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Full text of "The history of Nansemond County, Virginia"

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Digitized by the Internet Archive 
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http://www.archive.org/details/historyofnansemoOOdunn 



OLD DOMINION LINE 

Steamships "MONROE'7'PRINCESS ANNE'V' JAMESTOWN" 
"HAMILTON" and "JEFFERSON." 

Sailing from Norfolk for New York daily, except Sunday, at 7 p. m. 
Sailing from New York for Norfolk daily, except Sunday, at 3 p. m. 

NIGHT LINE FOR RICHMOND. 

For Richmond, new steamers "BERKELEY" and "BRANDON" 
leave Company's Wharf, foot of Church Street, 7 o'clock every night. 

For Old Point and Hampton, steamer "Luray." 

For Old Point, East, Ware, North (Matthews and Gloucester Coun- 
ties) and Severn Rivers, Steamer "MOB JACK." 

For Newport News and Smithfield, Steamers' "HAMPTON" and 
"ACCOMAC." 

For Nansemond River and Suffolk, Steamer "VIRGINIA DARE." 

Freight received at Company's Wharf, Water Street, daily except 
Sunday, until 5 P. M. 

Passenger Tickets sold and Staterooms reserved at Company's Office 
on Wharf, or at Union Ticket Office, Main and Granby Streets, 
Norfolk, Va. 

For further information relative to Passenger or Freight Rates, apply to 

JOHN NICHOL, General Agent, 
NORFOLK, VA. 

H. B. WALKER, Vice-Pres. and Traffic Mgr. 
81 BEACH STREET, NEW YORK. 

(See Daily Papers for Winter and Summer Changes in Schedule.) 



ORGANIZED 1869. 

THE FARMERS BANK 
OF NANSEMOND 

Suffolk, Va, 



Capital - Twenty Thousand Dollars. 

Surplus and Profits - Five Hundred and Fifty-five 

Dollars. 

Total Resources - More than Two Million Dollars. 



With Long Experience, Unsurpassed 
Facilities and Increasing Resources, the 
Institution continues to offer its services 
to the people. 



E. E. Holland, G. W. Truitt, 

President, Vice-President, 



Wm. H. Jones, Jr., 

Cashier. 



JAS. L. McLEMORE, President A. WOOLFORD, Cashier 

R. A. PRETLOW, Vice-President C. E. HARGRAVE, Ass't. Cashier 



Bank of Suffolk, 



SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA. 



Capital and Profits, - $ 1 62,500.00. 



RESPECTFULLY SOLICITS YOUR 
BANKING BUSINESS. 



Write for OUR Prices 



THE SUFFOLK PEANUT CO. 

SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA 

JOHN KING, J. B. PINNER, 

President Secy. & Treas. 



The Oldest Peanut Concern in the Town of Suffolk 
The Largest Peanut Town in 
Virginia 

Six Railroads and One Steamboat Line Give Us 
Unexcelled Shipping Facilities 



•■;* 



Write for OUR Prices 



WOODWARD & ELAM | 



Insurance and A 

Surety Bonds k 

•" SUFFOLK, - - VIRGINIA J 

FRANKLIN, VA. SMITHFIELD, VA. V 

• • 



Nansemond River 
Brick & Tile Co. 



' ^*AVING abiding faith in the future growth and 
*|f^| ife developement of Eastern Virginia, and especially 
i*J" * J, of the peanut belt of Nansemond County, the 
^^$^5^ above business was organized, and in 1901 incor- 
porated under the laws of the State of Virginia : 

Located upon deep water, accessible to all tidewater 
markets, from a very small beginning the business has become 
one of some magnitude, its present annual output being twelve 
million building brick, in addition to other products. The Com- 
pany is fortunate in owning what is, probably, one of the most 
valuable clay deposits in Eastern Virginia, it being a peninsular, 
several hundred acres in extent, bounded on the east by a 
narrow creek, south by the Nansemond River, west by the 
western branch of the Nansemond, and upon the north by the 
public highway leading from Suffolk to Smithfield. Upon this 
public road the Company have a handsome brick store, well 
stocked with goods, and also their General Manager's residence: 
Lying in the world's best Peanut territory, these lands have, 
under the intelligent culture of their General Manager, who is 
a stockholder in the Company, become profitable holdings, 
aside from their value on account of a deep and strong "brick 
clay" subsoil of from ten to twelve feet in depth. With a 
second plant nearly equipped, having sufficient capacity for 
fully doubling their output, unlimited raw material, the use of 
the most modern machinery and methods, the remarkable in- 
crease in fertility of their lands, the location of some twenty- 
five families of employees upon this property, and the gradual 
but sure increase of their merchandising business, we think the 
Company may reasonably look to the future with hope and 
confidence. 



Handle the Best 



PEANUTS 



SUPERB 

JUMBO 

BELLE OF WAKEFIELD 

GAMECOCKS (Fancy) 

DIAMOND BRAND (Extra) 



All Grades of 



Virginia oncf Spanish 
Shelled 

Cleaned and Packed by 

THE BAIN PEANUT CO., inc. 

WAKEFIELD, VIRGINIA 



FACTORIES: 

Wakefield, Va. Petersburg, Va. 

Suffolk, Va. Norfolk, Va. 



Another Prosperous Nansemond County Enterprise 

Interstate Fire Insurance Co., Inc. 
SUFFOLK, VA. 



Capital 


$131,000.00 


Surplus to Policy Holders 


154,185.87 


Total Assets - 


- 163,394.07 



J. E. WEST, President 

G. W. TRUITT, Vice-President 

J. T. WITHERS, Secretary-Trees. 




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1 I. Walter Hosier I 

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£!! "» 

! | urn 

SI! in* 

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I REAL ESTATE, I 



£1! 



INVESTMENTS 

and General Insurance 



Kilby Street, 



SUFFOLK, - - VA. 



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THE 
HISTORY OF 
NANSEMOND COUNTY 
VIRGINIA Th 




BY 
JOS. B. DUNN 



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13 



The first mention of the name Nansemond is found in Smith's 
History of Virginia. In the summer of 1608 Capt. John Smith 
with twelve companions came up the river called Nansemond after 
a tribe of Indians of that name. Smith and his men were attacked 
in the neighborhood of an island now called Dumpling Island. The 



m m w '• „.=3^ 






Colonel Phillip's Residence on Nansemond River 

main settlement of the Nansemond tribe was near the mouth of West- 
ern Branch, and the island opposite was used as a place for storing 
their corn. The Nansemond tribe numbered three hundred warriors, 
and their canoes filled with fighting men suddenly appeared and sur- 
rounded the little craft that held Smith's exploring party. At the 
first volley of musketry the Indians leaped overboard and swam to 
shore. Smith promptly captured the canoes and was in the act of 




W. J. Lee's Residence on Nansemond River 

destroying them when the Indians from the banks made signs of sur- 
render. They were glad to purchase peace at the cost of "400 bas- 
kets of full corne," which supply helped to relieve the hungry colon- 
ists at Jamestown. In 1609 when affairs were growing desperate at 
Jamestown and starvation threatened the destruction of the colony, 



14 



Capt. Smith remembered the river whose banks were oyster shells 
and in whose midst was the isle of plenty. He ordered Capt. John 
Martin with over a hundred men to proceed up the Nansemond river 
and found a permanent settlement upon its banks. Martin went in 
for heroic measures. He seized the Indian chief, captured the town 
of Nansemond, and took for the use of his men the corn on Dump- 
ling Island. Flushed with success he grew careless, and the Indians 
surprised him by a sudden attack, rescued their chief and carried off 
the thousand bushels of corn that Martin had appropriated. Martin 
thoroughly demoralized by the change of fortune, fled to James- 
town, leaving his men to make the best of the situation. Left with- 




Iion Bridge, Everet's Va. 



out a leader, the men returned to Jamestown, and Smith's plan for a 
city on the banks of the Nansemond was abandoned. The Indian 
word Nansemond means "fishing-point or angle," and was the name 
given by the Indians to their town which was situated in the angle 
made by the junction of Western Branch with the main stream of the 
river. The tribe takes its name from their chief settlement and the 
liver is named for the tribe. Neither Smith nor Martin seems to 
have gone further up the river than the point where the stream di- 
vides. Dumpling Island, probably receives its name very early, for 
in 1636 a grant to "a place known as Dumpling Island" is made to 
Wm. Parker. In 1612 Sir Thomas Dale with 100 men explored the 



15 



Nansemond River to its sources. At the time of the great massacre 
in 1622 Edward Waters and his wife were captured by the Nanse- 




St. Paul's P. E. Church, Suffolk, Va. 



mond Indians and taken to the mouth of that river, from which they 
seemed to have little chance of escape ; but one day an empty boat be- 
longing to some English ship happened to drift ashore, and in their 
rejoicings over it the Indians relaxed their guard, and Waters and 
his wife escaped in a canoe to Kiquotan. The great grandson of 



16 



this Waters had an only child, Sarah, who married David Meade, a 
distinguished citizen of Nansemond. 

In 1622 in retaliation for the part the Nansemond tribe had ta- 
ken in the massacre of the Colonists, Sir George Geardley devastated 
the country of the Nansemonds with 300 men. The massacre of 
1644 was again followed by invasions of the Indian country, with 
such success that the power of the neighboring tribes was broken. 
At the session of the Assembly, 1644-5, the inhabitants of the coun- 
try south of James River were ordered to make marches upon the 
Indians. In March 1646 war was again declared upon the Nanse- 




Washmgtou Square, Suffolk, Va. 

mond and adjoining tribes, but within a few months the natives had 
been so thoroughly subdued that in October, 1646, the Assembly re- 
pealed the acts prohibiting trade with the Indians, for cutting down 
their corn and for making war upon the Nansemonds. 

