Fredericksburg-Tappahannock-Saluda-Gloucester-Gloucester Point-Yorktown-Portsmouth-(Elizabeth City, N.C.). US 17. Fredericksburg to North Carolina Line, 170.7 m.
Hard-surf aced roadbed throughout, chiefly asphalt with stretches of concrete.
Norfolk Southern R.R. parallels route between Portsmouth and the North Carolina Line.
Ferry over York River and toll bridge over James River; for costs see below. Accommodations only in towns.
US 17 parallels the south bank of the Rappahannock River, crosses the lower parts of the Middle Peninsula and the Peninsula, and passes through the Dismal Swamp of the Southside, traversing the areas of early settlement.
Section a. FREDERICKSBURG to GLOUCESTER POINT; 107.5 m., US 17.
The upper part of this section of US 17 crosses a plain between the Rappahannock and a low plateau. Along the way are plantations, old villages, small farms and patches of forest. Occupations vary from farming in the upper region, with lumbering and fishing minor pursuits, to oystering, fishing, and truck-farming in the lower.
US 17 branches southeast from US I (see Tour 1b) in FREDERICKSBURG, 0 m., at the junction of Princess Anne St. and Lafayette Blvd., in union with State 2 (see Tour 1a).
Southeast of the city the highway traverses the area of HAMILTON'S CROSSING, scene of stirring activities during the Battle of Fredericksburg in December 1862 (see Tour 1b).
All that is left Of MANNSFIELD (L), 2.6 m., are the foundations and a vaulted cellar of cut stone. It was the home of Mann Page (1749-1803)When the militia assembled in this vicinity in 1775 after Governor Dunmore's removal of the gunpowder in Williamsburg, Mann Page rode to the capital without stopping, and returned at once with a letter advising against any violent action. After an animated discussion, a committee voted by a majority of one that the troops should not go to Williamsburg.
The MANNSFIELD HALL COUNTRY CLUB 3.3 m., is (L) beyond a golf course. The main part of the large two-story brick house with Ionic portico was built by William Pratt in 1805. The grounds are part of an estate of Major Lawrence Smith, who in 1676 built and commanded the fort the general assembly had authorized near the falls of the Rappahannock. The family seat here, then called Smithfield, was built by Smith's son, Major Augustine Smith, who in 1716 entertained the Knights of the Golden
Horseshoe. Upon the marriage of Richard Brooke to Ann Hay Taliaferro, who inherited it, Smithfield became a home of the Brooke family. Here was born Dr.Lawrence Brooke (c.1752-1803), surgeon on John Paul Jones's ship, the Bonhomme Richard, and his brothers, Robert Brooke (1751-99), Governor of Virginia (1794-96), and General Francis Taliaferro, Brooke (1763-1851), soldier and jurist. After Mannsfield, near by, was destroyed, its name was given to Smithfield.
At 5.7 m. is a junction with a dirt road.
Left here to the approximate SITE or NEW POST, 1 m., where Governor Alexander Spotswood (1676-1740) maintained a furnace for the manufacture of utensils from the pig iron produced at Germanna (see Tour 3b) and had headquarters for the postal service while he was deputy postmaster general of the Colonies. The large brick house later built here was the home of Spotswood's grandson, General Alexander Spotswood (1751-1818).
Colonel William Byrd, in A Progress to the Mittes, tells of visiting here in 1732:'The colonel . . . carried us directly to his air f furnace . . . The use of it is to melt his sow iron in order to cast it into sundry utensils ... which . . . can be afforded at twenty shilling a ton, and delivered at people's own homes. And, being cast from the sow iron, are much better than those which come from England.' Colonel Byrd had found Spotswood, at Germanna, 'very frank in communicating all his dear-bought experience ... For his part, he wished there were many more iron works in the country, provided the parties concerned would preserve a constant harmony among themselves' in order to be 'better able to manage the workmen and reduce their wages to what was just and reasonable.'
At 5.8 m. State 2 (see Tour 1a) branches R. and US 17 proceeds L. At 13.3 m. is a junction with a narrow lane.
Right here into the WINDSOR ESTATE, the seat of which has long since disappeared. This was the birthplace of General William Woodford (1734-80), who commanded the Virginians at the Battle of Great Bridge (see Tour 6b). The house was built in 1731-32 by his father, Major William Woodford. William Byrd, stopping here in 1732, wrote: 'We took our way . . . to major Woodford's . . . who lives upon a high hill that affords an extended prospect. On which account it is dignified with the name of Windsor. There we found Rachel Cocke, who stayed with her sister some time that she might not lose the use of her tongue in this lonely place.'
GAY MONT (R), 18.4 m. (open April 15 to Nov. 15; adm, $0.50), is approached through a tunnel of trees. The house among extensive gardens overlooks broad terraces descending toward the Rappahannock. The frame gabled roof house (1725) with a long recessed, colonnaded porch, is lengthened by one-story octagonal rooms of stuccoed brick (1798). At the rear an octagonal music room (1830) projects into the garden. Busts of several distinguished men ornament the porch. The frame part of the house, first called Rose Hill, was built by the Catlett family. The French wallpaper was hung in 1815.
At 18.9 m. is a dirt road.
Left here to the SITE OF HAZELWOOD, 0.5 m., the home of John Taylor (1754-1824), who was born at Mill Hill. Taylor here conducted experiments that led to soil improvement and crop rotation on soil impoverished by two centuries of tobacco culture. In 1817 he organized the Agricultural Society of Virginia. The county societies he encouraged resulted in 1820 in the United Agricultural Societies of Virginia. Taylor
wrote prolifically on both agricultural and political subjects and served in the United States Senate.
At 20.8 m. on US 17 is a junction with State 207.
1. Left here to PORT ROYAL, 0.5 m. (250 pop.), now merely a residential village with a few commercial establishments along unpaved shaded streets. It is connected with Port Conway on the opposite side of the river, by the JAMES MADISON MEMORIAL BRIDGE. Many of the residences, with large yards containing huge clumps of boxwood, have dormers. In a cemetery are several eighteenth-century tombstones. On one is chiseled:
'Beneath this humble stone a youth doth lie, Most too good to live too young to dye Count his few years, how short the scanty span, But count his virtues and he dyed a Man.'
