Archive for the ‘1700s’ Category

Vineyard Tract W-46

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Here was an experimental farm for the culture of grapes was established by the government in 1769.  On this tract stood a hospital for the French-American army, 1781.

 

 

 

Further Research

Grapes

Growing grapes in Virginia was an extremely popular idea in the formative years of the United States of America.  In fact, in 1619, growing grapes was even once required by law when the House of Commons passed the “12th Acte” that mandated male colonists plant at least ten grapevines each year until they were considered proficients (Carter).  Unfortunately, grapevines ultimately failed to grow in Virginia.  This fact was also proven in 1769 when the grapes were all destroyed by pests, disease, and the Revolutionary War (Carter).  During the Revolutionary War, the French-American army built a hospital to service their wounded.

Further Reading

Carter, Rusty. “Vineyard Tract.” The Virginia Gazette Roadside History, September 2010. http://issuu.com/llake/docs/roadside_history_final/37?mode=a_p (accessed April 1, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Vineyard Tract W-46,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Grapes,” Encyclopedia Britannica, www.britannica.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Martin’s Hundred Church W-52

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

The first Martin’s Hundred Parish church was probably built at Wolstenholme Town, an early 17th-century settlement that was located a mile southeast of here. None of the structures excavated there have been identified as a church; it may have been in a portion of the town that has been lost to erosion. A second parish church was built about 1630. Martin’s Hundred Parish was incorporated into Yorkhampton Parish in York County in 1712, and the Martin’s Hundred Church may have been abanodned then. The cemetery there probably continued in use for some time afterward.


Further Research

York-Hampton Parish

Martin’s Hundred Parish was the local church for the collection of people who were known as the Society of Martin’s Hundred. It was a small church which was established after the reallocation of land from plantations into counties in 1634 (Archaeology at the Atkinson Site). The parish would remain until 1713, when it was taken in by the York-Hampton Parish (Historic Jamestowne). One of the gravestones were stumbled upon by George Meade and Richard Randolph. It was the tomb of Samuel Pond, who died in 1694 (Meade, 242).

Further Reading


“Martin’s Hundred.” Archaeology at the Atkinson Site. http://research.history.org/Archaeological_Research/MHPage/MH.htm (Accessed March 12, 2012).

“Martin’s Hundred Sites.” Historic Jamestowne. http://apva.org/rediscovery/page.php?page_id=404 (Accessed March 12, 2012).

Meade, William. Ministers and Families of Virginia. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippencott and Company, 1861.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Martin’s Hundred Church W-52,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“York-Hampton Parish,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

First Africans in English America WT-1

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

The first documented Africans in English America arrived at Jamestown in August 1619. A dutch man-of-war captured them from the Spanish, who had enslaved them, and sold them to the Virginia colonists. The “twenty and odd” Africans, some of whom had been given Spanish names, may have been treated like indentured servants and later freed after their periods of servitude expired. From this beginning the institution of slavery evolved during the 17th century as the Virginia colonists extended the lenght of service for Africans from a fixed term to life. The United States abolished slavery in 1865.


 Further Research

The first Africans came to Jamestown in 1619 from aboard a Dutch ship, in addition to other cargo that had come with it. These were the first laborers of the colonies but it is unclear now as to whether these Africans were originally brought over as slaves or as indentured servants (The Terrible Transformations). A total of 20 Africans were traded in 1619 in exchange for food. The number then increased to 23 during the survey of 1625. According to records past 1623 and 1624, there were a significant amount of “free blacks,” or blacks who were allowed to be property owners. By 1640, there was at least one recorded slave within the Jamestown colony.

The first “slaves” that were recognized by the state of Virginia were in 1660, when slavery was put into Virginia law. This came about due to the increase in demand of tobacco. The number of Africans in Virginia increased from roughly 1,000 to 6,000 over the course of forty years, and would then rise to 23,000 around 1715 (McGinnis, 136). Past this time, Virginia still relied on English labor for its tobacco, while many Africans were moved to the West Indies to work on the Sugar Plantations (Smedley, 93).

The first Africans in Jamestown had Spanish names, such as Isabelle and Anthony. Anthony was in fact the first free African, earning enough funds to import five servants and gain 250 acres of land in 1651. Not only was he the first freed African, but he was also the first African landowner in Virginia (McGinnis, 135-136). This was not overly common past 1660, however, as more and more Africans were being brought into Virginia as lifetime slaves. The numbers grew exponentially, with over 290,000 slaves in 1790, followed by over 517,000 slaves between 1830 and 1840 (McGinnis, 136).

