Archive for the ‘17th Century (Yorktown)’ Category

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).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Seaford NP-3

Wednesday, April 11th, 2012

Inscription:

Settlement began here in 1636, when John Chisman patented 600 acres on Crab Neck, a peninsula bounded by Chisman Creek and Back Creek, a tributary of York River. The neck then lay in Charles River Parish in York County, one of the eight original shires created in 1634. A Confederate fortification stood near the narrowest part of the neck in 1862, and during the Civil War Union troops destroyed Zion Methodist Church here. Crab Neck post office was established in 1889; its name was changed to Seaford in 1910.

Further Research

Chief Powhatan

Tribes of the Algonquian-speaking Indians, who were united by Chief Powhatan, thrived in this area before English settlement of their colonies in the seventeenth century. (Gleach) These tribes became known as the Powhatans to the Powhatan Confederacy, with their primary village located near Glouchester, and hundreds of other villages were located throughout the Chesapeake Bay area and the Virginia coastal plain. (Spaar) The area was a prime region for fishing and seafood. (Wiggins)

Map of Southeastern Virginia

The community of Seaford was originally known as Crab Neck, Crab Rock and Calamar, and only 30 families lived there prior to the Civil War. (Quass) General John B. Magruder’s defensive lines also ran through the area, while the Confederate Ship’s Point Battery was nearby on the Poquoson River in 1862. Ship’s Point Battery contained around 16 heavy artillery guns, meant to thwart any advances by Union vessels.

During the Revolutionary War, this area was crucial to General Cornwallis’ defense of Yorktown in 1781. (Payette)

Further Reading

Gleach, Frederic W. Powhatan’s World and Colonial Virginia: A Conflict of Cultures. (Omaha, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 2000).

Payette, Pete. North American Forts. “Seaford Defenses.” Online at http://www.northamericanforts.com/East/vatide.html#seaford (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Quass, B. “Seaford Virginia” Online at http://www.quass.com/seafordvirginia.html (Accessed April 11, 2007).

Spaar, K. “The Potomac Appalachian trail club-short history of the Powhatan Indians”. Online at http://www.patc.net/history/native/ind_hist.html (Accessed April 11, 2007).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Seaford NP-3,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Chief Powhatan,” Find a Grave, www.findagrave.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“Map of Southeastern Virginia,” Library of Congress, www.loc.gov (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

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).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Patrick Napier, Colonial Surgeon W-41

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Inscription:

Nearby lived “Patrick Napier of Queenes Creek in the County of Yorke Chirurgeon,” one of the earliest surgeons of Scottish descent in Virginia. Born about 1634, and apprenticed to the surgeon general of the Scottish army defeated by Cromwell in 1650, Patrick Napier arrived here before 1655. He married Elizabeth, a daughter of Robert Booth, clerk of the York County Court and a member of the House of Burgesses. By horse and boat, Napier attended the sick, performed surgery, bled his patients, and dispensed various remedies consistent with the practice of medicine in the mid-seventeenth century. He died in 1669. He was the progenitor of most of the Napiers in America.

Further Research

Dr. Patrick Napier comes from a long lineage of Scottish Napiers, most likely a descendent of the clan of Kilmahew Napiers. Dr. Patrick Napier’s father was also a “chirugeon”, and his father worked directly for King Charles I, while he directly apprenticed for the surgeon-general of the Scottish Army, Dr. Alexander Pennycuik.  Dr. Patrick Napier was born sometime around 1610 in Scotland, and after arriving in Virginia sometime around 1650-1655, he married Elizabeth Booth (Woodson, 29).

Tools Used in Surgery

During the early colonial times, many doctors came to Virginia with the prospects of being able to practice medicine freely, with virtually no restrictions.  They provided an important service to the colonists, as the first year in Virginia was always the hardest.  On average, 1 out of every 5 immigrants died due to the “seasoning time” (the time to become adjusted to the climate and natural elements of the land) and Dr. Patrick Napier helped to provide medicine and relief to these colonists to help them (Tyler, 268).

Tool Used for Cleaning Wounds

Dr. Patrick Napier was involved in a legal matter regarding his boat.  In the early days of the settlement, the chief means of transportation were through waterways by boat since barely any roads existed. In 1660, a man named Mr. Strachey borrowed Dr. Napier’s boat without permission and Dr. Napier was unable to attend to his sick patients because of this. In return, Mr. Strachey was fined 350 pounds of tobacco due to his negligence of Dr. Napier’s belongings (Doliante, 3).

Leeches Used for Bloodletting

Dr. Patrick Napier was not the only colonial surgeon that was present in Jamestown during this time, but along with the 5-6 other physicians they are noted for helping to keep the colony alive and practicing the first bits of medicine in the New World.

 

 

 

 

Further Reading

Napier, Charlie. The Napiers of Kilmahewhttp://www.clannapier.org/klmhwnap.htm (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Doliante, Sharon. Maryland and Virginia Colonials: Genealogies of Some Colonial Families : Families of Bacon, Beall, Beasley, Cheney, Duckett, Dunbar, Ellyson, Elmore, Graves, Heydon, Howard, Jacob, Morris, Nuthall, Odell, Peerce, Reeder, Ridgley, Prather, Sprigg, Wesson, Williams, and Collateral Kin. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Company, 1991.

Tyler, Long G. Tyler’s Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine-Vol. 1. Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson Printers, 1920.

Woodson, H.M. Historical Genealogy of the Woodsons and their Connections. Memphis: H.M. Woodson, 1915.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Patrick Napier, Colonial Surgeon W-41,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Tools Used in Surgery,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Tool Used for Cleaning Wounds,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 1, 2012).