Port Royal was constituted a town in 1744. It traded directly with Old World ports until the building of railroads rerouted the flow of commerce. Such was its importance that it was able to make a strong bid for selection as the seat of the Federal Government.
2. Right from US 17 on State 207 to the GARRETT HOUSE (R), 2.2 m., now in ruins. Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, and his accomplice, Herold, after crossing the Potomac River, the Northern Neck, and the Rappahannock River, took refuge in a barn here and were discovered by cavalrymen on April 26, 1865. Herold surrendered. When Booth refused to do so, the soldiers fired the barn and sent several shots into it. Taken out fatally wounded, Booth died on the porch of the residence.
VATTTER'S CHURCH (L), 30.6 m. (open 10-11 and 3-4), partly covered by English ivy amid old oaks and walnuts, is a simple T-shaped building. The rectangle was built in 1719 and the south transept in 1731. The brick walls above a high water table are laid in Flemish bond, with the patterns emphasized by unusual black glazed headers. The two small windows above each door light a gallery.
The chancel in the east end, raised one step above stone-paved aisles, has modern equipment, but against the north wall stands the Colonial reading desk and high pulpit, reached by a stairway. The tops of the original box pews, with benches of uncompromising rigidity and clanging doors that announced the arrival or retirement of the occupants, have been cut down. A communion service that was presented to the parish by Queen Anne is preserved here.
Vauter's was the Upper Church of St.Anne's Parish, formed in 1704. The Reverend Robert Rose, rector from 1725 to 1746, was `a kind of universal genius.' 'His journal mentions all his visits,' said Bishop Meade, '. . . sometimes preaching, sometimes marrying, at other times baptizing . . . He once visited Western Virginia . . . sleeping out at nights in cold weather and drinking, as he records, wretched whiskey for want of something better . . . We find him repeatedly at Williamsburg . . . dining or suppering with the Governor and Council . . . Now he is in the house reading Cicero's Orations, now on the farm engaged in all kinds of employment, now at his neighbours' instructing them in various operations. Now he writes . . . a recipe for the best mode of curing tobacco
. . . He speaks of turning away an overseer for getting drunk . . . and yet . . . he brings home with him rum and wine and other necessaries.'"
At 38.3 m. is a junction with County 631.
Right here to FONTHILL (R), 1.9 m., built about 1835. This was the home of Robert Mercer Taliaferro Hunter (1809-87), who served in both houses of Congress, was Speaker of the House for one term, declined the post of U.S. Secretary of State but served as Secretary of State for the Confederacy and then as a member and president pro tempore of the Confederate Senate.
CARET, 41.2 m., is near an early seat of the Old Rappahannock County, which was cut from Lancaster County in 1656 and, extending westward indefinitely, had two seats, the one here for the 'South Side.' It ceased to exist in 1692. Here Thomas and Benjamin Goodrich were ordered to appear in 1676 with halters around their necks to express penitence for participating in Bacon's Rebellion. The men, wearing strings around their necks, obeyed the order symbolically rather than literally.
Left from Caret on County 624 to a private road, 0.6 m.; L. here to BLANDFIELD, 2.1 m., which stands on the ridge among a tangle of old trees. The front of the building, a central rectangle connected by shed-roofed passages to the smaller wings set forward, faces a rose garden in a wide forecourt. Beneath a hip-on-hip roof with four tall chimneys at the corners, the river front, like the garden front which it closely resembles, is broken by a slightly projecting pavilion with a pediment. On both fronts are neo-classic porches added in 1854. The most striking feature is the design of the flat arches over the openings, very deep brick arches with a splay of 45 degrees.
Before 1750 William Beverley (1698-1756), son of Robert Beverley, the historian, and grandson of Robert Beverley, the immigrant (see below), built Blandfield, which he named for his wife, Elizabeth Bland. He acquired this large plantation about 1730.
Blandfield was stripped of its fine paneling when the porches were added seven years before the War between the States. During the war much of the furniture and all the portraits were taken away by Union soldiers.
In TAPPAHANNOCK, 48 m. (427 pop.), seat of Essex County, old and new houses look across the broad waters of the Rappahannock River from the dense foliage of large and beautiful trees. Since the Downing Bridge was built in 1927 the town has become one of two gateways to the once isolated Northern Neck; its old hotel among weeping willows by the river is notable for its soft shell crabs and shad.
Tappahannock (Ind., On the Rising Water) was constituted a town in 1680 when the general assembly, considering 'the greate necessity, usefullnesse, and advantage of cohabitation,' directed that 19 towns be established, one for each county. Everything went well until Charles II in 1681 vetoed the act 'for cohabitation and . . . trade and manufacture,' because planters objected violently to the provision that they should ship their tobacco only from the towns and only during stipulated periods. But in 1691, after William and Mary had ascended the throne, the towns were again made ports of entry-one 'ffor Rappahannock County at Hobs his hole . . . where the Court house, severall dwelling houses, and ware houses are) already built.' But in 1693 the general assembly, grown bolder, itself suspended the ports act. In 1705, after Anne had become
Queen, ports were again constituted, this time only 16 but among them Hobbs' Hole, then renamed Tappahannock .
Tappahannock prospered. When created in 1680, it had been made the seat of Rappahannock County, and in 1692 after the old county was divided to form Essex and Richmond Counties it became the seat of Essex. Though the town was formally named, Washington, stopping here in 1752, referred to it as 'Hobs Hole.' A century and a half ago ships went hence to the remotest parts of the world and the town was something of a social center. But its importance declined after the construction of railroads. It was shelled in December 1814 by the British navy, under orders of Admiral Cockburn.
The ESSEX COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a large rectangle of brick with white columned-portico and a cupola, was erected in 1848. In the Clerk's Office are the records of Old Rappahannock County, as well as those of Essex County. They show that in 1688, when the birth of a Prince of Wales was celebrated, the court ordered 'as much Rum and other strong liquor with Sugar proportionable' as should amount to 10,000 pounds of tobacco distributed 'amongst the Troops of horse, company of foot' and other persons 'at the solemnitie.' Other records tell of a woman indicted for swearing 'seventy-five oaths,' and of another whipped for wearing Governor Spotswood's clothes.