Africans Aboard a Ship

Further Reading

“Arrival of first Africans to Virginia Colony.” The Terrible Transformation: Africans in Americahttp://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part1/1p263.html (Accessed March 20, 2012).

McGinnis, Carol. Virginia Genealogy: Sources and Resources. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 1993.

Smedley, Audrey. Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview. Boulder: Westview Press, 1999.

Photo Credits

“Africans Aboard a Ship,” Sisters of Providence: The Beginnings, www.spsmw.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“First Africans in America,” Africans in America: Arrival of First Africans in Virginia Colony, www.pbs.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Historical Marker “First Africans in English America WT-1,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Goodwin Neck NP-12

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

This area, locally known as Dandy, was part of the land granted to John Chew July 6, 1636, and was sold by his heirs to James Goodwin, a member of the House of Burgesses from Jamestown, August 27, 1668. The area was strategically important both to British General Charles Cornwallis and to Confederate General John B. Magruder, who erected earth redoubts at the heads of several creeks on Goodwin Neck.

Further Research

Lord Cornwallis

A strategically important area, Goodwin Neck was instrumental to the British army of Cornwallis in the Revolutionary War, and to the Confederate General John B. Magruder during the Civil War. The “Neck” aspect of it’s name signifies the various creek basins, that come to a head on this part of Virginia’s peninsula.

On July 6th, of 1781, the Battle of Green Spring was fought around this location. General Cornwallis fought the heavily outnumbered Colonial Army of General Lafayette, and there was no clear outcome. Though fought to a stalemate, the Colonial Army was able to maintain its composure thanks to a fearsome bayonet charge led by “Mad” Anthony Wayne.

John Magruder

During the Civil War, the defensive lines of General John B. Magruder ran through Goodwin Neck. There were a total of three defensive lines, which were meant to deceive Union General George McClellan. These fortifications were successful, as they delayed the massive Union army’s progress, until Confederate General Joe Johnson was able to gather a force large enough to defeat them. Unfortunately, General Magruder’s drunkenness was his true downfall, as Robert E. Lee assigned him elsewhere soon after this campaign.

Further Reading

Cadorph, Paul D. Prince John Magruder: His Life and Campaigns. New York: John Wiley & sons, 1996.

Cutrer, Thomas W. “Magruder, John Bankhead.” http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fma15 (accessed March 10, 2012).

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Ramsay, David. The History of the American Revolution. Printed and sold by James J. Wilson, 1811.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Goodwin Neck NP-12,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Lord Cornwallis,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“John Magruder,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Charles Church NP-1

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

About one mile east, on north (lefthand) side of road (see stone marker and old foundations) stood the last colonial church of Charles Parish, built about 1708 and burned a century later, on the site of two earlier churches of the parish, built about 1636 and 1682. The parish was first known as New Poquoson Parish in 1635 and was renamed Charles Parish in 1692.

Further Research

Regarding Charles Parish, the House of Burgesses on Dec. 11thof 1692 ordered that, “upon the peticon of ye pishioners of New Poquoson in ye county of Yorke yt from henceforth forever hereafter ye old pish Church shall be called and named Charles Church. And ye river formerly called New Poquoson river shall from time to time and all times hereafter be called and written, Charles river.” (125) After this proclamation, the parish officially became known as Charles Church. The Register of the Parish has offered a long history of the Church’s reverends, and members. One of the first entries was made in 1687: “Ye Rev. Thomas Finney, rector of this parish, died and was buried in the chancel of New Poquoson Church.” (126)

The next minister, Rev. James Sclater served the parish for 35 years, and died in 1723. After Sclater’s death, it was reported to the Bishop of London that Charles Parish’s leadership was vacant. Rev. James Falconer was then called from Elizabeth City to serve as rector, but died shortly after in 1727. After Falconer’s death, Rev. Theodosius Staige came from Fredericksburg, and then died in 1747. The Register then mentions Rev. Thomas Warrington as the church’s rector, but was called away from the church in 1756. Rev. Samuel Shields is the last name mentioned on the register in 1789. Throughout 140 years of existence, Charles Parish had only six ministers. (127)

"Charles Parish" book

Today, The Register of Charles Parish, York County, Virginia is the oldest surviving database of Colonial Virginia genealogy that exists. It provides the records of the births and deaths of its members from 1648 to 1789.

Further Reading

Bell, Landon C. Charles Parish, York County, Virginia: History and Registers, Births, 1648-1789 and Deaths, 1665-1787. Indexed. Clearfield Co, 1999.