From this time the Nansemond tribe gradually dwindled away. 
The tragic history, of this people who gave their name to our county 
and river affords a sad commentary of the white civilization that 
crushed them. In 1669 they had only 45 fighting men left in their 
tribe, and in 1744 they were reduced to so small a number that they 
could no longer "subsist of themselves by hunting, which is their 



17 




M. E. Church, Crittenden, Va. 



18 



chief support," so they joined themselves to the Nottoway tribe. 
Their lands had dwindled also, for by a statute of 1744 they were al- 
lowed to sell lands consisting of 300 acres in the county of Nanse- 
mond. The statute providing for the sale of the Indian lands is in- 
teresting reading, as it furnishes testimony of the manner in which 
the Indians gradually lost their foothold on the soil of Virginia. 
"Whereas it has been represented to this General Assembly that the 
Indians of the two nations (Nansemond and Nottoway), are very 
prone to drink spirits and other strong liquors, to a very great ex- 
cess, thereby giving ill-disposed and dishonest people opportunities 
to make very great advantages of them, by first getting them in debt 




Christian Church, Suffolk, Va. 

and then taking their skins, money, clothes and ammunition, by which 
they defeat the just trader from getting paid for furnishing them 
with the necessaries of life; to prevent which:" Then follows a 
provision prohibiting the sale of liquors to these Indians for anything 
save ready money. But it was too late now to save the race, and in 
1791 trustees are appointed to sell the last remaining lands of the 
tribe, and to use the money from such sale to support the survivors of 
the once mighty nation of the Nansemonds, who "have become so 
reduced in their number as not to exceed five persons, who through 
old age and bodily infirmities are rendered unable to support them- 
selves." There are few traces left of the ancient occupants of the 



19 

land. A few negroes boast of Indian blood in their veins and some 
years ago in laying the foundation for a pavilion on a mound-shaped 
island in the river just below Suffolk a number of Indian relics were 
exhumed, showing that the place had once been the burying-ground 
of an Indian tribe. 

As early as 1635 Nansemond attracted the attention of settlers. 
Here as elsewhere in Virginia the settlements clung to the water- 
courses. In 1635 Gov. West granted to Richard Bennett 2,000 acres 
on Nansemond River for importing forty persons; and to John 
Slaughter 200 acres on Wright's Creek. The patents to lands in the 
year 1638 refer to tracts situated on the Nansemond or Matrevers 
River. Lord Matrevers, son of the Duke of Norfolk, had received 
a grant in 1633 to 30,000 acres on Nansemond River and an effort 
was- made to call the river Matravers (Matrevers) in honor of the 
English lord. The name did not stick, however, and appears only 
as an alternate form in the land patents. By 1639 the influx of 
\ population had become so large that this section was separated from 
Isle of Wight and set apart as a county under the name of Upper 
'^Norfolk County. Its first representatives in the House of Burgesses 
were Randall Crew, John Gookin and Tristam Norseworthy. A 
large land-owner and prominent citizen in the new county was 
Richard Bennett. He was a member of the Governor's council, but 
he was a Roundhead and gathered about him numbers of the same 
political and religious creed. In 1641 he sent his brother to New 
England to request that some Puritan ministers be sent to Virginia. 
These ministers gained their strongest foothold in this county where 
a flourishing church numbering 118 members was soon organized 
under the care of a minister named Harrison, who had formerly been 
Gov. Berkeley's chaplain. The rapid growth of the Independents 
disturbed the mind of the authorities and active measures were taken 
to suppress them. Religion and politics were practically synonymous 
in those days and Independence in religion spelled disloyalty in 
politics. England was in the midst of the fierce struggle between 
King and Parliament, and Virginia was loyalist to the core. In 
1648, a few months before the execution of Charles I., pressure was 
brought to bear on the Nansemond Independents and their corelig- 
ionists in Norfolk County. William Durand of Norfolk County, 
who was an elder and a leader in the movement, was banished. He 
retired to Maryland and received a grant of 800 acres of lands for 
importing persons into that colony. He is frequently confused in 
the histories of Virginia with George Durand, who migrated from 
Virginia to North Carolina some years later. The Rev. Mr. Harri- 
son, their pastor, was next expelled from the colony ; next their other 



20 




Presbyterian Church, Suffolk, Va. 



21 

teachers were banished, and when the congregation stubbornly held to 
the church of their choice some of them were imprisoned. So far 
the council had been unable to break their spirit, but an order to 
disarm all Independents having been given, the spirit of resistance 
was quenched. A number of these dissenters having been invited 
by Gov. Stone, Lord Baltimore's deputy, retired to Maryland, and 
are remembered as among the founders of Anne Arundel County 
in that State. Among those who left were Richard Bennett and 
William Ayres. These refugees prospered in their new abode and 
others induced by their example removed thither. It was not long, 
however, before they became dissatisfied with the proprietary govern- 
ment of Roman Catholic Maryland, and they were the leaders in 
the fierce war waged between Protestants and Catholics in Mary- 
land a few years later. 

In 1642 the county was divided into three parishes to be known 
as South, East and West. In 1646 the name of the county was 
changed to Nansimum. In 1652 the Commonwealth of England 
sent a fleet to demand Virginia's submission to the new government 
in England. Commissioners were appointed to receive the sub- 
mission of the Colony. One of the commissioners was Richard 
Bennett, who had retired to England from Maryland. On the 
reorganization of the Colony Bennett was elected governor by the 
Assembly. Another citizen of Nansemond, Edward Major, was 
by the same Assembly elected Speaker of that body. At the second 
session of the House held in the same year Col. Thomas Dew, 
Burgess from Nansemond, was chosen Speaker. 

There was a long dispute lasting from 1636 to 1772 concerning 
the boundaries between Nansemond and Isle of Wight counties. 
Four acts of Assembly during that period relate to changes in these 
boundaries. The act of 1674 is interesting as it mentions by name 
a citizen whose family since the earliest days of the colony have 
been prominent in the county. After establishing fixed lines of 
division it is provided: "Nevertheless that the house and cleared 
grounds of Capt. Thomas Godwin, who hath bin an ancient inhabi- 
tant of Nanzemund countie court, be, remain counted and deemed 
in the county of Nanzemund, anything in this act to the contrary 
notwithstanding." 

The names of the parishes in the county as South, East and 
West soon gave way to other names, for in 1680 they are referred 
to as Upper, Lower and Chicokatuck (Chuckatuck). In 1653 
Roger Green and others living on Nansemond River received a 
large grant of land on condition of their settling on Roanoke River 
and on the south side of Chowan. In the same year Col. Thomas 
■ 



22 




M. E. Church, Suffolk, Va. 



23 

Dew of Nansemond and others were authorized to explore the coun- 
try between Gape Hatteras and Cape Fear. 

The Society of Friends or Quakers was founded in 1648 by 
George Fox. They increased very rapidly. As early as 1656 some 
of this sect arrived in Boston, but were sent back to England. In 
1657 laws were passed' in Massachusetts to prevent the intro- 
duction of Quakers into that Colony, but they flocked thither 
nevertheless. Virginia also strove to keep them out of her bounda- 
ries. In the wild enthusiasm of the first years of their existence 
many of the Quakers were fanatics courting martyrdom. They 
mocked the institutions and rulers of the Colony, interrupted public 
worship and refused obedience to the law of the land. These 
fanatics gave to the Society a bad name; and beginning with the 
year 1660 stringent laws against them were passed by the Assembly. 
Captains of vessels were fined for bringing them into the Colony. All 
of them were to be apprehended and committed until they should 
give security that they would leave the Colony. If they returned 
they should be punished, and returning the third time should be 
proceeded against as felons. It was provided, however, that if the 
convicted Quakers should give security not to meet in unlawful 
assemblies, "that then and from thenceforth such persons shall be 
discharged from all penalties." 

The Colony did not interfere with the individual's religious 
freedom, unless he with others combined against the laws of the 
lane}. Even when a member of the House of Burgesses was 
accused of being a Quaker, he was not expelled till he had refused 
to take the oaths of allegiance and supremacy. 

Notwithstanding the efforts of the Assembly, the Quakers in- 
creased and continued to hold gatherings. In 1672 George Fox, 
the founder of the Society, visited Virginia. In Nansemond, which 
had welcomed the Puritan preachers and which from 1636 had held 
a goodly number of dissenters, Fox found a fruitful field of labor. 
He had meetings "at Nansemond River, where Col. Dew of the 
Council and several officers and magistrates attended, and at Som- 
erton, also at Widow Wright's in Nansemond where many magis- 
trates, officers and high people came." The effects of Fox's labors 
were very marked, and a large element of the present citizens of 
Nansemond number Quakers among their ancestors. Two brothers 
of the name of Jordan became leaders in the Society of Friends and 
labored in England as well as in America. The Journal of one of 
these brothers has been published, and he speaks of a visit to his 
kinsfolk in Nansemond. Even the great man of the county, Richard 
Bennett, fell under the spell of Fox, for George Edmonson, the com- 



24 




Baptist Church, Suffolk, Va. 



25 

panion of Fox, wrote of Bennett: "He was a solid, wise man, 
received the truth and died in the same, leaving two Friends his 
executors. Bennett's will dated in 1674 describing himself of Nan- 
semond River was proved in court April 1675. He gives to the 
county where he lives and has long lived 300 acres of land, the 
rents to be received yearly by the church-wardens of the parish and 
disposed of towards the relief of four aged or impotent persons." 

Bennett's career was a conspicuous one. He was Burgess in 
1629 and in 1631; Member of the Governor's Council from 1642 
to 1648. He organized the dissenters in Nansemond in 1641. Many 
of these dissenters were probably persons whose passage to Virginia 
Bennett had himself paid. In 1648 he shared the exile of his 
fellow-religionists in Maryland. He was the first governor of Vir- 
ginia under the Commonwealth 1652-1655. He was Agent for 
Virginia in England in 1656. In 1658 he was again a member of 
the Governor's Council and continued a member of that body till 
his death. In 1660 he was one of the three major generals of 
militia. Bennett was an ancestor of General Robert E. Lee. Two 
other distinguished men of the county were doubtless in sympathy 
with Bennett's dissenting views ; Edward Major and Thomas Dew, 
who represented the county in the Assembly. Each of them in turn 
occupied the Speaker's chair while Bennett was Governor. Dew 
seems also to have followed Bennett's lead in sympathizing with the 
Quakers in his later life, for we have record of his attendance upon 
the meetings of Fox. 

The records of the Chuckatuck meeting-house published in the 
Southern Historical Publications contain valuable genealogical data, 
and show how strong the Quaker sentiment was in the county 
during this period. The leading spirit among the Friends was 
Thomas Jordan. The sketch of him in these records is as follows: 
"Thomas Jordan of Chuckatuck in Nansemond Co. in Va. was born 
in ye year 1634 and in ye year 1660 he Received ye truth and A Bode 
f aithf ull in it, and in constant unity with ye f aithf ull 'friends thereof ; 
and stood in opposision against all wrong and Desatefull spirits, 
having suffered ye spoiling of his goods and ye improsionment of 
his Body for for ye truth's sake, and continued in ye truth unto the 
End of his dayes." 

