Archive for the ‘20th Century (James City County)’ Category

Jamestown Road W-38

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

The ancient road that linked Jamestown, the original colonial capital, with Middle Plantation (later Williamsburg) followed a meandering course. It departed from Jamestown Island and then turned northeast, crossing Powhatan and Mill Creeks. As it approached Middle Plantation, it traversed a branch of College Creek that by the mid-17th century was dammed to form Rick Neck plantation’s millpond, today’s Lake Matoaka. Improvements to Jamestown Road, completed in time for the Jamestown Ter-Centennial Exposition, constituted the first project completed with the assistance of the State Highway Commission, formed in 1906.

Further Research

The English colonists originally referred to what now constitutes Jamestown Road, as the “Greate Road”. The original road was a natural path that was abundantly rich in natural resources and the natives had previously used it as a hunting trail that led from the mainland to the Jamestown Forte (Grizzard and Smith, 82). Unfortunately for the colonists, this path was heavily used by the natives and since the natives were so familiar with the area, this road was a site for many sneak attacks led by the natives on the colonists.

Remnants of this ancient road still exist today and they can mostly be seen from Glasshouse Point (www.nps.org).  Originally, the Greate Road was a route that began at James Fort and continued to travel west across the isthmus and onto the mainland near Glasshouse Point.

Since 1939, excavations have taken place on the various sections of the original Greate Road. It was discovered that the settlers would pack down the dirt and soil through the use of horses and oxen. As more traffic would begin to use the road, the colonists would expand the road another 30-35 feet and the road would be built up with sand (www.nps.org).

Further Reading

Grizzard, Jr. Frank E. and D. Boyd Smith. Jamestown Colony: A Political, Social, and Cultural History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, Inc., 2007.

“The Greate Road: An Early Highway Pre 1607-1700’s. National Park Service. http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/new-towne-the-greate-road-an-early-highway-pre-1607-1700s.htm (accessed March 17, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Jamestown Road W-38,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“The Great Road,” Williamsburg, Virginia, www.ancestry.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Hickory Neck Church W-30

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Hickory Neck Church was built about 1740. Militia opposing the British camped here on April 21, 1781. A few miles north is the foundation of an ancient stone house, dating possibly from about 1650.

 

 

Further Research

Hickory Neck Church

According to the current congregation…

“The Historic Chapel has a glorious history of survival. The northern two-thirds of the present building was built in 1774 as a transept to the original 1734 church. After the Revolutionary War, the church fell into disrepair and the original church was torn down and the southern third of the present building was added around 1825 to provide space for Hickory Neck Academy. The Academy also served various denominations as a place to worship before the Civil War. The war years were hard on Hickory Neck leaving it in near ruinous condition, but again, it was repaired and put back into service as a school. Eventually James City County erected a public school in Toano and our building was reconsecrated as an Episcopal church in 1917. “

Hickory Neck Church - Present Day

Further Reading

Hickory Neck Church. “Historic Chapel Fund.” http://www.hickoryneck.org/historic-chapel-fund/ (accessed March 17, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Hickory Neck Church W-30,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Hickory Neck Church,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Hickory Neck Church- Present Day,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

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Department of Historic Resources

Eastern State Hospital W-40-b

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

Eastern State Hospital is the oldest psychiatric hospital in the United States. It was established on 12 Oct. 1773, when Virginia was still a British colony, with the mission of treating and discharging the curable mentally ill. In 1841, under the leadership of John Minson Galt, the hospital initiated new reforms characterized as “moral management,” a self-directed form of rehabilitation that changed the social perception and treatment of mental illness in America. Beginning in 1935 and ending on 28 Jan. 1970, the entire institution gradually moved to Dunbar Farm.

Further Research

Eastern State Hospital

The eighteenth century in Europe brought upon great cultural change through the Enlightenment movement. Also known as the age of reason, people began to reject popular negative connotations regarding the mentally ill. Instead of deeming them fools, the mentally ill were seen as people with a disease of the mind. Royal Governor of Virginia, Francis Fauquier acknowledged these newfound sympathies while addressing the House of Burgesses of Williamsburg on November 6th of 1766; “a legal Confinement, and proper Provision, ought to be appointed for these miserable Objects, who cannot help themselves.” Fauquier’s idea directly led to the foundation of the Eastern State Hospital in 1773, but the Royal Governor did not live to see the patients institutionalized, as he died in 1768.

Eastern State Hospital

James Galt, the previous keeper of the Williamsburg Public Gaol, was the first administrator of the hospital and his wife was the hospital’s matron. During this time period conditions in the hospital were horrendous as the patients were only provided a straw mattress and chamber pot, in their small cells. It wasn’t until 1841 when Dr. John Minson Galt II became the superintendent, which conditions improved. In 1845, patient’s rooms resembled small apartments as opposed to the previous small cells. Dr. Galt also provided social activities for his patients in the form of lectures, concerts, visits into town, and carriage rides. In addition to these, Dr. Galt also created a patient library, shoemaking shop, game room, sewing room, and carpentry shop.

