washington, attended by his body servant, Bishop, crossed the Pamunkey River by the ferry on his way to Williamsburg with dispatches. Colonel Chamberlayne, who happened to be at the landing, invited Washington to dine at his home. Acceptance of the invitation was impossible, Washington explained; the mission in Williamsburg was urgent. But when Colonel Chamberlayne promised an introduction to the `prettiest and richest widow in Virginia,' George Washington yielded. He `would dine-only dine' and by 'borrowing of the night' could be in Williamsburg the following morning. While the faithful Bishop waited, holding by the bridle the handsome charger presented by General Braddock, Washington lingered on. At sunset Colonel Chamberlayne declared that no man left his house at such an hour. So Washington stayed the night. Though he went to Williamsburg the next day, he returned to visit Martha Dandridge Custis at White House before he set forth on the expedition against the French. And by July he was able to write to her that he embraced the opportunity 'to send a few words to one whose life is now inseperable from mine. Since that happy hour when we made our pledges to each other, my thoughts have been continually going to you as to another self.'
At 30 m. on State 33 is a junction with State 155.
Right on this road to County 614, 0.9 m.; L. here 0.6 m. to a junction with County 606 and L. again 6.2 m. to HAMPSTEAD (L), a large brick house among old trees and shrubbery. It has a hip roof with a platform and a parapet balustrade. There are tall-columned porticos on both fronts and pilasters adorn the walls. Ornamentation is even more elaborate in the interior. From the great central hall, a stairway winds to an observatory.
Hampstead was built in 1820 by Conrad Webb. Among the Webbs prominent in Colonial Virginia was George Webb, author of The Office and Authority of a Justice of the Peace, published in Williamsburg in 1736 and called `Webb's Justice.'
On State 155 is ST.PETER'S CHURCH (R), 1.6 m., with its graveyard in a grove on a knoll. Though not built until 1701-03, its style is that of the low-pitched early-Colonial rectangular church, with arched windows. The arches of the huge tower rise to the level of the eaves. This tower, with porch and pyramidal steeple, was added in 1740. In 1719 a brick wall, since removed, was ordered built around the churchyard, 's'd wall . . . in all respects as well done as the Capitol wall in Williamsburg! Except for mellowness of age, St. Peter's looks much as it did in the eighteenth century. Though St. Peter's survived the Revolution, its furnishings were destroyed during the War between the States. On the walls of the chancel remain two mural tablets, the only objects approaching ornamentation. One commemorates the Reverend David Mossorn, who officiated at the marriage of George Washington; the other Colonel William Chamberlayne of Poplar Grove. Both are buried beneath the chancel. St. Peter's was the first brick church to be built in the parish and was called the 'Brick Church.' Only once in records of the Colonial era-in 1752-was it ref erred to as St. Peter's Church. St. Peter's Parish, formed in 1679 from Blissland Parish, had four churches in 1704 when St. Paul's Parish was cut from it.
Here as elsewhere the colonial vestry concerned itself with matters material as well as those spiritual-one reason for the unpopularity of the Established Church at the time of the Revolution. But the Reverend Nicholas Moreau, rector f from 1606 to 1697, wrote the Lord Bishop of Lichfield and Coventry: 'I don't like this Country at all, my Lord . . . Your clergy in these parts are of a very ill example . . . I have got in the very worst parish of Virginia and most troublesome . . . An eminent Bishop . . . sent over here . . . will make Hell tremble and settle the Church of England in these parts forever!
Of the 17 rectors that served the parish from 168o to 1789, the Reverend Mr. Mossom is the most noted-for longevity of service and irascibility of temper. He came to the Colonies in 1718, was minister at Marblehead, Mass., from 1718-26, and rector of St. Peter's Parish from 1727-67. Having a quarrel with the clerk, he threatened from the pulpit to thrash him. Undaunted, the clerk announced the hymn.
With restless and ungovem'd rage, Why do the heathen storm? Why in such rash attempts engage, As they can ne'er perform?
Bishop Meade wrote with masculine generosity: 'He was married four times and much harassed by his last wife . . . which may account for and somewhat excuse a little peevishness.'
BOTTOM'S BRIDGE, 37.6 m., is at a junction with US 60 (see Tour 8a).