|" title="[graphic] James River Plantations: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary " >|
Please note that this text-only version, provided for ease of printing and reading, includes approximately 45 pages and may take up to 15 minutes to print. By clicking on one of these links, you may go directly to a particular text-only section:Piney Grove, which began as a log corncrib c. 1790, to grand brick homes like Bacon's Castle, that paint a picture of Virginia plantation life in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.
A rural settlement pattern emerged along the James River in the 17th century that dominated the development of this region for the next 300 years. Virginia's economy was dependent on agriculture. As tobacco cultivation became lucrative, the plantation emerged as the essential unit of production. The term "plantation" originally referred to a settlement in a new country or region, although in Virginia the term became associated with a place that was planted or under cultivation and worked by resident labor, originally indentured servants, then slaves. During the 17th century many of the small outpost settlements were first known as "hundreds," such as Flowerdew Hundred. Consolidation of the original settlements continued through the 17th century and culminated in the creation of large plantations on which grand brick homes were built during the 18th century. Berkeley, Shirley, Westover and Wilton illustrate the development and diversity of the Georgian style as employed by Virginia's planter elite. The owners of these plantations—the Harrisons, Carters, Byrds and Randolphs—represented the social and economic leaders of Colonial Virginia and some even provided leadership for the new United States, as illustrated by President William Henry Harrison. The Georgian style was also employed for more modest residences such as Appomattox Manor, Eppington, Mayfield and Warren House.
During the late 18th and early 19th centuries Thomas Jefferson introduced classical design to the James River region in public buildings and numerous residences (including his own, Monticello, featured in our Journey Through Hallowed Ground itinerary). Neo-classical design and aspects of Palladian design not previously employed in Virginia began to appear along the James River at places such as Brandon, Magnolia Grange and Violet Bank. The conservative nature of the architecture of the James River region during the 19th century can be seen in newly constructed Four Square, and in the enlargement of President John Tyler's House. In the two decades before the Civil War, the latest stylistic details from the Greek, Gothic and Italianate revivals were combined with vernacular architectural traditions at North Bend, Edgewood, Chippokes and Lee Hall.
James River Plantations offers several ways to discover the places that reflect this region's history. Each highlighted place features a brief description of its historic significance, color photographs and public accessibility information. At the bottom of each page the visitor will find links to three essays: Colonization, The Gentry, and Architecture. These essays provide historic background, or "contexts," for the places included in the itinerary. In the Learn More section, the itinerary links to regional and local websites that provide visitors with further information regarding cultural events, special activities, and lodging and dining possibilities. Visitors may be interested in Historic Hotels of America, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, located in Virginia. The itinerary can be viewed online, or printed if you plan to visit the James River region in person.
James River Plantations is part of the Department of the Interior's strategy to promote public awareness of history and encourage visits to historic places throughout the Nation. The National Register of Historic Places partners with communities, regions and heritage areas throughout the United States to create online travel itineraries. Using places nominated by State, Federal and Tribal Historic Preservation Offices and listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the itineraries help potential visitors plan trips by highlighting the amazing diversity of this country's historic places and providing public accessibility information for each featured site. James River Plantations is the 40th National Register travel itinerary in this ongoing series. The National Register of Historic Places hopes you enjoy this virtual tour. If you have any comments or questions, please just click on the provided e-mail address, "comments or questions" located at the bottom of each page.
The first human colonizers of the Virginia Tidewater region were American Indians. Recent archeological discoveries by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources indicate that American Indians were in Virginia at least 16,000 years ago. Archeologists divide the period 16,000 to 2,500 B.C. into the Paleo and Archaic periods. During this time, the Indians in Virginia were hunter-gatherers, moving often, staying for short periods in campsites, and leaving little evidence of their presence.
The Sedentary Forager Period (2,500 B.C. to 900 A.D.) was noted for the settlements of small hamlets that appeared in the river valleys of Virginia, with remains of fired clay pottery and bows and arrows attesting to their presence. The people of the Late Middle Woodland Period (900-1300 A.D.) were thought to disperse into small camping groups while foraging, while Late Woodland Indians (1300-1500 A.D.) probably suffered more from diseases due to living in close proximity in larger towns then their ancestors.
Once they became sedentary, settlements of the late-Middle Woodland Period tended to be near the great rivers in Virginia, because the rich soil deposits were more conducive to farming. The rivers also provided a means of transportation, and dugout canoes were created to navigate the waterways. The Virginia Indians hunted the wild animals of the region; deer, turkey, ducks, geese and possum, and fished the waters. From the Woodland Period on, squash, beans and corn (thought to arrive from the South around 900 A.D.) were parts of their diet, but corn, due to its nitrogen depletion of the soil and weather conditions in Tidewater Virginia, was not cultivated to the exclusion of all else. Dogs are the only domestic animals whose remains have been found at some archeological sites.
The Powhatan people of Virginia, encountered by the English, were from the Algonquian family of American Indians. The Algonquian embraced a widespread linguistic settlement pattern that stretched from eastern Quebec and Point Britain in the north and west on the plains from Saskatchewan to Colorado, and south to the Carolinas. The region occupied by the Virginia Algonquians was roughly about 100 miles long from north to south, by 100 miles wide, stretching from the Atlantic Ocean, to the “fall line” of the major rivers, and from the lower Potomac River, to the James River and further south, in an area defined as the coastal, or Tidewater, plain. By the time of the English colonization of Jamestown, the greatest power in the Virginia Tidewater region was the Powhatan chiefdom or confederacy. The Powhatan were an Algonquian speaking tribe who held prominent status over other tribes in the region. The great chief of the Powhatan confederacy, or mamanatowick, roughly meaning “great king,” was Powhatan or Wahunsenacawh, well known as the father of Pocahontas.
Europeans arrived in the Tidewater region in the second half of the 16th century, with the Spanish leading the way. After a Jesuit settlement near the mouth the James River was destroyed by the Indians in 1571, the Spanish, after retaliating, did not attempt to colonize the region again. In the 1580s English ships began entering the Chesapeake Bay region. In 1590 A Briefe and True Report of The New Found Land of Virginia was published in an attempt to lure English colonists to the New World. Published by Thomas Harriot, with 28 engravings by Theodor de Bry, the Virginian Indians were described as “people clothed with loose mantles made of Deere skins & aprons of the same rounde about their middles; all els naked;” possessing “no edge tooles or weapons or yron or steele to offend us withall,” but having “throw weapons” and “onlie bowes made of Witch hazel, & arrowes of reeds; flat edged truncheons also of wood about a yard long.”
The English founded Jamestown in 1607 and encountered the Powhatan confederacy, 30 tribes united by Chief Powhatan. Captain John Smith estimated that "within a radius of 60 miles of James Town there were about 5000 people but only 1500 able-bodied native warriors." In 1607 Powhatan captured John Smith, where legend has it he was saved by Powhatan’s daughter Pocahontas. Some later historians argued that the rescue was a ritual or a ruse meant to impress the English Captain. Under Powhatan’s direction corn was supplied to the colonists at Jamestown, but later during the winter months this ceased as Powhatan sought to starve the English out. The English retaliated against the Powhatan by attacking those in the vicinity of Jamestown.
Powhatan sent his daughter, Pocahontas, as an ambassador to Jamestown to mediate between the two peoples. By all accounts, Pocahontas fell in love with John Rolfe, an English widower who introduced Caribbean tobacco (orioncio tobacco) into the colony, which was more palatable to the English then the native Virginia tobacco. Pocahontas wed Rolfe in 1614, and in 1616 they arrived in London, with expenses paid by the Virginia Company. They were the social highlight of the season, being introduced at court. Pocahontas died in 1617 in England, but her son by John Rolfe, Thomas, survived and had numerous descendants. The successful cultivation of the tobacco John Rolfe introduced to the colony led to large-scale farming in Virginia.
By 1611, the Powhatan, alarmed by the building of English forts, made alliances with their traditional enemies in the west against the new colonizers. On March 22, 1622, the Powhatan attacked the English settlements along the James River, wiping out at least 10 percent of the population. The carnage was greatest at Martin’s Hundred, location of Carter’s Grove plantation today. The English colonists waited for reinforcements in manpower and weapons from their mother country. A 10-year war followed, which slowed English settlement but also weakened the Powhatan power. Powhatan abdicated his position in favor of his brother Opechancanough in 1614, wearying of the constant warfare and diseases that were beginning to decimate his people. He died in 1618.
In 1644 war resumed when the Powhatan attacked in force again, and the new Royal Governor, Sir William Berkeley had little time to settle in when the frontier erupted. Berkeley emerged victorious, although roughly 400 colonists were slain. By 1645 the English made their way up past the Powhatan town of Menmend on the Pamunkey River, and attacked Opechancanough’s fort. Chief Opechancanough was captured and later killed by one of his jailers, and his successor declared himself a loyal subject of the English king. By 1705, only a few Powhatan-descended communities remained, all of them living in reservations by treaty—the Pamunkeys, the Mattaponi, Chickahominies, the Wiccocomicos, the Nansemonds and the Gingaskins. Some young Powhatan men attended the College of William and Mary to learn the ways of the colonists, but were excluded from religious activities by the largely Anglican society. Later, it was the Baptists and Methodists who made inroads into the Powhatan communities, the Anglicans (save for an attempt under Governor Spotswood) did not make a great attempt to convert them. Although largely subsumed by the surrounding Anglo-American culture, the Powhatan also gave place names to the Potomac (formerly Pataomeck) and Appomattox rivers. By 2002, of seven state-recognized Powhatan descendant tribes, there were roughly 1,500 Powhatans living full- or part-time near their ancestral homes. Two reservations—the Mattaponi Reservation and the Pamunkey Reservation—still exist on ancient Powhatan land in Virginia. Today, the Chickahominy Tribe remains the sole surviving American Indian community along the James River.
The English: The colonizers from England were undoubtedly of the mixed heritage of the British Isles, Anglo, Saxon, Jute and Danish blood mixed with Celtic, Welsh, Irish, and other British stock. Sir Walter Raleigh was the first Englishman to take an active interest in colonizing the New World, and in 1584 commissioned two captains to explore the American coast. The captains came back with positive reports about the area, but no royal money was found to fund colonization. In 1585 a colony under the command of Sir Richard Grenville established a small settlement near the present-day Virginia-North Carolina border, but these colonists left on one of Sir Francis Drake’s ships back to England. A second colonization effort, known as “the lost colony,” also failed when the colony was abandoned to an unknown fate in 1587. Despite these failures, Raleigh’s explorations brought back valuable information on Virginia.
In the early 17th century a group of London merchants formed the Virginia Company of London, and received a grant from the king to a charter to the lands between Cape Fear and the Hudson Bay. The Colony of Virginia was financed by them and founded by 108 English settlers who built Jamestown in 1607. A high mortality rate almost wiped out the attempt at colonization. John Rolfe (1585-1622), the husband of Pocahontas, cultivated the first tobacco crop in the colony. The demand for tobacco slowly increased in Virginia as smoking houses opened in England. Since the crop could be grown cheaply in the Chesapeake region, and Virginia tobacco was cheaper than Spanish tobacco, the cultivation of tobacco stimulated the economy of Virginia and increased immigration to the colony.
The Virginia Company eventually eased its strict control over the colonists, when in financial trouble they granted to their governor in 1618 instructions dubbed by the colonists “the greate charter” which allowed the settlers to own their own land. Using land as a valuable commodity to attract people to their colony, the company granted each man in the colony 50 acres of land for each person they paid to come over from their mother country, or if the person would pay the transportation costs themselves, from England. This created private investment in Virginia, and also caused the settler population to grow from a few hundred in 1616 to 2,000 by 1620 with tobacco exports rising to 50,000 pounds that year. The Indian uprising of 1622 claimed roughly a thousand lives, and resulted in the Virginia Company declaring bankruptcy, with far reaching results for the colony. In 1624 royal control was established in the colony. Another item from the “greate charter” also had far reaching consequences—the Virginia Company allowed the creation of a general assembly of the colonists, giving them a voice in their own matters. The first representative body in America met at Jamestown in 1619, which was the beginning of the House of Burgesses. In 1639 the English king recognized that the House of Burgesses, elected by English freemen, was an established institution in the colonial government of Virginia. By 1640 11,000 English colonists lived in the Chesapeake Bay region and the export of tobacco surpassed one million pounds.