The Quakers were very strict in their discipline. There is 
repeated record of disputes about lands and personal property being 
settled by the Friends in meeting. Contested wills were also referred 
to the Society for settlement. There is mention in a single line of a 
father publicly in meeting disowning his son for having married 
outside of the Society. Fuller mention is made of the fact that 



26 



'/■*'*-;f 



IS 



r 5 






M. E Church, Whaleyville, Va. 



27 

Daniel Saubourn on behalf of men's meeting in Chuckatuck signed 
en "the eighth day of the 3d mth in the year 1701 a certificate of 
disownment against Tho' Duke of Nansemond County for marring 
of one that was not of us and lickwise going to the hireling priest." 
The records show that in 1682 both Thomas and Edmund Godwin 
were members of the Chuckatuck meeting-house. The Quakers 
increased very rapidly in spite of the laws against them and they 
seem to have been unmolested, except those who like Thomas 
Jordan refused . to pay their tithes, defied the court and maligned 
the clergy. Besides the meeting-house at Chuckatuck, there was one 
at Somerton and one in Suffolk parish built "by the high- way side."' 
The Godwins seem to have severed their connection with the 
Quakers, for after 1682 both Thomas and Edmund Godwin were 
vestrymen of Chuckatuck parish and both filled the office of sheriff. 
Col. Thomas Godwin Sr. was a burgess from 1654 to 1658. His 
son of the same name died in 1714. As the two bore the same name, 




Iron Bridge, Reed's Ferry 



and both filled conspicuous offices in the county and Colony it is 
often impossible .to determine which Thomas Godwin is meant. 
The change of the county line in deference to Thomas Godwin in 
1674 doubtless refers to the elder Godwin. The probability is that 
it was he who was Speaker of the Assembly in 1676. His son Thomas 
was a member of the defiant vestry in Chuckatuck that denied the 
Governor's right of induction. He was also Colonel commandant 
of militia and was removed by Gov. Nicholson in 1705. At the 
time of his death in 1714 he was presiding justice of the county 
court. Thomas Godwin, the third, was member of the House of 
Burgesses in 1714 and in 1723, and sheriff in 1731, 1732 and in 
1734. 



28 

Another distinguished man of this period was Col. Thomas 
Milner. In 1680 he was appointed surveyor of Nansemond, Nor- 
folk and Princess Anne counties. About 1690 he made at the request 
of the Governor a survey of the boundary line between Virginia and 
North Carolina. For this service re received fifty pounds. He was 
Lt. Colonel of Militia and a member of the County Court. He was 
clerk of the House of Burgesses but was turned out of office by the 
Governor in 1685. He was afterwards elected a member of the 
House and was Speaker from 1691 to 1693. 

In 1703 Gov. Nicholson, whose tyrannical behavior involved 
him in so many quarrels with the Colonists, incurred the hatred of 
the citizens of Nansemond by his interference in county affairs. 




Iron Bridge, Kxit 



According to the statement of Commissary Blair the trouble began 
with Nicholson's turning out of office the efficient Clerk of the Court, 
Daniel Sullivan. Sullivan had voted and worked for the election of 
Capt. Thomas Swann to the House of Burgesses. The Governor 
was bitterly hostile to Swann and in revenge for Sullivan's espousal 
of Swann's cause, deprived that gentleman of his office, and appointed 
in his stead a man whom the court deemed wholly incompetent. The 
appointment was made by the Governor without consultation with 
his Council, and the court refused to accept the new appointee. The 
Governor again without consulting the Council immediately turned 



29 



six of the eight justices out of office and appointed a new court of 
incompetent men. This court and the new clerk managed the affairs 
of the county so miserably that there was a general outcry. Nichol- 
son's behavior in this matter was the ground of one of the charges 
brought against him by Blair and helped to bring about his removal 
from office. 

According to the theory of the Governors of Virginia they were 
the representatives of the King and hence patrons of all the livings 
in the Colony. The patent which gave to the Bishop of London 
the spiritual oversight of the Church in Virginia had left the right 




Public School Building, Crittenden, Va. 



of induction to the livings with the governors. If to this conceded 
right of induction, the Vestries had granted the justice of the 
Governor's claim of authority to present to the livings, then the 
Governor would have been enabled to impose upon the people any 
ministers whatever. The people maintained that they and not the 
King or his representatives were the patrons of the livings, and that 
the Vestry as the representative of the people could alone present to 
a living. It is often said that most of the leading Virginians in the 
Revolutionary period got their training for public life in the parish 
vestry meeting. Certain it is that Gov. Nicholson met with a distinct 
defiance from one vestry in Nansemond. 

The opinion of Sir Edward Northy, the King's attorney, up- 
holding the Governor's prerogative, was sent to all the vestries and 
ordered to be recorded in the vestry-books. The Vestry of Chucka- 



30 



tuck parish obeyed the Governor's order and placed the document on 
record, but added this spirited resolution to it : 

"But as to presenting our present or any other minister for 
induction are not of opinion (record here is unintelligible) but are 
willing to entertain our present minister upon the usual terms, as 
formerly hath been used in this Colony." 




Geo. B. Robertson's Residence, Whaleyville, Va. 



A leading member of that Vestry was Capt. Thomas Swann, 
and it would be interesting to know whether his action in this matter 
was the ground of the Governor's hositility to him. 

In 1728 Commissioners were appointed to determine the divid- 
ing line between Virginia and North Carolina. Col. Wlliam Byrd 
has left a description of the running of the dividing line in the West- 
over Manuscripts. He tells of his visit to the home of Col. Andrew 
Meade near the headwaters of Nansemond River. We have a vivid 
picture of the prodigal hospitality of those days. Col. Byrd says 
that on leaving, his host insisted on sending with him a cart-load of 
provisions to eat and drink. Byrd says that on the journey through 
the county "we passed no less than two Quaker meeting-houses. 
That persuasion prevails much in the lower end of Nansemond 
county, for want of ministers to pilot the people a decenter way to 
heaven. The ill reputation of the tobacco in these lower parishes 



31 



makes the clergy unwilling to accept of them except such whose 
abilities are as mean as their pay." 

In 1734 the house of Christopher Jackson, clerk of the County 
of Nansemond, was destroyed by fire and the greater part of the 
county records were burned. Several acts of Assembly were passed 
in this and succeeding years for the relief of persons the titles to 
whose property were rendered insecure by the loss of the records. 

, Some time previous to the year 1731 Chuckatuck parish and 
Lower parish were combined into one parish and called Suffolk 
parish. There is no record of the time when such change was made, 




Public School Building, Holland, Va. 

but reference is made to it in the will of John Yeates dated Septem- 
ber, 1731. This will is a lengthy and curious document. He makes 
provision for the maintenance of two schools built by him, and for 
the pay of the teachers. He gives to the church a communion ser- 
vice, pulpit cloth and cushion, a great Bible and some theological 
works. He bequeaths to "my friends, the gentlemen of the Vestry 
living this side of the river a treat at my house." He gives to "my 
worthy friends, the worshipful court of Nansemond, ten shillings to 
drink for my sake." He is evidently still disgruntled over the com- 
bining of the two parishes for he goes out of his way to take a fling 
In 1742 an act of Asembly was passed for erecting a town at 
Constance's Warehouse in the County of Nansemond. The pre- 



32 

amble to this act shows that the drift of population had turned 
strongly towards the head waters of the Nansemond. At first the 
settlements had been mainly on the lower Nansemond and on West- 
ern Branch. 

"Inasmuch as it hath been represented unto this General As- 
sembly that great numbers of people have lately settled themselves 
at and near a place called Constance's Warehouse on the east side 
of Nansemond River in the County of Nansemond where the public 
warehouses are built ; which place is healthful, commodious and con- 
venient for traders to cohabit in, and bring their goods to. And 




Main Street, Holland, Va. 



that in case a town was laid out there trade and navigation would be 
greatly encouraged and increased." 

Fifty acres of lands belonging to Jethro Sumner (being a part 
of the estate of the late Daniel Sullivan, Clerk of the County, which 
land had come to Sumner through his wife, Margaret Sullivan.) 
were bought and laid off by the County Surveyor, John Milner. 
Trustees of the new town were appointed. They were Lemuel Rid- 
dick, Wm. Baker, Wm. Wright, Edward Wright, John Gregory 
and Edward Norfleet. The land was purchased for three pounds an 
acre. The town was called Suffolk, though it was not in Suffolk 
parish, the name of the parish antedating that of the town by many 



33 



years. A reminder of the ancient name of the settlement remains 
in the tract of land adjoining the town cemetery, which is still called, 
Constantia, and the house on the place is now used by the town as a 
home for indigent negroes. 

We have now reached a period of the county's history where 
for the first time records within the county itself are available for 
information. The records ■.- are copies of the old vestry books of / 
Upper Parish of Nansemond, and Suffolk Parish. The vestry book 
of Upper Parish commences in 1744, and that of Suffolk Parish in 
1749. So far as is known, these volumes are the only records 




Hotel at Whaleyville, Va. 

owned by the county of events antedating the destruction of the 
county records in 1866. 

