History of Williamsburg, Virginia
Williamsburg, has had a long history dating to the 17th century. The city was first named Middle Plantation and changed its name to Williamsburg in 1699. Prior to the arrival of the English colonists at Jamestown in the Colony of Virginia in 1607, the area which became Williamsburg was wooded, it was well within the territory of the Native American group known as the Powhatan Confederacy. In the early colonial period, the navigable rivers were the equivalent of modern highways. For ease of travel, security from conflicts with the Native Americans, early colonial settlements were established close by the rivers. By the 1630s, English settlements had grown to dominate the lower portion of the Virginia Peninsula, the Natives had abandoned their villages nearby such as Kiskiack, shifting to more remote locations, but attacking intermittently. To offer protection for the farming and fishing communities lower on the Peninsula, the colonists built a stockade across the lake to provide some security from attacks by the natives.
Lying along the center-line of the Virginia Peninsula, the location which became Williamsburg was some distance from both the James River and the York River. The elevation of the ground decreased as it approached the shore of each. Near Williamsburg, College Creek and Queen's Creek each fed into one of the two rivers. By anchoring each end on one of these two creeks, the land area was only about 6 miles wide at that point, much less than at other locations; the area which became Williamsburg was settled in 1638 and called Middle Plantation, for its location on the high ground about halfway across the Peninsula. The cross-peninsula defensive palisade completed in 1634 was an integral part of the creation of Middle Plantation, though its exact route is long gone. Remnants have been discovered by archaeologists on the Bruton Heights School property adjacent to the site of the house of Governor John Page while working on a Colonial Williamsburg archaeological research project. Jamestown, the original capital of Virginia Colony, remained as such until its burning during the 3 events of Bacon's Rebellion in 1676.
After Governor William Berkeley regained control, temporary quarters for the functions of the seat of government were established about 12 miles away on the high ground at Middle Plantation while the Statehouse at Jamestown was rebuilt. The members of the House of Burgesses found the surroundings both safer and more pleasant environmentally than Jamestown, muggy and plagued with mosquitoes. A school of higher education had long been an aspiration of the colonists. An early attempt at Henricus failed after the Indian Massacre of 1622; the location at the outskirts of the developed part of the colony had left it more vulnerable to the attack. In the 1690s, the colonists tried again and sent Reverend James Blair who spent several years in England lobbying and obtained a royal charter for the desired new school, named the College of William and Mary in honor of the monarchs of the time; when Reverend Blair returned to Virginia, the new school was founded in a safe place, Middle Plantation in 1693.
Classes began in temporary quarters in 1694, the College Building, a precursor to the Wren Building, was soon under construction. Four years the rebuilt statehouse in Jamestown burned again, this time accidentally; the government once again relocated temporarily to Middle Plantation, but now enjoyed use of the College's facilities in addition to the better climate. After that fire, upon suggestion of the students of the College, who made a presentation to the House of Burgesses, the colonial capital was permanently moved to Middle Plantation in 1699. A village was laid out and Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg in honor of King William III of England, befitting the town's newly elevated status. Following its designation as the Capital of the Colony, immediate provision was made for construction of a capitol building and for platting the new city according to the survey of Theodorick Bland. At the time the main street was rechristened after the Duke of Gloucester, it was a simple horse path that veered through a set of swampy ravines and was obstructed at one point by houses and an oven.
On April 27, 1704, Francis Nicholson asked the House of Burgesses to allow purchase of four old homes on the site so they could be demolished. On May 5, Henry Cary and his workers tore the homes down, gave the owner of the property, Col. John Page, £5 and let him have the bricks from the razed homes; the transaction may be the first documented condemnation proceeding in American history. Alexander Spotswood, who arrived in Virginia as lieutenant governor in 1710, had several ravines filled and the streets leveled, assisted in erecting additional college buildings, a church, a magazine for the storage of arms. In 1722, the town of Williamsburg was granted a royal charter as a city, now believed to be the oldest in the United States. Middle Plantation was included in James City Shire when it was established in 1634, as the Colony reached a total population of 5,000.. However, the middle ground ridge line was the dividing line with Charles River Shire, which became York County; as Williamsburg was developed, the boundaries were adjusted and for most of the colonial period, the border between the two counties ran down the center of Duke of Gloucester Street.
