State Highway Marker

State Highway Marker

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Good Work If You Can Get It

By John B. Alsop, of Alsop Motor Company.

On account of the interest shown by the business men of Richmond in the Tidewater Counties of Virginia, I thought it would probably be Interesting to give you an idea of a recent trip which I have just taken through the counties of the Eastern Shore. E.R. Bittner and myself left Richmond on Friday about 12:30 o'clock in a five passenger K-R-I-T car for Mathews County. After leaving Seven Pines we found the trip uneventful, and very hot, until we reached Barhamsville, in New Kent County, forty miles below Richmond. We stopped at this place for a few minutes, called on Mr. Potts*, who runs a very nice store, and who is an automobile owner. 
We inquired of Mr. Potts regarding the roads between Barhamsville and Williamsburg, and to our surprise he stated that we would have to take a by-road between Barhamsville and Toano on account of the very bad condition of the road between these two points. He stated that there were several places that were extremely bad on account of the shade surrounding these spots, which kept them from drying up rapidly. Mr. Potts stated to I me that he and some of the neighbors around the store had tried to fill up these bad places by cutting down some of the trees, and throwing brush into some of the small holes, but as fast as this was done some of the people living in the immediate vicinity of these bad spots would take out the brush and trees which they had put In. Their reasons for doing this, he stated, was that one man had been able to make $15 or $20 a week by pulling automobiles out of these holes, and naturally they did not want to see them fixed up. The people reaping the benefit of the bad roads would let an automobile owner go into this road without any warning, and consequently, they could not pull through. We were very thankful to Mr.Potts for his advice, and had no trouble in passing this spot on the road through the woods.

-Times Dispatch, 13 July 1913

*probably either James Anderson Potts or George Kidder Potts

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

New Confederate Stone Fleet

This a cleaned up re-posting of a post from April, 2013 . . .

An Annex from
Navy Department,
Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division,
Washington, D.C.

The Confederate Army and Navy found it expedient at times to construct barricade at strategic points in inland waterways to permit the escape During the first half of 1862, two areas of Virginia, Croatan Sound and of their forces, prevent captures, and impede the Federal advance. the Pamunkey River, were obstructed with numerous ships which were served briefly as transport. Varied sizes and types of ships, having seized from private owners specifically for this purpose, or which had little if any previous service were loaded with stone and sand, or CSA, and employed to carry provisions and supplies while the army was filled with dirt, then towed to a designated spot and sunk as a hazard to all craft that passed. 
The following ships were seized by forces under Gen. J. E. Johnston, on the Pamunkey River. Most of the ships were then sunk in that vicinity at Yorktown. When the army withdrew toward Richmond, the transports were loaded with Government stores that were discharged at White House, Va., during May 1862 to delay Union gunboats.

Ships sunk at White House, Va., between 5 & 10 May 1862

CLAUDIA, owned by M. Williams
LITTLE ADDIE, sloop owned by J. Montgomery

Ships destroyed at Cooke's Island 5 & 10 May 1862

AMERICAN COASTER, schooner owned by M. Crockett, was loaded with dirt and prepared for sinking but was captured by USS CURRITUCK. She was later used as a Union transport.
DAVID VANAME, schooner owned by C. Johnson
DIANA HOPKINS, schooner owned by E. Phillips
HANNAH ANN, schooner
EXPERIMENT, schooner owned by W. Messick
FRIENDSHIP, schooner owned by Allman and Watts
KING WILLIAM, schooner owned by Sayre & Fleming
J.& G. FAIR, schooner owned by W. Lee
J.T. CONNOR, owned by J. Bagby
JOSEPHINE, schooner owned by W. Dansey
PRINCESS, schooner owned by W. Lee
MARY LUYSTER, owned by J. T. Bland
ORNAMENT, sloop owned by Crittenden and Post
PALESTINE, schooner owned by Thomas
WILLIAM SHANBERG, schooner owned by W. Messick and E. Phillips
R. P. WALLER, schooner owned by T. Gilliam
SARAH ANN, schooner owned by W. Ward
WILLIAM EDWARD, schooner owned by J. and W. Thomas