The OLD COURTHOUSE, on the green and now part of a church, was built in 1728.
The OLD CLERK'S OFFICE, a small brick house built before 175o and used after 1848 as a jail, is now a club.
The small brick DEBTORS' PRISON, now an office, was once the clerk's office. It became the last debtors' prison, succeeding one the court pronounced 'too foul for human beings.'
The story-and-a-half brick RITCHIE HOUSE, with dormers and outside chimneys-the remaining unit of three-was the birthplace of Thomas Ritchie (1778-1854), founder and for 40 years editor of the Richmond Enquirer. It was built about 1750 by Ritchie's father, Archibald Ritchie, a Scot who became a wealthy Virginia merchant. Though Thomas Ritchie was accused of being the 'son of a Scotch Tory,' records show that Archibald furnished gunpowder free to the patriots during the Revolution and later two sons for the American army.
ST.MARGARET'S SCHOOL, on a shaded campus by the river, is a preparatory school for girls, conducted by the Protestant Episcopal Diocese of Virginia. One of the buildings, the large frame BROCKENBROUGH HOUSE, was erected before the Revolution. A distinctive feature is the large projecting vestibule with a door flanked by narrow windows and surmounted by a fanlight. A triglyphed frieze beneath the cornice follows the roof line and is repeated in the heading above the windows to form an incomplete pediment. The house was built by Dr.John Brockenbrough.
Tappahannock is at a junction with US 360 (see Tour 20a), which is united with US 17 to a junction at 50.4 m.
GLEBE LANDING CHURCH (R), 65 m., is of brick, built in 1839 with gabled roof and a loggia gracefully arched. A former building stood by a
landing on a parish glebe. The Baptist congregation here was constituted in 1772 as the result of the preaching of the Reverend John Waller (see Tour 1b).
SALUDA, 77.5 m. (150 pop.), spreads along three roads and has changed little since 1852 when it became the seat of Middlesex County. The COURTHOUSE, a nondescript red brick building, has had several additions since the first part was erected to replace a courthouse burned during the War between the States. The Clerk's Office contains records that date from 1673. When the courthouse was burned, the early records were saved by the clerk, who hid them in a barn on an island in Dragon Run. Middlesex County was erected in 1668 out of part of Lancaster. The early history of the county is interwoven with the record of Robert Beverley, who settled here in 1663. Beverley was a supporter of Governor Berkeley in the rebellion of 1676, but later resisted unjust rule by royal authority and, as champion of the people, figured prominently in the Tobacco Rebellion of 1682.
The second Robert Beverley (1673-1722), in 1705 published his History and Present State of Virginia, which included an unbiased account of his father's career. The work has survived for two centuries, because of its originality, shrewd observations, and humorous comments.
Andrew Jackson Montague (1862-1937), governor of Virginia (1902-06) and a congressman (1913-37), was at one time a resident of Saluda. He did much to advance the public schools of Virginia, was a student of foreign affairs, and represented America at two international conferences.
Left from Saluda on State 33 to State 227, 2.1 m.; L. here 1.6 m. to ROSEGILL (R), on a 30-acre lawn. The long, many-windowed building has one brick and one frame story beneath a gabled roof. The white walls are accented by numerous green shutters. Several dependencies are survivors of 'at least 20 houses scattered along a charming plateau above the Rappahannock River,' as wrote a M. Durand, a Huguenot refugee visiting Virginia after a shipwreck in 1686.
Ralph Wormeley patented this estate in 1649 and began to build that year. Rosegill contained a chapel, picture gallery, large library, and 30 guest-chambers. One immense attic-room provided 14 beds for bachelor guests. The present main house contains part of the first. Two governors-Sir Henry Chicheley and Lord Francis Howard-lived here, and Rosegill was once temporary seat off the colony. In 1667 Sir Henry married Wormeley's widow and he resided here until his death in 1682. Telling of a visit in the time of the second Ralph Wormeley (1650-1703), councillor and later secretary of the colony, Durand wrote: 'The Council met during this time,' and he expressed surprise that the councillors were not robed, but 'sit officially in their boots and swords.'
'What persuaded me,' he said, 'that there is plenty of money among the people of quality in this country is that after supper they sat down to cards; and it was near midnight when Milor Parker, seeing that I was nodding, urged me to retire, "for," as he said, "it is possible we may be here all night; " and, in fact, I found them next morning still at play, and saw that Milor Parker had gained a hundred pieces of eight.' Bacon's Rebellion, only ten years before, had been caused by the intense poverty of the small land holders near by.
State 227 continues to URBANNA, 2.6 m. (432 pop.), on high ground above the Rappahannock. The town, created port for Middlesex County by the Act of 1680, was named in 1705 `City of Anne' to honor the Queen. Soon after its establishment it was made the county seat.
EPIPHANY CHAPEL, a low-pitched brick building with flanking wings, was built in the early eighteenth century as the courthouse of Middlesex County. In 1852 it was
converted into a chapel. It was in this building that several itinerant Baptist ministers were tried and sentenced for preaching without license.
The old brick CUSTOM HOUSE is now a residence.
State 227 runs northwest and becomes County 602; at 3.3 in. from State 33 is HEWICK (R), T-shaped with brick walls laid in Flemish bond. The stein was built about 1678 by Christopher Robinson (1645-93), who arrived in Virginia about 1666, became a member of the Council in 1691, and was one of the first 'visitors and governors' of the College of William and Mary. His grandson, Speaker John Robinson, was born herein 1704.
REMLIK (R), 5.2 m., is a training station for race horses, maintained by Willis Sharpe Kilmer, owner of Sun Beau and Exterminator.
On State 33 is CHRIST CHURCH (L), 3.3 in., the 'mother Church' of Christ Church Parish, in a shaded and tomb-studded churchyard. Built in 1712-14, restored in the 1900's after it had been long neglected, it is low-pitched and has compass windows. Above the west entrance is a round window. The vestibule is a later addition. Part of an early communion set is still used here. The first church was erected in 1665-66 in accordance with an agreement to build a 'Mother Church . . . according to ye Modell of ye Middle-plantation Church' (at present Williamsburg). Governor Henry Chicheley, who died in 1682, is buried under the chancel.