“Leeches Used for Bloodletting,” The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, www.history.org (accessed May 1, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

York County Z-266

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012

Inscription:

York County. Area 186 square miles. One of the eight original shires formed in 1634. First called Charles River, which was named for King Charles I. The name was changed in 1643 to York for Yorkshire, England. Cornwallis’s surrender, October 19, 1781, took place at Yorktown.

 

Further Research

Captain John Smith's Map showing Kiskiack

A fort site was originally constructed on the Charles [York] River, and this site was selected by Captain Martinau and was subsequently named York.  “The Fort at Yorke” occupied a point on the river at the mouth of Wormley Creek, named for the first settler in that section, Colonel Christopher Wormley, and lies about two miles down the river from the present site of Yorktown (Trudell, 38).  In 1633, due to the safety of the fort, a settlement was built and York was selected as a crucial receiving point for goods.  A store was soon built to serve shipping and receiving needs of the settlers of both Yorke and Kiskiack, another settlement a few miles up the river that had preceeded the York settlement by about two years.

The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown

In 1634, Virginia was divided by legislature into 8 counties, subsequently placing the fort at York in Charles County.  In 1642, the names of the river and county were changed from Charles to York in order to honor the Duke of York and Yorkshire.  As a result, Williamsburg came to be located partially in both James City County and York County, respectively (Trudell, 38).  The surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown proved the town to be immortal.  Through all of the battles fought between 1781 and 1862, the majority of the town was destroyed.  The Deneuvile Cottage is the only original colonial structure that still exists today.

Further Reading

Trudell, Clyde F. Colonial Yorktown. Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1938.

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “York County Z-266,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Captain John Smith’s Map showing Kiskiack,” The Spanish in the Chesapeake Bay, www.virginiaplaces.org (accessed April 30, 2012).

“The Surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown,” Architect of the Capitol, www.aoc.gov (accessed April 30, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources

Aviation Field Yorktown W-232

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Inscription:

 From July 1919 until Aug. 1921, the U.S. Navy operated an aviation training school north of here at what was then known as the U.S. Navy Mine Depot (U.S. Naval Weapons Station). The school provided the first advanced aviation and gunnery operations. In Oct. 1922 the aviation field supported the first flight made from a U.S. aircraft carrier, USS Langley, which was anchored in the York River. Also, on 8 May 1925 likely the first overland commercial flight from New York City to this region landed there.

Further Research

The land that the Naval Weapons Station sits on has been around through much of our history.  Military men trudged up and down Old Williamsburg Road, which today runs straight through the station.  The oldest structure at the station is the Lee House, which was built in 1649 and was inhabited by many families until the United States Government acquired the property. During the Civil War, the Army of the Potomac established numerous fortifications around the site.  As the war progressed, these fortifications were used as defensive protection from Confederate attacks (Freeman).

In 1916, Congress requested a site on the Atlantic Coast for a weapons handling and storage facility to fit the following criteria:

  1. Sheltered inland waterway deep enough to accommodate capital ships
  2. Sparsely populated area sufficient in size to provide quantity distance separation for explosive material processing and storage facilities
  3. Close to the naval base at Norfolk to permit short boat trips for explosive loadings in the Hampton Roads area (Global Security).

    Yorktown Mine Depot 1945 Ordnance Department

When found, the site was commissioned by the US Mine Depot, Yorktown in July of 1918.  During World War I, the US Mine Depot received, reclaimed, stored and issued mines, depth charges and related materials.  During World War II, they expanded and further developed mines and advanced underwater weapons.  Furthermore, a laboratory was installed to the facility.  The US Mine Depot became the US Naval Weapons Station, Yorktown on August 7, 1958.

U.S.S. Langley CV-1

The aviation field was located on a bluff above the York River and was within the Navy Mine Depot (Yorktown Naval Weapons Station).  The Yorktown aviation field was the first naval air station in the mid-Atlantic region and was established in 1919.  At the Aviation field, aviators were trained in bombing, gunnery, and torpedo operations.  Furthermore, the aviators also spearheaded tests of high-altitude bombsight, which further developed during World War II.  The airfield was officially closed in 1921 and all units were reassigned, the base itself also served as the deep-water channel to support the testing of the Navy’s first aircraft carrier: the USS Langley, CV-1 (Harring). The first take off took place on October 17, 1922 and the first landing took place only nine days later (Gabriele).  The aviation field played a pivotal role in naval aviation.

Further Reading

Global Security. Naval Weapons Station (NAVWPNSTA) Yorktown, Virginiahttp://www.globalsecurity.org/military/facility/yorktown.htm (accessed April 11, 2012).

Gabriele, Tony. “Yorktown Airfield Played Key Role in Naval Aviation.” The Roanoke Times, October 17, 2006, News Section. http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/87370 (Accessed April 11, 2012).

Freeman, Paul. Abandoned and Little Known Airfields: Virginia. http://www.airfields-freeman.com/VA/Airfields_VA_Hampton.htm#yorktown (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Hills, Waring. First Landing on the Navy’s First Aircraft Carrier. Patriot’s Point: Home of the USS Yorktown. http://www.patriotspoint.org/news_events/first-landing-on-the-navys-first-aircraft-carrier/ (Accessed April 12, 2012).

Photo Credits

Historical Marker “Aviation Field Yorktown W-232,” courtesy of Lindsey Smith, 2012.

“Yorktown Mine Depot 1945 Ordnance Department,” Hampton Roads Naval Museum, http://hamptonroadsnavalmuseum.blogspot.com (accessed May 2, 2012).

“U.S.S. Langley CV-1,” Department of the Navy: Navy Historical Center, www.history.navy.mil (accessed May 2, 2012).

View on Google Maps

Department of Historic Resources link not available.