During this time, for 100 years after formation of the Commonwealth of Virginia and the United States, despite some practical complications, portions of the town were located in each of the two counties. Williamsburg was the
Colonial Williamsburg is a living-history museum and private foundation presenting part of an historic district in the city of Williamsburg, United States. Colonial Williamsburg's 301-acre historic area includes buildings from the 18th century, as well as 17th-century, 19th-century, Colonial Revival structures, as well as more recent reconstructions; the hiistoric area is an interpretation of a colonial American city, with exhibits of dozens of restored or re-created buildings related to its colonial and American Revolutionary War history. Colonial Williamsburg's historic area's combination of restoration and re-creation of parts of the colonial town's three main thoroughfares and their connecting side streets attempts to suggest the atmosphere and the circumstances of 18th-century Americans. Colonial Williamsburg's motto has been: "that the future may learn from the past". In the late 1920s, the restoration and re-creation of colonial Williamsburg was championed by the Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, other community leaders, such organizations as the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities, the Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the Confederacy, the Chamber of Commerce, as well as the scion of the Rockefeller family, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his wife, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, to celebrate rebel patriots and the early history of the United States.
One of the largest history projects in the nation and a tourist attraction, it is part of the Historic Triangle of Virginia, which includes Jamestown and Yorktown, linked by the Colonial Parkway. The site was once used for conferences by world leaders and heads of state, including U. S. presidents. It was designated a National Historic Landmark District in 1960. Costumed employees work and dress as people did in the era, sometimes using colonial grammar and diction. Prominent buildings include the Raleigh Tavern, the Capitol, the Governor's Palace, as well as the Courthouse, the George Wythe House, the Peyton Randolph House, the Magazine, independently owned and functioning Bruton Parish Church. Colonial Williamsburg's portion of the historic area begins east of the College of William & Mary's College Yard. Colonial Williamsburg is a living history museum, its core runs along Duke of Gloucester Street and the Palace Green that extends north and south perpendicular to it. This area is flat, with ravines and streams branching off on the periphery.
At the City of Williamsburg's discretion, Duke of Gloucester Street and other historic area thoroughfares are closed to motorized vehicles during the day, in favor of pedestrians, joggers, dog walkers, animal-drawn vehicles. Surviving colonial structures have been restored as close as possible to their 18th-century appearance, with traces of buildings and improvements removed. Many of the missing colonial structures were reconstructed on their original sites beginning in the 1930s. Animals and dependencies add to the environment; some buildings and most gardens are open to tourists, the exceptions being buildings serving as residences for Colonial Williamsburg employees, large donors, the occasional city official, sometimes College of William & Mary associates. Four taverns have been reconstructed for use as two for inns. There are craftsmen's workshops for period trades, including a printing shop, a shoemaker's, blacksmith's, a cooperage, a cabinetmaker, a gunsmith's, a wigmaker's, a silversmith's.
There are merchants selling tourist souvenirs, reproduction toys, pottery, scented soap, tchotchkes. Some houses, including the Peyton Randolph House, the Geddy House, the Wythe House and the Everard House are open to tourists, as are such public buildings as the Courthouse, the Capitol, the Magazine, the Public Hospital, the Gaol; the Public Gaol served as a jail for the colonists. Former notorious inmates include the pirate Blackbeard's crew who were kept in the 1704 jail while they awaited trial. Colonial Williamsburg operations extend to Merchants Square, a Colonial Revival commercial area designated a historic district in its own right. Nearby are the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum and DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum, operated by Colonial Williamsburg as part of its curatorial efforts; the Jamestown statehouse, housing Virginia's government at the time, burned down on October 20, 1698. The legislators moved their meetings to the College of William & Mary in Virginia at Middle Plantation, putting an end to Jamestown's 92-year run as Virginia's colonial capital.