 Colonial Churches in the Original Colony of Virginia: a Series of Sketches by Especially Qualified Writers. Southern Churchman Co., 1908.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Charles Church NP-1,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Charles Parish,” The Virginia Shop at the Library of Virginia, www.thevirginiashop.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Battle of Green Spring V-39

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Nearby, late in the afternoon of 6 July 1781, Gen. Charles Cornwallis and cavalry commander Col. Banastre Tarleton with 5,000 British and Hessian troops clashed with 800 American troops commanded by Brig. Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne and the Marquis de Lafayette, believing  that the main British force was across the James River, and that  he was attacking Cornwallis’s rear, Wayne soon realized that he was facing far superior numbers. He startled the advancing British forces by charging them, exchanging volleys, and then withdrawing his troops from encirclement and certain defeat. Dusk prevented Cornwallis from pursuing the Americans.

Further Research

General Cornwallis

In the summer of 1781, General Lord Cornwallis and his 6,000 British regulars began to move from Richmond east towards Williamsburg. Tasked with the effort of quelling Virginia’s revolutionary resistance, Cornwallis put chase to the Continental Army of about 3,000 soldiers and militiamen under the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was able to evade Cornwallis’ forces for about a month, until General Anthony Wayne reinforced his Continental Army. These reinforcements bolstered Lafayette’s Army to 4,000 men, and gave him the confidence to strike out against Cornwallis’ frequent raids against colonial assets.

Battle of Green Spring

The first major action that Summer occurred at Spencer’s Ordinary near Williamsburg, where two minor detachments of the British and Colonials fought to a stalemate before retreating back to their main armies. Upon his arrival in Portsmouth, Cornwallis received orders from General Sir Henry Clinton to prepare his army to depart to New York. The British intended to move Cornwallis’ army by ship, at the small town of Portsmouth on the Virginia peninsular. In order to make this maneuver, it was necessary for the British to cross the James River by ferry on the Green Spring Plantation.

Unwilling to leave Virginia without bloodying the Colonial army once more, Cornwallis planned to trap Lafayette’s forces at the James River ferry crossing. On July 6th, British General sent only John Graves Simcoe’s Queen’s Rangers across the river, and cleverly hid his main force at the bottom of a marshy slope. To complete his trap, Cornwallis sent a feint group of deserters to Lafayette, with information that the main body of their army had crossed the river. Lafayette jumped at the opportunity, and ordered General “Mad Anthony Wayne to advance with 500 soldiers against what he assumed was the rear-guard of the British Army. After a slow but successful two-hour advance upon the British position, Lafayette ordered 300 Pennsylvania reserves to bolster Wayne’s main attack group. The Colonials finally reached an abandoned British artillery piece that evening, which was the signal for the main British force to surprise the unsuspecting Americans. Cornwallis’ artillery opened up with hellacious canister fire, and then 5,000 of his infantrymen charged Wayne’s outnumbered Americans.

This shocked and thwarted the Colonial advance, but Wayne was able to reassemble his men back into formation. As Lafayette directed reinforcements to prevent his main force from utter decimation, Wayne orchestrated an infantry charge of his own. His 800 infantrymen counter charged the 5,000 British troops with fixed bayonets, which allowed Lafayette’s reserves to provide a sufficient amount of cover for the entrapped Colonials. Outraged, Cornwallis personally led an infantry a second British infantry charge, which effectively resulted in an American retreat. Lafayette’s Colonial Army retreated back to the Green Spring Plantation, and Cornwallis’ Army eventually crossed the river.

Shortly after this battle, Cornwallis received orders from Clinton to stay in Virginia and establish a naval stronghold in the peninsular. This culminated in the Siege of Yorktown in October of that year.

Further Reading

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Ramsay, David. The History of the American Revolution. Printed and sold by James J. Wilson, 1811.

Ward, Harry M. For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion. McFarland, 2011.

Eisenhower, John, and W. J. WOOD. Battles of the Revolutionary War. Da Capo Press, 2003.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Battle of Green Spring V-39,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Battle of Green Spring,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Spencer’s Ordinary W-35

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

On this road, four miles south, the action of Spencer’s Ordinary was fought, June 24, 1781, between detachments from Lafayette and Cornwallis’s armies.

