All posts by dstew34

Sherwood Plantation

I’ve been working hard on adding birth and death certificates to the website. During my work, I came across the Von Schilling family buried in St. John’s cemetery. I kept seeing “Sherwood” listed on their tombstones and decided to do some research. The Sherwood Plantation once stood where Langley Air Force Base is now. There is a good write up about it here.

George Booker
Ann Massenburg Booker
Richard Booker
Mollie Booker Von Schilling
James Darling
Frank Darling

The Sherwood Cemetery still exists on Langley Air Force Base.

George Washington Fields

Through my work on the free website, I get emails every day from people thanking me for adding entries to the website or photographing their loved ones tombstone. Sometimes they ask me if I can do some additional research for them, which I’m always very happy to do. Sometimes I get requests to use my photos in various ways, either on or in a publication of some sort. I had a request a few years back to use 3 of my photos in a book entitled “The Indomitable George Washington Fields: From Slave to Attorney”. The author sent me a link to the online copy, and I think it’s a fascinating read. I thought I’d share here.

My pictures appear on pages 33, 91, and 116. I’m very happy when doing something that I love comes back to help create something like this. Our area really is rooted in history, and it’s fascinating to learn about it.

Old cemeteries on Mulberry Island (now Fort Eustis, NPN)

Very interesting page I found about the old cemeteries of Mulberry Island, now known as Fort Eustis. The most interesting thing I saw on here, was that when the US Govt bought the property in 1918, they gave the families 30 days to remove the dead and relocate them. For some that did not comply, the graves, tombstones and all, were dug up and used in a fill by the river, their previous burial spot covered over with concrete. How is this humane? I really don’t understand.

Historic sites and local landmarks in Newport News

National Register Listings

Balthrope (Boldrup) – Located on the Warwick River above Denbigh. It was the home of the Cole family from 1671 until 1766. Colonel William Cole was a member of the Virginia Council and was charged with defending the James River against pirates attack.

C.S.S. Florida- The C.S.S. Florida was a Confederate commerce raider commanded by Warwick County resident John Newland Maffitt. The Florida was the second most successful Confederate commerce raider, capturing 47 Union vessels while under Maffitt’s command.

Causey’s Mill – The mill operated in 1683 on Water’s Creek/Lake Maury. It was rebuilt several times and continued to grind by water power into the Twentieth Century. The restored mill, no longer working, is now in Mariners’ Museum Park.

Dam No.1 Battlefield – This engagement was Union Major General George B. McClellan’s only attempt to break through the Confederate defenses along the Warwick River. In the afternoon of April 16, 1862, men of the 3rd Vermont Infantry Regiment attacked through waist deep water to capture the Confederate trenches along the waters edge near this dam. The Confederates regrouped. With reinforcements, they forced the Federal soldiers to retreat back across the river. Medals of Honor were awarded to two 3rd Vermont volunteers for heroism during this failed assault: Captain Samuel F. Pingree and Musician Julian Scott. Pingree later became governor of the state of Vermont.

Davis and Kimpton Brickyard – This brickyard was operated from 1898 through 1918. It is located on the west bank of the Warwick River. The site is approximately four miles upstream from its confluence with the James River. It is the site of a late nineteenth / early twentieth century industrial complex where brick was manufactured from locally dug clay. The Davis and Kimpton brick manufacturing operation is integrally related to both the local history of the late nineteenth century and to the general trends within the industry.

Denbigh Plantation (Mathews Manor) – Home of Captain Samuel Mathews in the 17th century, member of the House of Burgesses whose son, Samuel Mathews, Jr., was later Governor. According to Colonial Williamsburg archaeologists, this is one of the most important archaeological sites of its period in America. The site of the original manor house has been preserved, along with a dairy house, spring house and 19th Century cemetery. Development of the Denbigh Plantation residential area began on this land in the 1960’s. Seventeenth, 18th and 19th Century foundations and artifacts continue to be discovered by homeowners and builders here.

