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 at 12602 Harrison Landing Rd. Charles City, VA on the south side of Virginia Rte. 5, six miles west of Charles City Court House. Click here for the National Historic Landmark file: text and photos. It is open daily for tours, 9:00am to 5:00pm. There is an admission fee. Please call 804-829-6018 or visit Berkeley Plantation for further information. Berkeley has also been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.
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