During the Civil War, Union General George McClellan’s massive Peninsular Campaign overwhelmed the Williamsburg area, and the Eastern Lunatic Asylum was captured by Union troops on May 6th of 1862. This marked a period of transition for the hospital, as Dr. Galt’s improvisations were largely forgotten. On June 7th of 1885, a fire destroyed the original 1773 hospital building.

Eastern Lunatic Asylum

In 1894 the Eastern Lunatic Asylum’s name changed to Eastern State Hospital. Due to the restoration of Colonial Williamsburg around 1937, the hospital moved to the Dunbar Farm where it remains functioning today.

 

 

 

Further Reading

Jones, Granville Lillard. The History of the Founding of the Eastern State Hospital of Virginia. Williamsburg: Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1954.

Drewry, William Francis, Richard Dewey, Charles Winfield Pilgrim, George Adler Blumer, American Medico-Psychological Association. Committee on a History of the Institutional Care of the Insane, and Thomas Joseph Workmann Burgess. The Institutional Care of the Insane in the United States and Canada. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press, 1916.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Eastern State Hopsital W-40b,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Eastern State Hospital,” Eastern State Hospital, www.ancestry.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Eastern State Hospital,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Eastern State Asylum,” Colonial Williamsburg Digital Library, www.research.history.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources link not available

 

Carter’s Grove W-50

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

During the 17th century Carter’s Grove was part of the Martin’s Hundred Plantation. In the early 1720s, Robert “King” Carter purchased it and later named the tract Carter’s Grove. Between 1750 and 1755 Carter Burwell, grandson of Robert “King” Carter, built the Carter’s Grove mansion, a famous example of colonial Virginia plantation architecture. Burwell hired brickmason David Minitree to make and lay the brick; he brought Richard Baylis, an English joiner, to Virginia to execute the interior woodword, some of the handsomest of the era. The house stood almost unaltered until 1928 when it was renovated and enlarged by the architect W. Duncan Lee.

Further Research

On April 10th of 1606, James I of England established the Virginia Company of London with the purpose of colonizing the eastern coast of North America. The first permanent English settlement, Jamestown was constructed on May 14th, 1607. As the English began to expand beyond Jamestown, Sir John Wolstenholme provided funding for the Wolstenholme Towne, located on the Martin’s hundred plantation. Established in 1620, Wolstenholme Towne at first had a population of 40 settlers and was located seven miles downstream from Jamestown.

Robert "King" Carter

The Indian Massacre of 1622 effectively decimated the new settlement, and nearly drove English settlers completely off the east coast of Virginia. The massacre killed three to four hundred settlers, and was organized by the Powhatan Confederacy’s leader ChiefOpenchakemhaque. Later on in the seventeenth century, Robert “King” Carter purchased property on the former Wolstenholme Towne. After Carter’s death, his daughter Elizabeth and her husband Nathaniel Burwell. The son of Elizabeth and Nathaniel, Carter Burwell was the first to build the now famous mansion, which stands on the property. Carter’s son Colonel Nathaniel Burwell moved to the plantation in 1771 where he farmed corn and wheat. Carter’s Grove stayed in the Burwell family until 1838. The last owner of the plantation was the wealthy Pittsburg industrialist Archibald McCrea. McCrea purchased it in 1928, but died in 1937. His widow remained at

Carter's Grove Plantation

Carter’s Grove for another twenty-five years until her death. The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation purchased the property in 1969 and was responsible for the grounds until 2007. On December 19th, of 2007 the founder of CNET, Halsey Minor purchased the estate and still lives there today.

 

Further Reading

Hatch, Charles E., and Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation. The First Seventeen Years, Virginia, 1607-1624. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1957.

Levy, Andrew. The First Emancipator: The Forgotten Story of Robert Carter, the Founding Father Who Freed His Slaves. Random House Digital, Inc., 2005.

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

Gleach, Frederic W. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures. Nebraska: U of Nebraska Press, 2000.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Carter’s Grove W-50,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Robert ‘King’ Carter,” National History Education Clearing House, www.teachinghistory.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Carter’s Grove Plantation,” Virginia Runaways: Views of the Reconstructed Slave Quarter Houses at Carter’s Grove Near Williamsburg, courtesy of Tom Costa, http://people.uvawise.edu (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources

Samuel H. Yonge, Civil Engineer (1843-1935) V-440

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

Near this location in 1901, Samuel H. Yonge, a civil engineer with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, spearheaded the design and construction of a seawall/revetment that halted the rapid erosion and loss into the James River of the most historic part of Jamestown Island. His efforts saved large portions of the island including Jamestown Fort, making possible continued significant archaeological finds at Jamestown. Yonge located, unearthed, and published many of his findings on the Island. Another one of his achievements included the dredging of the James River from Richmond to Norfolk. He is buried in Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.