Endview Plantation – Colonel William Harwood, member of the House of Burgesses and a signer of the 1774 Virginia Resolves, built this Georgian style farmhouse around 1760. The site was used by Major General Thomas Nelson, Jr.’s Virginia Militia as a resting place on September 28, 1781 en route to the Siege of Yorktown. It was the pre-war home of Confederate Captain Humphrey Harwood Curtis, M.D., commander of the Warwick Beauregards (Co.H, 32nd Virginia Regiment). The house served as both a Confederate and Union hospital and campground during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Endview is operated as a living history museum interpreting Civil War themes.

First Church of Newport News “Baptist”- Although this African-American church is the oldest continuous congregation in the original City of Newport News, churches have served the Peninsula since colonial days. The First Baptist Church was organized by Rev. Thomas Poole in 1864. Its first frame building stood at the current site of the 28th Street Bridge and from 1897-1972 it stood at 2300 Jefferson Avenue. The present church building is at Wickham Avenue and 24th Street.

First Denbigh Parish Church – The archaeological site is located on the bluff overlooking the Warwick River at the mouth of Church Creek. It was constructed in 1636.

Fort Crafford – A pentagonal-shaped earthwork on Mulberry Island built by Confederate forces in 1861-62. It formed the James River terminus of the second trans-peninsula defensive line, which included fortifications at Lee’s Mill, as well as, Dam No.1, and Wynne’s Mill in Newport News Park.

Greenlawn Cemetary -Presently known as Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, built in 1888, it is historically significant for its association with the Newport News POW camp. Greenlawn Memorial Park contains 163 Confederate soldiers that were re-entered there in the 1900. In 1908, a monument was erected to honor these soldiers who died in the Newport News POW camp, between April 27, 1865 and July 5, 1865. Additionally, Greenlawn Memorial Park is significant for its 19th century style of landscape design which emerged in the 1850s.

Hilton Village – The nation’s first federal war-housing project, this planned community was sponsored by the U.S. Shipping Board and the Shipyard on the site of J. Pembroke Jones’ Warwick County farm “Hilton.” Five hundred English village style houses, which were designed to accommodate shipyard workers during World War I, were dedicated on July 7, 1918. Its street names honored government and shipyard officials.

Hotel Warwick – Erected by the Old Dominion Land Company and opened April 11, 1883, the Hotel Warwick, fronting on West Avenue and 24th Street, served as the hub of City activities. It housed the county seat of government as well as the City’s first bank and newspaper. Progressively modernized, a seven-story annex was joined to it in 1928. Fire destroyed the original hotel on November 11, 1961. The annex was renovated and now is a single room occupancy residential facility.

James A. Fields House/Whittaker Hospital (617 – 27th Street) – This circa 1890 brick structure is noteworthy for its architectural style as well as for its first owner: James A. Fields, who was born a slave, became a ‘contraband’ during the Civil War. In 1871, he graduated with the first class from Hampton Institute. He received his law degree in 1881 and was appointed commonwealth attorney for Warwick County in 1887. Fields also served the county as a member of the House of Delegates from 1889 to 1890. By the time of his death in November 1903, James Fields had become one of the wealthiest and most influential members of Newport News’ African-American community. Following Fields’ death, his family provided the house for use as the first African-American hospital in Newport News. Whittaker Memorial Hospital was established in 1908. The building was used as a hospital for nine years. Today it is a privately owned museum.

Lee Hall Mansion – An antebellum house of affluent planter Richard Decatur Lee. Built between 1848 and 1859, this Italianate structure served as headquarters for Confederate Gen. John Bankhead Magruder and Joseph E. Johnston during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. A small redoubt is located on the mansion’s grounds which was the scene of a Confederate hot air balloon launching on April 17, 1862 and a brief skirmish on May 4, 1862. The mansion is now operated as a historic house museum interpreting the antebellum South, and the 1862 Peninsula Campaign.