The cultivation of tobacco impacted the colonial society, as the crop exhausted the soil after a few planting seasons and more land was always in demand. Because of the large size of the family plantations and the continual search for new land to cultivate, towns were rare in Virginia. The plantations needed to be near waterways for transportation of their product, and Virginia became settled along the James, Rappahannock and Potomac rivers. The raising of tobacco required a workforce that was first supplied by indentured servants brought over from England who pledged themselves to work for a given number of years to cover their transportation to America. By the 1660s, African slaves began to replace indentured servants.
African Arrival: The English, finding the local Powhatan Indians resistant to the intensive agriculture labor they desired, turned to African slaves to supplement their labor. In 1619, a Dutch ship brought the first African Americans to Virginia. They were placed on tobacco plantations. Originally, the Africans were treated like indentured servants from England, who would be free of their service to their owners after a set period of years. Historically, the English only enslaved non-Christians, and not, in particular, Africans. A slave could become free by converting to Christianity.
The Africans brought to the American colonies came from West Africa and Madagascar (an island off southeast Africa), and originated in village societies, or the centralized kingdoms of Mali, Ghana and Songhai. African dialects and grammatical patterns became part of American English. “Okra” is an Akan word while “gumbo” is a Bantu synonym, and the word “jazz” derives from a West African term. Overall, the Atlantic slave trade was estimated to have removed anywhere from 9.6 million to an estimated 15.4 million Africans from West and Central Africa, representing the largest forced migration of people in history. The majority of these people made their way to Latin America or the Caribbean, only a small percentage, overall, came to the English North American colonies.
During the 1620s and 1630s, when job opportunities were scarce in the British Isles and tobacco commanded a high price, Virginia acquired its labor from England. After 1660 the Great Plague reduced England’s population, the price of tobacco fell, and the great fire which swept through London destroyed much of the capital city, which created an intense demand for labor in the home country. Since the labor supply from England fell, Virginians began acquiring African labor, following the pattern established by the Spanish and Portuguese more than a century before. Slowly the number of Africans grew in Virginia. In 1625 there were only 23. In 1650 there were about 300. Tobacco became the cash crop of the Virginia aristocracy and as the need for workers in the tobacco fields grew, the condition of permanent slavery was gradually introduced into Virginia and other English colonies. Maryland in 1640 began to institutionalize slavery and Massachusetts recognized slavery as a legal institution in 1641. By 1663, a Virginia court decided that the child of a slave was born into slavery. It was in the administration of Sir William Gooch (1727-1749) that the General Assembly passed a law denying the vote to free Africans, and excluded them from jury duty or testifying as witnesses. In 1705, the General Assembly declared all those not born into Christianity in their native lands, be they African, American Indian or mulatto, slaves. By 1700, (at which point their were an estimated 60,000 slaves in Virginia) more than a thousand Africans were being brought into the colony every year. At the outbreak of the Civil War, the free population of Virginia was 1,105,453 with 490,865 enslaved people.
Governor Berkeley and the Creation of the Virginia Aristocracy: The landed gentry rose to prominence in Virginia with the arrival of Sir William Berkeley as Royal Governor. Governor Berkeley, an Oxford-educated playwright, soldier and diplomat, arrived in Virginia in 1642, when Virginia was a frontier society of roughly 8,000 colonists. He was to hold office longer than any other governor of Virginia. Born in 1606 in England, Berkeley had been a courtier in the court of the British monarch Charles I, and came with a desire to invigorate the colony and create an imitation of British society in the New World. Under his administration, the first generation of what would be known as the Virginian aristocracy came into existence before the English Civil War ended. These included the founders of powerful dynasties such as John Carter, Richard Lee, Benjamin Harrison, the first Randolph and Thomas Stegg (or Stegge) who amassed the Byrd wealth. All of the colonizers who rose socially had connections, wealth and education. These advantages promoted them to the highest rungs of the colonial society. The families they founded ruled the Royal colony of Virginia for more than a century.
The Byrd, Beverley, Carter, Culpepper, Isham, Washington, Spencer, Randolph, Jefferson, Bland, Beverely, Bolling, Eppe and Hackett families intermarried, creating a web of overlapping kinships. They sat on the governing boards of the colony and promoted each others interests. Berkeley also fostered the rise of the General Assembly from a small body into a replica of the Parliament in England, and promoted a separation of power between provincial and county governments. He worked to create a royalist society, where an elite ruled over the great masses of yeoman farmers, free and enslaved African Americans, indentured servants and marginal farmers who leased their land. A brief look at some of the families who served in the Virginia House of Burgesses displays a continuity of the landed-gentry class in the governing class of the colony. In 1664 Lawrence Washington and William Randolph were elected members of the House of Burgesses. The 1736-1740 legislative session had representatives of the Randolph, Carter, Fitzhugh, Beverely and Berkeley families seated, and the 1776 Assembly had Carters, Randolphs and Lees as well as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
In England, the country was torn by a civil war (1642-46) pitting the supporters of the King against Parliament. Fleeing the war, the first members of the Culpepper, Hammond, Honeyweed and Moryson families arrived in the colony. These cavaliers (as supporters of King Charles I during the English Civil War were called) found a ready home in Berkeley’s Virginia. Indeed, Virginia was the last English colony to relinquish its allegiance to Charles I and the first to proclaim Charles II King. In 1652 British soldiers, arriving from Parliamentarian England, faced off, without battle, against Berkeley’s colonial royalist troops. Berkeley knew the royal cause was lost, and successfully bartered with the Parliamentarian forces for three concessions. He managed to safeguard Virginia’s royalist political establishment from retribution, preserved the loyalty of Virginians to the King, and protected the property of the Virginians who opposed Parliament. He was asked in return to vacate his office, and the new Governor was Richard Bennett. Sir William Berkeley removed himself to his estate, and upon the restoration of the Stuart dynasty in 1660 became Royal Governor again. After his restoration as Royal Governor, Berkeley lost some political contests with Charles II—in particular, the right of the colony to trade with the Dutch, and the right to repeal the Navigation Act of 1660 that forced Virginia goods to transit through English ports exclusively, where they were taxed.
It was Bacon’s Rebellion (1676) which ended Berkeley’s reign as Virginia’s Governor. Bacon’s Rebellion was a struggle between the tightly-knit Tidewater colonists and those colonists living on the frontier, where the Indian presence overshadowed other concerns. Preceding Bacon's Rebellion was a period of declining tobacco prices, frustration at losses in the recent naval war with the Dutch, and harsh weather which caused the colonists to vent their frustrations on the neighboring American Indians. In 1675 escalating clashes between the Indians and colonists helped ignite the unrest. After some Susquehannock chiefs living north of the Potomac were killed while under a flag of truce by Maryland and Virginia militia, the Indians retaliated by slaying a number of planters in Virginia. Berkeley was anxious to keep peace with the Indians, but the Virginia Assembly responded in 1676 by ordering forts to be built in the frontier area. Nathaniel Bacon Jr., a cousin of Berkeley by marriage, became the leader of the rebellion. Bacon urged retaliatory measures against the Indians, and when Governor Berkeley refused to raise the necessary militia, Bacon raised a militia of frontier planters.
Bacon and his men marched on Jamestown and captured the colonial capital, forcing the governor to flee. However, on October 26, 1676, Bacon died of a disease called the “bloody flux” and his rebellion began to fall apart. Berkeley returned to Jamestown to reestablish his authority, and the frontier warfare with the Indians died down once order was restored. A royal inquiry lead by Colonel Herbert Jeffreys, who arrived in the colony with 1,000 British troops too late to deal with the rebellion, caused the Governor to go to England to protest his innocence. Colonel Herbert Jeffreys declared himself Governor once Lord Berkeley left Virginia.
Dying in England on July 9, 1677, before he was to have an audience with the Stuart King, Berkeley left behind a lasting legacy in Virginia. When he arrived in Virginia it was a frontier society with about 8,000 colonists, and in the 35 years of his tenure the population increased to 40,000. Desiring to recreate the English social structure, he recruited a Royalist-mercantile elite for the colony, with strong ties to the Mother Country in custom, religion and government. By expelling all “non-conformists” (puritans) from the colony in 1642 he established the undisputed primacy of the Anglican Church of England in the colony.
Lifestyle of the Gentry: A network of familial connections defined the Virginia gentry. Since surviving spouses often remarried and had more children, an extended number of kinships existed across the colony. This was recognized by the British government when Virginia Governor Major Hugh Drysdale in 1724 recommended John Carter, the son of the most powerful man in the colony, Robert “King” Carter (1663-1732), to fill the office of Secretary of the Colony. The Secretary, after the Governor, was the second most important office in colonial Virginia, as the Secretary possessed the right to appoint all county clerks, and was keeper of the colonial seal. Drysdale wrote, “There is scare a qualified person in the Colony unattended with some such like inconvenience, for they are all incorporated either in blood or marriage.”
The Virginia gentlemen cultivated arts, sciences and learning. William Byrd II possessed one of the largest libraries in colonial America, and a garden noted for its rare specimens. Books were ordered from England, and the Byrd library at Westover held roughly 4,000 books. The diaries and letters of Virginian gentlemen are filled with orders to London publishers and booksellers, and they were kept abreast of the latest theories in agriculture, science, philosophy and history. As symbols of their status, a family of the gentry would own a plantation house, a family library, a collection of furniture often imported, and silver engraved with the family crest. Indeed, the desire for coats of arms kept the College of Heralds in London busy. Among this class also, portraits were important, and often displayed in a procession of ancestors. The Randolphs and Fitzhughs in particular were noted for the number of their family portraits. In sports, the first gentlemen of the colony preferred horse racing and betting. The upper class made great displays of dining well on highly seasoned and fried foods, and cultivating the art of dinner conversation.
Wealthy Virginians dressed elaborately. William Fitzhugh, writing from his King George County estate in 1686, understood the need for a person to present a well-bred façade to the Virginians in order to be socially accepted. Writing to his sister in England he advised her to come to Virginia “Handsomely & gentleley & well cloathed, with a maid to wait on her & both their passages paid there. This would give us both credit & reputation without which is unfortunate living.” By the time of George Washington’s birth this social custom and posturing was so established in Virginia that a Philadelphian was warned to go “handsomely dressed” to the colony because people there look “more at a man’s outside than his inside.”
As the Tidewater region became full, ambitious families settled in the Northern Neck region and west of the Fall Line to build their fortunes. Thomas Randolph founded the plantation he named Tuckahoe, 15 miles west of the Falls, in what is today Richmond, while Peter Jefferson (ancestor of Thomas Jefferson) developed holdings in Orange County. The fluidity within the colony showed that there was still room on the higher rungs of society, making possible the rise of individual families, but many began removing west for their fortunes, a trend that would continue into the American era. Virginia lost more than an estimated million people before the Civil War to westward migration.
The American Revolution and After: In the decade leading up to the American Revolution, many wealthier Virginians found themselves in debt to British merchants. Tobacco exports fell (although in 1775 the tobacco sent abroad was estimated at four million pounds and as a crop accounted for the leading export to England), but the demand for British goods rose, as did the taxes to pay for the recent French and Indian War. As a group, most of the landed gentry supported the American Revolution. One exception was William Byrd III (1729-1777) who had loyalist leanings. During the Revolutionary War many Virginians from the gentry class made their mark in the Revolutionary cause including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, Richard Henry Lee, William Lee, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Henry Lee, known as Light Horse Harry.
By the conclusion of the American Revolution, the Virginia gentry feared losing their status. In the post-Revolutionary era, some gentry families faced economic decline. Thomas Mann Randolph of Goochland, who helped fund the American Revolution, bemoaned the social consequences of the victorious cause he supported. The “spirit of independency” he explained, “was converted into equality, and every one who bore arms, esteemed himself upon an [equal] footing with his neighbors.” Colonel Landon Carter of Sabine Hill, in his diaries (written between 1752-1778, the year of his death) displays some of the anxiety at the growth of republicanism. Carter agreed with the Continental Congress that ties with England had to be severed; but he writes with real conviction of the dishonor of his son having to appeal to the mob to win election.