In 1711 William Churchill left t money from which the interest should pay the rector 'for preaching four quarterly sermons yearly against the four reigning vices, . . . atheism and irreligion, swearing and cursing, fornication and adultery, and drunkenness.' This he would have `done forever.'
CHRIST CHURCH SCHOOL, adjoining the churchyard, is a preparatory school for about 50 boys, conducted by the Protestant Episcopal Diocese.
HARMONY VILLAGE, 7.3 m,, is at a junction with County 621; L. here 3.1 m. to County 640; L. to GREY'S POINT, 4.1 m., terminus of IRVINGTON-GREY'S POINT FERRIES (about every two hys., car and driver $1, each passenger $0.25).
On State 33 is the METHODIST LOWER CHAPEL (R), 9.8 m., a small building with thick walls. Its gabled roof has hipped ends and a `kick-out.' Within is the table-tomb of Mary, first wife of Robert Beverley. The little building, erected in 1717, was a chapel of ease in Christ Church Parish. After the Revolution it was used by other denominations.
On State 33 at 10.9 m. is a junction with State 225; R. here 2 m. to WILTON (R), a chunky T-shaped brick house with a gambrel roof and dormers. Wilton was built by William Churchill in 1762.
GLENNS, 80.7 m., is at a junction with State 33 (see Tour 16A).
MT.PRODIGAL (L), 85.2 m., is a story-and-a-half brick house with thick walls, tall chimneys, and dormers on a steep roof. Charles Roane built the house in the latter half of the seventeenth century.
At 88.9 m. is (L) the SITE OF POPLAR SPRING CHURCH, a once richly decorated church of Petsworth Parish, begun in 1723, completed after 1751, and destroyed about 1850. When Nathaniel Bacon died in this vicinity in 1676, his men, after secretly burying the body, interred a casket filled with stones in the yard of a former church on this site.
At 89.4 m. is a junction with County 615.
Right here to County 613, 03 m., and R. 0.7 m. to County 612; R. here 0.4 m. to MARLFIELD (L), a T-shaped brick house built about 1732 and now falling into ruins. Here was the home of John Buckner, who brought the first printing press into Virginia. In 1682 he was reproved by Governor Culpeper f or printing the laws of 1680 Without a license and, with his partner, William Nuthead, was required to give bond not to do any further printing `until his Majestys pleasure should be known.'
On County 613 at 3.1 m. is a junction with County 614 and County 669; straight ,ahead on County 669 to PURTON, 5 m., a large, square brick house, erected before the Revolution, with two chimneys at one of its gabled ends.
The estate, patented in 1661 by Anne Corderoy Bernard, widow of Richard Bernard, was one of several managed by this astute business woman. The crisp courtesy of a letter she wrote in 1653 to Colonel Walter Brodburst, who represented her in West morelarid County, reveals her characteristics: 'I give you many thanks for your care
of my business. I cannot resolve of my comeing to Potomac myselfe till ye return of ye shipps . . . In what charge you are at in my businesses these lines shall oblige me to
pay & your love & care I shall ever study ye best way of returning.'
In 1663 an indentured servant at Purton, one Berkenhead, exposed a conspiracy of
servants and prevented an insurrection. The general assembly 'resolved that Berkenhead-the discoverer of the horrid plot-have his freedom and 5,000 pounds of tobacco . . . that his master be satisfied . . . for his time,' and that September 13,
the date fixed for the uprising, 'be annually kept holy.' The incident was the basis of
Mary Johnston's novel, Prisoners of Hope.
GLOUCESTER, 94.2 m. (300 pop.), elm-shaded and leisurely, is the seat of Gloucester County. Its main street divides into one-way thoroughfares around the walled court-square. The number of business establishmerits in the small town indicates that Gloucester is the financial and commercial center of the county.
In 1769, the general assembly, having been assured that a town 'on the lands of John Fox, gentleman, adjoining the lands whereon the Court house . . . is erected . . . will be advantageous,' directed the laying off of 'sixty acres . . . into lots and streets' and constituted 'Gloucester Court House `a town by the name of Botetourt town'-a name that was never popular.
The GLOUCESTER COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a brick building with a hip roof and columned portico, was erected in 1766, the portico at a later date. In the court room are the usual portraits of prominent native sons and a tablet characterizing Nathaniel Bacon, leader in the rebellion of 1676, as 'soldier, statesman, and saint.' Gloucester County was formed in 1651 from York.
The small, brick DEBTORS' PRISON, adjoining the courthouse, was built before 1750 and equipped as prescribed, 'with iron-barred windows' and door 'secured with good locks and bars of iron.'
The CLERK'S OFFICE, erected about 1890, contains records dating chiefly from the 1860's. The early records were destroyed during a fire in 1820 and those covering the period from 1820 to 1860, taken to Richmond during the War between the States, were burned when the capital was evacuated. The OLD CLERK'S OFFICE, a small brick house, was built in 1821. Dr.John Clayton (c. 1685-1773) long served the county as a clerk. He accompanied his father, John Clayton, attorney-general of the colony, to Virginia in 1705. He corresponded with Karl von Linne, the noted Swedish botanist, and traveled all over Virginia in search of plants, which he described with laborious detail. From Clayton's name and work is derived Claylonia, a genus of low herbs. In 1748 and in 1762 editions of Flora Virginica, Clayton's scholarly work in Latin, classifying Virginia plants, were published at Leyden University.
The MASONIC HALL, a two-story frame building with a hip roof and tower, is the home of Botetourt Lodge, No.7, formed in 1757 and chartered in 1773.
HOTEL BOTETOURT, a long building, part frame and part brick, incorporates an inn built about the time Gloucester became the county seat.
LONG BRIDGE ORDINARY, a frame building, now a club, was built prior to 1730 and was a post station.
1. Right from Gloucester on County 616 to WALTER REED'S BIRTHPLACE (R), 3.9m., a one-room house restored as a memorial. Walter Reed (1851-1902), the physician who discovered the cause of yellow fever, was born here not long after a fire had forced his parents from the Methodist parsonage, their home.
2. Left from Gloucester on State 14, which circles eastward across the headwaters of North River, then turns southward through the low-lying peninsula almost surrounded by Chesapeake Bay and its tidal estuaries.