Lee’s Mill Skirmish – On April 5, 1862, advance units of Union Brigadier General Erasmus Darwin Keyes’ IV Corps, under the command of Union Brigadier General William F. ‘Baldy’ Smith, encountered Confederate units commanded by Brigadier General Lafayette McLaws at Lee’s Mill. Heavy rains and massive earthen fortifications defending the river crossing stopped the Union troops from proceeding to Richmond. Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder’s extensive defensives beginning at Lee’s Mill and extending to Yorktown along the Warwick River caused the Union Army of the Potomac Commander Major General George B. McClellan to initiate a month-long siege of the Warwick-Yorktown Line which lasted until May 3, 1862 and contributed to the eventual failure of McClellan’s campaign. Lee’s Mill has recently been preserved and is being transformed into a passive park with trails interpreting the fortifications. The earthen fortifications remain visible in many locations, including Newport News Park and the Lee’s Mill subdivision. An active effort will be made to delineate, preserve and interpret these earthworks for the future.

Matthew Jones House – Also called Bourbon, this Jacobean style brick structure was built circa 1725 and was the home of Mulberry Island’s Jones family. The house is on Fort Eustis.

Medical Arts Building – Constructed in during the heyday of the City. The building provided offices for some of Newport News’ leading health professionals. It is located on the corner of 28th Street and West Avenue. The building is also considered significant for its association with architect Charles M. Robinson who designed the building. Robinson was one of the most important and prolific Virginia architects of the early twentieth century. He also designed the West Avenue Branch Library adjacent to the building.

Middle Ground Light Station – Is significant for its association with the federal government efforts to provide for safe maritime transportation in the Chesapeake Bay, a major transportation corridor for commercial traffic from the early 19th through 20th centuries. The lighthouse also embodies a distinctive design and method of construction that was typical of caisson lighthouse construction on the Chesapeake Bay during this period. It is owned and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard and is the oldest caisson lighthouse in Virginia waters.

Mulberry Island – This peninsula was settled in 1609. Bourbon, the 18th century home built by Mathew Jones, II survives, with a later alteration. After the Civil War, Mulberry Island became the home for many former slaves. They settled, raised families and remained until 1918, when the land was purchased for the Fort Eustis Military Installation. The families resettled in the Jefferson Park neighborhood and the Denbigh area known as the Colossian Colony along Fort Eustis Boulevard. The present day Colossian Baptist Church and Warwick Memorial United Methodist Church have roots that extend to Mulberry Island.

N.S. Savannah – Located in the Fort Eustis Ghost Fleet, the N.S. Savannah possesses exception national significance as the first application of nuclear power to a commercial ship; and as the structure most associated with president Eisenhower’s Atoms for Pease initiative. The combination passenger / cargo ship demonstrated to the world the safe and reliable operation of this new technology.

Newsome House – Built in 1899, this Queen Anne style house was the home of Joseph Thomas Newsome (1869-1942) and his wife Mary in 1906. A lawyer, churchman and newspaper editor, Newsome was an early advocate for Huntington High School and active in the Colored Voters League of Warwick County. He was Newport News’ first African-American lawyer to practice before the Virginia Supreme Court. In 1991, the City of Newport News restored the residence for use as a museum and cultural center.

North End/Huntington Heights Historic District – The 22 block neighborhood was laid out by the Old Dominion Land Company between 1900 – 1935. Its dwellings, developed in three phases, represent many architectural styles, including Queen Anne, Bungalow, Colonial, and Tudor Revival. Fed by the wealth of the successful C&O Railroad and shipyard, the stretch of elegant homes from 55th to 70th Street along Huntington Avenue became known as the “Gold Coast” with many fine homes of the early leaders of the City.

Oakland (Queen’s Hith site) – Site of an archeological study that uncovered artifacts ranging from pre-Columbian Woodland Indian objects to items from the initial colonization of Warwick County. The foundations of Queen’s Hith Plantation, the 1643 home of the Thomas Harwood family, remain. Civil War redoubts, once part of the 1862 Peninsula defenses, have also been preserved. Two Civil War redoubts, known as the Skiffes Creek Line which formed the right flank of the Warwick River Line during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign have also been preserved. This land is also the site of the 19th and 20th Century Oakland Farm.

