First Families of Virginia – The Pages

The Page family fascinates for many reasons. Their rise was similar to other First Families, but their most prominent founding members didn’t leave much beyond wills from which one can learn about their lives.

What we do know about them is that they came into the colony around 1650, quickly established themselves as leading land owners, and became a major colonial influence. Perhaps they thought too much of themselves by the mid 18th Century, or they were just terrible financial planners, but they overextended themselves in building their most famous structure, Rosewell Plantation.

The fabulous manor home was to rival the Governor’s Mansion, and it certainly did, but doing so came at a hefty price. The cost to build Rosewell overreached Page family funds in such a way that two generations after it was completed the accrued debt essentially wiped the Page family out.

Their lands and homes were all out of the family by the early 19th Century. That doesn’t diminish the reality that during their relatively shorter period of dominance the Pages did impact the colony and young Commonwealth. For this reason, the Pages, in spite of their debts, are well worth studying.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Blair, John L. The Rise of the Burwells. MA Thesis, Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary, 1959.
  5. Bruce, Phillip Alexander. Social Life of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century: An Inquiry into the Origin of the Higher Planting Class. New York: JP Bell Company, 1927.
  6. Brown, Stuart E. Burwell: Kith and kin of the immigrant, Lewis Burwell (1621-1653) : and Burwell Virginia Tidewater plantation mansions. Virginia Book, Co, 1994.
  7. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  8. Dowdey, Clifford. The Great Plantation: A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia from Jamestown to Appomattox. Charles City, VA: Berkeley Plantation, 1980.
  9. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  10. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  11. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  12. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  13. Lanciano, Claude. Rosewell: Garland of Virginia. Gloucester, VA: Gloucester County Historical Committee, 1978.
  14. Leviner, Betty Crowe. The Page Family of Rosewell and Mannsfield: A Study in Economic Decline. Williamsburg, VA: William and Mary. Unpublished Master’s Thesis, 1987.
  15. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  16. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  17. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  18. Page, Richard Channing Moore. Genealogy Of The Page Family In Virginia: Also, A Condensed Account Of The Nelson, Walker, Pendleton, And Randolph Families. NY: Jenkins and Thomas Printers, 1883.
  19. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, 4 Volumes. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  20. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  21. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  22. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  23. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  24. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  25. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  26. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

Special Links:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the PageFamily Crest. Turn of the century Rosewell Pictures are all from Wikimedia Commons. Mansfield Plantation pictures are from Mysteries and Conundrums. John Page I Portrait by Peter Lely is from Wikimedia Commons.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Rich Kids” by Judah and the Lion, also available on iTunes.

First Families of Virginia – The Burwells

The families making up the First Families list intermarried with one another throughout their generations. Arguably no family played a more central role in those marriages than did the Burwells.

Marriage lifted Lewis Burwell II out of a fatherless middling status in that his mother Lucy remarried twice, elevating both her and her son’s station each time. Lucy’s last marriage to Colonel Philip Ludwell Sr. solidified their inclusion among Virginia’s most powerful colonial elite.

Lewis only added to his now elevated position by also marrying well. He first wed Abigail Smith, cousin to Nathaniel Bacon Sr, and then Martha Lear, William Cole’s widow. He was an intelligent planter, merchant, and builder, and that work brought him much praise throughout the colony. He was involved in moving Virginia’s colonial capitol from Jamestown to Williamsburg, as well as laying out the new power-center’s infrastructure. This work would have seen him enter the Governor’s Council, but the situation went awry when his daughter Lucy refused to marry Governor Francis Nicholson.

In the end, Lewis and family endured long enough to see Nicholson’s downfall instead of their own. The Burwell name remained and grew upon Lewis’ foundation, thus leaving her imprint upon the colony, Commonwealth, and later United States. Their influence was such that a West Point family named a son after the great Lewis Burwells of history. That son went on to achieve great things as well, and he’s still highly revered, especially by his beloved Marine Corps.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Blair, John L. The Rise of the Burwells. MA Thesis, Williamsburg, VA: College of William and Mary, 1959.
  5. Brown, Stuart E. Burwell: Kith and kin of the immigrant, Lewis Burwell (1621-1653) : and Burwell Virginia Tidewater plantation mansions. Virginia Book, Co, 1994.
  6. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  7. Dowdey, Clifford. The Great Plantation: A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia from Jamestown to Appomattox. Charles City, VA: Berkeley Plantation, 1980.
  8. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  9. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  10. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  11. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  12. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  13. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  14. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  15. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, vol. 2. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  16. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  17. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  18. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  19. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  20. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  21. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  22. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

Special Links:

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Burwell Family Crest. Lewis Burwell II, Fairfield Plantation, Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “If You’re Still In, I’m In.” by The East Pointers, also available on iTunes.