WARE CHURCH (R), 1 m., within a brick-walled enclosure, is a large rectangular structure with steep gabled roof and walls three feet thick. Two large round arched windows light the chancel and five others are in the side walls. The church, built about 1700, has a door in both north and south walls. Before the chancel, but now covered by flooring, are table-tombs. The communion service is part of a set presented to Poplar Spring Church (see above) by Augustine Warner before 1681.
Ware Parish was constituted between 1652 and 1654. The Reverend Alexander Murray, who was with Charles II at the Battle of Worcesterin 1652 and was the king's companion during his subsequent wandering, arrived in Virginia in 1653 arid served here as rector until 1672.
ELMINGTON (R), 2.8 m., is a brick house with a high-columned portico. Thomas Dixon was living here when he wrote The Clansman and The Leopard's Spots (see Literature). The fields of the estate are now used for the culture of narcissus bulbs.
TODDSBURY (R), 3.3 m., is a brick house among broadnut, elm, and willow oak trees on a great lawn extending to the North River. To the T-shaped structure with steeply curbed roofs and nearly flush dormers has been added a porch with an enclosed second floor. The house is notable for its beautifully paneled rooms, for the cornice and staircase in the wide hall, and deep window recesses with round arches flanking the chimney in the dining room.
The estate was patented by Thomas Todd in 1665 and at least part of the house was probably built soon afterwards. The interior woodwork, however, could not have been done until sometime after 1700.
At 14 m. is a junction with State 198; L. here 1 m. to State 223, and R. 2.3 m. to CRICKET HILL, a landing place on Milford Haven, an arm of the bay. A free ferry plies between the mainland and GWYNN'S ISLAND, which was named for Hugh Gwynn, one of the first two representatives from Gloucester County in the house of burgesses. Its people are engaged principally in the sea food industries.
On Gwynn's Island Lord Dunmore made his last stand against the Virginia patriots. After having been driven f from Portsmouth, he came here with his fleet, boasting that he would drive 'the crickets' away. But the Virginia forces erected a battery on Cricket Hill and opened fire upon the British fleet-and Dunmore sailed away.
State 198 continues to County 63 1, 5.4 m.; R. here 0.9 m. to HESSE (R), a brick house with a f rame wing. The fine interior paneling has been removed. Judith, the daughter of Colonel John Armistead, who settled here before 1676 and built the house, was the first wife of Robert (King) Carter (see Tour 16 b).
MATHEWS, 16.2 m. (450 pop.), seat of Mathews County, is scattered along State 14. It began as a landing at the head of East River and became the county seat with the formation of the county in 1790.
The COURTHOUSE, a T-shaped building of brick, with dormers, was erected during the nineteenth century. Near by is the old square jail, now used as the sheriff's office, Mathews County was formed from Gloucester and named for General Thomas Mathews. The cultivation of narcissus bulbs on a commercial scale makes the county in early spring a veritable flower garden.
At 17.9 m. is a junction with County 614; R, here 0.5 m. to (R) CHRIST CHURCH Of Kingston Parish, a simple brick rectangle built in 1840-43, gutted by fire about 1900,
but later restored. The GRAVE OF CAPTAIN SALLY TOMPKINS (see below) is in the
churchyard. The parish was formed about 1655.
On State 14 is POPLAR GROVE (R), 18.5 m., a large rambling frame house with a tall portico and many other additions. It was the home of John Patterson, whose grand-daughter, Captain Sally Tompkins, was born here in 1833. At her own expense and with help from friends, she conducted Robinson Hospital in Richmond during the
War between the States. President Jefferson Davis commissioned her a captain in the Confederate Cavalry.
The TIDE MILL on the estate has a huge wheel that turns one way when the tide rushes into the cove and the other way when it goes out.
BAYSIDE, 25.2 m., has a mile-long pier on Mobjack Bay, where fishermen land their catches.
Offshore here is NEW POINT COMFORT, an island where live oak and pine trees grow among sand dunes along a three-mile beach. Hunting and fishing grounds are excellent.
The GLEBE HOUSE (R), 97.7 m., a T-shaped brick building with dormers and wings, was built before 1724. Here ministers lived until the glebe was confiscated in 1802.
At 100.2 m. is a junction with County 614.
Right here to County 632, 2.8 m.; L. to a lane, 4 m., and L. again to ROSEWELL, 4.8 m., thrusting upward vast, empty walls among the trees on a wide lawn by the York River. In spite of the fire that gutted them, the gigantic walls laid in Flemish bond present a fine specimen of brickwork of the Colonial period.
The land was left in 1602 by John Page to his son Matthew (1659-1703), whose tomb stands here beside that of Mann Page (1691-1730), only son of Matthew and Mary Mann Page. Construction was begunin 1725 by Mann Page, but when he died in 1730 the house was unfinished, though a great part of the combined Page and Mann fortunes had been spent on the work. Bishop Meade in his Old Churches, Ministers and Families of Virginia commented that the building of Rosewell caused the Pages to sink deep into debt. The central part of the house contained 23 rooms, 3 wide halls, and 9 minor passageways and the wings contained 6 rooms each. The wainscoting was carved mahogany, and the staircase was wide enough to accommodate eight persons walking abreast. In 1916 the mansion was destroyed by fire.
John Page (1744-1808), son of Mann Page 11, was the only member of the Council who refused in 1775 to censure Patrick Henry for his warlike attitude toward Governor Dunmore. He was a member of Congress from 1789 to 1797 and governor of Virginia, 1802-05.
At 100.5 m. on US 17 is a junction with County 614.
Left here to County 658, 2.5 m. and R. to WARNER HALL (R) 3.8 m., approached between rows of elms. The frame house, two-and-a-half stories with a portico, is the third on this site. The other two were destroyed by fire, the first about 1740, the second in 1849. Only the original brick dependencies remain.
Part of the estate was patented in 1642 by Augustine Warner (1610-74), who left it to his son Augustine (1642-81), speaker of the house of burgesses at the time of Bacon's Rebellion.