Richneck Plantation – The 17th century home of Miles Cary, Jr., Clerk of Court for many years and four succeeding generations of Carys who also held that office. According to tradition, the county court in its early years was held beneath a giant hackberry tree (of the elm tree family) on this site. The home survived until 1865. The ancient tree, whose symbol appears on the City seal, died. It was replaced and stands today with the grave sites of several family members beneath it.

Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church – Built in 1916 – 1917 in downtown Newport News. The church is an excellent example of Classical Revival-style architecture typical of the American Renaissance, usually framed by the years 1876 – 1917. The Church is culturally significant as home of the oldest Roman Catholic Parish in the City of Newport News. The church is historically significant as one of the earliest congregations in Newport News with its establishment downtown in 1881 as a mission. Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church is locally significant because it parallels the history of the City of Newport News. The church is also socially significant for its establishment of the two parochial schools in downtown Newport News that shaped leaders of the Catholic community. St. Vincent is significant with its association with Thomas Fortune Ryan and his wife, Ida Mary Barry Ryan. Ryan, a native of Virginia, noted financier, and patron of the arts, donated more than twenty million dollars to Roman Catholic causes throughout his life. He and his wife donated the original convent and girls’ school. The Ryan’s gift to the church is representative of the monumental benefactions to churches and universities by barons of the American industry and finance at the turn of the 20th century. St. Vincent is also significant due to its association with Father Lloyd Franklin Stephenson, the first African-American pastor of the parish.

Smith’s Pharmacy – Dr. Charles C. Smith, Sr. established the first Black owned pharmacy in the City of Newport News to serve the African-American community on the peninsula in 1946. The pharmacy continued to operate as a family tradition and it was passed on for three generations to different family members which continue its operation through the years. The architecture of the building is an excellent example of the early 20th century American movement commercial style. The pharmacy for many years became a cultural gathering place as well as a pharmacy for the people in the community.

U.S.S. Cumberland (44NN73) – On March 8, 1862, the powerful Confederate ironclad C.S.S. Virginia (formerly the U.S.S. Merrimack) attacked the Federal fleet, blockading the James River, off Newport News Point. The 24 gun U.S.S. Cumberland was rammed and sunk with 121 men aboard. The 50 gun U.S.S. Congress, which had run aground while trying to escape, was destroyed by the Virginia. The engagement proved the superiority of ironclads over wooden vessels. The Cumberland’s remains lay in the bottom of the James River approximately two hundred yards west of Pier C in the City.

Warwick Courthouse (Warwick C.H.) Laid out in 1810 to replace the County seat of Warwick Town, but took the name Denbigh from the former site. The 1810 courthouse is Newport News’ oldest existing municipal building. It became the Clerk’s Office when a larger courthouse was built here in 1884. The courthouse complex will serve as a museum and headquarters for the local historical society (NNWHPA).

West Avenue Branch Library – Built in 1929 in the popular Georgian Revival style. The building resembles many of the colonial-era structures in Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William and Mary, and it is an excellent representation of this style of architecture which was prevalent in the United States from approximately 1870 to 1940. The building was the first to be constructed as a public library in the City of Newport News, and it was highly anticipated with much fervor and fanfare by its citizens at the time. Charles M. Robinson; a prominent Virginia architect, designed the building as well as the adjacent Medical Arts Building. The building also played a major role in the history of desegregation in the City of Newport News. It was one of the first establishments in the city to be integrated and it is significant for its association with the civil rights movement in Newport News in the 1950s.