The American Revolution brought to the fore the question of freedom for the enslaved peoples in America. The Virginia slaveowners, bound to the system by custom and economic ties, could not, with rare exceptions, bring themselves to emancipate their slaves. Robert Carter III was one of the exceptions. In 1791 he freed all 461 slaves he owned. Carter seems to have been religiously motivated. The customs and laws that had held the ruling planters’ colonial-feudal society in check were rapidly changing with the advent of American independence. In October 1776, Thomas Jefferson began amending Virginia’s laws to create a more republican form of government. In 1776, he introduced a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates to abolish the laws of "entail," in which ownership of land was restricted through inheritance to biological descendants of the original grantee in order to preserve the size of large estates. He also led the effort to abolish primogeniture (inheritance of all family property solely by the first born son). Both efforts were successful. Jefferson considered one of his greatest accomplishments his Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom, which ended the role of the Anglican Church as the legally established religion in Virginia. Many of the gentry opposed these reforms. John Randolph of Roanoke, a wealthy planter, complained that, “The old families of Virginia will form connections to low people, and sink into the mass of overseers’ sons and daughters; and this is the legitimate, nay, inevitable conclusion to which Mr. Jefferson and his leveling system has brought us.”
If the American Revolution changed the social environment, the Civil War (1861-65) altered the landscape entirely. The Civil War saw some plantation homes ruined, some spared, and some used by the Union and Confederate forces. Berkeley Plantation was used by Union General McClellan’s troops to recover from its wounds in the ill-fated 1862 Peninsula Campaign to take the Confederate capital of Richmond. Neighboring Westover was Union Fifth Corps headquarters while Edgewood gave refreshment to Confederate Cavalry commander, General J.E.B. Stuart, after he made a 36-hour ride behind enemy lines, followed two weeks later by the encampment of General George McClellan’s Army of the Potomac. Flowerdew Hundred was occupied during the 1864-65 campaign when Union soldiers built a pontoon bridge over the James River and seized the strategic spot. After the Civil War some of the old gentry families held on to their ancestral estates in a rapidly changing world. A romanticism about the great colonial and pre-Civil war Virginia and Southern planter families has long occupied the American imagination, as seen in popular literature and film, and continues to do so. The great plantations along the James River stand as a testimonial to the power and culture of the Virginian aristocracy in colonial and American history.
The early habitation of the Tidewater Virginia region was characterized by dispersed settlement along a vast network of navigable rivers, the area's life blood of early commerce, trade and transportation. The James River and its many tributaries flow through the southern portion of the Tidewater region. The majority of colonial era building in the region, and throughout the Southern colonies, was impermanent in nature, its longevity varying by degree and corresponding directly with cycles of building and rebuilding by a variety of earthfast (wood directly in the earth) construction methods. Fw survived long. Defining the physical characteristics of these ephemeral buildings has been the subject of interdisciplinary examination through the archeological, architectural and documentary record by historians, architectural historians, archeologists and dedrochronologists. In marked contrast, the 17th and 18th centuries gave rise to the construction of a significant concentration of substantial plantations along the James River, reflecting the sophisticated social, cultural and economic context in which they were built. These preserved James River plantations recall the wealth and lifeways of the landed Virginia gentry.
The First Inhabitants: When the English arrived in Virginia at the beginning of the 17th century, they encountered one of the most politically complex Indian groups along the Atlantic coast, the Algonquian-speaking Powhatans. The Indians lived in dispersed settlements along the rivers and practiced slash-and-burn cultivation. They grew maize, beans, squash, pumpkins, gourds, sunflowers and tobacco, and harvested a variety of fish, birds and animals from the nearby rivers, marshes and woods. At this time, Indians of Virginia had begun to consolidate their dispersed groups for defense. There seems to have been an intensified era of tribal conflict just before the English settlement of Jamestown was founded in 1607. This conflict might have originated with the pressures felt by the Powhatan (and other related Algonquian speaking tribes) as Siouan-speaking Indians (the Monacan and Mannahoac) pushed towards the Fall Line (the boundary separating the Piedmont from the lower coastal, or Tidewater, plain). As depicted in prints such as those engraved by Theodor de Bry published in Thomas Harriot's A Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land of Virginia (1590), the Indian villages reflected a social hierarchy and some appear to have been surrounded by timber palisades for defense. Constructed of upright saplings set into the ground closely together, and, perhaps, woven together with densely leaved boughs, these palisaded walls were impenetrable until European cannon arrived on the scene.
The English recorded that the Indians of Virginia lived in earthfast oval dwellings with light wooden framing members bent into arbor-like frames covered with mud, bark, hides or mats. The interiors were very simple, with dirt floors, no chairs or tables and raised platforms along the outer walls for sleeping. In the period before contact, houses of chiefs were larger than others, denoting their superior social status. The size of the towns varied; during the archeological excavation of one, the Paspagheh town, located on the eastern side of the Chickahominy River, 48 complete or partial buildings dating from different building periods were uncovered in the area. The dwellings were oval in shape and ranged between 14.5 to nearly 31 feet long, similar to the houses that existed at Jordan's Point on the James River. Other buildings in the early Indian settlements included mortuary temples, sweathouses and menstrual huts.
Arrival of the English: The 108 colonists at Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in Virginia, lived in tents and thatched huts for six months, until Captain John Smith took charge of the struggling settlement. Captain Smith ordered the colony's only surviving carpenter to take 30 men into the woods and teach them to chop down trees and split wood for clapboard. By 1610 John Smith's efforts bore fruit: 50 small houses, a church and a storehouse were surrounded, like some of the local Indian villages, by a palisade wall 15-feet high. The houses built by the English settlers have been described by Darrett B. Rutman and Anita H. Rutman, in their book, A Place in Time: Middlesex County, Virginia, 1650-1750, as possessing "steep roofs, narrow casement windows, towering end chimneys, and grey, weathering look, they summon to mind the adjectives 'gothic' and 'medieval.'" They characterize other sorts of small houses built of weatherboarded walls and roofing with plank doors and window shutters, those featuring a brick chimney and fireplace, raised board floor, stairs, shingled roofs and a casement window, and some including divided rooms and two stories, with the customary brick chimney, fireplace and raised floors. They characterize the most common house design (at least in the southern colonies) as consisting of two rooms divided by a partition, with the stairway located beside the chimney accessing the garret space, a storage area for grain and household goods, which sometimes doubled as a sleeping area for children and servants. Derived from hall-and-parlor English homes, this house form was prevalent in Virginia by the end of the 17th century. However, thatched English roofs did not weather well in Virginia, and split planks and shingles were used instead. The analysis of many archeological excavations and detailed architectural survey work conducted throughout the Tidewater region by the Maryland Historical Trust and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources during the early years of the national preservation program reveal impermanent earthfast-built dwellings prevailed among the vast majority of all classes of that region's inhabitants throughout the 17th , 18th and much of the 19th centuries.
Although brick making in the English colonies began just after landing in North America, in Virginia wood remained the prime building material for domestic construction even among the wealthy throughout the 17th century. Virginian houses differed from many English house antecedents because of the lack of good building stone. Brick was made from local clay fired to dark red and bright orange colors. The size of brick was regulated by English law: nine by four and a quarter by two and three/eights inches in Elizabeth's reign and nine by fourth and three/eights by two and a quarter inches under Charles I. Thus, the size of bricks in 17th-century Virginia houses tended to be the same as in England. Brick was mostly used for chimneys, cellar walls and building piers. Brick gradually replaced wood as the preferred building material for the refined residences of the rising gentry class during the 18th and 19th centuries. Virginia brickwork is renowned for its high quality, refined craftsmanship.
The Plantation Era: The customs of the English settlers of Virginia emphasized personal honor, hospitality and the accumulation of land, slaves and wealth to denote social status. Following the initial settlement period, the landed gentry of Virginia began building magnificent plantation houses, the most visible sign of their social standing and monetary wealth, and furnishing them with the most fashionable imported appurtenances and material goods. In his book, Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America, David Hackett Fischer describes the similarities between Virginia's early plantation dwellings and England's manor houses. These were transplanted building traditions executed by skilled artisans and desired by sophisticated, wealthy patrons. In Virginia and England smaller dwellings were rarely built of brick; most Virginia houses were of wood, post-in-ground construction with steeply pitched roofs.
With 63,000 colonists living in Virginia, a new capital city at Williamsburg with several public buildings, and the establishment of the College of William and Mary (founded in 1693 at Middle Plantation for the training of Anglican ministers), Virginian and Southern architecture came of age by 1700. As aesthetics evolved, neo-classical proportions and details became the preferred taste and brick the choice building material for those who could afford it. This shifting taste was influenced by a variety of factors such as the increasing wealth of the elite, the rising middle class, the growth in population and an increasing influx of skilled artisans competent to build substantial buildings. The rich planters, growing tobacco along the James, Potomac, York and Rappahannock rivers, where the crop was carried from their own wharves, became the heads of small self-sufficient villages with servants' quarters, barns, shops, other agrarian outbuildings and work and storage areas.
Green Spring, the house built by Sir William Berkeley, governor of the colony, was built of brick, displaying the wealth and power of its owner. Constructed in stages from 1645 to c. 1660 outside Jamestown, it was used for a meeting of council in 1691. The house was demolished in 1806, but a watercolor drawing made by architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe in 1797 illustrates its Jacobean character. Another early plantation house, Belle Aire, in Charles City County, details the transition from 17th-century to 18th-century building methods. The exposed interior framing with summer beam and the heavy closed-string stair railing are characteristic of the 17th century, while its symmetrical facade and center-passage floor plan are harbingers of standard 18th-century forms.
The most well known of Virginia's few surviving 17th-century buildings is Bacon's Castle, built in 1665 for Arthur Allen, a planter-merchant who was one of the wealthiest planters in Surry County. Often described as one of the earliest brick houses in America, Bacon's Castle is a brick Jacobean manor house fully developed with cruciform plan, baroque curvilinear gables and diagonal chimney stacks. It is one of the nation's outstanding example of sophisticated 17th-century domestic architecture.
By the end of the 17th century, Virginia had become the most populous and wealthiest colony in North America. Virginia's wealthy planters began emulating current architecture trends in England, adapting late-baroque elements that came to be called Georgian after the Hanoverian monarchs of England. The Georgian style grew from the Italian Renaissance, which emphasized classical details, horizontal and symmetrical facades, and dominated the English colonies for most of the 18th century. The Georgian style was brought to America and disseminated by skilled English craftsmen who immigrated to the colonies, knowledgeable and wealthy patrons and through architectural books. These ranged from expensive treatises on Italian models to inexpensive carpenter's handbooks.
Berkeley, a historically famous plantation near Charles City, Virginia, is the setting of one of the earliest of the great Georgian plantation houses that came to dominate the colony's economic, political and social life. Berkeley was built in 1726 by Benjamin Harrison IV, who wed Anne Carter, daughter of Robert "King" Carter. Berkeley is a double-pile, two-story, five-bay rectangular house with two tall ridge chimneys with molded caps projecting out of its gable roof. The brickwork displayed at Berkeley is typical of what was developing in the Tidewater in the first quarter of the 18th century.
Westover, in Charles City County, next to Berkeley, is perhaps the nation's premier example of Georgian James River plantation architecture and displays the great wealth and social prominence of the planter-gentry in colonial Virginia. Located on the land first occupied by English colonizers in 1619, recent dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, indicates that the mansion was built by the Byrd family c. 1750. Constructed of brick, it consists of a two-story central section on a high basement with two flanking attached dependencies, the one to the east replacing the original library destroyed during the Civil War. Although the original building remains fairly intact, the house reflects changes made c. 1767 and substantial alterations in 1898. Georgian details are exemplified in Westover's elegant proportions, finely executed wood paneling, distinctive brickwork with segmental window heads and ogee water table and stone pedimented entrances imported from England.
During the 1730s, John Carter, the eldest son of Robert "King" Carter, began building Shirley plantation, located upriver from Westover and Berkeley. Recent dendrochronology combined with documentary evidence confirms the house was constructed in 1738. Shirley's formally arranged complex of mansion, two now vanished three-story near dependencies, four later forecourt dependencies, barns and other ancillary buildings illustrates the village air of a major colonial plantation. Shirley evolved over time; in the 1770s John's son Charles Carter altered the interior and added the present two-story Palladian porticos. In 1830, reflecting changes in architectural taste, Hill Carter, grandson of the first owner, added the Doric columns to the porticos.