These old records present a picture of the life and habits of the 
people of Nansemond in early days, which, though fragmentary, is 
still full of interest. Until the Revolution, the Church of England 
was the established church of Virginia. The clergy were inducted 
into office by the Governors and the church was supported like any 
other institution of government by taxes paid by the people. The 
authority to present a clergyman was held by a vestry of twelve 
men, who were elected by the people. The vestry were generally 
the most conspicuous and influential members of the community. 
Their duties were not merely ecclesiastical, for to them was in- 



34 



trusted the care and support of the poor of the parish and the hold- 
ing of all trust funds for such purposes. They appointed the pro- 
cession masters, and to them the reports of all processionings were 
made. They fixed the rate of taxation for tithes and, to them all 
tithes were paid. The study of these old vestry books makes plain 
the fact that the people of Virginia identified themselves with the 
church just as they identified themselves with the government. 
They were the church just as they were the state. The parson was 
their duly appointed minister, whose duties were well marked out 
and whose authority was carefully defined. The vestries made 




Bank at Whaleyville, Whaleyville, Va. 

earnest efforts that the parish be always supplied with a minister, 
but every church and chapel was provided with a salaried clerk, who 
read the services regularly; and the lack of a minister did not pre- 
vent the congregations from attending services. Wherever a suffi- 
cient number of citizens settled in the county a chapel was immedi- 
ately erected and a clerk appointed. The people were the church, 
and the vestry the duly elected representatives of the people. The 
taxes for maintaining the church establishment were called tithes. 
Every male inhabitant over sixteen years of age was a tithable and 
must pay his part towards the support of the church. The rate of 
taxation for tithes from 1750 to 1800 varies from 28 to 60 pounds 
of tobacco per poll; but as the records show that Nansemond to- 



35 

bacco brought only from V/z to 2 pence a pound, the tax would 
never have been very onerous. Tobacco was the common currency, 
and the minister's salary was 16,000 pounds to tobacco yearly. The 
clerk of the chapel received 1,000 pounds, and in one case during a 
long vacancy in the ministry of the parish the salary of the clerk in 
the parish church was raised to 2,000 pounds. The number of tith- 
ables in Upper Parish in 1744 was 1,139. There was a church at 
Chuckatuck, in early days, near the present site of St. John's, but 
this church was pulled down and the present one erected in 1755. 
The old Glebe Church, or Bennett's Creek Church, as it is called in 




Boat landing, Suffolk Wharf 

the records, was erected in 1738. These two seem to have been the 
only churches in Suffolk Parish. The lands along the river and 
western branch were the first portions of the county settled, but 
after 1700 the upper portion of the county received a large influx 
of population. Upper Parish outgrew the other parishes, and Lower 
Parish and Chuckatuck were combined to form Suffolk Parish about 
1725. Even after this combination, Upper Parish held the majority 
of inhabitants, and in 1744 a part of it was added to Suffolk Parish. 
The first church in Upper Parish was commonly known as the Old 
Brick Church. In 1748 this church was abandoned as being unsafe. 



36 



The site of this church is unknown. After the founding of Suffolk 
in 1742, the town church became the parish church, but there were 
several chapels with organized congregations that were served by 
the minister. These chapels were at Somerton, Cypress, Holy Neck 
and Nottoway. When the boundary between Nansemond and 
Southampton was changed in 1785, Nottoway was put in South- 
ampton. 

The old vestry books furnish valuable information as to the 
ancient citizens of the county. The reports of the procession masters 
give the names of most of the freeholders in the county. Some of 
the items entered upon the records provoke a smile. The order for 
the payment of 500 pounds of tobacco to the doctor for "salevating 




Court House, Suffolk, Va. 



Mary Brinkley and keeping her salevated" is not the record of per- 
secution, but of kindly care for one of the parish poor. In 1755 the 
Assembly passed a law that every person receiving aid from the 
parish should, upon the shoulder of the right sleeve, in an open and 
visible manner, wear a badge with the name of the parish cut either 
in blue, red or green cloth ; and if any poor person should neglect or 
refuse to wear such badge, his or her allowance should be with- 
drawn, or the offender whipped not exceeding five lashes for each 
offence. This law seems to have been a dead letter in most parishes, 



37 



but it was enforced in Suffolk Parish, at least to the extent of pro- 
viding the badges and making the allowance to the poor conditional 
on their wearing the badge. The provision in Yeates' will "for a 
treat at my house to my friends, the gentlemen of the vestry," was 
not a jest, but a recognition of the convivial habits of these gentle- 
men; for we read in the list of parish expenses an order for the 
payment "to Wm. Johns for the trouble of his house and liquor 200 
pounds of tobacco." Men kept open house in those days, and the 
decanter stood invitingly in the open. Men were free-livers and no 
criticism attached to a man who drank in his home or in the house 





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Masonic and Town Hall, Chuckatuck, Va. 



of a friend. The minister no less than the laity took his glass, and 
did not violate convention. The salary of the parson was fixed by 
law at 16,000 pounds of tobacco. In Nansemond this meant a scant 
living, as the land was not adapted to the cultivation of tobacco, and 
the tobacco here was proverbially poor stuff. The vestries never 
took this fact into consideration, and neld to the letter of the law. 
But few ministers were willing to undertake the task of living on 
from £50 to £80 a year, and of those who came some were men who 
were unable to get a parish elsewhere. The result was disastrous 
in several instances. In Upper Parish, two parsons, Balfour and 
Lunan, were arraigned by the vestry for being too much addicted 



38 



to drink, and in Suffolk Parish the minister for many years was 
Parson Agnew, an irascible old gentleman who was continually at 
odds with the vestry and people. With these exceptions, however, 
the ministers seem to have been above reproach, and in one case the 
vestry puts on record its high appreciation of the character and 
services of its minister, the Rev. Henry John Burges. 

The local institutions of the Colonial period present a striking 
contrast to our times, not only in ecclesiastical but in civil life. The 
county court consisted of eight justices of the peace, appointed by 
the Governor in Council. The office of a justice was one of dis- 




Christian Church, Holland, Va. 



tinction, for the court was to consist "of eight of the most able, hon- 
est and judicious persons in the county." The office of sheriff der 
volved upon the eldest justice, but could only be held for one year, 
and passed in rotation to the other justices. No justice to whom 
the office of sheriff had come in due course was allowed to refuse 
it, a heavy fine being the punishment for such refusal. The county 
clerk was also appointed by the Governor in council. A special act 
provided for the punishment of a justice who should be "overtaken 
of drink on court day." 

As late as 1705 the county courts were compelled to provide 
at every court house, stocks, pillory and a ducking stool. The act 
providing for the ducking stool has a plaintive tone: "Whereas 



39 



oftentimes many brabling women often slander and scandalize their 
neighbors, for which their poor husbands are often brought into 
chargeable and vexatious suites and cast in great damages. Be it 
enacted that in actions of slander occasioned by the wife as afore- 
said, after judgment passed for the damages, the woman shall be 
punished by ducking." 

In the first days of the colony every man "fitting to bear arms" 
was compelled by law to bring his gun with him to church. This 
law gradually became a dead letter, as the Indians were driven out. 
The Nansemond and Nottoway tribes remained and were a con- 




Public School Building, Suffolk, Va. 

tinual menace to the inhabitants of Nansemond, and the custom of 
going to church armed obtained in this county long after it was 
abandoned by the other communities along the seaboard. 

The vestry records state explicity that the county court house 
was in Upper Parish even before the building of Suffolk, and the 
reports of the procession masters indicate that it was situated a few 
miles east of Suffolk. 

In 1763 George Washington visited the county and explored 
the Dismal Swamp in the capacity of a prospector or engineer. In 
his diary for October of that year he gives a brief account of his 
experiences. 

In 1767 Washington, together with Fielding Lewis and 



40 

Thomas Walker, obtained a grant of land in the swamp. The rec- 
ord of the grant in the land office is as follows: "Sept. 10th, 1707. 
In the great Dismal Swamp. Beginning at a corner tree of George 
Walker and Davis Meades' land, 50 acres, part thereof formally 
granted to John Cole, April 25th 1695, and 188 acres as the residue 
never before granted." Washington was a stockholder in the Dis- 
mal Swamp Land Co., whose property was largely in the county of 
Nansemond. Two canals were dug by this company; one of them, 
five miles long, bears the name df Washington ; and the other, Jeri- 




Bank of Holland, Holland, Va. 



cho canal, derives its name from the name of the estate through 
which it passes near its former junction with the Nansemond river. 
When the trouble with Great Britain began, Nansemond 
promptly organized its Committee of Safety, and this committee 
was very active in the cause of the colony. Parson Agnew, the min- 
ister of Suffolk Parish, was a zealous supporter of the British 
cause, and bitter in his condemnation of the growing spirit of inde- 
pendence. In the spring of 1775 Parson Agnew was observed to 
visit actively among his congregation, urging them to full attend- 
ance on a certain Sunday. The ladies especially were invited. On the 
appointed Sunday the church was filled with women, while a crowd 
of men numbering five hundred stood outside and listened through 



41 

the windows. Parson Agnew read the prayer for the King and no 
word of disapproval was heard. He chose for his text, "Render 
unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's." His hearers pricked 
up their ears, for they knew what was coming. He began to decry 
the heinous sin of disloyalty to government. Suddenly Mr. Wm. 
Cowper, a vestryman and magistrate, left his seat in the magis- 
trate's pew and,. mounting the steps of the pulpit ordered the speaker 
to come down. "I am doing my Master's business," said the parson. 
"Which master?" replied Cowper; "your Master in heaven or your 
master over the seas? You must leave this church or I will use 
force." "I will never be the cause of breeding riot in my Master's 
house," said the minister. Parson Agnew then came down from 
the pulpit and walked down the aisle and through the crowd at the 
church door, which parted to make him a passage. He entered his 
carriage and drove away. The congregation quietly dispersed, and 
Parson Agnew never again entered the church where he had 
preached for so many years. 

This ejection of the minister by his own congregation caused 
a great deal of talk in the county and throughout the colony. In 
some quarters the people were much criticised for their action. The 
parson, though driven from his pulpit, continued his activity against 
what he considered the spirit of disloyalty. He was warned re- 
peatedly by the Committee of N Safety, but he persisted. The matter 
grew so grave that the committee finally, through its secretary, Mr. 
John Gregorie, sent to the Virginia Gazette a recital of the charges 
against Agnew. 

(Virginia Gazette, April 8th, 1775.) 
CHARGES AGAINST PARSON AGNEW. 
"He asserted that it was no hardship to be carried beyond sea 
for crimes committed here. He declared when speaking of the Con- 
gress that all such combinations and associations were detestable; 
that the Congress did not know what they were about; that the de- 
signs of the great men were to ruin the poor people and that after 
a while they would forsake them and lay the whole blame on their 
shoulders, and by this means make them slaves. He likewise in- 
formed Mr. Smith there was an association of the other party up 
the county and the people were signing it fast, that they had dis- 
covered their error in signing the present one. Upon the whole the 
public will plainly discover the principles this Rev. Gentleman en- 
tertains and in what light he views the general resolutions adopted 
and entered into for our relief from the oppressive hand of power. 
Had this zealous advocate for despotic rule been as assiduous in the 



/ 42 

discharge of the several duties of his function as he has been indus- 
trious in propagating false and erroneous principles, not only in 
private discourse, but in blending detestable tenets in his angry ora- 
tions from the pulpit in order to gain a party in opposition to the 
common cause and thereby lending his aid to reduce the very people 
that gave him bread to a state of wretchedness, this committee had 
not been at the trouble to examine the 11th article of the association 
and opening his conduct to the censure of the world." 