In 1699, in a graduation exercise, a group of College of William & Mary students delivered addresses endorsing proposals to move the capital to Middle Plantation, ostensibly to escape the malaria – and the mosquitoes which transmit them – of the Jamestown Island site. Interested Middle Plantation landowners donated some of their holdings to advance the plan, to reap its rewards. Middle Plantation was renamed Williamsburg by Governor Francis Nicholson, first among the proponents of the change, in honor of the Dutch Royal Willem III van Oranje, he was Stadtholder of Holland, Utrecht and Overijssel in the Dutch Republic from 1672 and King of England and Scotland from 1689 until his death in 1702 where he was known as king William III of England. Nicholson said that at Williamsburg "clear and crystal springs burst from the champagne soil". By "champagne," he meant fertile. Nicholson had the city surveyed and a grid laid out by Theodorick Bland taking into consideration the br
Courthouse (Colonial Williamsburg)
The Colonial Williamsburg Courthouse was constructed from 1770 to 1771 in the Georgian style. The courthouse is located facing Market Square with Duke of Gloucester Street running directly behind it; the property was acquired by Colonial Williamsburg in 1928, was added to the National Register as a contributing property to the Williamsburg Historic District on October 15, 1966. The courthouse once housed two separate court systems, one being the James City County Court, responsible for carrying out county cases, the other, the Hustings Court, responsible for the city cases; the courthouse was built with red bricks with white wooden trim-boards and long arched windows with white shutters. A projected portico is unique in Georgian architecture; the hipped roof rests on an entablature with dentil moldings. The roof is pierced on both sides by a chimney and a central octagonal drum capped with a dome and a spire; the courthouse was the site where Benjamin Waller read aloud the Declaration of Independence on July 25, 1776, after it arrived from Philadelphia.
The building was used as a hospital for the Confederate Army after the Battle of Williamsburg. Beney, Peter.
National Historic Landmark
A National Historic Landmark is a building, object, site, or structure, recognized by the United States government for its outstanding historical significance. Of over 90,000 places listed on the country's National Register of Historic Places, only some 2,500 are recognized as National Historic Landmarks. A National Historic Landmark District may include contributing properties that are buildings, sites or objects, it may include non-contributing properties. Contributing properties may or may not be separately listed. Prior to 1935, efforts to preserve cultural heritage of national importance were made by piecemeal efforts of the United States Congress. In 1935, Congress passed the Historic Sites Act, which authorized the Interior Secretary authority to formally record and organize historic properties, to designate properties as having "national historical significance", gave the National Park Service authority to administer significant federally owned properties. Over the following decades, surveys such as the Historic American Buildings Survey amassed information about culturally and architecturally significant properties in a program known as the Historic Sites Survey.
Most of the designations made under this legislation became National Historic Sites, although the first designation, made December 20, 1935, was for a National Memorial, the Gateway Arch National Park in St. Louis, Missouri; the first National Historic Site designation was made for the Salem Maritime National Historic Site on March 17, 1938. In 1960, the National Park Service took on the administration of the survey data gathered under this legislation, the National Historic Landmark program began to take more formal shape; when the National Register of Historic Places was established in 1966, the National Historic Landmark program was encompassed within it, rules and procedures for inclusion and designation were formalized. Because listings triggered local preservation laws, legislation in 1980 amended the listing procedures to require owner agreement to the designations. On October 9, 1960, 92 properties were announced as designated NHLs by Secretary of the Interior Fred A. Seaton; the first of these was a political nomination: the Sergeant Floyd Monument in Sioux City, Iowa was designated on June 30 of that year, but for various reasons, the public announcement of the first several NHLs was delayed.
NHLs are designated by the United States Secretary of the Interior because they are: Sites where events of national historical significance occurred. More than 2,500 NHLs have been designated. Most, but not all, are in the United States. There are the District of Columbia. Three states account for nearly 25 percent of the nation's NHLs. Three cities within these states all separately have more NHLs than 40 of the 50 states. In fact, New York City alone has more NHLs than all but five states: Virginia, Pennsylvania and New York. There are 74 NHLs in the District of Columbia; some NHLs are in U. S. commonwealths and territories, associated states, foreign states. There are 15 in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, other U. S. territories. S.-associated states such as Micronesia. Over 100 ships or shipwrecks have been designated as NHLs. About half of the National Historic Landmarks are owned; the National Historic Landmarks Program relies on suggestions for new designations from the National Park Service, which assists in maintaining the landmarks.