Following the American Revolution, a distinct national American architecture emerged different from its European precedents, designed by architects who wanted to highlight our republican democracy. Thomas Jefferson rejected the older forms and chose a more Roman neoclassicism in the buildings of the new nation. Among Jefferson's architectural works are his own house Monticello, outside Charlottesville, the Capitol building in Richmond (with the assistance of Charles-Louis Clérisseau), Poplar Forest, his octagonal retreat in Bedford County, near Lynchburg and the University of Virginia's "academical village." In addition, Jefferson contributed through design or the provision of workmen to the construction of or improvements to houses for friends such as Farmington, near Charlottesville, Barboursville, in Orange County, and Montpelier, residence of James Madison, Jr., near Orange. He also encouraged younger designers, which helped shape the foundations of professional architecture in America. During his lifetime, Jefferson's avid interest in architecture fueled his acquisition of the greatest collection of architecture books in the young republic.
Possessing an ample stock of plantation houses by the 1830s and 1840s, Virginia did not see a great wave of plantation house construction in the later antebellum period. A depletion of usable Tidewater soil for agriculture, a process begun during the previous two centuries, combined with a general depression in the agricultural economy suppressed the demand for grand new plantation dwellings. Thus, Virginia had few great columned Greek Revival mansions, much less any rendered in exotic Gothic and Italianate styles. However, as David King Gleason writes in Virginia Plantation Houses, "it was Virginia that provided the prototype of the southern antebellum plantation house." George Washington Parke Custis, George Washington's adopted son, built Arlington House on his 1,000-acre plantation on the Potomac River across from Washington, DC, in 1817. With its monumental Doric portico, it is one of the country's earliest examples of a prominent mansion based on Greek design precedents. As such it is a masterpiece of Greek Revival residential design. Originally conceived as a memorial to George Washington, through marriage it later became Robert E. Lee's residence until the Civil War, when the house and lands were occupied by Union troops. In 1874, a national cemetery was established on its grounds. In 1933 the War Department transferred the mansion to the National Park Service, and in 1955 it was designated the Robert E. Lee National Memorial by the United States Congress.
The African American Presence: Almost from the arrival of English settlers, Africans were brought to Virginia; the first arrived in 1619 and were probably slaves. Until the mid-17th century, the majority of the labor force in Virginia consisted of white "indentured" servants who worked for a prescribed period of time to pay off the cost of their passage to the New World. African slaves began arriving in large numbers in Virginia in the 1680s. Roughly 45,000 slaves arrived in Virginia between 1700 and 1750. Based upon this influx and natural population increase, the number of African Americans in Virginia grew from perhaps 8,000 or 10,000 to more than 100,000 during this period, constituting approximately 40 percent of the colony's population. Slave labor was the backbone of not only the plantations' agricultural economy, but also the building of the region's period architecture.
In the 17th century, Africans were quartered in the house with the English colonists. In the 18th century, as the rural estates grew, the practice began of subdividing plantation land in Virginia and setting up an area designated as the "quarters." The majority of field slaves were housed in simple wooden quarters or cabins. According to John W. Blassingame in The Slave Community, Plantation Life in the Antebellum South, most autobiographies of escaped or freed slaves "reported that they lived in crudely built one-room cabins with dirt floors and too many cracks in them to permit much comfort during the winter months." These often rudimentary cabins were commonly overcrowded with little ventilation.
Although a small percentage of slaves worked in the interior domestic quarters of the plantation house, most were field hands. Some house slaves were rewarded with better living quarters. John Michael Vlach writes in Back of the Big House, The Architecture of Plantation Slavery, "Big House slave quarters were generally set behind or to the side of the planter's residence, where they would not contend with it visibly." Vlach speculates that on some estates, slave quarters might flank the roadway to the mansion, impressing visitors with the number of slaves owned. Quarters for house servants, such as those at Tuckahoe, were often located with or near the plantation street of outbuildings and referred to as the "home quarter." The presence of the enslaved African population in the plantation context is seen not only in the construction of slave and home quarters on plantations and the development of small slave communities, but also is manifested in changes to room usage and configuration in house plans accommodating shifting modes of social behavior and interaction (or not) between the gentry and their servants.
Additional Plantation Outbuildings: Plantations included outbuildings serving specialized functions. These include barns to house animals or store tobacco and other agricultural products. Freestanding kitchens and smokehouses were essential to the function of the plantation. Meat was smoked and salted to be preserved in the smokehouses, such as those at Shirley or Four Square. Dairies or milkhouses, like that at North Bend, were quite common. These were small buildings, measuring roughly 14-feet square that were topped with a pyramidal or gable roof, and were designed to be ventilated and kept cool while milk would sit in pans for up to 10 hours as the cream rose to the surface. Storehouses like the one remaining at Tuckahoe contained surplus goods and items to be shipped to market, craft shops were created so that skilled blacksmiths, carpenters and artisans could practice their trade. Other plantations included large workshops, icehouses to preserve food (underground vaults provided the greatest degree of insulation), chicken houses and other various ancillary buildings.
Tuckahoe plantation was established by William Randolph of Turkey Island, for his second son, Thomas, and is noteworthy for its unusual H-shaped plan and overall setting. Thomas Randolph probably built the north wing in 1723 and his son William Randolph probably built the south wing and the connector in 1734 upon his marriage to Maria Judith Page of Rosewell. The resulting H-plan of the main house was not common in the plantation homes of colonial Virginia. The ornately carved woodwork throughout the house was likely added during the 1730s expansion. The name "Tuckahoe" derives from the Algonquin word "ptuckweoo," which directly translates to "it is round," but was more commonly used to describe the aquatic and bog plants that provided starch in the diet of American Indians.
North of the main house is a row of early surviving outbuildings, or a plantation "street," that includes a storehouse, smokehouse, barn, kitchen and plantation office. The street also includes two excellently preserved slave quarters, both two-room, one-and-a-half story frame houses with central chimneys and lofts above. Opposite the "street" is the schoolhouse that Thomas Jefferson first attended, until age nine. His father, Peter Jefferson, was the executor of William Randolph's will, and the Jefferson family lived at Tuckahoe for seven years until William's son was grown and able to take over the property. The property remained in the Randolph family through the first three decades of the 19th century. Only two other families owned and cared for Tuckahoe until it was acquired by Isabelle and Nehemiah Addison Baker in 1935. Today their descendents open the home to the public for tours.
Tuckahoe, a National Historic Landmark, is located in Goochland County at 12601 River Rd. (County Rte. 650), on the south side of VA Rte. 6. The grounds are open daily for self-guided tours; guided house tours can be arranged by appointment. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-784-6026 or visit the Tuckahoe plantation website for further information. Tuckahoe has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Wilton is one of the most architecturally significant James River plantations, the only completely paneled interior in Virginia. The high style Georgian mansion was constructed from 1750 to 1753 for William Randolph III on a 2,000-acre plantation overlooking the James River, although it was later moved to its current location in Richmond. This residence incorporated exacting proportions and finely crafted details, including decorative exterior brickwork, an elegant staircase with beautifully carved balusters and vertical raised panels throughout the entire house, including the closets. Although differing in details, Wilton shares its plan and dimensions with Westover (near Wilton's original location); both houses have a central passage, flanked by two rooms on either side, each room warmed by a fireplace requiring four chimneys.
This was one of several Randolph estates on the James River, a list which includes Tuckahoe, built by William's uncle, Thomas Randolph. The Randolph family was prominent in colonial Virginia affairs, and William Randolph III entertained George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis de Lafayette at Wilton. William's son, Peyton, was the second Randolph to own Wilton, and its most noted owner. Peyton Randolph married Lucy Harrison, daughter of Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley. He served as Speaker of Colonial Virginia's House of Burgesses, chairman and instigator of the First Virginia Convention in 1775, president of the First Continental Congress and died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, while serving as delegate to the Second Continental Congress.
The National Society of the Colonial Dames purchased Wilton in 1933 and moved it 15 miles north of its original location to provide protection from encroaching industrial development south of Richmond. The house was carefully re-erected within the city limits of Richmond, along the banks of the James River. Today, Wilton is a museum of history and decorative arts.
Wilton is located at 215 S. Wilton Rd. on the south side of Cary St. in Richmond. It is open for tours March-January: Tuesday-Friday, 1:00pm to 4:30pm (and from 10:00am to 1:00pm by appointment), Saturday 10:00am to 4:30pm and Sunday 1:30pm to 4:30pm; during February by appointment only; closed Mondays and major holidays. There is an admission fee, which can be combined with other sites with the purchase of the Richmond Pass combination ticket. Please call 804-288-9805 or visit the house's website for further information. The Wilton House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Castlewood is one of Chesterfield County's finest early 19th-century houses, and usual for its five-part construction. The house is constructed in the neo-Palladian style, popular in England in the 18th century. Embraced by Virginians, this style can be found at other James River plantation homes such as Brandon and Battersea. Castlewood is believed to have been completed by 1820, erected in several stages of unknown sequence. The land on which the house sits was granted to Henry Winfree in 1754, and it is unknown whether Winfree constructed the center section before 1816 when he sold his land to Parke Poindexter. Poindexter was Clerk of the Court for Chesterfield County from 1812 until his death in 1847, and most certainly added the flanking sections in the first few years he owned the property, and, perhaps, the center section as well.
During its history, Castlewood has had many owners. Between 1860 and 1872, the home was used by the Methodists to house traveling ministers. It is believed the name Castlewood was first applied to the house by James H. Lumpkin, owner from the 1920s to 1957. The house was converted into use as a bank in 1977. In 1992 the property was acquired by the Chesterfield Historical Society, and the house now serves as its headquarters.
Castlewood is located on the south side of VA Rte. 10 in Chesterfield Court House between Richmond and Hopewell. It is open to visitors but tours are unavailable as it is not restored and accomodates offices. The research library is available to the public and is free of charge. For further information, please call 804-777-9663 or visit the Chesterfield Historical Society.
Prominently situated in Chesterfield Court House, the 1823 home of William Winfree survives as a sophisticated Federal style plantation home, the finest of this style in the county. Many of the owners of Magnolia Grange held public office and were instrumental in dictating the county's political development. The name Magnolia Grange derives from a circle of magnolia trees and formal boxwood gardens that once graced the lawn, destroyed after the Civil War to cultivate further farmland.
The well-preserved house was based on designs from Asher Benjamin's American Builder's Companion (1806), an architectural pattern book used widely by Virginia builders. The house retains virtually all of its ornate woodwork; most significant are elaborate ceiling medallions and the Federal mantels with slender Ionic columns supporting an embellished entablature and deeply molded cornice. The house was restored in the 1970s, with extensive marbelizing and the installation of Zuber scenic wallpaper. In 1984 the site was acquired by Chesterfield County and is now a museum administered by the Chesterfield Historical Society. A variety of living history programs offered at Magnolia Grange bring the 19th century to life.
Magnolia Grange is located on the north side of Virginia Rte. 10, at 10020 Ironbridge Rd., in Chesterfield Court House. It is open daily for tours. An admission fee is charged. Please call 804-796-1479 or visit the Chesterfield Historical Society for further information.
Located along the Appomattox River deep in the timber-farm region of western Chesterfield County, Eppington is the impressive Georgian plantation home of Francis Eppes VI. Francis Eppes was a cousin of Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson. Following Martha's death in 1782, two of the Jeffersons' daughters, Maria (Polly) and Lucy, lived here with the Epps family while their father served as the minister to France. Jefferson visited Eppington on several occasions, and during one of his stays he received an invitation from George Washington to serve as the secretary of state. Lucy died at age three in 1785 and was buried at Eppington. In 1797 Polly married Francis Eppes's son, John Wayles Eppes, who developed a distinguished political career as a member of US House of Representatives and the Senate. Along with Appomattox Manor and Weston Manor, Eppington is one of several James River plantations associated with the Eppes family.
The two-and-a-half-story center portion of Eppington was built c. 1770 and the one-story wings were added c. 1790, all with hipped roofs. The practice of combining several varying sections developed in the third quarter of the 18th century, to break down the dominance of the central block of earlier Virginia houses. The interior of Eppington is notable for its exceptionally fine paneling. In 1989, Eppington was donated to Chesterfield County by the Cherry family and is protected by a historic preservation easement. Today the Chesterfield Historical Society and the Chesterfield County Parks and Recreation Department, which manages nearly 400 acres of the original plantation, are developing plans to interpret the house.