(Signed) JOHN GREGORIE. (C. C.) 

In the journal of the Committee of Safety of the colony there 
is this entry: 

"Williamsburg, April 9th, 1776. 

"The proceedings and sentence of the court of commissioners 
for Nansemond county, respecting the conduct of Rev. John Agnew 
and the said Agnew's appeal from the said sentence were laid be- 
fore the committee. Resolved, that this committee hear the said 




Jackson Bros. Co.'s Mill, Whaleyville, Va. 

appeal tomorrow, and Mr. Agnew have notice to attend." The 
minutes of the committee from this point to April 29th, 1776, are 
missing, so that we have no knowledge of the result of the appeal. 
Agnew left the county some time during this year and became chap- 
lain of the Queen's Rangers, a British troop. He was taken pris- 
oner, along with his son, Stair Agnew, during the Revolution and 
carried to France. 

In the Virginia Convention of 1776, which gave to the new 
state its first constitution, which was at the same time the first 
written constitution of a free state in history, and which put forth 
Geo. Mason's Bill of Rights, the county was represented by Col. 



43 

Willis Riddick, who was commandant of the county militia, and by 
Wm. Cowper, who had won popularity by his action in expelling 
Farson Agnew from the Bennett's Creek Church. In the conven- 
tion of 1788, which ratified the Constitution of the United States, 
the county was represented by Willis Riddick and Solomon Shep- 
herd. 

After the burning of Norfolk in January, 1776, numbers of the 
houseless and distressed fugitives from that place fled to Suffolk. 
The people of Suffolk threw open their doors to them and every 
building was soon crowded with them. When Col. Howe, of the 
Virginia forces retired to Suffolk in February, bringing with him 
650 men, the town was threatened with serious distress by a lack 
of provisions for her many guests, but the country folk came to their 
aid and all were at last cared for. 

During the Revolution, whenever Chesapeake bay happened to 
be blockaded by the British, the only direct foreign trade of the 
colony was conducted by way of Albemarle sound and its tribu- 
taries. The depot of this trade was at South Quay, in the upper 
portion of Nansemond county. Government supplies came by this 
route. These supplies were then carried by wagon train to Suffolk. 
Several attempts were made by the British to capture or destroy 
these stores at Suffolk, but the vigilance of the Virginia troops, 
aided by the militia, prevented the British from advancing as far 
as Suffolk. 

In 1779 Sir Henry Clinton determined to make an attack upon 
Virginia. He sent a powerful fleet, which anchored in Hampton 
Roads, landed a large force under Gen. Matthews, which took pos- 
session of Portsmouth and Norfolk, and committed extensive de- 
vastations in the surrounding country. It was on this expedition, 
May 13th, that Suffolk was burned. 

As soon as the news of the arrival of the British in Hampton 
Roads was received, the militia of Nansemond were called to arms. 
Suffolk was appointed as the meeting place. Only 200 men re- 
sponded to the call, and these were poorly armed. Few had muskets, 
and still fewer ammunition. These, however, they obtained from 
Capt. Bright, who commanded the letter-of-marque brig Mars, 
that was lying in the river. Bright also furnished two cannon, 
which were immediately mounted on cart wheels. This little army, 
under Col. Willis Riddick, marched about eight miles on the Nor- 
folk road and went into camp on the 11th of May in the field in 
front of Capt. James Murdagh's house. Three young soldiers, 
Josiah Riddick, Thomas Granbury and Thomas Brittle, were sent 
on ahead to get information of the enemy's advance. They were 



44 



captured by the British just below Hall's Mill, in Norfolk county, 
and carried to New York, where they were prisoners for a year 
and a half. The militia under Col. Riddick, getting no news from 
the scouts, remained in ignorance of the approach of the British. 
Two officers, Captains King and Davis, went off to a tavern about 
a mile from camp to pass the night. While there, they were sur- 
prised by the enemy. Davis was killed, but King escaped and 
informed his comrades in camp of the enemy's proximity. Col. 
AYillis Riddick was so confident that the enemy was still at a great 




Chapel, Chuckatuck, Va. 



distance that he had retired to his house for the night. The com- 
mand developed upon Col. Edward Riddick, and he ordered a re- 
treat to Suffolk. Next morning two officers were dispatched to 
learn the position and force of the enemy. They came in sight of 
the British four miles below Suffolk, and counted 600 infantry. 
The little force of militia had become demoralized during the night, 
and only 100 answered to the call to arms next morning. Resist- 
ance was useless, and every man was told to look out for himself. 
Some delayed long enough to gather their property together, only 
to be captured by the British; the rest escaped. The royal troops 
entered the town and set fire to the buildings. The court house, 



45 

the clerk's office, with all the county records, and many other build- 
ings were destroyed. The government stores were captured. Sev- 
eral hundred barrels of tar, pitch, turpentine and rum were on the 
wharves awaiting shipment. The heads of the barrels were knocked 
in and their contents poured into the river and then set on fire. 
The wind and tide carried the burning tar and pitch across the 
river to the wide marshes, and soon the sheet of fire extended for 
■many miles. 

During the next two years Nansemond had good cause to 
remember the British. Gen. Tarleton, returning from his famous 
raid and attempt to capture the legislature, joined the royal troops 
•encamped at Suffolk. Some time during 1781 a detachment of 
British troops under Capt. Saunders came up from Portsmouth, 
crossed the river at Sleepy Hole and carried off horses and other 
property, and returned by way of Suffolk. Lord Cornwallis, hav- 
ing crossed the James from Williamsburg, marched through Nanse- 
mond, crossing the river, by the Sleepy Hole ferry. Among the 
British troops who were at Suffolk during this year were the 
Queen's Rangers, of which troop Parson Agnew was chaplain, 
and in which his son, Stair Agnew, was a captain. 

After the destruction of Suffolk by the British an act of as- 
sembly authorizes the justices of the county to hold court "at such 
convenient place as they shall appoint" until a new court house 
could be erected. Tradition points to a spot adjoining the parish 
church yard in Chuckatuck as the ancient site of a county clerk's 
■office. As the British were in possession of the region around 
Suffolk for two years, it may be that the court house and clerk's 
office were moved to Chuckatuck during that period. 

In 1778 David Barrow, pastor of the Mill Swamp Baptist 
church in Isle of Wight, and Mr. Mintz, another Baptist, preached 
by invitation at the house of a gentleman who lived on Nansemond 
River in Lower Parish. A platform was erected and a crowd 
assembled. After the expulsion of Agnew, the parish church re- 
mained vacant, though the vestry had advertised for a minister. 
With the exception of the gatherings at the two Quaker meeting 
bouses, the parish, for three years, had had no preacher in their 
preaching of the two Baptists stirred up some ill-feeling, and a 
midst, tho' the clerk still read the services in the church. The 
crowd of about twenty men determined to break up the meeting. 
They jeered and sung songs, and finally captured Barrow and 
Mintz and carried them to the river and ducked them. Barrow 
was the chief sufferer, as they thrust his face down into the mud 
of the river. Mintz, who had given less occasion for ill feeling, 



46 



was let off more easily. The affair was evidently the outcome of 
the reckless mood of a crowd of young rowdies, who resented the 
preacher's criticism of them. Only the fevered imagination of a 
pious chronicler could make it appear as a part of a systematic per- 
secution by the established church. The first Baptist church in the 
county was Western Branch church,. It was at first but a mission 
of the Mill Swamp church. The date of its founding is uncertain. 
In 1787, nine years after his unpleasant experience in Nansemond 
River, Mintz returned to the scene of his former labors and or- 






County Clerk's Office, Suffolk, Va. 



ganized Shoulder's Hill church. The sentiment of the community 
had condemned the act of rowdyism and Mr. Mintz met with much 
encouragement. A strong church was soon established. The church 
building was finally sold and another built at Sycamore Hill, in Nor- 
folk county. 

In 1779 Asbury, the great leader of Methodism in Virginia,, 
labored in Nansemond. He was accorded a warm welcome. In 
his diary for 1779 Asbury mentions that he preached in "the great 
preaching house at Nansemond." This preaching house had been 
converted from a store into a church. The established church was 
sadly crippled by the Revolution. A few of its ministers had re- 
mained loyal to the British government; others were forced into 
secular pursuits in order to live; some entered the American army. 



47 

Of the ninety clergymen in Virginia when the Revolution began 
hardly more than twenty were in charge of parishes when the 
war closed. The Church of England shared the hatred heaped 
upon all things English in name or character. The vestry who had 
been the twelve great men of the parish and had excited the envy 
of the less fortunate, became also objects of open dislike. The 
vestry levied the tithes, and the agitation against the church had 
its economic as well as social, religious and political significance. 
Every force in the colony was against the church and even those 
who loved her felt that the times were hopelessly against her. The 
church in many counties became extinct. In Nansemond the church 
still held to the parish churches at Bennett's Creek, Chuckatuck 
and at Suffolk. The church in Suffolk seems to have been badly 
injured during the period of the British occupation. An effort to 
raise funds by 'Subscription for repairs in 1791 failed, and the church 
gradually fell to pieces. It was pulled down in 1820 and the bricks 
sold. The church at Bennett's Creek was in a dilapidated condition 
as early as 1812, but was remodeled and repaired in 1854. The 
chapels in Upper Parish passed out of the possession of the church 
after the Revolution. The people in the neighborhood of these 
churches being without a minister, offered the buildings to the 
Methodist preachers, who were very active in missionary work. Cy- 
press chapel became a Methodist church. This church was in the 
circuit of the Rev. James O'Kelly, an eloquent and zealous Metho- 
dist preacher. In 1793 O'Kelly, with several other ministers, se- 
ceded from the Methodist church and organized the Republican 
Methodists. His Cypress chapel congregation went with him. In 
1801 the name of the new church was changed to the Christian 
church.' Holy Neck chapel has a similar history. Some time about 
1800 a meeting-house was built in Suffolk by popular subscription. 
This meeting-house stood on the present site of the cemetery. It 
was free to all who desired to use it. Baptists, Methodists, Episco- 
palians and O'Kellyites all held services there. 