First Families of Virginia – The Harrisons

The Harrison family was as close to American Royalty as possible, two Presidents bear the family name, and another has his roots intertwined therein. A Harrison signed the Declaration of Independence. Harrison names pepper Virginia’s annals, and they also extended their influence westward as America expanded into the Midwest. Their homes are among Virginia’s crown jewels illustrating just how impressive they were. But as impressive as they were, we know relatively little about their American foundations. In this episode we piece together their history and then show how the family impacted Virginia and later the United States.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Dowdey, Clifford. The Great Plantation: A Profile of Berkeley Hundred and Plantation Virginia from Jamestown to Appomattox. Charles City, VA: Berkeley Plantation, 1980.
  6. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  7. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  8. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  9. Harrison, J. Houston. Settlers By the Long Grey Trail, Some Pioneers to Old Augusta County, Virginia, and Their Descendants, of the Family of Harrison and Allied Lines. Dayton, VA: Clearfield, 1935.
  10. Hildrup, Robert P. Upper Brandon. Richmond, VA: James River Corporation, 1987.
  11. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  12. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  13. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  14. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  15. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, vol. 2. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  16. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  17. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  18. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  19. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  20. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  21. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  22. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

Special Links:

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Harrison Family Crest. Links to pictures not my own are President Benjamin Harrison, Benjamin Harrison IV, Claremont Manor, Sarah Blair Harrison Grave, Benjamin Harrison Signature, The Battle of Tippecanoe.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Local Honey” by Sean Watkins, also available on iTunes.

 

First Families of Virginia – The Lees

The Lee family impact upon Virginia’s history is undeniable. Richard I, “The Immigrant” had a seemingly boundless energy attached to a shrewd business sense. He used that combination to establish the Lee Dynasty from which foundational descendants sprang. He and his wife Anne (aka Anna) Constable Lee bore 10 children, of whom 9 survived infancy. Those 9 children, perhaps not as boundless as their patriarch, ensured Richard’s legacy within the Commonwealth lived beyond one generation.

Richard purchased vast lands, and left them to his children to build upon. They built enduring monuments to the Lee name such as Statford Hall, created tight bonds with other leading families of the day, and shaped Virginia’s future, while also taking part in America’s founding. But the Lee name didn’t stop there.

When Virginia’s First Family dominance seemed lost a Lee stepped forward in the twilight to give one last performance. In the end, the sun set on the Lee family as well as the First Families of Virginia, which in profound manner also influenced Virginia’s future. No longer a leader, Virginia became simply another contributing member of the United States, and the Lees, ever faithful continued to play their part.

Today debates abound, but what is not debatable is the Lee impact as trailblazers, innovators, country-builders, heroes, and sometime villains. Without them Virginia and the United States’ story, both good and bad, would not be the same, and their story begins with that brilliant family founder in 1639.

Tune in to this episode where we introduce this important family’s founding, while highlighting just a few of the Lee’s who impacted history.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  5. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  6. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  7. Freeman, Douglas Southall. George Washington: A Biography. New York: Charles Scribners, 1957. (Specifically Volume 1).
  8. Freeman, Douglas Southall. R. E. Lee: A Biography. Charles Scribners: New York, 1936.
  9. Hendrick, Burton J. The Lees of Virginia: Biography of a Family. New York: Little Brown and Co, 1935.
  10. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  11. Lee, Edmund Jennings. Lee of Virginia, 1642-1892: Biographical and Genealogical Sketches of the Descendants of Colonel Richard Lee. Heritage Books, 2008
  12. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  13. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  14. Nagel, Paul C. The Lees of Virginia: Seven Generations of an American Family. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.
  15. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  16. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, vol. 4. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  17. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  18. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  19. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  20. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  21. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  22. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  23. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

SPECIAL LINKS:

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Lee Family Crest.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Haven” by We Banjo 3, also available on iTunes.

First Families of Virginia – The Bollings

In this episode I begin making the case that perhaps Governor Berkeley’s greatest contribution to 17th Century Virginia and beyond was his encouraging Cavaliers to immigrate into the colony.