Eppington is located west of Chesterfield Court House on the south side of River Rd. (County Rte. 602) in the Winterpock vicinity. It is open for tours by appointment arranged through the Chesterfield County Department of Parks and Recreation. Please call 804-748-1624 or visit the county's website to arrange tours.
Mayfield Cottage, the oldest brick house in Dinwidde County, was built c. 1750 and is an excellent example of mid-18th-century Virginia residential architecture. Distinguishing features of this period found at Mayfield include its Flemish bond brickwork, clipped-gable roof, symmetrical five-bay façade and interior paneling. The house was probably built for Robert Ruffin, member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. During the 19th century, the plantation passed from Thomas Tabb Bolling to his son, Edward Osborne Goodwyn, to Edward's sister, Eliza Goodwyn Whitworth, and then to Eliza's daughter, Eliza Willson.
The location of Mayfield, adjacent to Petersburg, figured prominently in a visit by General Robert E. Lee during the Civil War. Two Confederate defense lines, Fort Gregg and Fort Whitworth, were maintained on the Mayfield property on April 2, 1865, before they fell to Union troops after a fierce struggle. Before retreating to Appomattox, Lee observed this final battle from Mayfield, then home to the Whitworth family.
In 1882 the house and 290 acres, including a granite quarry, was sold by the Willson family to the City of Petersburg, which three years later transferred the property to the Commonwealth of Virginia for Central State Hospital. Mayfield was spared from demolition in 1969 when it was relocated approximately one mile from its original location to a new site on the original Mayfield tract. In 1979, the house was purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Jamie Caudle. The Caudles undertook the restoration of the house and in 1986 opened Mayfield as an elegant bed and breakfast inn.
Mayfield Cottage is located in Dinwiddie County west of Petersburg at 3348 W. Washington St. (U.S. Rte. 1). The bed and breakfast offers lodging daily. Please call 1-800-538-2381 or visit www.mayfieldinn.com to make reservations. Mayfield Cottage has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Battersea is an important colonial plantation house constructed, along the banks of the Appomattox River, in 1768 for John Banister, first mayor of Petersburg, a Revolutionary delegate, congressman and framer of the Articles of Confederation. The sectional massing of Battersea displays the neo-Palladian style as popularized in England in the 18th century and embraced in colonial Virginia. Earlier and later examples of this style can be found at Brandon and Castlewood, respectively.
Much of the original interior and exterior trim was replaced during the early 19th century. The house retains its original, elaborate Chinese lattice stair, the finest example in Virginia. The design of the staircase was based on the published design of English architect William Halfpenny. The house is now owned by the City of Petersburg and is one of several historic buildings open to the public as museums. Today, the grounds are but a fraction of the original plantation acreage, however, the original, rural, setting is suggested by the landscaping that surrounds the immediate area of the dwelling.
Battersea is located at 793 Appomattox St. in Petersburg, north of U.S. Rte. 1. It is open for tours by appointment. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-733-2402 or 1-800-368-3595 for further information. Battersea has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Violet Bank is an architecturally sophisticated Federal-style plantation house, built on the banks of the Appomattox River in 1815. Noteworthy architectural features of this unusual one-story house include three-part bays, intricate woodwork and elaborate plaster ceilings. The plasterwork, some of the finest Federal plaster ornamentation in Virginia, is based on the designs of Asher Benjamin's American Builder's Companion (1806), an architectural pattern book widely used by Virginia builders. Asher Benjamin's designs also provided inspiration for detailing found nearby at Magnolia Grange and Battersea.
The first house at this site was built by Thomas Shore, burned shortly after construction, and was rebuilt by Shore's widow, Jane Grey, and her second husband Henry Haxall. The unusual three-part bays indicate that Shore may have been inspired by noted architect Benjamin Henry Latrobe, who visited Shore in 1796 during construction of the first house. Latrobe inspired the designs of several Richmond townhouses, that also feature three-part bays.
General Robert E. Lee used the house for his headquarters from June through November of 1864 and was in residence when he learned of the explosion created by Union forces that resulted in a 135-foot wide crater and killed around 300 Confederate soldiers, part of the long siege of Petersburg. Following the Civil War, Violet Bank was repeatedly subdivided until it was reduced to a single lot in 1919. The house served as the home of the Colonial Heights Post No. 284 of the American Legion from 1947 until 1959. Now operated as a house museum, it features a collection of Civil War artifacts, as well as a collection of furniture dating from 1815 to 1873, textiles and ceramics.
Violet Bank is located at 303 Virginia Ave. east of U.S. Rte. 1 in Colonial Heights. It is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:00am to 5:00pm, and Sunday from 1:00pm to 6:00pm. Please call 804-520-9395 or visit www.colonial-heights.com/RecVioletBank.htm for further information. Violet Bank has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Weston Manor is an excellent example of late Georgian plantation architecture, and is one of the few plantation houses left on the lower Appomattox River. The house retains a rural atmosphere on its commanding bluff overlooking the river, despite the residential development that took place on its surrounding farmland. Weston Manor is one of a group of plantation homes associated with the Eppes family, including Appomattox Manor and Eppington. William and Christine Eppes Gilliam purchased the property during the second half of the 18th century and probably constructed the house in the 1780s. The house is notable for containing nearly all of its original architectural fabric including the original beaded weatherboards, window sash and interior woodwork.
During the Civil War the house was shelled by a Northern gunboat and later used as the headquarters of Union General Philip Sheridan. Noted photographer Mathew Brady recorded an image of Weston Manor during the occupation by the Union army. In the mid-1970s, Raymond Broyhill donated the house to the Historic Hopewell Foundation. Weston Manor continues to be maintained by the Historic Hopewell Foundation and is now open to the public as a historic house museum and cultural center.
Weston Manor is located west of 21st Ave. on Weston Ln. south of Virginia Rte. 10, in Hopewell. It is open April-October, Monday-Saturday from 10:00am to 4:30pm, Sunday from 1:00pm to 4:30pm. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-458-4682 or visit the house's website.
The land that forms Appomattox Manor, at the confluence of the Appomattox and James rivers, is one of the oldest extant estates in America; the property was patented in 1635 by Francis Eppes and remained in the Eppes family until 1979. The area around the plantation was first settled in 1613 and was first known as Bermuda City and later as City Point. The sprawling frame house of the Eppes family is the result of several enlargements made to the original 1763 dwelling. The surrounding outbuildings were constructed in the 19th century. During the American Revolution, British troops under the command of Benedict Arnold marched through the plantation. Other branches of the Eppes family constructed plantation homes along the Appomattox River, including Weston Manor and Eppington.
Appomattox Manor became the headquarters of General Ulysses S. Grant from June 1864 until April 1865. Grant occupied a tent, and later a cabin, while he commanded the Union Army in the final months of the Civil War. President Abraham Lincoln visited General Grant in the drawing room of the house in 1864 and 1865. Appomattox Manor is now administered as a historic house museum by the City Point Unit of the Petersburg National Battlefield.
Appomattox Manor, administered by the National Park Service's Petersburg National Battlefield as Appomattox Plantation, is located on the north side of VA Rte. 10, in Hopewell. It is open daily for tours, 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed Dec. 25 and Jan 1. Please call 804-458-9504 or visit the park's website Appomattox Manor has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Shirley presents a remarkable picture of an important Virginia tobacco plantation and the prominent Carter family. The property was patented in 1660 by Edward Hill, a member of the House of Burgesses in colonial Virginia, and remains in the possession of his descendents today. The main house, forecourt dependencies, formal brick farm buildings and two demolished three-story bedroom houses were built c. 1738 following the marriage of Elizabeth Hill, heiress of Shirley, to John Carter. John Carter was the son of Robert "King" Carter, the wealthiest and most politically influential man in mid-18th-century Virginia, perhaps in all the colonies. "King" Carter's other children also married into prominent Virginia families from James River plantations such as Berkeley, Westover and Brandon.
The Georgian style main house at Shirley is unique in Virginia for its combination of features including its mansard roof, floor plan without a center hall, rich interior paneling and dramatic "flying" staircase, a major achievement of colonial craftsmanship. A three-and-half foot roof finial is one of many pineapples, the Colonial symbol of hospitality, featured in the woodwork of the house. Original outbuildings on the property include a stable, smokehouse, root cellar and dovecoat, as well as a log corn crib, which resembles the original portion of Piney Grove.
By the 1770s, Shirley had been inherited by John Carter's son, Charles, who remodeled the interior and added the fine interior woodwork, porticos (modified in 1831), new outbuildings and replaced the roof tile with slate. At that point, Shirley was considered to be the seat of the Carter family, and by the end of the 18th century it had become the largest agricultural operation in the state. Charles Carter's daughter, Ann Hill Carter, was born at Shirley in 1773 and became the wife of Light-Horse Harry Lee and mother of General Robert E. Lee. Shirley's generations of Hills and Carters entertained many famous Virginians including the Byrds, Harrisons, and presidents Washington, Jefferson and Tyler. Today, the 800-acre working plantation is still home to the 10th and 11th generations of the Hill-Carter family. Guided tours of the main floor of the house feature family portraits, silver, furniture and other decorative arts.
Shirley, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 501 Shirley Plantation Rd. (County Rte. 608) on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5, west of Charles City. It is open daily for tours, 9:00am to 5:00pm, closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-5121 or visit www.shirleyplantation.com for further information. Shirley has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Edgewood, once a part of grounds of Berkeley plantation, is the sole example of Gothic Revival architecture found along the James River. The traditional center hall plan of the house provides the setting for a three-story staircase, which occupies the space beneath four steeply-pitched gables. The house was built about 1854 for Richard S. Rowland who moved here from New Jersey to operate the gristmill on the property. The mill was built during the 18th century by Benjamin Harrison V of Berkeley (largely rebuilt in the 19th century to accommodate new technology), and had been a center of commercial activity since the colonial period, reflecting the growing importance of grain in Virginia. It was visited during the Revolutionary War by British troops led by Benedict Arnold.
During the Civil War the third floor of Edgewood was used as a lookout post for Confederate generals when their troops were camped at nearby Berkeley and the gristmill ground corn for both the Union and Confederate armies. On June 15, 1862, Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart stopped at Edgewood for coffee on his way to Richmond to warn General Robert E. Lee of the Union Army's strength. In the early 1900s, Edgewood became Charles City County's first restaurant, The Blue Tea Pot. The house has also served as a church, post office, telephone exchange, restaurant and is now a bed and breakfast.
Edgewood is located seven miles west of Charles City on the north side of Virginia Rte. 5. It is open daily for self-guided grounds tours, house tours by appointment and bed & breakfast lodging. There is an admission fee (combination ticket with North Bend, Piney Grove and Westover available). Please call 804-829-2962 or visit www.edgewoodplantation.com for further information.
Berkeley, one of Virginia's earliest Georgian-style plantation homes, is the ancestral home of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, and his son U.S. President William Henry Harrison. On December 14, 1619 Captain John Woodlief arrived from England with 38 colonists to settle the grant that became known as Berkeley Hundred. The settlement was eliminated in an Indian attack in 1622. The property was purchased by Benjamin Harrison III in 1691 and the brick house was constructed by 1726 for Benjamin Harrison IV and his wife Anne Carter, daughter of Robert "King" Carter. The plantation became the focus of colonial Virginia's economic, cultural and social life. The plantation passed to Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and three-time governor of Virginia, and then to Benjamin Harrison VI. Benjamin Harrison V's son, William Henry Harrison was born at Berkeley and became the ninth president of the United States. The plantation was sold out of the Harrison family in the 1840s.
Benedict Arnold pillaged Berkeley during the Revolutionary War. Major General George B. McClellan occupied Berkeley during the Civil War with his Army of the Potomac. In 1907, the house and 1,400 acres was purchased by John Jamieson, who had served as a drummer boy with McClellan's forces when they were encamped at Berkeley and Westover. The property was inherited by Jamieson's son, Malcolm, in 1927. Restoration of the grounds began immediately and in 1933 the new owner was assisted with the restoration and furnishing of the house by his bride, Grace Eggleston. The property remains in the Jamieson family and is open to the public for tours. A portion of the site is permanently protected by a historic preservation easement.