Warner's daughter Mildred, married here in 1690 to Lawrence Washington, became a grandmother of George Washington. After Lawrence Washington's death in 1698, she married George Gale, went to England on a business trip, died there in 1701, and was buried at the Church of St. Nicholas, Whitchaven, England. Her sister Elizabeth who inherited Warner Hall, married John Lewis. Another John Lewis, father of Colonel Fielding Lewis (see Fredericksburg), became step-father of Councillor Robert Carter (see Tour 16A), who passed his childhood here.
In the cemetery are tombs of the Lewises, also those of the two Warriers.
ABINGDON CHURCH (L), 101 m., in a walnut grove and surrounded by a brick wall, was built in 1754-55. Cruciform in plan, with walls two feet thick laid in Flemish bond, the building has oval-topped windows and above each of three doors a graceful segmentally-arched pediment in molded brick.
Though the interior has been modernized in some respects, the galleries retain their high-backed pews. Back of the chancel is a pentagonal reredos 20 feet high, depicting the facade of a Greek temple. A handsome communion set presented to the parish in 1703 by Major Lewis Burwell is still used. During the War between the States Federal troops used the boxed pews as stalls for their horses.
At 103.9 m. is a junction with County 639.
Right here to County 638, 0.6 m.; straight ahead on an unmarked road to a junction; L. here to another junction and R. to POWHATAN'S CHIMNEY, 1.3 m., marking what is believed to have been Werowocomoco, chief village of the Chief Powhatan. The chimney, constructed of marl, belonged, according to tradition, to a house the colonists built for the chief. It tumbled down about 1915 but was later painstakingly restored.
When Captain John Smith was captured by Indians in 1607 (see Tour 8a), he was led from village to village and finally to Werowocomoco, where he was rescued by Pocahontas. Later, Captain Smith and Captain Newport visited Powhatan and with a few glass beads procured supplies for the starving colonists at Jamestown. In 1608 James I directed that Powhatan be crowned. When Smith came here with a party to invite Powhatan to Jamestown for the coronation, the chief was away; so the women of his court entertained the visitors. Said Smith: 'In a fayre plaine field they made a fire . . . suddainly amongst the woods was heard . . . a hydeous noise and shreeking . . . thirtie young women came naked out of the woods, onely covered behind and before with a few greene leaves, their bodies all painted . . . These fiends with most hellish shouts and cryes, rushing from among the trees, cast themselves in a ring about the fire, singing and dauncing with most excellent ill varietie . . .'
Powhatan refused to go to Jamestown; so the coronation was held here. The English came again for supplies, but this time King Powhatan refused to exchange corn for glass beads and copper kettles. He demanded a white man's house.
HAYES' STORE, 105 m., formerly called. the 'Hook,' is the scene of Colonel Banastre Tarleton's last engagement during the Revolution. On October 3, 1781, he was attacked here by Virginia militia and French cavalry and forced to Gloucester Point, where he was trapped until after Cornwallis's surrender.
Left from the hamlet State 216 traverses low-lying Guinea Peninsula, between the York and Severn Rivers. The people of this section, descendants of early settlers, have retained many old customs and ancient English words. Since only a dozen or more surnames are borne by the residents, it is necessary often, even in court records, to designate them by such terms as 'Fred's Tom' or 'Kate's Mary.' A majority engage in sea food industries.
At 2.8 m. on State 216 is a junction with County 643; R. here to County 642, 3.5 m., and R. again to LITTLE ENGLAND, 4.5 m., a tall well-preserved brick house commanding an extensive view of the York River. Built about 1714 by John Perrin, the rectangular house has small dormers and formal rooms paneled full-length at their ends. In the central hall is a 'swinging stair.'
GLOUCESTER POINT, 107.5 m., on the York River, once a Colonial port, is now chiefly a ferry terminal (see Tour 6b).
First named Tindall's Point, then Gloucester Town, it was one of the towns authorized in 1680. The site was patented by Argall Yeardley in 1640 and was named for Robert Tindall, who made a map of the area in 1608. When, in 1667, the general assembly directed that a fort 'bee built in each river,' one was erected here 'within command of which . . . all ships trading ... . may conveniently and in all probability securely ride and load.' just after Nathaniel Bacon's followers burned Jamestown in 1676, Governor Berkeley conducted courts-martial aboard a ship off Tindall's Point.
The place figured in the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, in the War of 1812, the War between the States, and the World War-in the last, when the Atlantic Fleet of the U.S. Navy used the adjacent waters as an anchorage.
Section b. GLOUCESTER POINT to NORTH CAROLINA LINE; 63.2 m. US 17
This section of US 17 crosses the Peninsula and the James River and traverses the edge of the Dismal Swamp. North of the James are small truck farms, dairies, and nurseries; southward grow peanuts, hogs, and cotton. The highway touches areas where Virginia's earliest history was made, where the Revolution was brought to its close, and where troops struggled in the Peninsular Campaign of 1862.
Ferries from Gloucester Point cross the York River (every half-hour on the quarter-hour and three-quarter-hour; car and driver $0.50, each passenger $0.15).
YORKTOWN, 0 m. (300 pop.), spread along a 50-foot bluff on the south
of the river, is the seat of York County and is in the Colonial National Historical Park. Main Street, bisected by streets only two or three blocks
long, parallels the river. Frame houses and brick houses mingle, some Colonial, some more modem. The older, with trees and boxwood hedges
softening the contours, look fresh since their restoration.
Before 1630, though the settlers had gone nearly to the falls of the
James to found Henricopolis and across the Chesapeake Bay to occupy `ye kingdom of Accomacke,' none had yet settled the shores of the York. In that year land was offered to all persons who 'should adventure or be
adventured to seate and inhabit on the southern side' of the river 'formerly known by ye Indyan name of Chiskiacke, as a reward and encour-
agement for this their undertakeing.' Whereupon, houses were built at Chiskiacke, west of present Yorktown, and at 'York,' at the mouth of Wormeley's Creek, three miles east of the present village. Meanwhile, Captain Nicholas Martiau, a French engineer employed by the colony, had patented land embracing the site of Yorktown. When, in 1680, the general assembly authorized the establishment of 10 ports, it directed
that one be here, between the two settlements. The town at once assumed importance.
During May and June 1781 Lord Cornwallis led campaigns north and west of Richmond, opposed by La Fayette. When Wayne and his Pennsylvania troops joined La Fayette's Continentals northwest of Richmond,
Cornwallis turned eastward, pursued by La Fayette and Wayne. After several skirmishes in the Peninsula, he crossed to Portsmouth but decided to fortify Yorktown as a base for contact with the British fleet and brought his army here by water.