Beginning in the 1640s many of those Cavalier families took up Berkeley’s offer, and indeed moved many sons into the Old Dominion. The first family on our list, the Bollings, sent teen-aged Robert to the New World in 1660. He quickly worked his way into existing society, especially when he married Pocahontas’ granddaughter, Jane Rolfe in 1674.

Robert’s arrival was a case of old meets new in that the Rolfe line was one of the earliest prominent Virginia families, even if Thomas Rolfe, John and Pocahontas’ son, didn’t return to Virginia until the 1640s himself. The Rolfe’s still owned land, and it was in Thomas’ name. He received more lands over the next couple of decades, which made marrying his daughter Jane a highly prized choice.

Robert and Jane’s marriage extended genealogical links from John Rolfe and Pocahontas into the 20th Century. Their children and grandchildren were highly influential planters, merchants, and statesmen who helped shape Virginia into a powerhouse up to the American War for Independence and beyond. Because of that, as well as their connection all the way back to 17th Century Virginia’s most famous marriage, the Bolling family is my first episode in the First Family of Virginia Series.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Bolling, Robert. A Memoir of a Portion of the Bolling Family in England and Virginia. Richmond, VA: W.H. Wade and Co, 1868.
  5. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  6. Evans, Emory G. A “Topping People”: The Rise and Decline of Virginia’s Old Political Elite, 1680-1790. Charlottesville, VA: UVA Press, 2009.
  7. Fischer, David Hackett. Albion’s Seed: Four British Folkways in America (America: a cultural history). Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  10. McCartney, Martha W. Virginia Immigrants and Adventurers: A Biographical Dictionary, 1607-1635. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2007.
  11. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  12. Pecquet du Bellet, Louise. Some Prominent Virginia Families, vol. 4. Lynchburg, VA:  J.P. Bell Company, 1907.
  13. Robertson, Wyndham. Pocahontas: Alias Matoaka, and Her Descendants. Richmond, VA: J.W. Randolph and English, 1887.
  14. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  15. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  16. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  17. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  18. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  19. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  20. Wright, Louis B. First Gentlemen of Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: Dominion Books, 1982.

SPECIAL LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The Featured Image is of the Bolling Family Crest. Other images not my own are the Bolling Grave Markers, Diascund Creek, Robert Bolling, Sr., John Wesley Jarvis’s John Randolph of Roanoke, The Bolling Mausoleum, and Edith Bolling Wilson.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Brothers” by Little Chief, also available on iTunes.

 

Interview with Berkeley Castle’s Charles Berkeley

_DSC0803
Two men with deep connections to Berkeley Plantation – L-R Charles Berkeley (descendant of Richard Berkeley) and Graham Woodlief (descendant of Captain John Woodlief)

I used to tell my students that history is a giant web. Cause effects change, and that  change, sometimes unseen, is felt for generations.

Gloucestershire’s Berkeley Castle is a location at the heart of change. Even though the manorial seat has been in the same family for 27 generations, many of the people directly associated with the Castle moved to Virginia bringing profound influence with them to the New World.

The name Berkeley stands tall in 17th Century Virginia’s annals. The 1619 landing at what would become known as Berkeley Hundred put the Castle’s name on Virginia’s map forever. Decades later a Berkeley relative became Virginia’s most influential 17th Century colonial governor. But it wasn’t just Berkeley’s that came to Virginia from Gloucestershire. Skilled tradesmen, indentured servants, and merchants also moved from the old world, hoping to better there lives.

Berkeley Hundred soon suffered a horrific blow in 1622, but survivors endured and built a thriving colony. That colony became an early American leader, producing countless statesmen, scientific pioneers, westward explorers, military heroes, and seven United States Presidents. Two of those Presidents, William Henry Harrison and Benjamin Harrison have immediate connections to Berkeley Plantation, and they were preceded by Benjamin Harrison V,  a Declaration of Independence signer.

The various causes spurring Berkeley Hundred’s first settlers to leave Gloucestershire undoubtedly left a lasting impact upon Virginia’s and the United State’s history. For that we should be thankful, just as those first settlers were, for new opportunities. Today we can build upon those opportunities, while we trace our history back to places like Berkeley Castle and beyond.

Charles Berkeley, 27th Generation owner of Berkeley Castle, visited Berkeley Plantation in order to share in highlighting Berkeley Castle’s profound influence upon Virginia. His kind generosity made this interview possible, for which I’m thankful beyond measure.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SPECIAL LINKS:

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of Berkeley Castle accessed from Wikipedia.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and English Folk Song Suite I. March ( Seventeen Come Sunday). Allegro by Ralph Vaughan Williams, performed by the London Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult, also available on iTunes.

