Archive for the 'Early Settlement' Category

Spotsylvania County/Caroline County Z-149 Z-156

Historical Marker Text
Spotsylvania County Z-156
Straddling the fall line, Spotsylvania County was formed from Essex, King William, and King and Queen Counties in 1720. It was named for Alexander Spotswood, lieutenant governor of Virginia from 1710 to 1722. The Civil War battles of Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania were fought in this county. The county seat is Spotsylvania. [2003]

Caroline County Z-156
Caroline County was formed from Essex, King and Queen, and King William Counties in 1728. It was named for Caroline of Anspach, consort of King George II. Revolutionary War General George Rogers Clark (1752-1818) and William Clark (1770-1838) of the Lewis and Clark Expedition lived here in their early youth. The county seat is Bowling Green and the current county courthouse was erected in the 1830s to replace one that previously stood nearby. [2003]

Note: The marker Z-156 has Spotsylvania County on one face and Caroline County on the other. It stands on Rt. 1, near Marye Rd, and is a more recent and updated version of the similar Spotsylvania County/Caroline County marker, Z-149, which is located many miles to the northeast, on Rt. 2, near Rt. 17.
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Colonial Fort E-46

Historical Marker Text
The Virginia General Assembly authorized the construction of a fort built nearby along the Rappahannock River in 1676. It served as a defensive fortification for settlers of European descent on the frontier when periodic conflicts occurred between Virginia Indians and settlers. Maj. Lawrence Smith commanded the fort. Smith had patented 6,300 acres of property with Robert Taliaferro in the region in 1666. Smith later obtained more land nearby. The fort was abandoned about 1682, when the General Assembly ordered the dismantling of many of these structures. [2004]

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George Washington’s Childhood Home J-61

Historical Marker Text
The Washington family moved to a plantation here in 1738 when George Washington was six years old. Along with his three brothers and sister, young Washington spent most of his early life here, where, according to popular fable, he cut down his father’s cherry tree and uttered the immortal words, “I cannot tell a lie.” His father, Augustine, died here in 1743, leaving the property to him. His mother, Mary Ball Washington, lived here until 1772 when she moved to a house in Fredericksburg that Washington bought for her. [1997]
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Fall Hill E-49a

Historical Marker Text
On the heights one mile to the west, the home of the Thorntons from about 1736. Francis Thornton 2nd was a justice, a Burgess 1744-45, and Lieut. -Colonel of his Majesty’s militia for Spotsylvania County. He and two of his brothers married three Gregory sisters, first cousins of George Washington. “Fall Hill” is still (1950) owned and occupied by direct Thornton descendants. [1957]
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Fredericksville Furnace EM-1

Historical Marker Text
Charles Chiswell established the iron-making community of Fredericksville near this point of Douglas Run, a tributary of the North Anna River. The furnace had been in blast for about five years when William Byrd in 1732 toured the site in the company of Chiswell and his iron-master, Robert Durham. An archaeological investigation of the furnace was financed by Virginia Electric and Power Company in 1970. [1971]
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Spotswood’s Furnace J-42

Historical Marker Text
Four miles north, on this side road, is the site of an ancient iron furnace established about 1716 by Governor Alexander Spotswood, the first fully equipped iron furnace in the colonies. Iron was hauled along this road to the Rappahannock River for shipment. William Byrd visited the furnace in 1732 and described it. [1930]
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Hunter’s Iron Works E-116

Historical Marker Text
Located south of here on the Rappahannock River, stood Hunter’s Iron Works, founded by James Hunter and was in operation by the 1750s. With the outbreak of the American Revolution, the Rappahannock Forge there supplied the Continental army and navy with muskets, swords, and other armaments and camp implements. Due to its wartime significance, Gov. Thomas Jefferson ordered special military protection for the complex. The ironworks contained a blast furnace, forge, slitting, merchant, and other mills, nailery, coopers’, carpenters’, and wheelwright shops and houses for the managers and workmen. Some of the buildings may have been used for other purposes into the 19th century; none survive today. [2002]
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Historic Aquia Creek E-123

Historical Marker Research
The first known permanent English Roman Catholic settlers in Virginia, Giles Brent, his sister Margaret, and other family members, emigrated here from Maryland by 1650. In May 1861, Confederates built artillery batteries on the bluffs overlooking Aquia Landing at the creek’s mouth on the Potomac River. An early clash between U.S. Naval vessels and Confederate land batteries took place here, 30 May and 1 June 1861. After the Confederates withdrew in March 1862, the U.S. Army established a huge supply depot there. The Federals burned and abandoned it on 7 June 1863. The landing again served as a Union depot in 1864. [2003]

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Kidnapping of Pocahontas E-48

Historical Marker Text
Near here, Pocahontas visited friends among the Patawomecks on the Potomac River in April 1613. Capt. Samuel Argall saw an opportunity to capture Pocahontas and exchange her for English prisoners held by her father Chief Powhatan. Argall sought out Iopassus, the chief of the Indian town of Passapatanzy. After Argall made veiled threats, Iopassus obtained permission from his brother the Patawomeck district chief to aid Argall. Iopassus had one of his wives insist that Pocahontas accompany her on a tour of Argall’s ship. Once aboard, Pocahontas was detained, the ship departed, and she was held captive elsewhere in the colony. During negotiations for her exchange, Pocahontas married John Rolfe in 1614. [2001]

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Aquia Landing J-92

Historical Marker Text
The Richmond, Fredericksburg and Potomac Railroad was extended to its terminus here at Aquia Landing in 1846. By steamboat and railroad, travelers from Washington, D.C., to Richmond could complete in 9 hours a journey that took 38 hours by stagecoach. In May-June 1861, Confederate batteries at Aquia Landing exchanged fire with Union gunboats. The first use of nautical mines (“torpedoes”) in the war occurred here on 7 July 1861 against the U.S.S. Pawnee. After the Confederates abandoned the site in 1862, the Union army built new wharves and storage buildings for supplies. The army burned them in 1863, when it pursued the Confederate army into Pennsylvania. The railroad was extended across Aquia Creek in 1872. [1994]
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First Roman Catholic Settlement in Virginia E-76

Historical Marker Text
The crucifix by sculptor Georg J. Lober, erected in 1930, commemorates the first English Roman Catholic settlement in Virginia. Fleeing political and religious turmoil in Maryland, Giles Brent and his sisters Margaret and Mary established two plantations called Peace and Retirement on the north side of Aquia Creek between 1647 and 1650. Later, they jointly acquired 15,000 acres in Northern Virginia, including the site of present-day Alexandria. Their nephew George Brent, whose plantation Woodstock and family cemetery were located nearby, represented Stafford County in the House of Burgesses in 1688, the only Roman Catholic delegate in the colonial period. [1998]

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Chatham J-60

Historical Marker Text
Here is Chatham, built about 1750 by William Fitzhugh. Here Robert E. Lee came to court his wife. In the battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862, the house was occupied by General Sumner. It was General Hooker’s headquarters for a time, 1863. [1928] Continue reading ‘Chatham J-60’

Historic Falmouth E-47

Historical Marker Text
Historic Falmouth E-47 Founded in 1727 as a trading center for the Northern Neck. Hunter’s iron works here were an objective in the Virginia campaign of 1781. The Army of the Potomac camped here from November 1862 to June 1863 and moved hence to Chancellorsville and Gettysburg. [1927]

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Marlborough E-75

Historical Marker Text
Strategically situated at the tip of a peninsula jutting into the Potomac River at Potomac Creek, Marlborough was established under the Town Act of 1691 as a river port town. It served as the county seat of Stafford County from 1691 until about 1718. Marlborough never fully developed. In 1726, noted lawyer John Mercer (1705-1768) moved there and built Marlborough plantation and attempted to revive the town. Mercer had one of the largest private libraries in Virginia, in which the young George Mason received much of his education. Mercer’s attempt to revive the town was unsuccessful and it ceased to exist by the end of the 18th century. [2001]

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From Indian Path to Highway E-50

from-indian-path.jpg

Historical Marker Text
In 1664, a colonial road here probably followed the trace of an old Indian path. Two years later, the road was extended to Aquia Creek. It became a post road in 1750, and in Sept. 1781 Gen. George Washington passed over it on the march to Yorktown. By 1900, a crude dirt road followed this route. The 1914 American Automobile Association Blue Book described it as mostly “very poor and dangerous; should not be attempted except in dry weather.” By 1925, auto camps and cabins, the predecessors of auto courts and motels, stood at frequent intervals along present-day U.S. Route 1 between Washington, D.C., and Richmond. [1998]

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Fredericksburg Normal and Industrial Institute N-33

Historical Marker Text

Image of Fredereicksburg Normal and Industrial Institute Due to the efforts of local blacks, the Fredericksburg Normal and Industrial Institute (FNII) opened in October 1905 at the Shiloh New Site Baptist Church with about 20 students. In 1906 the board of trustees purchased land and a large farmhouse here, named it Mayfield, and opened the school in the autumn. The course of study, modeled after a university curriculum included teacher education classes as well as English, mathematics, history, geography, literature, Greek, and music. By 1938, Mayfield High School had become a part of the segregated city school system.

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Amoroleck Encounters John Smith N-38

Historical Marker Text
In August 1608, the first meeting between the Mannahoac Indian people of the Piedmont and the English colonists at Jamestown occurred at the falls of the Rappahannock River. Men from the upriver town of Hasinninga were hunting here at the eastern edge of their territory when they encountered John Smith and a party of Jamestown colonists. Following a brief skirmish, a Mannahoac man, Amoroleck, told Smith about the world beyond the falls, which included the Mannahoac, the Monacan, and the Massawomeck. Amoroleck explained that the Mannahoac resisted the English because they heard that the colonists were a people who came to “take their world from them.”

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Accokeek Iron Furnace E-49

Historical Marker Text
The Principio Company constructed the Accokeek Iron Furnace nearby about 1726 on land leased from Augustine Washington (father of George Washington), who became a partner. After Washington’s death in 1743, his son Lawrence inherited his interest in the company and the furnace. When he in turn died ten years later, his share descended first to his brother Augustine Washington Jr. and later to William Augustine Washington. The archaeological site is a rare example of an 18th-century Virginia industrial enterprise. It includes the furnace location, the wheel pit and races, a retaining wall made of slag, an extensive slag dump, and mine pits. [1998]

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