Ships destroyed at Garlick's landing Between 5 & 10 May 1862

JENNY LIND, schooner owned by J. F. New & Co.
STAR, owned by S. Moon

Ships Burned Near Indian Town Between 5 & 10 May 1862

WAY, schooner owned by Gresham and Bagby

Ships burned at Newcastle on 17 May 1862

MARGARET SCHULTZ, owned by Harrenn and Ballown
O. WHITMOND, owned by J. Wright
WATCHMAN, owned by J. Brown
WALTON, owned by J. Warring
WAVE, owned by R. Howard
WILLIAM S. RYLAND, owned by W. Berkley

Ships burned at Cumberland between 5 & 10 May 1862

CALIFORNIA, schooner owned by Blassingham
CAROLINE BAKER, schooner owned by F. and C. Post

Ships sunk near Bassett's Landing on 17 May 1862

ALERT, owned by A. West
BETTY RICHARD, owned by W. Smith
ANN BELL, owned by W. Thomas
FRANCIS AND THEODORE, owned by J. Arrington
JEFFERSON, schooner owned by Garefoster & Braumly
JAMES BRADEN, owned by S. Kimble
JOHN ALLEN, schooner owned by S. Guy
MARY BAXTER, owned by C. Parks
LITTLE WAVE, owned by T. Hibble
MARY ALICE, owned by Captail Gage
OXFORD, schooner of 85 tons and 7' draft built in 1855 at Dorchester, Md., and owned by Claybrook and Dobyns.
PARAGON, sloop
SARA WASHINGTON, schooner owned by Moore and Elliston
WILLIAM AND WESLEY, schooner owned by J. Cronmonger
SEA WITCH, owned by J. Robins
UNION, owned by B. F. Gresham
VIRGINIA, owned by E. Lawson
WILD PIGEON, schooner owned by W. Messick
WILLIAM FRANCIS, schooner owned by C. Coleman

-Principally from the site Haze Gray

* PLANTER, a schooner, was prepared for sinking but was captured by USS CURRITUCK on 7 May 1862. She was turned over by the Union to her former owner in recognition of assistance rendered in the York and Pamunkey Rivers.

** STARLIGHT, also scheduled for destruction, was approached while underway for White House, Va., by USS CORWIN. STARLIGHT escaped up the Potopotank River where she was abandoned. She was seized by CORWIN on 16 June and sent into Norfolk at a prize.

†--Named I assume for, " . . .  Capt. David Van Name who entered the oyster business as a dealer in 1817 and was said to be one of the first two men in America to plant oysters, according to Dr. A.L. Van Name Jr., his great-grandson." -The Daily Press, Nov.2, 1995