By an act of legislature all glebe lands belonging to the estab- 
lished church, except those lands which had been a private dona- 
tion, were ordered to be sold and the proceeds turned over to the 
overseers of the poor. The glebe in Upper Parish passed from the 
hands of the church, but when the overseers of the poor claimed the 
glebe in Suffolk Parish, Parson Jacob Keeling fought the case in 
the court, proved the fact that it had been a private gift and won his 
case. The valuable Glebe farm is still held by the trustees of the 
Episcopal church in this parish. 

The county passed through a long period of agricultural de- 



48 

pression from 1820 to 1835. The population was almost at a 
standstill during these years. The chief industries of the county 
were the manufacture of tar, turpentine and staves. The Dismal 
Swamp was the largest source of revenue. In 1835 three mil- 
lion shingles were brought down the canals. It was about 1835 
that the farmers began to utilize the marl that is so widely dis- 
tributed. An immediate improvement was manifested. Indian corn 
remained for a long time the staple product. The county fur- 
nished its quota of soldiers in the war of 1812 and some of its 
citizens fought in Mexico, but during the period from 1835 to 1860 




. 





Putlic School Building, Whaleyville, Va. 

the county enjoyed a normal development in the midst of unevent- 
ful times. 

Looking back upon those days the words, "Blessed is the land 
that has no history," seem something more than a jest, for the days 
when history was being made within her boundaries have ever been 
days of suffering and distress to our citizens. During the time of 
peace and quiet the county still took an interest in military affairs. 
The malitia was well organized. The Nansemond malitia composed 
the 59th Regiment. In 1844 Col. Hugh H. Kelly was Col. Comd't, 
and Wiley Parker, Jr., R. R. Smith, E. D. B. Howell, Nathaniel 
E. Pruden, John Oberry and Edmund Riddick captains of light 
infantry. Nansemond also had a company of light artillery and 
one or more companies of cavalry. The Nansemond cavalry was 
commanded in 1849 by Capt. B. D. Smith. In that year Capt. 
Smith petitioned the legislature for new arms for his command. 



49 

This petition was granted, and when this company entered the ser- 
vice of the Confederacy and became Company I of the 13th Va. 
Cavalry they carried into service the old flint and steel pistols 
granted to the company in 1849. 

Muster day was a great day in the county, but, unfortunately, 
there was no chronicler of the doings on the muster-ground. Only 
dim legends survive of the revels and combats of the green where 
many a political aspiration first voiced its desire, and where the 
acknowledged victor of many a neighborhood fight thirsted for new 
glory as champion of the county. The muster-ground was situated 
about three miles southwest of Suffolk. The event that stands 
out during this period was the great fire that, in 1837, nearly de- 
stroyed the town of Suffolk. The court house and jail were burned, 
but the newly erected clerk's office escaped. About 130 houses were 
burned. In 1849 the first newspaper in the county was published. 
This paper was the Suffolk Intelligencer. Its editor was John R. 
Kilby, and it was Whig in politics. 

Among the legends of the county are stories of runaway slaves 
w r ho had fled to Dismal Swamp, and lived there for many years in 
a state of almost complete savagery. In the Virginia convention 
which passed the ordinance of secession, the county was repre- 
sented by John R. Kilby. Virginia's call to her sons to come to 
the defense of her honor met with a quick and hearty response in 
Nansemond. Nine companies entered the Confederate service from 
the county. 

Prior to the evacuation of Norfolk, May 10th, 1862, Suffolk 
was occupied by the Confederate troops. After the fall of Norfolk 
the Confederates withdrew to the other side of Blackwater River. 
On May 12th, 1862, Col. Dodge's N. Y. Cavalry rode into Suffolk 
and took possession. A large force of Federals soon arrived and 
encamped in the neighborhood of the town. In September Gen. 
Peck assumed command of the Federals and, fearing an attack 
from the Confederates, who were massing troops beyond the Black- 
water, commenced to throw up entrenchments. Every preparation 
was made for a prolonged siege. In his official report Peck states 
that "ten miles of batteries, covered ways and rifle-pits have been 
thrown up. Most of the artillery is protected by embrasures; the 
parapets are from 12 to 15 feet in thickness, while the covered ways 
are from 8 to 10 feet." Several gun-boats arrived and lay in the 
Nansemond to assist in the defense of the Federal position. About 
17,000 troops were in Peck's command. On Nov. 14th, 1862, there 
was a skirmish at Providence church between a party of 300 Con- 



50 

federates under Col. Claiborne and the N. Y. Mounted Rifles. The 
Confederates were forced to retire to Blackwater. 

In the spring of 1863 Gen'l Longstreet, then in command of 
the forces at Petersburg, crossed the Blackwater River with the 
double purpose of obtaining forage and provisions from Nansemond, 
Isle of Wight, and adjacent portions of North Carolina, and of mak- 
ing a demonstration against Suffolk with a view of preventing the 
forces there from joining Gen. Hooker's army, which Gen. Lee 
was trying to draw into battle. On April 11th, 1863, Longstreet 
advanced upon Suffolk. There was a skirmish on South Quay Road 
and the Federal pickets were driven back. Next day there were 
skirmishes on the Edenton, Providence Church and Somerton roads. 
The Confederates pushed on to the north bank of the Nansemond, 
and planted a battery near the Norfleet house, a few miles below Suf- 
folk. The battery at Norfleet's opened fire on the gun-boats; and 
disabled the Monmouth Washington and the West-End. They 
drifted on the flats but were towed off by the Stepping Stones, and 
fell down the river. Another Confederate battery was planted at 
Hill's Pt. at the mouth of Western Branch. 

On April 19th Lieutenant Lamson of the Federal navy sug- 
gested and successfully executed a plan for taking Huger's Bat- 
tery at Hills Pt. by surprise. A storming party of 500 landed 
and attacked the fort in the rear. The Confederate infantry in 
the neighborhood, under command of Gen. French, had failed to 
establish a picket line, and Capt. Stribling, who was in command 
of Huger's Battery, was ignorant of the approach of the storming 
party until they were close on the fortifications. The battery had 
been hastily constructed at night, and the guns faced the river and 
could not be turned inland. The battery was captured and 125 
made prisoners. On April 23rd there was a skirmish at Chucka- 
tuck. Next day the Federals made two attacks on the Confederate 
picket lines south of Suffolk and there was brisk fighting for a 
time, but the casualties were slight. On May 3rd Longstreet be- 
gan to withdraw his forces and retire to his old lines beyond 
Blackwater, and the siege of Suffolk was over. There was skir- 
mishing that day near Hills Pt., at Reid's Ferry and Chuckatuck, 
but they were all small affairs. The main purpose of Longstreet's 
move had been accomplished, though his correspondence with Gen. 
Lee and the Secretary of War make plain that he was very anx- 
ious to make an attack on Suffolk. The presence of the gun- 
boats in the Nansemond made it impossible to , flank the enemy, 
and Longstreet persistently urged the Confederate authorities to 
send the Confederate gun-boat Richmond down the James to Nanse- 



51 

mond River. The obstructions in the James prevented the send- 
ing of the Richmnod, and Longstreet wrote to Lee that while 
he thought that he could certainly take the works at Suffolk by 
assault that it would probably be a the cost of 3,000 men, and 
that the game was not worth the candle. In this opinion Gen. 
Lee concurred, adding: "If you were to capture Suffolk, I could 
not spare men to garrison it." 

One event of the siege of Suffolk was so tragic that in the mem- 
ory of old inhabitants it still stands out as of peculiar sadness, 
^ven in the midst of the anguish of those terrible days of civil 
war. This incident was the death of Mrs. Geo. R. Smith, the 
wife of a prominent citizen, whose home was about a mile from 
Suffolk. 

On April 13th the Federal pickets on the Somerton road were 
driven in by a force of Confederate infantry and cavalry. Long- 
street's artillery then opened on the Federals, and immediately the 
guns from Fort Union, Fort Nansemond, and Fort McClellan 
responded. The Federal shells riddled the residence of Mr. Smith, 
and he and his family were forced to seek shelter in the 
cellar of an outhouse. The Federals sent out a party of skir- 
mishers under Col. Foster. They posted sharpshooters in a small 
house some distance from the main dwelling, and established a 
line of pickets along the lanes in the front and rear of the house. 
Col. Magruder ordered a force of Confederates to dislodge the 
sharpshooters. They were driven out and the Federal picket line 
forced back to the woods in the rear of the dwelling. The fighting 
was all around the house in which the Smith family had taken 
refuge ; and they thought it best to seek shelter in the woods. They 
had almost reached the woods when Mrs. Smith was struck by a 
bullet and bled to death before medical aid could be obtained. So 
active was the skirmishing for the next few days that the four little 
children, one of them an infant, were compelled to remain in the 
woods from Monday until Thursday. It was impossible to deter- 
mine whether the party was fired on by the Federals, or whether 
the fatal shot came from the advancing Confederates. 

During the Federal occupation of Suffolk the civil govern- 
ment of the county was practically suspended. The first session 
of the County Court was held in South Quay church on Feb- 
ruary 8th, 1864. It was not until August, 1865, that the court 
again held its sessions at the court house in Suffolk. During the 
war the county clerk, Mr. Peter Prentis, was arrested by the Fed- 
eral authorities and imprisoned at Point Lookout. Fearing lest 
the county records might be destroyed, they were carried to Norfolk 



52 

and deposited in the Customs House. The records were returned 
to Suffolk at the close of the war. On the night of February 7th, 
1866, the clerk's office caught fire and was totally destroyed. For 
the third time in the history of the country the official records were 
burned. The loss of these records has made the task of the his- 
torian a hard one, and explains the fragmentary character of the 
history of a community that played an important role in the early 
days of the colony and state. Nansemond deserves a fitter tribute 
than the broken narrative compiled from a hundred different sources. 

The county was in possession of the Federals for nearly three 
years, and her resources were exhausted by the support of an im- 
mense army of her foe quartered in her midst. 

The meat of the peanut-fed hog is highly prized in all markets. 
South, only the quiet of desolation. Gradually, however, there 
was evidence of a renewed life, and for many years now the county 
has been excedingly prosperous. With the development of her 
agricultural resources has come the enhanced value of farmings 
lands, the building of comfortable farm houses and the improve- 
ment of stock. This prosperity of the farmers has aided in large 
measure in the upbuilding of the town of Suffolk. 