Wynne’s Mill Fortifications – The fortifications were part of the Confederate defensive line along the Warwick River. Built by Confederate Major General John Bankhead Magruder, these fortifications helped delay the Union advance against Richmond during the early stages of the Peninsula Campaign.
Local Landmarks

Battle of the Monitor & MerrimacK – The C.S.S. Virginia (previously the U.S.S. Merrimack before being scuttled by the US Navy, raised by Confederates and converted to an ironclad at the Gosport Naval Yard in Portsmouth) achieved the Confederacy’s greatest naval victory when it sank the U.S.S. Cumberland and the U.S.S. Congress, killing 252 men on March 8, 1862 in the James River. On the morning of March 9, 1862, the Virginia planned to sink the U.S.S. Minnesota stranded on a shoal and finish its destruction. As she approached the beached Minnesota she met the Union ironclad U.S.S. Monitor, which was sent to defend the beached ship. At six minutes after eight the world’s first battle of ironclads began. After four hours, this engagement ended with both ships claiming victory. Although they never fought again, the duel between these two ironclads introduced a new era of naval warfare.

Later, the C.S.S. Virginia was blown up by her crew on May 11th, off of Craney Island to avoid capture by Union forces. The U.S.S. Monitor sank in a storm off Cape Hatteras while being towed south. The Monitor’s propeller and other artifacts from the vessel have been recovered and are housed at The Mariners’ Museum.

Blunt Point – Located on the high bluff overlooking the James River where the present Blunt Point Road leads from Hiden Boulevard. It received its name after Humphrey Blunt, who was slain on July 9, 1610, by Indians hiding in a canoe adrift on the James River. Humphrey Blunt was the unlucky person who tried to retrieve the canoe. After the incident, the Kecoughtan Indians were dispossessed of their land. In the late 1600s, the bluff became the location of the plantation home of William Roscow, Commissioner of Warwick County, who was removed by the Governor in 1696 because he deliberately failed to carry out the policies of the Council of State.

Camp Alexander – Created from a portion of Camp Hill between Warwick Boulevard and Jefferson Avenue on August 15, 1918, the camp was named for Lt. John H. Alexander (the second African-American graduate of West Point). It was used as a training and embarkation camp for Black stevedore regiments and labor battalions. During World War I, 50,000 African-American troops passed through on their way to France.

Camp Butler – In May 1861, Newport News Point was occupied by Federal forces from Fort Monroe and fortified as Camp Butler, named after its commander Major General Benjamin Franklin Butler.

Three slaves, owned by Charles K. Mallory, former commander of the 115th Virginia Militia, escaped into Union lines to obtain their freedom. Mallory sent Major John Baytop Cary, a pre-war Hampton educator, onto Fort Monroe to secure the return of the three slaves using the Fugitive Slave Act as justification. Major General Butler, denied Cary’s request. Noting that slaves were being used to build nearby Confederate fortifications.

The American Missionary Association, an organization of “abolitionists and church people” who believed that the need for providing education to former slaves “seemed like a call from on high,” became active on the Peninsula. John Oliver, an African-American AMA worker, established and taught two schools near Camp Butler. Efforts to educate and care for the thriving contraband community consumed much energy and resulted in the establishment of a church in 1864. This church eventually would become the First Baptist Church of Newport News.

Throughout the Civil War, Camp Butler remained in Union hands, and positioned guns overlooking access to the James in what is now downtown Newport News. The Confederate ironclad C.S.S .Virginia rammed and sank the Union ship Cumberland off Camp Butler in 1862.

Camp Hill – Named in honor of Confederate General Ambrose P. Hill, this camp was located north of 64th Street between the CSX railroad and the James River. During World War I, over 64,000 men and 47,000 animals passed through the Camp. In World War II, it was located on the Jefferson Avenue side of the tracks or the old Camp Alexander site and used to house Black labor battalions.

Camp Patrick Henry – Named for Virginia patriot-orator and five-time Governor Patrick Henry (1736-99), in World War II this army base of 1,700 acres of Peninsula woodland became the headquarters and main transit camp for the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation. Under the Army Transportation Corps, facilities were constructed to care for 35,000 personnel. The camp was connected by rail shuttle service to the C&O piers 14 miles away. Almost 1,500,000 men and women were processed through this camp until its deactivation in 1946. In 1949, the land was sold for community development. It now is the location of the Newport News / Williamsburg International Airport, Patrick Henry CommerCenter and Oyster Point Business Park.