Berkeley, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5, six miles west of Charles City Court House. It is open daily for tours, 9:00am to 5:00pm. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-6018 or visit www.berkeleyplantation.com for further information. Berkeley has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Westover, one of Virginia's oldest and grandest plantation mansions, is considered perhaps America's premier example of colonial Georgian architecture and the quintessential James River plantation house. Georgian design elements are exemplified in Westover's symmetry, elegant proportions, distinctive brickwork and pedimented entrances. Notable features include formal doorways in Portland stone on both main façades; a steeply pitched hip roof, one of only two known clasp-purlin types in the state; an off-center main hall and a finely detailed interior with full-length paneling and enriched plaster ceilings. The land on which Westover sits was purchased by William Byrd I, "The Black Swan of Westover," in 1688. The house was built c. 1750 by the Byrd family. William Byrd II, known as the founder of Richmond, was instrumental in surveying the dividing line between Virginia and North Carolina, as well as authoring a book recounting this experience. Byrd is also known for the diaries he kept in which he documents his life in Virginia and England. His library at Westover was the largest in the colonies, with 4,000 volumes. The property remained in the Byrd family until 1817, and both William Byrd I and II are buried here.
Westover is situated beneath 150-year-old tulip poplar trees and alongside ancient boxwood. The grounds also include formal gardens, the hedge featuring a rare clairvoyee, plantation outbuildings such as a privy and icehouse, a collection of barns of varying ages and three sets of elaborate 18th-century English wrought-iron gates, among the most elaborate in America. An expansive lawn meets the banks of the James River. The site of the first Westover Church stood 400 yards west of the house, and includes the burials site of a number of prominent Virginians, including the first Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley.
Westover's renaissance began in 1899 when Mrs. Clarise Sears Ramsey, a Byrd descendent, purchased the property and hired the New York restoration architect William H. Mesereau to modernize the house. Mesereau designed the hyphens connecting the main house to the previously separate dependencies, creating one long building. Mesereau also built the new library dependency to the east on the site of William Byrd's library, which had been destroyed during the Civil War when Major General George B. McClellan encamped at Westover. Westover was acquired in 1921 by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Crane. The Cranes left the property to their daughter Mrs. Bruce Crane Fisher, the current owner. In 1974 a preservation easement was placed on 636 acres.
Westover, a National Historic Landmark, is located at 7000 Westover Rd. on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5, six miles west of Charles City. It is open daily for self-guided grounds tours; tours of the house are offered during Historic Garden Week, group tours by appointment. There is an admission fee (combination ticket with Edgewood, North Bend and Piney Grove available). Please call 804-829-2882 or visit www.jamesriverplantations.com for further information. Westover has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Belle Air is a unique surviving example of a wooden house with postmedieval-type exposed interior framing, probably the oldest plantation dwelling along Virginia's Route 5 Scenic Byway. Daniel Clark purchased the Belle Air tract in 1662. The original five-bay portion of Belle Air possesses architectural details characteristic of 17th-century construction with a floor plan and façade fenestration characteristic of 18th-century design. This evidence reflects the transition from 17th-century building methods to 18th-century ones, and it is uncertain if Daniel Clark or his son is responsible for the house's construction.
The house is unpretentious in size and is situated in a historically appropriate setting of cultivated fields and acres of woodlands. Belle Air possesses exceptionally fine detailing, particularly its 17th-century hand-carved Jacobean style staircase. The post medieval-type exposed interior framing is the only example found in a frame building in Virginia. The hand-hewn timbers serve as both structural framing and decorative woodwork. Summer beams, which run through the center of the ceilings into the chimneys, serve as the principal supporting members for the floor joists above. In a period when ornamental carving was rare, these summer beams' ornamental carving is noteworthy.
Clark family ownership of Belle Air continued through the 18th century. The property was purchased by Hamlin Willcox, prosperous Charles City County planter, in 1800 and he added the three-bay western portion of the house. The house remained in the Willcox family, which also owned nearby North Bend at the time of the Civil War, until 1945. However, Belle Air was not occupied from the 1920s until the 1950s, when the house was spared from ruin by the present owner, Mrs. Walter O. Major.
Belle Air is located on the north side of Virginia Rte. 5 half a mile east of Charles City. It is open daily for tours by appointment. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-2431 or visit www.jamesriverplantations.com for further information.
North Bend is the best example of the Greek Revival style in Charles City County. The house is situated on the Weyanoke peninsula, the projection of land between the James River and Kittiewan Creek. The original portion of North Bend was built in 1819 for John Minge and his wife Sarah Harrison, the sister of President William Henry Harrison. It was a modest two-story house with a center hall, flanked by one room on either side. In 1843 Thomas H. Willcox acquired the property and in 1853 undertook a major expansion, transforming the house into a double-pile (two rooms deep) Greek Revival mansion with decorative details based on the pattern book designs of Asher Benjamin. The grounds of the plantation still include several early farm buildings, a dairy and a smokehouse.
At the beginning of the Civil War, fearing shelling from Union gunboats, Thomas Willcox moved his family to his inland plantation of Belle Air. In 1865 North Bend was the headquarters of Union General Philip Sheridan prior to his crossing of the James River to join the Seige of Petersburg, during which time he stayed at Flowerdew Hundred. The plantation was owned by the Hewitt family of Richmond for 50 years following the Civil War. Since 1916 North Bend has been the home of the Copland family. The current owner is a descendent of President William Henry Harrison and noted agriculturist and Southern nationalist Edmund Ruffin. The house is furnished with antiques and family heirlooms, many of which are from the Harrison and Ruffin families.
North Bend is located at 12200 Weyanoke Rd. (County Rte. 619), one mile south of Virginia Rte. 5. It is open daily for self-guided grounds tours, house tours by appointment and bed & breakfast lodging. There is an admission fee (combination ticket with Edgewood , Piney Grove and Westover available). Please call 804-829-5176 or visit www.northbendplantation.com for further information.
Upper Weyanoke was first inhabited by the Weanoc Indians, the tribe that gave the Weyanoke peninsula its name. The plantation site was settled by English colonists during the 17th century and has been continuously occupied ever since, as indicated by archeological investigations. During the 18th century and early 19th century the locally prominent Minge family owned the property, as well as others on the Weyanoke peninsula, such as North Bend. The one-and-a-half-story, early 19th-century brick cottage was probably built by John Minge as a two-room dependency to a now vanished main dwelling. The grounds of Upper Weyanoke also include a Greek Revival style residence built for Robert Douthat in 1859. The commodious two-story brick home has a side-hall plan typically utilized in urban homes, rather than rural plantation houses.
Upper Weyanoke came into the Douthat family with the marriage of Eleanor Warner Lewis to Robert Douthat in 1819. The property remained in the Douthat family until 1930. In 1942, the house was purchased by Henry and Evelyn Bahnsen and today remains in possession of their descendents.
Upper Weyanoke is located on Weyanoke Rd. (Charles City County Rte. 619) on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5. It is available for weekly lodging rental. Please call 804-359-1560 or visit the house's website for further information.
Kittiewan is a typical colonial-period medium-size plantation house. The house sits above the Kittiewan Creek at its confluence with the James River, on part of the tract of land acquired by Governor George Yeardley in 1618. The date of the dwelling's construction is unknown. The center hall plan and five bay façade are characteristic of substantial frame residences built throughout the Virginia Tidewater, however, the finely-crafted, full-length paneling is typical of woodwork found in much larger homes of the 18th century. The first known owner of the house was Dr. William Rickman during the late 18th century. In 1776 Dr. Rickman was appointed by the Continental Congress to oversee the Virginia hospitals during the Revolutionary War. Dr. Rickman died at Kittiewan in 1783.
During the Civil War the property, along with adjacent North Bend, was occupied by Union troops under General Philip Sheridan as the Army of the Potomac prepared to cross the James River to join the Seige of Petersburg on the pontoon bridge that led to Flowerdew Hundred. During the early 20th century the paneled interior was identified as a potential acquisition for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts' American Wing, although the owners did not entertain the thought of removing this significant feature of the house.
Kittiewan is located on Weyanoke Rd. (County Rte. 619) one mile south of Virginia Rte. 5. It is open daily for tours by appointment. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-2900 for further information.
John Tyler purchased this house in his native Charles City County in 1842 while serving as the 10th president of the United States. Tyler had previously served Virginia as congressman, governor and United States senator. In 1845, Tyler, who had been expelled by the Whig Party, returned from the White House with his bride Julia Gardiner to settle at Sherwood Forest, previously known as Walnut Grove and built in 1780. Tyler named his home Sherwood Forest because he considered himself to be like Robin Hood—a political outlaw. Tyler added wings, hyphens and dependencies to the vernacular frame dwelling, resulting in a unified and balanced façade, measuring 300 feet in length making it perhaps the longest historic house in the state. The interior was ornamented with woodwork based on the pattern-book designs of Monard Lafever.
At the secession of the first southern states in 1861, John Tyler led a compromise movement, although his effort failed. Tyler subsequently contributed to the creation of the Confederacy and was a member of the Confederate Congress at his death in 1862. Following the Civil War, Tyler's wife returned to Sherwood Forest to reclaim the plantation, which had been badly battered during the Union occupation of Charles City County. The property remains the home of John Tyler's grandson and his family, and is open to the public as a historic house museum. The original French parlor wallpaper was reproduced during a restoration in the 1970s and the interior includes many possessions of President Tyler and the Tyler family.
The John Tyler House (Sherwood Forest), a National Historic Landmark, is located six miles east of Charles City County on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5, at 14501 John Tyler Memorial Hwy. It is open daily for self-guided grounds tours from 9:00am to 5:00pm, and guided house tours by appointment. There is a fee for admission. Please call 804-829-5377 or visit the house's website. The John Tyler House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Piney Grove is an instructive example of evolutionary expansion, or the layers of history revealed in the architecture of a building that has changed over time. The original eastern portion of Piney Grove is a rare example of early log architecture in Tidewater Virginia, constructed c. 1790 as a corncrib. It was part of the 300-acre plantation of Furneau Southall, deputy sheriff of Charles City County, under Ottway Byrd, son of William Byrd III of Westover. During the Revolutionary War, Southall served on the Charles City County Committee of Safety with John Tyler, father of President John Tyler of Sherwood Forest and held a captainship of one of the county's companies, under Benjamin Harrison of Berkeley. Southall was also responsible for the local administration of the first Federal Census in 1790. Virginia's prominent Southall family first settled in Charles City County during the early 18th century. Other family members included James Barrett Southall, the owner of Williamsburg's Raleigh Tavern; Turner Southall, who served on the committee to build Thomas Jefferson's Capitol and historian Douglas Southall Freeman.
The log corncrib was transformed into a general merchandise store in 1820, which served this part of rural Charles City County for some 85 years. Such general stores were often gathering places and played an important role in 19th-century social life. Furneau Southall's grandson, John Stubblefield, expanded the store in 1853 with a single-room frame addition. The plantation remained in the Southall family until 1857 when John Stubblefield sold the property to Edmund Saunders. Following the Civil War Saunders moved to Richmond and became a successful wholesale grocer, although he did return to Charles City to purchase properties for agricultural production. In 1905 Thomas Harwood enlarged Piney Grove with a two-story frame addition as part of its transformation into a modern country residence, complete with an indoor kitchen and carbide lighting. Harwood served as a color sergeant during the Civil War and lost his leg at Malvern Hill. His battle injury was treated by Captain Sally Tompkins, who established one of the South's most important hospitals in Richmond and became the Confederate army's only female officer. Harwood subsequently re-enlisted, but was captured at Gettysburg. Piney Grove was abandoned from 1964 until 1984 when the Gordineer family undertook a five-year restoration of the house and grounds.
Piney Grove is located on the north side of County Rte. 615, six miles north of Virginia Rte. 5. It is open daily for self-guided grounds tours, tours by appointment and bed & breakfast lodging. There is an admission fee (combination ticket with Edgewood, North Bend and Westover available). Please call 804-829-2480, 804-829-2196 or visit the house's website.