Sunday, September 3, 2017

Reconstruction Winter- 1870

                                                            Letter from New Kent.
                                         [Correspondence of the Richmond Dispatch.]
          New Kent C. H., Va., Dec. 5th, 1870.
A motion to set aside the election in this county will be made before Judge Benj. W. Lacy, in a few days, upon the grounds that the registration books were not opened in accordance with the election law, fifteen days anterior to the day of voting. The popular impression is that the court will grant the petition, and that the Conservatives will have another shuffle and deal. In this event they may succeed in winning, as the Radicals only triumphed by a very small majority in the late contest. The result would have been otherwise but for the almost criminal apathy on the part of the Conservatives, many of whom remained quietly at their homes while others were battle nobly for political disenthralment(sic). Much has been said about the Hon. Jos. Mayo¹ allowing himself to be run on the Radical ticket for Commonwealth's attorney. The platform upon which this gentleman stands is not erected of Radical or Conservative timber, as he defines his political position, for he declared to your correspondent immediately after the election that he was not identified with either party; that he had been solicited by both sides to become a candidate. Be this as it may, it is known that he did formally accept the nomination of the Radicals, and was elected by them.
The quarterly term of the county court has just closed, Judge Lacy presiding. A negro man was found guilty of larceny and sentenced to imprisonment in the county jail, but the negro having the election between this and the whipping-post, preferred the latter and became the recipient of fifteen stripes², properly administered by the sheriff. In this the negro evinced wisdom, for it is not half so painful as a protracted incarceration, particularly at this season of the year.
From the late census returns one would readily perceive that the population has been greatly depleted in this county within the last decade, and one see the decline of industrial resources in every neighborhood. It certainly cannot be an indication of increasing prosperity of a county or State when there is such an alarming loss in the people as there has taken place here in such a short period, numbers of young men have gone out to seek their fortunes in different portions of the Union since the war, and will likely never return. But we cannot think a country abounding with every natural resource for greatness can long remain in such a depressed state, and we believe that in the course of the next decade a new era will dawn.³ 
A party consisting of five gentlemen from your city came here a week ago with the view of hunting, and in a few days killed fifteen deer, among them some as heavily antlered as were ever seen in an American forest. 
Mr. W. A. Pollard, a most worthy and enterprising young man of Baltimore, who died at the residence of his brothers, in your city, was brought to the country for internment to-day. He was a gallant Confederate, and bore himself heroically in the war, and received a most painful wound, from which he never wholly recovered. Old Hickory

-Daily Dispatch, 9 December, 1870

Joseph Carrington Mayo, was the same Mayo who was mayor of Richmond, 1861-1865 and 1866-1868. After his second term as mayor he moved to New Kent about the same time as the death of his brother Dr. John Mayo, a county resident. Joseph served as Commonwealth's Attorney from 1868 until his death in August 1872.

 The whipping post was abolished by the "Readjuster" General Assembly of 1882.

The Census of 1870 gave New Kent a population of only 4,381. This was a decline of 25% from the 1860 figure(5,884). New Kent had the smallest population of any county east of the Blue Ridge.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"Enumerable Bugs and Specimens of Insect Life Hitherto Unknown to Them"

A few nature scenes from the Peninsula Campaign of 1862 . . .

The whole Peninsula, that portion of Virginia between the York and the James River, was low and swampy and it was common talk at the time that one could not pat the earth three times with his foot anywhere without bringing water. Great mortality occurred among the troops, chiefly from malarial fever, and often, when a poor fellow was about to be laid away in the earth, his grave would be full of water before it had been dug two feet deep. Quinine and whiskey were issued daily, companies being formed in line for the purpose, and the ration was drunk under the supervision of the surgeon.  
- - - 
It was hot and muggy most of the time. It rained frequently and the men made the acquaintance of the "wood-tick, and enumerable bugs and specimens of insect life hitherto unknown to them. The very earth moved with "new life." Sticks and twigs were endowed with motion. The men would watch a black twig two or three inches long, apparently dead wood among the leaves, when it would scamper off and the acquaintance of a new insect called the "walking stick" was made, although it was a very old inhabitant of this section. They had the "Gold Bug" not the political specimen of later days but a handsome round yellow "feller." Lieut. James G. C. Dodge, of Company F, made quite a collection of these bugs.  
It was a common thing to see two or three men, huddled together, poking at something on the ground. Others would join them on the run. Soon a crowd would collect, running and yelling "What's Up?" Some one of the crouchers would answer, "Oh, got a new bug," and the crowd would laugh and disperse. Like everything else, this was soon an old story and "buggy" was immediately dispatched, given to the lieutenant for his collection, or allowed to fly or run. away. One specimen, however, stuck and abided long. It was the common louse. 

-History of the Nineteenth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, 1861-1865
Ernest Linden Waitt, 1906

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Title Says it All

Big  Melon- We saw yesterday at the Old Market a mammoth cantaloupe, raised by Mr. George Fisher, of New Kent. It weighed 23 pounds, and was sold for $1.

-The Daily Dispatch(Richmond), August 16, 1871

Monday, August 21, 2017

"Barren Deserts"

Camp near Harrison’s Landing, Va., July 7, 1862.