Suffolk is a progressive town of 7,000 inhabitants. Six rail- 
roads enter the town, and it is the terminus of the Suffolk & Caro- 
lina Ry. Suffolk is at the head of navigation of Nansemond River,. 
and ships drawing fourteen feet of water can enter its port. It 
has varied and very extensive factories and manufacturing plants. 
Suffolk is the largest peanut market in the world. Seven large 
factories for the cleaning and shelling of peanuts have an annual 
output of more than three million dollars. ' It has three banking 
establishments. One of these banks has the peculiar distincion of 
ranking first in the list of state banks in the United States in 
respect to the relation of capital and surplus. 

Nansemond county is 35 long and 19 miles wide, extending 
from Hampton Roads on the north to the North Carolina line on 
the south, and contains 393 square miles. There is striking variety 
of soil within the county, the heavy black soil of the reclaimed lands 
along the swamp, the wide stretch of sandy loam with clay sub- 
soil that responds readily to fertilization and the rich alluvial lands 
along the river. Corn, cotton and peanuts are widely and suc- 
cessfully cultivated. The lower portion of the county is largely 
devoted to truck farming. Vast quantities of potatoes, cabbage, 
kale, peas, beans, beets, squashes, cucumbers, spinach, melons and 
berries are raised here. The upper portion of the county is the 
ideal soil for peanuts, which is a sure and exceedingly profitable 



53 

crop. The vines of the peanut afford forage for the cattle, and 
the nuts that remain in the earth when the crop is dug afford 
the best possible food for the numbers of hogs that are raised. 
The merit of the peanut-fed hog is highly prized in all markets. 
The peanut itself commands a good price and its cultivation has 
largely increased the wealth of the community. The average price 
for improved land is $25 an acre, but there are still large tracts 
that can be bought for less that need only the expenditure of small 
capital and slight labor to transform them from profitless old fields 
to smiling gardens. 

An increasing industry in the county is the utilization of the 
vast clay beds for the manufacture of brick. This clay is of the 
finest quality and is widely distributed. It varies in color from red 
to blue. The depth ranges from four to twenty feet and is excellent 
material for the manufacture of red or gray building brick, tiles, 
terra cotta, and pressed brick. There are large deposits all over 
the county, mostly underlaid with sand and with marl beneath this. 

The county has within her bounds a source of wealth as yet 
unutilized. Inexhaustible deposits of marl are scattered widely. 
With the increasing demand for cement in building, this marl will 
some day find a discoverer. A large cement concern has already 
bought an extensive marl deposit near Chuckatuck. 

The Nansemond River, besides affording to the county a speedy 
and cheap means of transportation, adds to the wealth of its citi- 
zens by the fish and oyster industries. The Nansemond River 
oyster compares favorably with the best products of the tributaries 
of the Chesapeake, and the growing demand for these oysters is 
indication of the public's recognition of the fact. 



55 

THE DISMAL SWAMP. 

When Col. Wm. Byrd, in 1728, gave to the great morass that 
stretches for fifteen miles through Virginia and twenty-five miles 
into North Carolina the name of Dismal Swamp, he did a lasting 
injury to this whole section of country. 

Viewed from the standpoint of an engineer whose duty it was 
to run a line through the whole width of its vast area, it did, no 
doubt, present a dismal prospect, but to the traveler or explorer of 
today the swamp is a place of unsurpassed beauty and of never 
ending variety, of interest and charm; while to the lumberman and 
agriculturist it furnishes a field of profitable investment that has as 
yet been but dimly appreciated. The statements contained in this 
narrative in regard to the Dismal Swamp are based upon the reports 
of scientific experts employed by the U. S. Government to conduct 
the investigations, and their published reports read like the stories 
of men returned from a visit to fairy-land. The isothermal line 
showing where northern climate ends and southern begins, with the 
extremes in temperature of neither, runs through Nansemond Co. 
skirting the swamp. The variety of flowers is therefore very great 
and the whole swamp in the springtime presents the appearance of 
a vast conservatory of rare and beautiful plants. About sixty-five 
thousand acres of Dismal Swamp are in the county of Nansemond. 
Two canals within the county, Jericho and Washington, pierce the 
swamp and meet at Lake Drummond. The canals were dug by the 
Dismal Swamp Land Co. more than a century ago, and cargoes of 
juniper and cypress have been freighted through these channels 
during that long period. In the center of the swamp is a lake almost 
circular in shape and about three miles is diameter. Lake Drum- 
mond, as it is called, derives its name from a daring hunter who, 
with three companions, ventured, in the early days, into the recesses 
of the great unknown morass. His companions lost their way 
and perished, and Drummond alone returned to tell the tale of the 
beautiful lake that lay hid away in the forest of juniper and cypress. 
The origin of this lake is itself a matter of curious interest. Its 
surface is twenty-two feet higher than the margins of the swamp. 
In fact, the lake is the most elevated spot in the swamp. Scientists 
tell us that the vast deposits of vegetable matter around its edges 
have left this land-locked sheet of water a crowd of beauty that 
holds the admiring eye of every one who has ever seen it. It is no 
idle dream that pictures the time when the site of the Dismal Swamp 
will be the garden of the eastern portion of America. During the 
time of the Saxon kings England was to a great extent occupied 



57 

by bogs, which have since been cleared away. The sites of these bogs 
are now identified by the great and persistent fertility of the soil. 
Probably not far from one-twentieth of the tillable land in Europe 
was once inundated and unfit for agriculture. 

Already the work of reclaiming the swamp has been begun. In 
its original condition, before this region had been affected by tillage, 
the area of inundated lands was much larger than at present. One- 
third of the swamp has already been reclaimed. On the outskirts of 
the swamp are occasional ridges that are covered with a growth of 
pine. The lower levels are mainly occupied by three species of trees 
which are tolerant of water about their roots. The juniper occupies 
areas which are commonly somewhat dry during the summer sea- 
son. The gum and cypress can inhabit areas which are in most cases 
water covered, even during the growing season. The cypress is the 
most tolerant of water of these species, often attaining its best de- 
velopment in places where summer droughts at no time remove 
water far from the surface of their roots. Both gum and cypress 
have provisions by which the roots are enabled to have access to air 
and thus secure the aeration required by the processes which take 
place in their underground branches. It is an interesting fact that 
the knees of the cypress develop only where the roots on which 
they rest lie beneath the surface of the water during the growing sea- 
son of the year. The gum's roots similarly arch near the bole till 
they get air. These protruding arches are generally covered with a 
growth of annual plants. Where the arch is small the tree is stunted. 
The growth of the cypress presents many strange and grotesque 
appearances. The body of the cypress is twice and sometimes three 
times as large at its base as it is ten feet from the ground. 

The character of the soil is determined by the nature of the 
growth thereon. Light swamp land is soil where juniper has grown. 
It is nearly pure peat, consisting of a brown mass of vegetable matter 
derived from juniper or white cedar. The thickness of the deposit 
is often eight to ten feet. Seventy-five to ninety-five per cent of 
the soil is organic matter. Such land cleared and drained is prac- 
tically worthless for agricultural purposes, for the peat cakes and 
hardens so that it resembles charred wood. Nearly one-third of 
the swamp is light. Nature has thus provided that the swamp shall 
never be wholly denuded. The juniper districts must ever remain 
a nursery for timber trees. Juniper, unlike cypress, reproduces rap- 
idly, so that from some tracts in the swamp three cuttings of mer- 
chantable lumber have been made in twenty years ; the wood increas- 
ing one inch per year. Dark swamp land is soil which has borne a 
forest of cypress, black gum and red maple. This soil is immeas- 



.59 

ureably rich in agricultural possibilities. It contains a large amount 
of organic matter in its upper portion, but when properly drained 
the amount of organic matter gradually diminishes. The soil after 
fifty years of cultivation still remains black in color. The tendency 
in some of this land to get acid at times is readily obviated by the 
use of lime. This reclaimed land is very fertile. Eighty to one 
hundred bushels of corn to the acre can be raised in this soil, even 
when it is first redeemed. Potatoes are grown, not only on the 
light soils near the coast, but on a large scale in the heavier soils 
along the eastern border of the swamp, where the average yield is 
said to be eighty barrels to the acre. The cultivation of celery on 
these rich black-gum lands reclaimed from the swamp has recently 
begun, and the product is equal in quality to the best Michigan celery. 

It is calculated that already enough labor has been expended 
to have drained the whole area of the swamp, but it was conducted 
by individual farmers, without the help of engineers, and with no 
idea of general improvement. In reclaiming a few acres they have 
inundated many more. The greatest elevation of the swamp is 
near its central portion. The average inclination of the surface is 
twenty inches to the mile, and this is sufficient to give a strong cur- 
rent of water flowing in ditches having a width on the surface of 
four feet and a total depth of three feet. The character of the soil is 
favorable to such improvements. The considerable amount of vege- 
tation causes these ditches to maintain their banks in good order. 
Large areas on either side of Jericho canal in Nansemond Co. could 
be made at once sufficiently dry for agricultural purposes. 

Recent improvements in methods of excavation make it possi- 
ble to unwater the land at a relatively small cost compared with 
older methods of hand labor. 

In the average present condition of the forest portions of the 
swamp the return in the way of timber may amount to $60 an acre, 
which probably would meet the expenses of clearing the forest away 
and of providing the smaller drainage canals. The area which would 
be won to tillage by such a system, though only a portion of this 
swamp district, is about 250 square miles, or 160,000 acres. The 
money value of this area thus improved is not less than $16,000,000. 
This redeemed land is admirably adapted to truck farming. The 
annual demand for such truck is sure to increase apace, and there 
is not other field so well suited for the enlargement of this form of 
agriculture as the area occupied by the morass of the Dismal Swamp. 
The drainage canals could readily afford water transportation to 
within a mile of every part of the tilled area. Nowhere else in the 
world is there near to great markets so large a field of land suited 




FROM THE U, S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY 



61 

to garden crops which is not used for such purposes. If availed of for 
this form of tillage the annual return from the land would probably 
he not less than $100 per acre or a total of $16,000,000. It is thus 
evident that we have in this region a combination of the advantages 
of high-grade tillage, an excellent soil, ready water communication, a 
favorable climate, and opportunities for obtaining abundant irriga- 
tion waters in time of drought. 