Special Halloween Episode – Haunted Thoroughgood

The (Adam) Thoroughgood House has a lot of mystery surrounding it. At one time it was believed to be the oldest brick house in America, perhaps built by Adam Thoroughgood himself. Later work on the house put the house’s construction to 1719, almost 80 years after Thoroughgood died in 1640.

Other mysteries surround the famous Virginia Beach dwelling, such as whether or not the house is haunted. Many say no. Those who disagree on the otherhand tell rather compelling stories about eerie encounters.

Famed Virginia Ghost Storyteller paid the Thoroughgood House a visit in order to record some of those frightening stories for his book The Ghosts of Tidewater.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

Plan a visit to the Thoroughgood

More from L.B. Taylor Jr.

Special Links

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image and subsequent images are from my visits to the Thoroughgood House.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Kevin MacLeod “Vanished” found on Soundcloud.

Berkeley Challenges the Navigation Acts

While Berkeley worked in England, Virginia continued to evolve. The Brent family moved southward out of Maryland, bringing the first major Catholic settlers into the colony, Indian unrest threatened peace along the frontiers, and proprietary schemes further threatened Virginia’s economy. But the Navigation Acts remained the biggest threat to Virginia’s economy.

Governor Berkeley’s 1662 trip to England is arguably the most pivotal event affecting his time in Virginia. He had been reinstalled as the colonial governor just before Charles Stuart restored the Stuart monarchy.

Berkeley wanted to breathe life into Virginia’s mediocre economy through a series of essentially free-trade oriented plans,  but his restored king had other ideas. The Navigation Act of 1662 wasn’t a new idea, in fact most of the Act was borrowed from previous editions. All of those previous versions, however, were easily neglected for various reasons, but the 1662 Act had vigorous royal backing.

Berkeley and his colonial leaders understood how detrimental the Navigation Act could be to their young economy, but they couldn’t voice their disapproval quickly enough. So, when the Council for Foreign Plantations was formed as a body to collect colonial viewpoints, it made sense to the General Assembly to send someone to champion Virginia’s cause. Who better to fight for that cause than their very own royal insider, Sir William Berkeley.

Would he be successful? If so, Virginia would grow in leaps and bounds. If not, Virginia could begin going down a devastating path.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

brentcross
The “Aquia Crucifix” honoring Virginia’s first Catholic settlements by the Brent Family

SOURCES:

  1. Billings, Warren M.; Selby, John E.; and Tate, Thad W. Colonial Virginia: A History. White Plains, NY: KTO Press. 1986.
  2. Billings, Warren M. Sir William Berkeley and the Forging of Colonial Virginia. Baton Rouge, LA: LSU Press, 2004.
  3. Billings, Warren. A Little Parliament: The Virginia General Assembly in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: Library of Virginia, 2004.
  4. Breen, T.H. and Innes, Stephen. Myne Owne Ground: Race & Freedom on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1640-1676. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.
  5. Craven, Wesley Frank. White, Red, and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1977.
  6. Craven, Wesley Frank. The Southern Colonies in the Seventeenth Century: 1607-1689. LSU Press, 1949.
  7. Dabney, Virginius. Virginia: The New Dominion, A History from 1607 to the Present. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1971.
  8. Horn, James. Adapting to A New World: English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 1994.
  9. Mapp, Alfred J. Virginia Experiment: The Old Dominion’s Role in the Making of America, 1607-1781Lincoln, NE: iUniverse, Inc., 2006.
  10. Neill, Edward D. Virginia Carolorum: The Colony under the Rule of Charles The First and Second, A.D. 1625-A.D. 1685. Albany, NY: Joel Munsell’s and Sons, 1886.
  11. Rothbard, Murray N. Conceived in Liberty. Auburn, AL: Ludwig Von Mises Institute, 1999.
  12. Tyler, Lyon Gardiner. The Cradle of the Republic: Jamestown and the James River. Richmond, VA: The Hermitage Press, 1906.
  13. Wallenstein, Peter. Cradle of America: Four Centuries of Virginia History. Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2007.
  14. Walsh, Lorena S. Motives of Honor, Pleasure, and Profit: Plantation Management in the Colonial Chesapeake, 1607-1763. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
  15. Washburn, Wilcomb E. Virginia Under Charles I and Cromwell 1625-1660. Kindle Edition.
  16. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. Virginia Under the Stuarts: 1607-1688. New York: Russell and Russell, 1959.
  17. Wertenbaker, Thomas Jefferson. The Planters of Colonial Virginia. Kindle Edition.
  18. Wise, Jennings Cropper. Ye Kingdom Of Accawmacke: Or The Eastern Shore Of Virginia In The Seventeenth Century. Richmond, VA: The Bell Book and Stationary, CO. 1911.
  19. The Navigation Act of 1651 (Act passed by Rump Parliament and spurned by Berkeley).
  20. The Navigation Act of 1660 (This is the Act that concerned Virginians before Charles II’s Restoration).
  21. The Navigation Act of 1663 (Argued previous to July 1663 ratification, after Berkeley had returned to Virginia).