Washington and Rochambeau combined forces and joined La Fayette at Williamsburg. Meanwhile, Comte de Grasse, sailing his French fleet from the West Indies, met the British fleet outside the capes and forced it to retire. By September 29 the American and French forces had surrounded Yorktown, making the British surrender inevitable.
The land forces had dug trenches and fortified themselves. The shelling began on October 9. On October 16, Cornwallis attempted to cross the York River, but was prevented by a storm. The next day the British commander asked for a parley and on October 19, the English marched out between the American and French forces, laying down their arms while the band played 'The World Turned Upside Down.' Though a great many troops were involved in the siege, casualties were few.
In 1814 Yorktown, garrisoned by the militia, was threatened by a British fleet. In April 1862 the Confederates under General John B. Magruder fortified the town. After they were forced out, Federal forces under command of General George B. McClellan moved in. The U.S. Navy established a base here in 1917.
The YORK COUNTY COURTHOUSE, a two-story brick structure, was built in 1875 to replace the building destroyed in 1862 by the explosion of Federal munitions stored in it. The county was formed in 1634 when a wide area on both sides of the river was made into Charles River County. In 1642 the name of both river and county was changed to York to honor James, Duke of York and son of Charles I. Other counties were subsequently formed from it.
The CLERK'S OFFICE (1875), a long, low, plastered brick building beside the courthouse, contains records that date from 1633, before the county was formed, and constitute one of the most nearly complete sets in Virginia. Archaic script shows that court was held from place to place until 1691, when it was held'upon Mr. Benjamin Reade's.' Apparently, the superior station of the gentry was maintained with the help of the court, for, when James Bullock, a tailor, ran his mare with a horse belonging to Dr.Matthew Slader for a high wager, he was fined and horseracing was declared 'a sport for gentlemen only.'
The LIGHTFOOT HOUSE (headquarters of Colonial National Historical Park; free guide service for area), a small brick building with a porch, was built in 1710. Philip Lightfoot (see Tour 24) purchased and made it his home in 1716.
The SWAN TAVERN, with kitchen, smokehouse, and stable in the yard, is a frame building with dormers on the gabled roof, which has hipped ends. The first tavern on the site, built in 1719-20, was destroyed in 1862 by the explosion of a powder magazine. A tavern built about 1880 was burned in 1915. The present one, a reconstruction, was erected in 1934. The kitchen and stable contain relics.
Rectangular GRACE CHURCH, with a cupola and carved doorway-late
additions-was built in 1697. The walls, of local marl, have been hardened by the fires that have gutted the building. Though the furniture was acquired in 1928, the communion set was presented by Nathaniel Bacon,Sr., in 1649 to 'Hampton Parish in Yorke County, Virginia,' and was used in Hampton Church (see below) until this church was built. The bell, inscribed 'Yorktown, Virginia, 1725,' was broken when the church was burned during the War of 1812. It was taken away by Federal soldiers in 1865, found in Philadelphia, recast, and returned in 1889.
In the churchyard are the tombs of Thomas Nelson (1677-1745), a baroque saracophagus with the Nelson arms; of William Nelson (1711-72); and of General Thomas Nelson (1738-89)-father, son, and grandson.
Grace Church-the Colonial York-Hampton Church-was originally
I T-shaped. The interior has been burned twice, once during the Revolution w en the church was used by the British as a magazine, and again in 1841. When it was used for military purposes during the 186o's, a signal tower was erected on its roof.
The CUSTOM HOUSE (adm. $0.25), a two-story building of brick with hipped roof, turns a plain end to Main Street and faces a brick-walled enclosure. It was built in 1706 and restored in 1929. Edward Ambler, collector of revenues, was among those who participated in Virginia's 'tea party' on November 3, 1774, when residents of the town boarded the Virginia and dumped overboard two half-chests of tea.
The NELSON HOUSE or York Hall (open April 1 to Nov. I; adm. to house $0.75, to garden $0.50, to both $1), in a brick-walled garden, lifts a bulky rectangle of brick two stories to a deep cornice and a broad gabled roof. It has large dormers along the front, and two massive chimneys with heavily molded tops. The light stone corner quoins and unusually tall keystones in the deep segmental arches of brick over the windows add interest. There is considerable variety in the size and arrangement of the fully paneled rooms. The drawing room, off the paved transverse hall, has engaged columns to frame the openings.
The mansion was built in 1740-41 by William Nelson (1711-72), president of the Council, who was the father of Thomas Nelson (1738-89), later a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and Governor of Virginia. While Cornwallis occupied the house during the siege of 1781, General Nelson directed a cannonade against his own home; a ball is still embedded in one wall.
The one-story SHEILD HOUSE (Adm. $0.25), on a high basement, lifts walls of large brick to a gabled roof with clipped ends. Outside chimneys and five dormers give character to the structure, which was built by Thomas Sessions about 1699.
The YORKTOWN MONUMENT, rising 95 feet above a green, is an elaborate and symbolically ornamented column of white marble bearing a figure of Liberty with arms outstretched. Though in 1781 Congress resolved to erect a marble column here, 'adorned with emblems of the alliance between the United States and His Most Christian Majesty (France) . . .' a century elapsed before another Congress provided the necessary money for it.
YORKTOWN BEACH (bath houses $0.25, Suits $0.25), east of the ferrylanding, is of hard-packed sand and shelves rather quickly to deep water.
YORKTOWN GOLF COURSE (greensfee $1), administered by the National Park Service, is an 18-hole course.
1. Left from Yorktown on State 170 to the MOORE HOUSE (adm. $0.25,13m., a compact frame building with steeply curbed hip roof and outside chimneys. Here representatives of General Washington and Lord Cornwallis met October 18, 1781, and arranged the terms of the British capitulation. The restored house is believed to have been built before 1750; during the Revolution, it was the home of Anne Moore, widow of Daniel Moore.
2. Right from Yorktown on the landscaped Colonial National Parkway to WILLIAMSBURG, 13 m. (see Williamsburg).
South of Yorktown white-painted signs along US 17 mark points of interest.