Maj. Gen. JOHN A. DIX, Commanding Fort Monroe.
GENERAL: The general commanding refers to your discretion the inclosed(sic) letter from Charles M. Hubbard and others, prisoners confined at Fort Wool, and directs that you cause all of those referred to in the letter who can be discharged with safety to the public service to be conveyed to some suitable point whence they may return to their homes. You will cause them to be provided with necessary subsistence during their return. 
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Colonel and Aide-de-Camp.

FORT WOOL, July 4, 1862.
We propose to present to your consideration the following facts: There are now about 100 citizens of Virginia who have in no way been connected with the present war confined at this place. They were taken from their homes or arrested by bands of armed men, separated from their families, and are here imprisoned and not even informed of the charges if any there be on which they were arrested. They know not on what evidence they were arrested nor have they been confronted with their accusers. They are denied all intercourse with the world and are here confined with the same hard fare alike for the sick and well, good and bad huddled together without respect for their rights or person. When taken from their homes they were assured by the officers who arrested them that they would be detained but a few hours and then would be restored to their homes and families. They were then induced to leave home without a change of clothes and are now [covered with] vermin of this prison house, without a change of clothing. They are without funds with which they can procure the necessaries or comforts with which to promote cleanliness or preserve health. Their families are without any protection, surrounded by slaves and camp followers, from the unprincipled and violent hands of whom every species of wrong may be anticipated. From the rumors that reach us through the citizens who have been most recently sent here many of us believe that our slaves have left us; that our household furniture has been wantonly destroyed; that the provision designed for the use of our families during the present year has been forcibly taken from them, and that our growing crops have been wasted and destroyed, and that our homes except for the presence of loved wives and children are barren deserts.
Much more might with truth and propriety be said, but surely this is enough of the sad picture which has resulted from our effort to remain at our homes and protect those who are dependent on us, when we believed that our property and persons would not be violated by those who were seeking to restore a humane and liberal Government. Our friends advised us that it was best that we should remain at home. Our reason and judgment approved the advice and your proclamation inviting the citizens to remain at home and assuring them protection confirmed us in the propriety of that course. Alas! alas! How vain were our expectations! How we have been disappointed! Why are we here? We know that we are here and can well imagine the sufferings of all who are dear to us. How long shall this continue? We cannot believe that you have caused us to be imprisoned in violation of the assurances of your proclamation. We cannot realize that the Government of the United States thus refuses us our liberty, wastes our property and places our persons on this island of rock that we may by cruelty and oppression be taught to hate the Government under which we were born.
As citizens of Virginia we ask that we may be at once released from this prison.
CHARLES M. HUBBARD, of James City,1  
       JOHN P. PIERCE, of New Kent County,2   
       A. B. TIMBERLAKE, of Hanover,3   
       SAMUEL EDWARDS, of King William,
Committee in behalf of the whole.

Prisoners of State, Fort Wool. 
GENTLEMEN: I am directed by Major-General Dix to say in reply to your letter of this date that he will forward any proper communication from you to Richmond by the first flag of truce; that he holds you under orders from General McClellan and does not know for whom you are held as hostages. If you are in want of any articles needful for your personal comfort he will be glad to supply them. A personal interview he cannot at present conveniently grant. 
By command of Major-General Dix:
Yours, respectfully,
   Captain and Aide-de-Camp.

-The War of the Rebellion: A compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies.-series ii.-volume iv.
Correspondence, Orders, etc., Relating to Prisoners of War and State from June 13, 1862, to November 30, 1862.-Union Correspondence, etc

1. Charles M. Hubbard was the State Senator representing the district that comprised the entire Peninsula.

2.The John P. Pierce was New Kent's Commonwealth's Attorney at the time.

3.Archibald Burnett Timberlake, owner of Rutland near Atlee Station. He had two sons in J.E.B.Stuarts cavalry and the house was sometimes used as a base for the cavalry. Timberlake's health declined after his release and he died in 1863, being buried, rather notoriously, in a cast iron coffin with a viewing plate.