Powhatan is a classic example of an early Georgian plantation mansion. The construction date is uncertain, although it may have been designed by noted architect Richard Taliaferro, who designed several important Virginia plantations including Carter's Grove and Wilton, his own townhouse in Williamsburg and supervised repairs to the Governor's Palace in 1751. By the time he was working on the Governor's Palace he was known to be living at Powhatan, on land inherited by his wife Elizabeth Eggleston Taliaferro west of Williamsburg. During the mid-18th century Richard Taliaferro undertook the construction of his two-story townhouse on Williamsburg's Palace Green, now known as the Wythe House as it was inherited by his son-in-law George Wythe. It is believed he also built his country house at Powhatan. Powhatan is marked by finely crafted glazed-header Flemish bond brick walls and massive T-shaped chimney stacks. Architecturally, the house at Powhatan relates to the much larger house at nearby Westover. Both homes possess similar proportions and include off-center halls.
Powhatan passed out of the Taliaferro family in 1810. The interior of the house was destroyed by fire during the Civil War, although the Martin family rebuilt shortly thereafter. The Slausson family, who operated a dairy farm on the property during the first half of the 20th century, undertook a restoration of Powhatan in 1948. A 19th-century gable roof was restored to the original steep-pitch hip roof form and colonial-era sash were fabricated to replace the two-over-two sash windows installed after the Civil War. The dwelling remained vacant for more than a decade, until it was integrated into the development of the Powhatan Plantation timeshare resort. The shaded plantation yard and axial approach from the original country road have been sensitively maintained by the resort owners.
Powhatan is located on Ironbound Rd. (James City County Rte. 615) two miles north of Virginia Rte. 5, three miles west of Williamsburg . It is open daily for guided tours to visitors of the resort. Please call 1-800-368-3541 ext. 1153 for further information. Powhatan has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
This large tract of land along the James River includes a series of important archeological sites excavated in the 1970s. The principal archeological site is that of the c. 1736 mansion of Colonel Lewis Burwell, naval officer for the lower James River. The plantation known as Kingsmill was destroyed in 1843. Marked by a pair of still extant one-story, brick dependencies, archeology at the site revealed a house with a formal plan, an elaborate paved forecourt, terraced gardens and numerous outbuildings.
Nearby, Burwell's Landing contains the site of an 18th-century warehouse, a colonial-era tavern, Revolutionary War and Civil War fortifications. Other important features include three 17th-century domestic sites. The archeological excavation and survey supplied much needed architectural and historic information concerning daily life on a plantation. Anheuser Busch, Inc. sponsored the excavations and incorporated the preserved archeological sites into the landscape design for their Kingsmill on the James residential and resort community.
Kingsmill Plantation is located at 1010 Kingsmill Dr., north of Virginia Rte. 60 and east of Williamsburg. It is open daily for self-guided tours to visitors of the resort. Please call call 1-800-832-5665 or visit www.kingsmill.com for further information. Kingsmill Plantation has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Carter's Grove, built from 1750 to 1755, is one of colonial America's most impressive examples of Georgian architecture, noted for its exquisite brickwork and finely crafted, fully-paneled interior. The house was built for Carter Burwell, grandson of Robert "King" Carter, the wealthiest and most politically influential man in mid-18th-century Virginia, perhaps in all the colonies. Craftsmen responsible for the construction of the house include David Minitree, a bricklayer; James Wheatley, a house carpenter; and Richard Baylis, an English joiner. The interiors are especially rich, and the segmental arch framing the walnut stair is one of many handsome features. Carter's Grove remained in the family until 1834.
The house was essentially unaltered during the ownership of the next nine owners, until 1928, when the property was purchased by the McCreas who hired architect W. Duncan Lee to modernize and enlarge the house. The roof was heightened to accommodate a third floor, dormers were added and the dependencies were enlarged and connected to the main house with hyphens. In the 1960s, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation acquired the property and opened the house as a museum, along with reconstructed slave quarters to present both sides of plantation life. The extensive garden was reconstructed in the 1970s after detailed archeological investigations. Those excavations also uncovered the site of Wolstenholme Town, an early 17th-century settlement founded by investors of the London Company of Virginia.
Carter's Grove, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the south side of Virginia Rte. 60, six miles east of Williamsburg. In 2003, Carter's Grove was closed for an assessment of the property, grounds and programs, and will reopen in the future. Carter's Grove has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Lee Hall survives as the only large pre-Civil War plantation house on the lower Virginia Peninsula. This impressive Italianate plantation house was constructed c. 1850 as the home of affluent tobacco planter Richard Decatur Lee and his wife Martha. Lee was placed in charge of the area's defenses during the Civil War. Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder made Lee Hall his headquarters from April to May 1862 during the Warwick-Yorktown phase of the Peninsula Campaign. From this home, Magruder and General Joseph E. Johnston directed the defense of the lower Virginia Peninsula against the Union troops of Major General George B. McClellan. During the Confederate retreat on May 3, 1862, there was a small skirmish with Union forces. The plantation yard includes the remnants of a fort from which a Confederate hot-air balloon was launched on April 17, 1862.
Lee's support of the Confederate cause brought him financial ruin, and he was forced to sell the plantation in 1866. A village was established at the nearby rail crossing in the 1880s and took its name from the house. In the following century the property was bought and sold many times, until the 1996 purchase of the site by the City Of Newport News. The house was restored to its antebellum appearance and is now a museum interpreting the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and the ways that the Civil War changed the fabric of American society.
Lee Hall is located at 163 Yorktown Rd. on the north side of Virginia Rte. 60 in the Lee Hall area of Newport News. The house is open 10:00am to 4:00pm Monday and Wednesday-Saturday, and 1:00pm to 5:00pm Sunday; closed major holidays, Tuesdays year-round and Wednesdays from January to March. There is an admission fee. Please call 757-888-3371 or visit the house's website for further information.
In a developed area of Newport News lie the archeological remains of Richneck, the plantation seat of the prominent Cary family. The original dwelling was probably built during the late 17th century for Miles Cary, Jr. (1655-1709) and lived in by Cary and his descendents until the house burned in 1865. A family descendent visiting Richneck three years later noted that "The mansion was a pile of ruins, though from the remains of the walls still standing, I could estimate its former extent. It was a long-fronted, two-storied brick building with the usual outhouses and must have been very commodious." Richneck, like Bacon's Castle, had a cruciform plan and probably resembled other substantial late 17th-century and early 18th-century homes, such as the Matthew Jones House, in elevation and detail.
Miles Cary, Jr. held several positions in the government of colonial Virginia, including the rectorship of the College of William and Mary. Cary's grandson, Wilson Miles Cary, was among the patriots that met at Williamsburg's Raleigh Tavern to sign the "Association of 1774"-one of the first acts of the First Continental Congress. Miles Cary and his wife, Mary Milner Cary, are buried in the family graveyard, which is now part of the grounds of McIntosh Elementary School. The remains of the plantation were discovered during the construction of this school, and the excavation became an instructional project for high school students.
Richneck Plantation Site is located at McIntosh Elementary School, 185 Richneck Neck Rd. (Rte. 636), on the north side of I-64 in Newport News. The site is accessible to the public daily. There is no admission fee. Please call 757-886-7767 or visit the school's website for further information.
Denbigh Plantation Site (Mathews Manor)
Mathews Manor was one of the 17th-century sites excavated by Colonial Williamsburg's renowned archeologist Ivor Noël Hume during the 1960s. His findings revealed much about early domestic life in the Virginia colony. Mathews Manor was built c. 1626 for Captain Samuel Mathews. The post-medieval Mathews Manor included a projecting porch and center chimney, both characteristic of Virginia's earliest substantial dwellings. Mathews's house burned c. 1650 and was replaced with a smaller house nearby, probably by his son, Samuel Mathews, Jr., governor of Colonial Virginia (1656-1660). Referred to as Denbigh Plantation since the 18th century, this house is now also an archeological site.
The site also includes several 17th-century industrial sites and the archeological remains of the 18th-century home of the Digges family. The foundations of both the Digges and Mathews houses have been capped and delineate their outlines. An 18th-cenutry dairy and early 19th-century kitchen associated with the Digges homestead are still standing. The earliest known porcelain in Virginia, as well as other early artifacts, were found here during excavation. Although now surrounded by residential development, these sites are preserved within a neighborhood park.
Denbigh Plantation Site (Mathews Manor) is located on the south side of Virginia Rte. 60 in a neighborhood park in the Denbigh area of Newport News. The site is accessible to the public daily. Please call 1-888-493-7386 for further information.
Situated on Mulberry Island in what was originally Warwick County, the Matthew Jones House illustrates the transition from the post-medieval vernacular to the Georgian style. The main body of the T-shaped house was probably built in 1727 for Matthew Jones, as suggested by an inscribed brick, although the large chimneys with divided stacks appear to survive from an earlier frame building. The Matthew Jones House is one of four colonial Virginia homes that incorporate a projecting entrance, which like its cruciform plan, exhibits post-medieval architectural traditions. The glazed-header Flemish bond brickwork is exceptional.
In 1893 the original interior trim was removed and the upper level half-story was replaced with a full second story. A century later this artifact of colonial Virginia received necessary repairs and stabilization, and was opened to the public as a museum property by the Fort Eustis Historical and Archaeological Association.
The Matthew Jones House is located on the south side of Virginia Rte. 60, on the Fort Eustis Military Reservation in Newport News. It is open daily for exterior viewing. Guided house tours are available by appointment. Contact the Fort Eustis Historical and Archaeological Association (FEHAA) at 757-872-8283 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is no admission fee. Please call 1-888-493-7386 or visit the city's website for further information. The Matthew Jones House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Four Square plantation is one of southeastern Virginia's best collections of domestic outbuildings and early farm buildings. The two-story, L-shaped, frame plantation house was constructed for the Woodley family in 1807 on land they had owned since the late 17th century. The property subsequently became known as Four Square. The commodious spaces of the dwelling and interior architectural details were typical of prosperous early 19th-century plantation residences in this region. An outstanding collection of dependencies recalls the village atmosphere that existed on plantations throughout the Virginia Tidewater.
The domestic outbuildings include a cookhouse, dairy, smokehouse and slave house. The farm buildings of Four Square include an early granary of log construction similar to the log building at Piney Grove. The grounds also include the archeological sites of other farm buildings. Today, the Healey family welcomes bed and breakfast guests to this village-like plantation complex.
Four Square is located on Foursquare Rd. south of Virginia Rte. 10, west of Smithfield. It is open daily for bed and breakfast lodging. There is an admission fee. Please call 757-365-0749 or visit www.innvirginia.com for further information.
Bacon's Castle is distinguished as America's premier example of high style 17th-century domestic architecture and the oldest documented house in Virginia. The house was built for prosperous planter Arthur Allen in 1665. The Jacobean plan and details of the brick house include curvilinear gables, diagonal chimney stacks and a cruciform plan. During the 18th century, casement windows were replaced with sash windows and paneling was installed on the first floor. In the 19th century, a two-story Greek Revival style wing enlarged the house to its present size.
The house is so named because supporters of Nathaniel Bacon's revolt against Governor William Berkeley occupied the building in 1676 during Bacon's Rebellion. Seventy followers of Nathaniel Bacon, under the direction of William Rookings, ousted Arthur Allen and made his home their Surry County headquarters for four months. As Allen was a member of Virginia's House of Burgesses and a loyal supporter of Governor Berkeley, it is not surprising that his home was used by forces that were attempting to overthrow the colonial government.
This important early colonial site was acquired in 1973 by the Association for the Preservation for Virginia Antiquities and opened to the public in 1983 as one of its museum properties. Archeological investigation yielded valuable evidence that guided the restoration of the impressive 17th-century formal gardens, funded through the Garden Club of Virginia. Bacon's Castle and the Association's nearby Smith's Fort(Rolfe/Warren House) remain situated in the agricultural setting of rural Surry County.