A friends' group of owners and managers, the National Historic Landmark Stewards Association, works to preserve and promote National Historic Landmarks. If not listed on the National Register of Historic Places, an NHL is automatically added to the Register upon designation. About three percent of Register listings are NHLs. American Water Landmark List of U. S. National Historic Landmarks by state List of churches that are National Historic Landmarks in the United States Listed building, a similar designation in the UK National Historic Sites and Persons, similar designations in Canada National Natural Landmark United States Memorials United States National Register of Historic Places listings Official National Historic Landmarks Program website A History of the NHL Program List of National Historic Landmarks National Historic Landmarks: Archaeological Properties Historical Landmarks - United States Lighthouses
Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, lawyer and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had served as the second vice president of the United States from 1797 to 1801; the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson was a proponent of democracy and individual rights motivating American colonists to break from the Kingdom of Great Britain and form a new nation. Jefferson was of English ancestry and educated in colonial Virginia, he graduated from the College of William & Mary and practiced law, with the largest number of his cases concerning land ownership claims. During the American Revolution, he represented Virginia in the Continental Congress that adopted the Declaration, drafted the law for religious freedom as a Virginia legislator, served as the 2nd Governor of Virginia from 1779 to 1781, during the American Revolutionary War, he became the United States Minister to France in May 1785, subsequently the nation's first secretary of state under President George Washington from 1790 to 1793.
Jefferson and James Madison organized the Democratic-Republican Party to oppose the Federalist Party during the formation of the First Party System. With Madison, he anonymously wrote the controversial Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions in 1798 and 1799, which sought to strengthen states' rights by nullifying the federal Alien and Sedition Acts; as president, Jefferson pursued the nation's shipping and trade interests against Barbary pirates and aggressive British trade policies. He organized the Louisiana Purchase doubling the country's territory; as a result of peace negotiations with France, his administration reduced military forces. He was reelected in 1804. Jefferson's second term was beset with difficulties at home, including the trial of former vice president Aaron Burr. American foreign trade was diminished when Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act of 1807, responding to British threats to U. S. shipping. In 1803, Jefferson began a controversial process of Indian tribe removal to the newly organized Louisiana Territory, he signed the Act Prohibiting Importation of Slaves in 1807.
Jefferson, while a planter and politician, mastered many disciplines, which ranged from surveying and mathematics to horticulture and mechanics. He was an architect in the classical tradition. Jefferson's keen interest in religion and philosophy led to his presidency of the American Philosophical Society. A philologist, Jefferson knew several languages, he corresponded with many prominent people. His only full-length book is Notes on the State of Virginia, considered the most important American book published before 1800. After retiring from public office, Jefferson founded the University of Virginia. Although regarded as a leading spokesman for democracy and republicanism in the era of the Enlightenment, Jefferson's historical legacy is mixed; some modern scholarship has been critical of Jefferson's private life, pointing out the contradiction between his ownership of the large numbers of slaves that worked his plantations and his famous declaration that "all men are created equal." Another point of controversy stems from the evidence that after his wife Martha died in 1782, Jefferson fathered children with Martha's half-sister, Sally Hemings, his slave.
Despite this, presidential scholars and historians praise his public achievements, including his advocacy of religious freedom and tolerance in Virginia. Jefferson continues to rank among U. S. presidents. Thomas Jefferson was born on April 13, 1743, at the family home in Shadwell in the Colony of Virginia, the third of ten children, he was of English, Welsh and was born a British subject. His father Peter Jefferson was a surveyor who died when Jefferson was fourteen. Peter Jefferson moved his family to Tuckahoe Plantation in 1745 upon the death of William Randolph, the plantation's owner and Jefferson's friend, who in his will had named him guardian of his children; the Jeffersons returned to Shadwell in 1752, where Peter died in 1757. Thomas inherited 5,000 acres of land, including Monticello, he assumed full authority over his property at age 21. Jefferson began his childhood education beside the Randolph children with tutors at Tuckahoe. Thomas' father, was self-taught, regretting not having a formal education, he entered Thomas into an English school early, at age five.