Further Research

The area of and around Jamestown is very historically important.  However, the James River was quickly eroding the most historic part of Jamestown where historical celebrations would take place.  During the Civil War, Confederate forces constructed earthworks around Jamestown and discovered pieces of armor and weaponry.   Shortly after the

Col. Samuel Yonge of the Army Corps of Engineers discovered and mapped the foundations of Jamestown's best-known row house about 300 yards west of New Town.

war, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities began to explore foundations around the 22 & ½ acres of Jamestown that they owned.  Samuel H. Yonge, a revetment’s engineer, proposed that the old Fort at Jamestown was buried in the very island that the river was eroding (Lindgren, Encyclopedia Virginia online).

In 1901, he supervised the construction of the concrete seawall that was built in order to prevent further erosion of the riverbank.  Furthermore he located many archaeological discoveries such as the foundations of the country house, the Ludwell house, and the third and fourth statehouses.  He also was able to save the Jamestown Fort.  Yonge argued that the 1861 discoveries by Confederate soldiers indicated that the fort was

"The Site of Old James Towne" book

extremely close to Confederate earthwork at the end of the island (NPS, Jamestown National Historic Site).  After his finds, he was able to use the evidence he had discovered and Yonge was able publish his work The Site of Old “James Towne,” 1607-1698, which is still in circulation today (NPS, Chronology of Archaeology).  It is thanks to Yonge’s brilliant ideas that many historical buildings in Jamestown are still safe from erosion by the James River.

 

 

Further Reading

Lindgren, James M. “Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities.” Encyclopedia Virginia. Ed. Brendan Wolfe. Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (Jan. 18, 2012). http://www.encyclopediavirginia.org/Association_for_the_Preservation_of_Virginia_Antiquities (accessed March 9, 2012).

Lindgren, James M. Preserving the Old Dominion: Historic Preservation and Virginia Traditionalism. Charlottesville and London: University Press of Virginia, 1993.

Lindgren, James M. “‘Virginia Needs Living Heroes’: Historic Preservation in the Progressive Era.” The Public Historian 13 (1991 Winter): 9–24.

National Park Service. Chronology of Jamestown Archeology. http://www.nps.gov/jame/historyculture/chronology-of-jamestown-archeology.htm (accessed March 9, 2012).

National Park Service. Jamestown National Historic Site. http://www.cr.nps.gov/history/online_books/hh/2/hh2c.htm (accessed March 10, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Samuel H. Yonge, Civil Engineer (1843-1935) V-440,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Map of James City,” APVA Preservation Virginia: Jamestown Rediscovery, www.apva.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“The Site of Old James Towne,” Dancing Eye Books, http://dancingeyebooks.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

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Department of Historic Resources link not available

Community of Grove WT-4: not erected

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Inscription:

After the Civil War, the Freedman’s Bureau confiscated land for refugees and free African Americans in the area that became the community of Grove. In 1967, the seized land was restored to the previous owners. Some of the African Americans settled on lands to the west. In 1918, many descendants of the first refugees returned to Grove after the U.S. government forced their removal to make way for the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station and Cheatham Annex. These immigrants formed the nucleus of Grove, which was enlarged when further removals during World War II displaced friends and family from the nearby community of Magruder.

Further Research:

The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands was created by Congress in March 1865 to assist for one year in the transition from slavery to freedom in the South.

 

During the American Civil War, there was a mass emancipation of slaves and despite Virginia’s secession from the Union, the U.S. Army retained control of Fort Monroe, which had become a destination for slaves who sought freedom.  After the War, many of the freed African Americans settled inland of the Peninsula as landowners or tenant farmers and many freedmen moved to the area that would soon become the Community of Grove (Walsh).

Present Day Aerial View: The oldest structure onboard the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station is the Lee House, built around 1649, where many generations of the family lived out their lives before the property was acquired by the U.S. government.

The community was named after a nearby creek and a plantation where many of the African Americans had worked as slaves and it remained a relatively small community until the mid-twentieth century.  During World War I, many members of the community returned when they were displaced because of the construction of the Yorktown Naval Weapons Station (Walsh).  Also, during World War II, the U.S. Navy took over the small town of Magruder and more descendants were forced to relocate to Grove.

Further Reading:

Walsh, Lorena S. From Calabar to Carter’s Grove: The History of A Virginia Slave Community. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1997.

Photo Credits

“The Freedman’s Bureau,” PBS: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, www.pbs.org (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Aerial View,” CNIC: Naval Weapons Station Yorktown, www.cnic.navy.mil (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available.