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Flowerdew Hundred Plantation
Photo courtesy of Flowerdew Hundred Foundation

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.

[photo] Historic photo of Grant's Crossing at Flowerdew Hundred
Photo courtesy of Flowerdew Hundred Foundation

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 plantation is no longer open to the public. Flowerdew Hundred Plantation has been documented by the Historic American Buildings Survey.

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