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.



  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.

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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.

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