 

 

 

Further Research

General Lord Cornwallis

In the summer of 1781, General Lord Cornwallis and his 6,000 British regulars began to move from Richmond east towards Williamsburg. Tasked with the effort of quelling Virginia’s revolutionary resistance, Cornwallis put chase to the Continental Army of about 3,000 soldiers and militiamen under the Marquis de Lafayette. Lafayette was able to evade Cornwallis’ forces for about a month, until General Anthony Wayne reinforced his Continental Army. These reinforcements bolstered Lafayette’s Army to 4,000 men, and gave him the confidence to strike out against Cornwallis’ frequent raids against colonial assets.

Queen's Rangers Seal

On June 25th, Lafayette received word that Cornwallis had sent a detachment of Queen’s Rangers under Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe to forage for food and destroy colonial vessels along the Chickahominy River. Intending to intercept Simcoe’s forces, Lafayette and Wayne ordered American Colonel Richard Butler to confront Simcoe with a mixed group of Pennsylvania cavalry and infantrymen under Captain William McPherson, and two companies of Virginia riflemen led by Majors Richard Call and John Willis. The next day on the 26th, around 100 colonial infantry and cavalrymen encountered Simcoe’s vanguard near Spencer’s Ordinary. The first action occurred when Captain McPherson and his cavalry were charged by Simcoe’s own mounted troops. In this initial action McPherson fell from his horse, and several of his men were taken prisoner. After this small melee, Colonel Butler’s main force began to arrive just as Simcoe’s infantry was advancing to support his cavalry. Simcoe learned from the prisoners that Lafayette’s main force was near by, and he ordered that this information be relayed to Cornwallis in Williamsburg. Simcoe also had his men construct tree barricades near Spencer’s Ordinary to provide a defensive position against any attack.  The British Lieutenant Colonel then formed his men into a manipulative formation meant to cause Butler to assume he possessed a large amount of soldiers. This ploy initially was successful, and Simcoe ordered an infantry charge against Butler’s lines to again give off the impression that his force was much larger than it actually was. Butler’s men were able to withstand this charge, and Simcoe then ordered a cavalry charge and discharged a cannon against the Colonial forces. After this skirmish and stalemate both detachments retreated, for fear of engaging the main body of either opposing force.

John Graves Simcoe

The aftermath of this foray resulted in 9 killed, 14 wounded, and 32 captured Colonials, and 11 killed and 25 wounded British soldiers. Simcoe was forced to leave his wounded men under a flag of truce in Spencer’s Ordinary. Both army detachments retreated to their respective camps, and would meet again at the Battle of Green Spring on July 6th later that summer.

 

Further Reading

Fryer, Mary Beacock, and Christopher Dracott. John Graves Simcoe, 1752-1806: a Biography. Dundurn Press Ltd., 1998.

Johnston, Henry Phelps. The Yorktown Campaign and the Surrender of Cornwallis, 1781. Harper & Brothers, 1881.

Lossing, Benson John. The Pictorial Field-book of the Revolution: Or, Illustrations, by Pen and Pencil, of the History, Biography, Scenery, Relics, and Traditions of the War for Independence. Harper & brothers, 1860.

Lytle, Richard M. The Soldiers of America’s First Army, 1791. Scarecrow Press, 2004.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Spencer’s Ordinary W-35,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“General Cornwallis,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Queen’s Rangers Seal,” Historical Narratives of Early Canada, www.uppercanadahistory.ca (accessed May 2, 2012).

“John Graves Simcoe,” Historical Narratives of Early Canada, www.uppercanadahistory.ca (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

State Shipyard W-31

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

On this road five miles west was the State Shipyard on Chickahominy River, burned by the British General Phillips on April 21-22, 1781.

 

 

 

Further Research

Major General William Phillips British Royal Artillery (1731-1781)

In 1776, Virginian colonists destroyed the Norfolk shipyards in an attempt to deny the British Navy from utilizing its resources. A new shipyard was then constructed far up the Chickahominy River, with hopes that it would be less vulnerable to a British attack. The destruction of the Portsmouth shipyard in 1780 increased greatly increased the value of this newly constructed shipyard. This shipyard was a small operation, and was only able to produce a minute amount of Colonial warships. Accordingly, the private vessels of Virginians were mostly relied upon to resist the British navy. An officer of the shipyard, James Maxwell wrote to Thomas Jefferson in 1780 that the shipyard was in the process of dismantling and repairing a ship but the militia assigned to sail it had deserted. This was often the case as the state of the Virginia navy was poor throughout the War. In April of 1781 as the British navy began to creep into the waterways of the Peninsular, Thomas Jefferson ordered that the vessels located at the state shipyard be anchored further up the James River to avoid destruction. This tactic was effective, as the British navy under General Phillips destroyed the shipyard on the Chickahominy along with a 20-gun vessel and a warehouse on April 21st. Phillips’ victory was significant as it allowed the British to penetrate further up the James River.