Berkeley Signature

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of The 17th Century Royal Navy.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Go Back” by Darlingside, also available on iTunes.

 

Jamestown Burned! Interview with Eyewitness Thomas Mathews

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(L-R) Thomas Mathews, portrayed by Willie Balderson and his bodyguard

Nathaniel Bacon’s 1676 burning of Jamestown was a watershed moment. It symbolized the end of an era, or better stated, the end of eras. The era of Jamestown’s position as colonial capitol, Berkeley’s governorship, Indian peace, and free blacks ended.

The conflict began when Robert Hen, Thomas Mathews’ overseer, was murdered by the Doeg Indians. Matthews, a Northern Neck merchant, witnessed much of the conflagration from start to finish, and penned an account years after the chief players had passed. His account is one of the major primary sources that shed light on this turbulent period.

Each year, on or as close to September 19th as possible, Historic Jamestown reenacts Mathews’ account. Willie Balderson, a spectacular actor with a wide repertoire spanning more than three centuries, transforms into Thomas Matthews, and with the aid of others walks his listeners through a cresset lined path.

Along the path the audience hears from a feisty New Town resident, a runaway slave, and heartbroken Mrs. Drummond as well as musket reports from the battle for Jamestown. It is a captivating performance that brings Bacon’s Rebellion to life before one’s eyes and leaves a deep impression not to be forgotten.

Mr. Mathews was so kind as to sit down and tell me what he had witnessed in this special interview. I trust you’ll be as impressed as I was.

LINKS TO THE PODCAST:

SPECIAL LINKS:

 

 

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of reenactors staging the Burning of Jamestown.

Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and “Summer” selections from Antonio Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, Concerto No. 2 in G Minor, RV 315  movements I – Allegro non molto and III – Presto performed by Sarah Chang and the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra also available on iTunes.

 

400th Anniversary of the “Twenty and Odd”

Old Point Comfort, August 25, 1619. 400 years later location and a date that doesn’t initially conjure feelings of comfort. But it is the place where many gathered together in order to commemorate one of Virginia’s many major events for it was at Old Point Comfort that Englishmen, guilty of privateering, arrived with the infamously ambiguous “Twenty and Odd Negroes.”

I won’t retell the story, as I have covered these historical events in two episodes, which will be linked below. Instead, let me highlight some of the 400th Commemoration ceremony that took place on August 24th, 2019.

 

 

Fort Monroe was abuzz hours before the official ceremony began. Local police officers and volunteers steered traffic through the streets, while tour guides and National Park Service personnel polished last minute details in advance of the day’s soon-to-be-arriving spectators.

 

 

The program unfolded with a series of short speeches by many of Virginia’s political leaders as well as officials from the rest of the country. The highlight of the day, however, had to be 11 year old Brycen Dildy’s speech that brought the crowd to its feet.

 

 

To finish the day, I took a small side adventure of my own. First I visited nearby William Tucker Cemetery. The Cemetery is name for William Tucker, one of the first African’s to be born in Virginia, and it is the final resting place for many Tucker generations.

 

 

I ended the day on a poignantly solemn note in visiting one of Virginia’s great freedom symbols – Emancipation Oak at Hampton University. This beautiful, captivating tree witnessed Hampton’s Africans hearing the first reading of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863.

Officially no slaves were yet freed, because the famous Proclamation applied to slaves in the Confederate States, though the words certainly encouraged more enslaved blacks to make the almost 3 mile walk to nearby Fort Monroe, where they received asylum by Major General Benjamin Butler. Thus Virginia’s African story returned to her starting point as Africans once again became “Contraband of War” as they realistically were in 1619. This time, however, Old Point Comfort lived up to her name, and comfort in the midst of war came for those escaping slavery’s chains.

 

ADDITIONAL LINKS:

 

 

All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image is of a recreated slave cabin at the 400th Commemoration of Virginia’s First Africans.