Bacon's Castle, a National Historic Landmark, is located on the west side of Surry County Rte. 617, just north of its junction with Rte. 10 between Hopewell and Smithfield. The Castle is open March through December, Friday and Saturday, 10am-5pm, Sunday 12pm-5pm and Tuesday-Thursday by advance appointment for a nominal fee. Tours begin 30 minutes after opening and occur at the bottom of the hour, with the last tour at 4:30pm. Please call 757-357-5976 for further information, or visit the house's website or Facebook page . Bacon's Castle has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Chippokes Plantation, a 1,400-acre farm located opposite Jamestown Island, has been the site of an active agricultural operation for nearly four centuries. Unlike many large plantations along the James River, it was never a family seat during the 17th or 18th centuries, but changed hands frequently, serving as a secondary plantation managed by overseers or farmed by tenants. Named for Choupocke, an Indian chief friendly to early English settlers, early owners of Chippokes included Governor Sir William Berkeley, who acquired the property in 1671, and the Ludwell family, who owned the property from 1684 to 1824. Chippokes Plantation consists of 20 historically significant buildings and structures, including two plantation houses. The River House, the oldest dwelling on the plantation, is a vernacular frame building that was doubled in size in the 1840s. Architecturally, the River House illustrates the continuation of a Virginia Tidewater vernacular tradition, whose beginning can be seen in earlier frame homes, such as Belle Air and Kittiewan.
Albert C. Jones purchased the plantation in 1837, and became the first owner to live there. Jones used the River House as his principal residence until he built an Italianate brick home on the property around 1855. This house, like nearby Lee Hall, reflects the liberal application of academic stylistic elements onto the regional forms and floor plans of the largest homes. Chippokes Plantation also retains an extensive collection of original plantation outbuildings, slave quarters, farm buildings and several colonial period archeological sites. In 1917 Mr. and Mrs. Victor Stewart purchased Chippokes, and lived here until 1967, when Mrs. Stewart donated the plantation to the Commonwealth of Virginia for the establishment of a museum of Virginia's agricultural history.
Chippokes Plantation State Park is located at 695 Chippokes Park Rd. on the north side of Virginia Rte. 10 and Surry County Rte. 634, between Hopewell and Smithfield. Tours of the Italianate house are offered from 1:00pm to 5:00pm Friday-Monday in the summer; weekends only April-May and September-October. Chippokes Farm and Forestry Museum is open from 10:00am to 5:00pm Friday-Monday in the summer; weekends only April-May and September-October; reservation can be made for groups of 10 or more at other times. There is an admission fee; a combination ticket for both the house and farm museum can be purchased at the museum. Lodging is available in restored tenant houses and camping sites. Please call 757-294-3625 or visit the park's website for further information.
This classic example of colonial Virginia architecture has been the inspiration for numerous 20th-century replicas. Along with Mayfield Cottage, it belongs to a collection of one-and-a-half-story mid-18th-century brick homes that epitomizes Georgian architecture in colonial Virginia. The house exhibits Flemish bond brick and interior pine paneling, including a handsome chimneypiece, fluted pilasters and arched cupboards with butterfly shells. The house was long thought to have been the 17th-century home of either John Rolfe or Thomas Warren. However, a dendrochronological study, which included an analysis of tree ring sizes in the timbers of the house, indicated the house was built c. 1763, and most likely first occupied by Jacob Faulcon. Faulcon's prominent status in Surry County is evidenced by his ascension to the clerk of the county court in 1781. The house remained in the Faulcon family until 1835.
The property is now known as Smith's Fort, a name derived from an earthwork on the property that was constructed in 1609 by the order of Captain John Smith. In 1928, Smith's Fort was acquired by the Williamsburg Holding Company, predecessor to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. The Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities was given the property by the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in 1934 and has since opened the house as a museum. Today the house is furnished with a collection of fine English and American antiques.
Smith's Fort(Rolfe?is located on the west side of Virginia Rte. 31, between Hopewell and Smithfield. It is open March-December, Friday-Saturday, 10:00am to 5:00pm and Sunday 12:00pm to 5:00pm. There is a nominal admission fee. Please call 757-294-3872 or visit the house's website. Warren House has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Brandon, one of America's most admired works of colonial architecture, illustrates the influence of English interpretations of the designs of Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. The house was built c. 1765 by Nathaniel Harrison II, for his son Benjamin Harrison. The inspiration for the house's seven-part design came from Plate III of Robert Morris's Select Architecture (1755), an English pattern book of Palladian style designs. The exterior displays excellent uniform brickwork, interesting massing, a fine modillioned cornice in the central block and the Georgian symbol of hospitality at the peak of the hipped roof-a pineapple. The interior of the house retains 18th-century paneling. During the 19th century several minor changes were made to the hall of the house, including the addition of the arcade and stairs.
The name of the plantation derives from the area's 17th-century land patent, Martin's Brandon. Originally Brandon was part of the vast land grant to John Martin, companion of Capt. John Smith, on his first voyage to America. In 1637, merchants John Sadler and Richard Quiney and mariner William Barber, bought Martin's Brandon. They and their heirs farmed it successfully until 1720 when it was sold to Nathaniel Harrison.
Brandon remained in the Harrison family until 1926, when it was acquired by Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Daniel. The Daniels undertook the restoration of the house and grounds. Today, the house is furnished with 1760s English and American furniture, placed in the house by the Daniels. The expansive estate contains more than 4,500 acres, of which 1,600 acres are cultivated with soybeans, wheat and barley. The agricultural activities, representing one of America's oldest continuous farming operations, are overseen by the Daniels' son, Robert Daniel.
Brandon, a National Historic Landmark , is located on the north side of Brandon Rd. (Prince George County Rte. 611), five and a half miles north of Rte. 10, between Hopewell and Smithfield . Gardens and grounds are open daily. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-866-8486 for further information. Brandon has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
Flowerdew Hundred was among the earliest English settlements in the New World, and its 1,400 acres contain some of the country's best preserved and most significant archeological sites. Archeological investigation has revealed that this site was first inhabited as long ago as 11,000 B.C. In 1618 Governor George Yeardley was granted 1,000 acres of land that he named in honor of his wife, née Temperance Flowerdew. Flowerdew Hundred survived the Indian attack of 1622 and occupation of the site continued through the 18th century. America's first windmill was constructed here in 1621, later demolished, and now commemorated by a 17th-century style windmill built in the 1970s. Like many of the original patents, Flowerdew was subdivided into smaller parcels during the 17th and 18th centuries. In 1804 the Willcox family, of nearby Belle Air and North Bend, began acquiring numerous tracts of land, which would by 1855 include all of the original 1,000 acres granted to Governor Yeardley in 1618.
In June 1864, the Willcox plantation was surveyed and selected by Lt. Peter Michie of the United States Corps of Engineers as the location for the southern terminus of a pontoon bridge that would carry the Army of the Potomac across the James River. Union troops encamped on the grounds for three days before proceeding to the Battle of Petersburg.
During the last quarter of the 20th century the current landowner, David A. Harrison III, supported educational research and promoted historical interpretation of Flowerdew Hundred. Archeological exhibits displayed in an 1850s schoolhouse include some of the 200,000 artifacts uncovered in almost 30 years of on-site archeological excavations such as earthenware, case bottles, breastplates and neck and shoulder armor.
Flowerdew Hundred Plantation is located at 1617 Flowerdew Hundred Rd., three and a half miles south of Virginia Rte. 10, between Hopewell and Smithfield. The Flowerdew Hundred Museum offers an interpretive drive of more than four miles of riverfront, including archaeological sites and the site of Grant's Crossing. It is open Monday-Friday, April 1 to November 15, from 10:00am to 4:00pm. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-5075 or visit the museum's website for further information. Flowerdew Hundred Plantation has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
By clicking on these links, you can go directly to particular sections:
James River PlantationsóCharles City County, Virginia
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Charles City County, Virginia
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Virginia Historical Society
Virginia Preservation Alliance
Archeology Society of Virginia
Historic Garden Week in Virginia
Virginia Civil War Trails: www.civilwar-va.com
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University of Virginia Press
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Historic American Buildings Survey/Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER)
National Trust for Historic Preservation
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Billings, Warren M. (ed.). The Old Dominion in the Seventeenth Century-A Documentary History of Virginia, 1609-1689. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1975.
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Carmody, John M. A Guide to Prince George and Hopewell. Hopewell, VA: The Hopewell News, 1939.
Carson, Cary, ed. "Impermanent Architecture in the Southern American Colonies." Winterthur Portfolio 16, nos. 2/3 (1981): 135-196.
Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. An Illustrated Glossary of Early Southern Architecture and Landscape. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1994.
Coski, John M. and James P. Whittenburg (eds.). Charles City County, Virginia-An Official History. Salem, WV: Don Mills, Inc., 1989.
Dowdey, Clifford and Louis H. Manarin. The History of Henrico County. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1984.
Dowdey, Clifford. The Virginia Dynasty The Emergence of "King" Carter and the Golden Age. New York, NY: Bonaza Books, 1974.
Fischer, David Hackett. Albion's Seed: Four British Folkways in America. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1989.
Gleason, David King. Virginia Plantation Homes. Baton Rogue, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.
Harriot, Thomas. A Briefe and True Report of The New Found Land of Virginia. New York, NY: Dover Publications, 1972.
Issac, Rhys. The Transformation of Virginia, 1740-1790. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1982.
Kornwolf, James D. The Surry County, Virginia 1776 Bicentennial Committee Guide to the Buildings of Surry County and the American Revolution. Surry, VA: Surry County Bicentennial Committee, 1976.
Lane, Mills. Architecture of the Old South. New York, NY: Aberville Press, 1993.
Loth, Calder (ed.). The Virginia Landmarks Register. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1999.
Lounsbury, Carl R. The Courthouses Of Early Virginia: An Architectural History (Colonial Williamsburg Studies in Chesapeake History and Culture). Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 2005.
McCartney, Martha W. James City County-Keystone of the Commonwealth. Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company, Publishers, 1997.
Morgan, Edmunds. American Slavery American Freedom: the Ordeal of Colonial Virginia. New York, NY: W&W Norton Company, 1995.
O'Dell, Jeffrey Marshall. Inventory of Early Architecture and Historic Sites-County of Henrico, Virginia. Richmond, VA: County of Henrico, 1978.
Potter, Stephen R. Commoners, Tribute and Chiefs: The Development of Algonquin Culture in the Potomac Valley. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1993.
Roberts, Bruce. Plantation Homes of the James River. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1990.
Rountree, Helen C. and E. Randolph Turner III. Before and After Jamestown: Virginia's Powhatans and Their Predecessors. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2002.
Rutman, Darrett B. and Anita B. Rutman. A Place in Time: Middlesex County, Virginia 1650-1750. New York, NY: W&W Norton Company, 1984.
Upton, Dell. Holy Things and Profane: Anglican Parish Churches in Colonial Virginia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
Vlach, John Michael. Back of the Big House, The Architecture of Plantation Slavery. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1993.
Waterman, Thomas Tileston. The Mansions of Virginia, 1706-1776. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1946.
Wilson, Richard Guy. Buildings of Virginia: Tidewater and Piedmont. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Wright, Louis B. The First Gentlemen of Virginia: Intellectual Qualities of the Early Colonial Ruling Class. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1970.
Kalman, Bobbie. Colonial Craftsmen. New York, NY: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1992.
---------- Colonial Life. New York, NY: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1992.
---------- Eighteenth Century Clothes. New York, NY: Crabtree Publishing Co., 1993.
---------- Life on a Plantation. New York, NY: Crabtree Publishing Co.,1997.
James River Plantations was produced by the National Park Service's National Register of Historic Places in partnership with the James River Plantations of Charles City County, Virginia, the Virginia Department of Historic Resources and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO). It was created under the direction of the John W. Roberts, Acting Chief of the National Register of Historic Places, Patrick W. Andrus, Heritage Tourism Program Manager, and Beth L. Savage, Publications Managing Editor, in cooperation with Carol D. Shull, Chief of Heritage Education Services. James River Plantations is based on information in the files of the National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmarks collections. These materials are kept at 1201 Eye St., NW, Washington, D.C., and are open to the public from 9:00am to 12:00pm, Monday through Thursday.
Brian Gordineer of the James River Plantations of Charles City County, Virginia, conceptualized and compiled written information for the itinerary. National Register web production team members included Jeff Joeckel, who designed the itinerary, Rustin Quaide and Shannon Davis (all of NCSHPO). Property descriptions were written by Brian Gordineer, edited by Shannon Davis and based upon National Register nominations and Calder Loth's Virginia Landmarks Register (4th edition, 1999), published by the University Press of Virginia. Maps and contextual essays were compiled by Rustin Quaide. Thank you to Calder Loth, Marc Wagner, Keith Egloff, Randolph Turner, Jean McRae (Virginia Department of Historic Resources) and Carl Lounsbury (Colonial Williamsburg Foundation) for their assistance.
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