In 1752, at age nine, he began attending a local school run by a Scottish Presbyterian minister and began studying the natural world, for which he grew to love. At this time he began studying Latin and French, while learning to ride horses. Thomas read books from his father's modest library, he was taught from 1758 to 1760 by Reverend James Maury near Gordonsville, where he studied history and the classics while boarding with Maury's family. During this period Jefferson came to know and befriended various American Indians, including the famous Cherokee chief, who stopped at Shadwell to visit, on their way to Williamsburg to trade. During the two years Jefferson was with the Maury family, he traveled to Williamsburg and was a guest of Colonel Dandridge, father of Martha Washington. In Williamsburg the young Jefferson met and came to admire Patrick Henry, eight ye
United States Declaration of Independence
The United States Declaration of Independence is the statement adopted by the Second Continental Congress meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on July 4, 1776. The Declaration announced that the Thirteen Colonies at war with the Kingdom of Great Britain would regard themselves as thirteen independent sovereign states, no longer under British rule. With the Declaration, these new states took a collective first step toward forming the United States of America; the declaration was signed by representatives from New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia. The Lee Resolution for independence was passed on July 2 with no opposing votes; the Committee of Five had drafted the Declaration to be ready. John Adams, a leader in pushing for independence, had persuaded the committee to select Thomas Jefferson to compose the original draft of the document, which Congress edited to produce the final version.
The Declaration was a formal explanation of why Congress had voted to declare independence from Great Britain, more than a year after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary War. Adams wrote to his wife Abigail, "The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America" – although Independence Day is celebrated on July 4, the date that the wording of the Declaration of Independence was approved. After ratifying the text on July 4, Congress issued the Declaration of Independence in several forms, it was published as the printed Dunlap broadside, distributed and read to the public. The source copy used for this printing has been lost and may have been a copy in Thomas Jefferson's hand. Jefferson's original draft is preserved at the Library of Congress, complete with changes made by John Adams and Benjamin Franklin, as well as Jefferson's notes of changes made by Congress; the best-known version of the Declaration is a signed copy, displayed at the National Archives in Washington, D.
C. and, popularly regarded as the official document. This engrossed copy was ordered by Congress on July 19 and signed on August 2; the sources and interpretation of the Declaration have been the subject of much scholarly inquiry. The Declaration justified the independence of the United States by listing 27 colonial grievances against King George III and by asserting certain natural and legal rights, including a right of revolution, its original purpose was to announce independence, references to the text of the Declaration were few in the following years. Abraham Lincoln made it the centerpiece of his policies and his rhetoric, as in the Gettysburg Address of 1863. Since it has become a well-known statement on human rights its second sentence: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life and the pursuit of Happiness; this has been called "one of the best-known sentences in the English language", containing "the most potent and consequential words in American history".
The passage came to represent a moral standard. This view was notably promoted by Lincoln, who considered the Declaration to be the foundation of his political philosophy and argued that it is a statement of principles through which the United States Constitution should be interpreted; the Declaration of Independence inspired many similar documents in other countries, the first being the 1789 Declaration of United Belgian States issued during the Brabant Revolution in the Austrian Netherlands. It served as the primary model for numerous declarations of independence in Europe and Latin America, as well as Africa and Oceania during the first half of the 19th century. Believe me, dear Sir: there is not in the British empire a man who more cordially loves a union with Great Britain than I do. But, by the God that made me, I will cease to exist before I yield to a connection on such terms as the British Parliament propose. By the time that the Declaration of Independence was adopted in July 1776, the Thirteen Colonies and Great Britain had been at war for more than a year.