Camp Stuart – Named for the Confederate cavalry General J. E. B. Stuart, the barracks camp was constructed in July of 1917 on 300 acres between the Small Boat Harbor and Salter’s Creek. The camp was America’s largest troop handling facility during World War I, but it closed in September 1919. Later, a golf course and the Dodge Plane & Boat Company once occupied part of the site. In 1941, the Defense Homes Corporation built 976 residential units to house the World War II population boom. These units, known as Stuart Gardens, are still inhabited.

Cedar Grove – Built in the 1850’s by former U. S. Navy Lieutenant John Newland Maffitt, it was called Carrieville. Lt. Maffitt commanded the British built CSS Florida one of the most successful southern commerce raiders. The house was sold to English Captain Nelson Smith who renamed it Cedar Grove. This house is one of the few from the pre-war era to survive the Civil War, although considerable military activity occurred in the area. Cedar Grove remains privately owned and occupied and is located at the foot of Cedar Lane overlooking the James River.

Chesapeake & Ohio Railway (CSX) – In the 1870’s Collis P. Huntington selected Newport News as the eastern terminus for a continental rail system. By 1882, the C&O line between Richmond and Newport News was open to passenger and freight service. Grain elevators, coal piers and general cargo wharves were operating from 22nd Street southward. During the world wars the C&O was invaluable to the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation. The U.S. Army leased the facilities, greatly expanding them and then returned ownership to the C&O when the wars ended.

Colossian Colony – One of two major resettlement areas for African-American residents that, until 1918, lived on Mulberry Island. The Colossian Baptist Church was the anchor of the Colony and is still a thriving church. The church is located off of Fort Eustis Boulevard.

Curtiss Flying School – Aviation pioneer Glenn H. Curtiss sponsored the Atlantic Coast Aeronautical Station on a 20 acre tract east of Newport News boat harbor in the fall of 1915 as a training base for civilian pilots, many of whom later flew in World War I. Among these early fliers were General Billy Mitchell, Eddie Stinson, Victor Carlstrom and Vernon Castle. Captain Thomas Scott Baldwin was head of the school until it closed in 1922.

Deep Creek – The history of the area is entrenched in its seafood legacy. Deep Creek’s estuaries around the James and Warwick Rivers provided a natural base of economic activity from the colonial period until the 1920s, when its dependency on the seafood industry shifted toward military and defense activities. Because of its strong financial hold during colonial times, and in order to consolidate Warwick County’s scattered population, the 1680 General Assembly created the county seat of “Warwick Town” on a fifty acre site overlooking the mouth of the Warwick River and Deep Creek.

King-Lincoln Park – Before being named Lincoln Park in 1968 and King/Lincoln Park in 1984, the park was known as Pinkett’s Beach. The beach and park were frequented by African-Americans. Two large community churches that were formed in the early 1900’s–the United Church of Prayer headed by Bishop “Daddy” Grace and the Church of God—held annual mass baptisms in the waters running past the park. The park became a gathering place for the African-American community where celebrations and festivals were held. It remains today at the confluence of the James River and the waters of Hampton Roads. The Hampton Roads Waterfront Parks Plan has been completed for the park’s restoration and development.

Lake Maury (Waters Creek) – Named for the 17th Century settler Captain Edward Waters when the land was granted to him (by the Government) in 1624. During the Revolution, two military actions took place here: the Virginia Schooner “Patriot” was captured by a British sloop in April 1781 just off shore. During the summer of 1781, a British raiding party was intercepted here by Virginia militia and driven back to their ships waiting at the point. In 1932, Waters Creek was dammed to form Lake Maury, named for Matthew Fontaine Maury (1806-73), the famous Virginia oceanographer, whose contributions earned him the title “Pathfinder of the Seas.” The lake inundated the Mill Dam of Causey’s Mill, dating from 1866. The building still stands on the shore of the lake beside the Warwick Boulevard Bridge.