'It is common opinion that all swamp districts are necessarily 
afflicted with malarial diseases. This opinion rests upon the ex- 
perience which is had in the ordinary alluvial lands along the shores 
of rivers. The fact is that in hot climates where the level of the 
soil water varies much- at different seasons of the year malarial 
effluvium is bred. On the other hand, where the soil, however wet, 
retains its moisture during the summer seasons at about the same 
height it holds during the winter, there is no peculiar liability to 
malaria. A certain amount of malaria occurs in the margins of the 
swamp, but in the swamp itself there is an almost total exemption 
from malaria. The decay of peaty matter alone does not afford 
fhe conditions which lead to the development of malarious exhala- 
tions. The drainage of the swamp might lead, for a short time, to 
some developmnet of malaria, but we may judge from our experience 
in the drainage work already done about the swamp that these 
fevers, if they occurred, would be of a simple and non-malignant 
type. The difficulty encountered from such diseases would prob- 
ably be no greater than that which was for a time experienced in 
the settlements in Southern Indiana. and Illinois. 

Not the least of the riches of this region is the character of 
the water which inundates the swamp. It is commonly called 
juniper water, though its amber color is more probably due to 
the presence of finely divided vegetable matter, principally the 
product of the gum tree. This water is absolutely wholesome, and 
its keeping properties are proverbial. Vessels sailing out of Norfolk 
bound for a long cruise fill their barrels with it in preference to 
all other water, and it retains its wholesome characteristics for an 
indefinite period. The waters of Lake Drummond are so highly 
esteemed that people whose health is impaired frequently go there 
to drink of its waters and bring it home with them in casks. Jericho 
canal is ten miles long. It extends from Lake Drummond to a point 
two miles east of Suffolk. Washington canal is five miles long and 
runs at right angles to Jericho canal. In the spring and early 
summer the trip through the Washington canal furnishes a rare 
experience to the lover of the beautiful. The overhanging gum, 
cypress and red maple meet and intertwine overhead, shutting out 



63 

/the. glare of the sun. The strange bald knees of the cypress 
rear themselves about the huge body of the parent tree, and the 
lifted arches of the gum, covered with hardy annual flowers, give 
infinite variety of color. Every stump left by the woodsman's axe 
has been taken possession of by wild ivy or eglantine. • The ferns 
wave along the banks, high as a man's head, and every passing breeze 
quickens into life the whispering reeds. 

The Dismal Swamp is the greatest game preserve on the At- 
lantic seaboard. Bears abound, and it is calculated that at least 
two hundred are killed yearly. Deer are plentiful. Wild cattle, 
as fleet and as wary as the deer, make their home on the ridges 
that run through the swamp. Otters, minks and coons are very 
numerous, while on the margins of the swamp wood-cock abound 
as nowhere else in this portion of the world. 



65 



CLERKS OF NANESEMOND COUNTY COURT. 



John Leer 1675 Joseph Prentis 

Joseph Bridger 1699 Benjamin Riddick. 

Daniel Sullivan 1702-1703 Peter B. Prentis. . 

Michael Archer 1714 E. F. Williamson. 

Christopher Jackson. . 1734-1749 Willis E. Cohoon. 

John Wright. 1749-1751 Peter B. Prentis. . 

Lemuel Riddick 1751-1775 Wm. B. Causey.. 

*John C. Littlepage.. 1777-1830 Robert. R. Smith. 
John T. Kilby . ...... 1830-1838 



.1838-1851 
.1851-1852 
. 1852-1869 
. 1869-1871 
.1871-1875 
. 1875-1888 
. 1888-1890 
.1890 



♦During the latter portion of his term of office Littlepage did not for 
many years reside in or even visit the county. He resided in Hanover and 
was kept within the bounds of that county by his creditors, he having re- 
fused to take advantage of the poor-debtor's law. His work was done by a 
deputy, John T. Kilby, who succeeded to the office. 



66 

MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES FROM 
NANSEMOND CO. 

UPPER NORFOLK. 
1639. 

Randall Crew. John Gookin. Tristam Norseworthy. 

1641. 
Capt. Daniel Coogan (Gookin). John Carter. 

1642. 
Thomas Dewe. 

% 1643. 

John Carter. Randall Crew. 

1644. 
Randall Crew. Moore Fauntleroy. 

1644-5. 
Philip Bennett. Moore Fauntleroy. 

1645. 
' Philip Bennett. Edward Major. Richard Wells. 

NANSEMOND. 

1647. 
Moore Fauntleroy. Sam Stoughton. Richard Wells. 

1649. 
John Carter. Toby Smith. 

1652 (April). 
> Capt. Thomas Dew. Edward Major (Speaker). 

1652 (November). 
Col. Thomas Dew (Speaker). Peter Montague. 

1653. 
Col. Thos. Dew. Lieu. Col. Edward Major. Peter Montague. 

1654. 
Col. Thos. Dew. Sam Stoughton. Thos. Goodwin. 

1655-6. 
Capt. Ed. Streeter. John Willcox. Capt. Blake. 

UPPER NORFOLK (Sk.) 



67 

1657-8. 
Lieu. Col. Edward Carter. Thomas Francis. Giles Webb. 

UPPER NORFOLK ( Sic. ) 

1658. 
Lieu. Col. Edward Carter. Capt. Thomas- Goodwyn (Sic.) 

Giles Webb. 

UPPER NORFOLK (Sic.) 

1659-60. 
Giles Webb. Wm. Denson. George Catchmaie. 

1663. 
George Wallings. 

1666. 
Capt. John Blake. Capt. John Leare. 

1685. 
John Brasseur. Thomas Lear. 

1688. 
Thomas Milner. Thomas Lear. 

1692. 
Lieu. Col. Thomas Milner (Speaker). Thomas Lear. 

1696. 
John Brasseur. Thomas Jordan. 

1702. 
Thomas Milner. Daniel Sullivan. 

1714. 
Thos. Godwin. Wm. Wright. 

1718. 
John Lear. James Riddick. 

1720-2. 
John Lear. James Reddick. 

1723. 
Thomas Godwin. Henry Baker. 

1726. 
Thomas Godwin. Henry Baker. 

1736. 
Daniel Pugh. Lemuel Riddick. 



68 

1738. 
Daniel Pugh. Lemuel Riddick. 

1740. 
Daniel Pugh. Lemuel Riddick. 

1742. 
Lemuel Riddick. Baker. 

1744. 
Lemuel Riddick. Baker. 

1745. 
Lemuel Riddick. Baker. 

1746. 
Lemuel Riddick. Baker. 

1747. 
Lemuel Riddick. Baker. 

1748. 
Lemuel Riddick. Wm. Hunter. 

1749. 
Lemuel Riddick. Wm. Hunter. 

1752. 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1753. 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1754 (Febr'y.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1754 (Aug.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1754(Oct.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1755. 
Lemuel Riddick. Anthony Holladay. 

1756. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick.. 

1757. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 



69 



1758. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1758-61. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1759 (Febr'y.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1759 (Nov.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1760-61. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1761. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1762 (Jan'y,) 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1762 (Mrach.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1762 (Nov.) 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1763. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1764 (Jan'y). 
Willis Riddick. Lemuel Riddick. 

1764 (Oct.). 

Willis Riddick. Lemuel Riddick. 

1765 (May). 

Willis Riddick. Lemuel Riddick. 

1765 (Oct.). 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1766-8. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1769. 
David Meade. Willis Riddick. 

1770. 
Lemuel Riddick. Benjamin Baker. 



70 



1171. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

1772-4. 
Benjamin Baker. Lemuel Riddick. 

1773. 
Benjamin Baker. Lemuel Riddick. 

1774. 
Benjamin Baker. Lemuel Riddick. 

1775. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 



71 

CONVENTIONS OF 1775-6. 

March 20th, 1775. 
Lemuel Riddick. Willis Riddick. 

July 17th, 1775. 
Andrew Meade. James Murdagh. 

Dec. 1st, 1775. 
James Murdagh. Andrew Meade. 

May 6th, 1776. 
Willis Riddick. Wm. Cowper. 



SPEAKERS OF THE HOUSE OF BURGESSES FROM 
NANSEMOND COUNTY. 

Edward Major April, 1652 

Thomas Dew . , Nov., 1652 

Thomas Godwin June, 1676 

Thomas Milner 1691-93 



MEMBERS OF THE GOVERNOR'S COUNCIL. 

Richard Bennett 1639 

William Bernard 1641 

Thomas Dew 1655 

John Carter 1657-8 

Edmund Carter 1659 

John Lear » 



GOVERNOR. 

Richard Bennett . . , 1652-55 



SEP *>o iw» 

The Only County Newspaper. 

THE SUFFOLK HERALD, 

(ESTABLISHED IN 1873.) 

THE HERALD GOES INTO THE HOMES OF 
THE BEST PEOPLE IN FOUR COUNTIES 

It is Uneaqualed as an Advertising Medium. 
Up-to-date Job Office Department. 

MAIL ORDERS PROMPTLY FILLED. 



The Suffolk Herald Co., 

SUFFOLK, VIRGINIA. 

ARTHUR E. PRIEST, 



Bridge Engineer. 



CONTRACTING KHriffQ HlffSllfifir CONSULTING 



LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA. 

Plans and Estimates Furnished 



STEEL BRIDGES, FOUNDATIONS, 

GIRDERS, ROOF TRUSSES, 
COUNTY WORK A SPECIALTY. 



Owego Bridge Company 



Main Offices and Works 

OWEGO, N. Y. 

MANUFACTURERS OF = 



Steel Bridges, Buildings, Roof Trusses 

AND ALL KINDS OF STRUCTURAL WORK 




BRIDGE ACROSS MOCCASIN RIVER, WILSON, N. C. 

Length 160 ft. Roadway 16 ft. 

WE MAKE A SPECIALTY OF HIGHWAY BRIDGES 

If you will write us when you are in the market for 

a bridge we will have our representatives call 

on you and prepare plans and estimates 

without cost to you 

BRANCH OFFICES 

GREENSBORO, N. C. LEXINGTON, KY. 

PHILADELPHIA, PA. 

West End Trust Building 



Roanoke Bridge Co., Inc. 



-SUCCESSORS TO- 



Highway Bridge Department Virginia Bridge & Iron Go. 

Steel Bridges 
and Viaducts. 



HOME OFFICE : TERRY BUILDING, BRANCH OFFICES : ROCK HILL, S. C. 
Roanoke, Virginia. Equitable Bldg., Atlanta, Ga. 



We have the Largest Shops in the South 
Behind us. 

All Inquiries Promptly Looked After. 

Plans and Estimates Furnished on Short 

Notice. 

Give us a Trial. 

548 '- 






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