Relations had been deteriorating between the colonies and the mother country since 1763. Parliament enacted a series of measures to increase revenue from the colonies, such as the Stamp Act of 1765 and the Townshend Acts of 1767. Parliament believed that these acts were a legitimate means of having the colonies pay their fair share of the costs to keep them in the British Empire. Many colonists, had developed a different conception of the empire; the colonies were not directly represented in Parliament, colonists argued that Parliament had no right to levy taxes upon them. This tax dispute was part of a larger divergence between British and American interpretations of the British Constitution and the extent of Parliament's authority in the colonies; the orthodox British view, dating from the Glorious Revolution of 1688, was that Parliament was the supreme authority throughout the empire, so, by definition, anything that Parliament did was constitutional. In the colonies, the idea had developed that the British Constitution recognized certain fundamental rights that no government could violate, not Parliament.
After the Townshend Acts, some essayists began to question whether Parliament had any legitimate jurisdiction in the colonies at all. Anticipating the arrangement of the British Commonwealth, by 1774 American writers such as
Governor's Palace (Williamsburg, Virginia)
The Governor's Palace in Williamsburg, Virginia was the official residence of the Royal Governors of the Colony of Virginia. It was a home for two of Virginia's post-colonial governors, Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson, until the capital was moved to Richmond in 1780, with it the Governor's residence; the main house burned down in 1781. The Governor's Palace was reconstructed in the 1930s on its original site, it is one of the two largest buildings at the other being the Capitol. Williamsburg was established as the new capital of the Virginia colony in 1699, served in that capacity until 1780. During most of that period, the Governor's Palace was the official residence of the royal governor; the palace was funded by the House of Burgesses in 1706 at the behest of Lt. Governor Edward Nott, it was built from 1706 onward. In 1710, its first official resident was Lt. Governor Alexander Spotswood who served as acting governor. Spottwood continued to improve on it. 1720–1722, adding the forecourt and various decorations.
Under Lt. Gov. Robert Dinwiddie, from 1751 to 52, it was repaired and renovated, including the addition of a large rear addition featuring a ballroom; the seven governors who lived in the original palace included: Alexander Spotswood Francis Fauquier Lord Botetourt Hugh Drysdale William Gooch Robert Dinwiddie John Murray, 4th Earl of DunmoreHome to a colonial mayor: John Amson, 1750-1751It was home to the post-colonial governors: Patrick Henry, 1776-1779 Thomas Jefferson, 1779-1780 Around 1779, Governor Thomas Jefferson proposed the remodeling of the Palace in manner in keeping with his neoclassical ideals. The proposal would back. However, in 1780, Jefferson urged that the capital of Virginia be relocated to Richmond for security reasons during the American Revolution; the new lodging for the governor adjacent to the current Virginia State Capitol building in Richmond is more modest in size and style, is called the Governor's Mansion. On December 22, 1781, the main building was destroyed by a fire.
At the time, it was being used as a hospital for wounded American soldiers following the nearby Siege of Yorktown. Some brick outbuildings survived the fire, but were demolished during the American Civil War so they could be salvaged for building materials by occupying forces; the possible architectural influence of the Governor's Palace could be Nether Lypiatt Manor, England, built between 1702-1705, as both buildings look remarkably similar. Through the efforts of Reverend Dr. W. A. R. Goodwin, rector of Bruton Parish Church and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller Jr. whose family provided major funding, the elaborate and ornate palace was recreated in the early 20th century. The reconstruction was based on numerous surviving pieces of evidence. Archaeological excavations of the site revealed the original foundations and cellar, together with architectural remnants that had fallen in during the fire. Jefferson's drawings and plans from his proposed renovation have survived, conveying the interior plan.
In 1929, while the project was in planning, a copperplate engraving nicknamed the Bodleian Plate was discovered in England's Bodleian Library. The plate included renderings c. 1740 of the exterior of the palace, along with the Capitol and the Wren Building. Additional evidence included Virginia General Assembly records; the house and gardens opened as an exhibition on April 23, 1934. In early 1981, the Governor's Palace underwent significant interior renovation and refurnishing to reflect updated scholarship of the building and its furnishings; the renovation reduced the influence of the Colonial Revival style in favor of historical evidence, including records found at Badminton House in the UK. Colonial Williamsburg, Governor's Palace web page