Lee Hall Train Depot – Named in honor of nearby Lee Hall Mansion, the depot was constructed in 1881 with the C&O Railroad’s completion. This Victorian structure will require more restoration if it is to be preserved for future use. Lee Hall Train Depot will be moved and restored to serve as a museum, with space provided for shops, mass transit station and for the model railroad club activities.

Menchville – The site of the 19th Century oyster port and settlement on Deep Creek Harbor is named for Hudson Mench, who operated a store and lumber business here. Menchville and the Deep Creek community across the Harbor have historically been among the top oyster landing sites in Virginia. With the coming of the railroad, hundreds of bushels of oysters per day were carted to “oyster point,” as the railroad station on upper Deep Creek became known. Oysters and other seafood continue to be shipped from the harbor. Menchville is planned as a working seafood center to preserve its historic character.

Mennonite Colony – A 1,200-acre community along the Warwick River between Menchville and Lucas Creek, was established in 1897 by Mennonites from Pennsylvania and the Mid-west. Centering on the current Warwick River Church and school, the Colony is visible in a few remaining farmhouses and fields. Many descendants of the Mennonite pioneers reside throughout the area.

The community’s first church (Warwick River Mennonite Church) was established in 1897. A second church (Providence Mennonite Church) was organized in 1900 by Minister David Z. Yoder. This church followed the Amish Mennonite Denomination and its simplistic design is symbolic of Amish Mennonite beliefs. The sanctuary has been in continuous use for services since it was originated. The church was moved and renovated in 1975 when Warwick Boulevard was widened.

Morrison – A railroad station named for Col. J. S. Morrison, construction engineer of the Peninsula Division of the C&O Railroad, was completed on October 16, 1881. The station, in the Gum Grove hamlet of Warwick County, was joined by Morrison Post Office in 1883 and by Morrison School in 1906. During World War I, Camp Morrison, an Air Service Depot, was established nearby for the embarkation of balloon and aero squadrons. Morrison School was renamed Warwick High School in 1948. The area is now known as Harpersville.

Newport News Female Academy – Part of the urban life of early Newport News, this brick building at 225 24th Street housed one of the first private schools from 1894-1900. Mrs. W. W. Harwood, who had been one of the first public school teachers, opened the academy, to serve both resident and out of town students.

Newport News POW Camp – This monument, located in Greenlawn Cemetery and erected in 1900, honors Confederate soldiers who died in the Prisoner of War Camp that was next to Camp Butler on Newport News Point. The Newport News POW Camp was built in April 1865 for Confederate troops awaiting parole. It held 3,490 prisoners. One-hundred-sixty-eight died during captivity and 12 escaped. The camp was deactivated in August 1865.

Newport News Shipyard – Founded by Collis P. Huntington on January 28, 1886, for the purpose of constructing and maintaining ship repair facilities to stimulate business for the railroad. In April 1889, the first dry dock was completed. Shortly thereafter; it was determined that the yard not only could repair vessels, but also build large ships. In 1890, Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company launched its first hull, the iron steam tugboat Dorothy which is presently on display in front of the Shipyard’s office, located between 39th Street and 41st Street. The Shipyard continues as a world leader in building and repairing great ships for commerce and the nation’s defense. It is the only shipyard able to build, overhaul and refuel nuclear powered aircraft carriers.

Oriana Station – One of five railway stations established in 1881 by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad to serve Warwick County. Named for the “Oriana Lumber and Barrel Stave Company” which operated here, Oriana Station provided access to Denbigh and the Warwick Courthouse. The station burned in the early 1960’s. It was located just southeast of the current Denbigh Boulevard overpass. This site is designated as a future station for light rail transit in the CSX corridor.

Oyster Point Station – Situated where Oyster Point Road crosses the railroad tracks, bushels of oysters were once carted to and transported from this station per day.

Parker House – The Parker House is a mid-eighteenth Century structure (greatly modified from its original appearance) located in the Deep Creek area. The house was home to waterman John Parker, who during the Civil War served as a spy for the Confederate Signal Corps.

Peartree Hall – 18th Century home and burial place of Judge Richard Cary (1730-89), a member of the committee that framed the declaration of rights and first State Constitution at the Convention in 1776.

Potters Field – The site of the Warwick poor farm and burial ground. It is located across Stony Run from the Warwick Courthouse and was used from the early 19th Century until about 1930. The site has been preserved in a small park adjacent to Warwick Boulevard and was rededicated in 1990.

Simon Curtis House – Built in 1896, this building was the home of Simon Read Curtis who served as Warwick County’s road commissioner and treasurer. The building has been restored and operates as the Boxwood Inn, a bed and breakfast.

Victory Arch – The symbol of the Peninsula’s involvement in America’s 20th Century wars, the Victory Arch was hastily constructed of wood frame and plaster and dedicated April 13, 1919. It straddled 25th Street leading down to Pier “A,” then an embarkation point for James River steamboats. Returning World War I troops disembarked from ships at the C&O piers and marched through the arch in victory parades. Four commemorative bronze tablets on the monument document the sacrifices of Peninsula servicemen. This arch was rebuilt with stone in 1962.

Warwick Town – The site of the original Warwick County seat and the colonial port at Deep Creek and the Warwick River. Warwick Town was established in 1680. The town was active from the late 17th through the early 19th century on 50 acres of Samuel Mathews’ land. The town was abandoned in 1809 when the seat of government was moved to Denbigh. The Warwick Town site is located in the vicinity of the City Farm’s prison barracks. Based on their initial survey of the site in 1992, an in-depth exploration, preservation and interpretation of this important site was recommended by archaeologists of the College of William and Mary. A later phase II archaeological survey and evaluation in 1993 by the James River Institute of Archaeology, Inc., confirmed previously recorded 18th and 19th century occupation and discovered artifactual evidence of 17th century occupation. Documentary research determined the site was the location of Warwick Town. The site was determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

Windmill Point – The 17th century homesite and grave of Miles Cary, Sr., founder of an influential early family. His son, Miles Cary, Jr., of Richneck, left numerous descendants who followed his lead in guiding local affairs of government.

Yoder’s Barn – The existing Yoder’s Barn is the third version of the Yoder’s family barn. The first version featured a square silo, the first in Virginia. The existing barn was constructed in the late 1930’s as part of the Colony Farms Cooperative Dairy. Yoder’s Barn was moved to a location on Oyster Point Road and was acquired by Christopher Newport University as a theatre.

Young’s Mill – A mill existed here since the 17th Century, when one was constructed on Denbigh Plantation. The structure is an early 20th Century frame construction built over a 19th Century brick foundation and first floor. Mills were of great importance in the economy of Warwick County for grinding corn and wheat. Thomas Wright, Sr., a free Black man was the mill’s owner. In 1860, he was one of 59 free African-American men and women living in Warwick County, when it had a population of 1,500. Wright appears to have gained his freedom around 1810 at the age of 20. He owned 60 acres and his household contained 12 members and three slaves. His son, Thomas Wright, Jr., was the first African-American Warwick County resident to be ordained. Confederate fortifications extending from Young’s Mill (Deep Creek) to Harwood’s Mill (Poquoson River) were built in 1862 as the first line of Magruder’s trans-Peninsula defense. Skirmishing occurred here during the Peninsula Campaign. This site has been developed as a passive park and includes well preserved earthworks.

Edward Armistead Semple (1842-1910) and his maps

One of my favorite things to do while I’m researching, is to look at old maps of the area. Edward Semple was the county surveyor in Hampton after the Civil War.  You can view 2 of his maps on the Library of Congress website, one created in 1892 and the other in 1902.



Edward also surveyed and created a plan of the property of the Hampton Normal And Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) in 1876

Edward is buried in historic St. John’s Cemetery in downtown Hampton.

Another interesting fact is there is a road in Hampton named after him, Semple Farm Road. When you look at the survey maps, you will see this is the property he owned at that time.