At 8.9 m. is a junction with State 27.
Left here to County 600, 2 m., and R. 0. 7 m. to an artificial lake, approximately the
center of the BATTLEFIELD OF BIG BETHEL. On June 10, 1861, a force of 5,000 men, sent to seize two Confederate outposts, fought here for two hours to dislodge the 11,400 defenders, then withdrew to Hampton. Losses were slight on each side.
On State 27 at 4.1 m. is a junction with State 172; L. here 0.6 m. to the SITE OF CHESTERVILLE (R), heaps of bricks in a grove. This was the birthplace of George Wythe (1726-1806), first American professor of law (see Williamsburg). His father, Thomas Wythe, belonged to the landed gentry. His mother, Margaret Walker, was the daughter of George Walker, of merchant stock, and of Ann Keith, a woman with stamina not only to hold to the faith that was in her but also to resist, with frequent recourse to the council, her husband's interference with the religious training of her children. Margaret Walker Wythe was her son's first teacher.
MORRISON, 15.2 m., is at a junction with US 60 (see Tour 8a), with which US 17 unites for 2.5 miles.
US 17 crosses the JAMES RIVER BRIDGE, 20.5 m., one of three bridges in this section (toll for this bridge alone or for all 3: car and driver $0.80, round trip $1; extra passenger $0.20, round trip $0.30). The bridge, 4-5 miles long and completed in 1928, is of the lift-span type. The span rises 147 feet above the river, the towers 200 feet.
At 25.3 m. is a junction with an extension of US 17.
Right on the cross link to State 10 (see Tour 19), 3 m.
At 28 m. is CHUCKATUCK CREEK BRIDGE (car and driver $0.20, round trip $0.30; each passenger $1, round trip $0.15).
The NANSEMOND RIVER BRIDGE is crossed at 30.4 m. (toll same as for Chuckatuck Bridge).
PORTSMOUTH, 42.6 m. (11-12 alt., 45,704 pop.) (see Portsmouth).
DEEP CREEK, 49.7 m., at the edge of the Dismal Swamp, was long a stagecoach stop and a shipping point for lumber.
The Dismal Swamp is a wilderness in which, through the centuries, trees have fallen and, with other plants, formed a mass of organic material. Much valuable timber had been cut in the swamp. The massmaterial, reaching the peat stage, has raised the surface of the swamp at its center. Forest fires, burning to the depth of several feet, frequently continue for weeks. The swamp was described by Colonel William Byrd, one of the commissioners who in 1728 surveyed the boundary between Virginia and North Carolina. In his History of the Dividing Line he wrote: 'Since the surveyors had enter'd the Dismal, they had laid eyes on no living creature . . . Not so much as a Zealand frog cou'd endure so aguish a situation. It had one beauty . . . the moisture of the soil preserves a continual verdure . . . but at the same time the foul damps ascend without ceasing, corrupt the air, and render it unfit for respiration.'
If the swamp was ever as Colonel Byrd saw it, a remarkable change has taken place. The usual fauna of eastern Virginia are now found in the area. Black bear and wildcats are here, and copperhead snakes and rattlesnakes occur in large numbers.
In the village the Dismal Swamp Canal is crossed. This waterway, connecting the southern branch of the Elizabeth River with the sounds of North Carolina, was built largely to afford transportation for lumber from the swamp. The Dismal Swamp Canal Company was organized to cut the canal in 1787, but the canal was not completed until 1828.
Between the canal and Deep Creek, a tidal branch of the Elizabeth River, are locks. The canal water is amber colored because of the juniper logs that have been buried in the swamp for centuries. In the years before the development of refrigeration, the water of the swamp was highly valued for drinking purposes on ships, because it remained fresh for a long time.
Left from Deep Creek on State 166 to County 640, 3.8 m., and R. to GREAT BRIDGE, 8.7 m. (100 pop.), at the western terminus of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal, a seven-mile canal connecting the North Landing River with the southern branch of the Elizabeth and forming part of the Intercoastal Waterway.
Here, on December 9, 1775, British troops suffered defeat in their first clash with Colonial regulars on Virginia soil. Governor Dunmore, having occupied Norfolk, fortified the northern end of the bridge and causeways then spanning this area, and blocked the only approach to Norfolk by land. About December i a force Of 700 Colonials took position south of the bridge, began desultory firing that continued until December 9 when 200 British regulars, supported by 300 loyalists and Negroes, advanced over the causeway. The British abandoned their position during the night and evacuated Norfolk shortly thereafter.
South of Deep Creek the highway parallels the canal.
The OLD STONE HOUSE (tea room), 58.4 m., built when the canal was opened, was the home of the superintendent of the canal locks.
At ARBUCKLE'S LANDING, 60.2 m., a junction of the canal with the Feeder Ditch (boats, with outboard motors, and guides to Lake Drummond available here and in vicinity; $1 a person, minimum $3), is a U.S. Engineers' Station.
Right (by boat) on the ditch, which is 15 feet wide, to the locks of LAKE DRUMMOND, 3 m., in the heart of the swamp. William Drummond, the first governor of North Carolina, who was hanged in 1677 by Governor William Berkeley for his share in Bacon's Rebellion, discovered the lake while hunting. The growth of juniper, cypress, gum, maple, poplar, ash, and oak is dense and continuous along the ditch; the undergrowth is filled with flowering water plants. The lake, with an altitude of 22, is upon an elevation much like an inverted saucer. It is five miles long and is rimmed with stumps of giant trees.
The swamp has inspired many legends. Thomas Moore, the Irish poet, visited it in 1803 and wrote The Lake of the Dismal Swamp, based on the local legend of a young man who became mentally deranged when his sweetheart died, and who imagined she was not dead but in the swamp. The poem describes his wanderings in search of the girl who had
. . . gone to the Lake of the Dismal Swamp, Where all night long, by firefly lamp, She paddles her white canoe.
Fresh-water fish in fair quantities are in the lake and other waters of the swamp.
(Hunting and fishing subject to regulations of Federal Government in some Parts of the swamp, of State in others.)
At 63.2 m. US 17 crosses the North Carolina Line, 22 miles north of Elizabeth City, N.C. (see North Carolina Guide).
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 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).
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