Further Reading

Ward, Harry M. For Virginia and for Independence: Twenty-Eight Revolutionary War Soldiers from the Old Dominion. McFarland, 2011.

Kranish, Michael. Flight from Monticello: Thomas Jefferson at War. Oxford University Press, 2010.

Selby, John E., and Don Higginbotham. The Revolution in Virginia, 1775-1783. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg, 2007.

Morgan, Timothy E. Williamsburg: A City That History Made. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2004.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “State Shipyard W-31,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Major General William Phillips British Royal Artillery (1731-1781),” City of Petersburg, Virginia, www.peterburg-va.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Six-Mile Ordinary W-34

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Six-Mile Ordinary, a popular 18th-century tavern also known as Allen’s for its proprietor Isham Allen, stood six miles from Williamsburg. On 1 July 1774, a group of free holders congregated there and drafted the James City Resolves not to import British goods. Two years later, they gathered again to declare their support for American independence. On 21 April 1781, Col. James Innes notified the governor that 500 British infantrymen, 50 horses, and 4 pieces of artillery had come ashore at Burwell’s Ferry. Because of this unexpected event, Innes and his troops retreated to Six-Mile Ordinary around midnight.

Further Research

Taproom of a Tavern

Six-Mile Ordinary was originally named based on the tavern’s distance from Williamsburg. Elizabeth D. Taylor inherited the farm that the ordinary was located on from her husband, who bought the property in 1827. The tavern stood adjacent with Old Stage Road, and Taylor managed the property until the end of the Civil War, when she became indebted to creditors. The land and building was then deeded to her son Henley L. Taylor. Later into the 19th century, Langdon T. Hankins and A.B. Tuttle acquired the deed and transformed the tavern into a merchandise exchange store.

Taproom Furnishings of an Old Tavern

Interesting Facts:

An ordinary refers to an old tavern, such as Six-Mile Ordinary and Burnt Ordinary. 

 

Further Reading

Lewis, Sara E. James City County. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Six-Mile Ordinary W-34,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

Earle, Alice Morse. “Taproom of a Tavern,” Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: MacMillan and Company, 1900, www.gutenberg.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

Earle, Alice Morse. “Taproom Furnishings of an Old Tavern,” Project Gutenberg. Stage Coach and Tavern Days. New York: MacMillan and Company, 1900, www.gutenberg.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Burnt Ordinary W-33

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

First called John Lewis’ Ordinary and then Fox’s. Burnt Ordinary received its name in Jan. 1780 when, according to the Virginia Gazette, Fox’s Ordinary burned to the ground. Later, in Oct. 1781, when the French army’s wagon train passed by, Alexander Berthier wrote that “two old chimneys” stood here in the fork of the road. Also in 1781, Samuel Dewitt, George Washington’s cartographer, noted the site of the “Burnt Brick Ordinary”, on one of his maps. Elements of Lafayette’s army camped two miles south of here at Chickahominy Church after the Battle of Green Spring on 6 July 1781.

Further Research

Marquis de Lafayette

On January 19th of 1863, about a mile from Burnt Ordinary, the Third battalion of the 5th Pennsylvania Cavalry began a mission to scout the roadways in between Richmond and Williamsburg. Captain Cameron commanded two companies of the battalion, and ordered Lieutenant Vezin to advance with eighteen men. Of these men, Vezin ordered Sergeant Anderson to advance another two hundred yards with six of the original eighteen men. During their advance, seventy rebel cavalrymen appeared who formed a line to block the intentions of Anderson. As the small party of men turned to rejoin Lieutenant Vezin, another group of twenty rebel cavalrymen rode out to form a line in their rear. In an effort to escape their entrapment, Anderson charged the twenty rebels to reach the safety of Vezin’s larger group. Only Anderson broke through the twenty rebels, as they captured his other six men. In response, Vezin ordered a charge on these twenty rebels, and was successful as he recaptured all but one of his men. In addition the Union cavalrymen also captured four rebel soldiers and five of their horses.

Further Reading

Bracekett, Albert, and Gallatin Bracekett Albert Gallatin Bracekett. History of the United States Cavalry. Applewood Books, 2009.

The Tribune Almanac. New York Tribune, 1868.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Burnt Ordinary W-33,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Marquis de Lafayette,” New World Encyclopedia, www.newworldencyclopedia.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources