The Pamunkey River

The Pamunkey River
The Pamunkey River by William McIlvaine, 1813-1867 part of: Marian S. Carson collection (Library of Congress)

Tuesday, June 14, 2022


The Virginia Electric and Power Company recently completed its line from Eltham to New Kent Courthouse and for the first time in the history of the county the citizens of this section of the county are enjoying electric lights.

 About 30 customers have been hooked up on this line and many more are expected, to discard their old time kerosene and home made electric lights for the modern type of artificial light.

 Mr. Samuel Lacy, clerk of New Kent county, stated this week that the Courthouse was wired and has electric lights and any attorney desiring to look up any records or have any business there are welcome to come and make use of the building. 

-Tidewater Review,  21 January 1937

Much of the progress like this originated from the Rural Electrification Act. A later New Deal program, the Rural Electrification Act was passed by Congress in May of 1936; the act funded and empowered the Rural Electrification Administration. Created by Roosevelt in 1935, the Administration removed, according to Robert T. Beall, an Economist with the REA,

"the most important barriers restricting rural electrification prior to 1935 . .   the conditions and rates imposed on farmers if service were made available to them. Frequently the farmers had to pay for the distribution line, give the company title to the property, and then guarantee high minimum charges over a long period of years."

 "In 1934, only 7.6% of Virginia farms had electricity; by 1950, more than 90% did." 

Reddy Kilowatt- ™


Friday, June 3, 2022

Aerial Photography

 An interesting site I just discovered called Vintage Aerial

Just search New Kent and then zoom in to select an area to search for pictures. Oldest pictures are only as far back as 1985 that I saw . . . but that might be pretty old for some of you.

For example here is a link to an image of the old Colonial Restaurant with the trailer park behind it in Bottom's Bridge in 1993.

Here is another larger shot from 1983 of the same location.

Here we have a house that no longer exists, the Christian house in Providence Forge in 1985. The parking lot on the viewers far left is the back of Citizens & Farmers Bank.

Here is a contemporary plat of that area to give you a better idea of the site

Saturday, May 28, 2022

Two Storms- 1893 & 1894


Destruction In New Kent, at West Point and Along the York River. 

(Correspondence of the Dispatch.) 

 OAK. NEW KENT COUNTY, VA. October 16.- Last Friday this section was visited by the most terrific wind and rain-storm that has ever been witnessed by our oldest Inhabitants. The rain seemed to fall in sheets, sometimes so dense that one could not see but a short distance.

 The crops of corn are not only lying flat in the fields, but large trees which have stood the storms of ages had to succumb. The public roads are literally blocked up by fallen timber, and at many points, it impossible to pass, except by winding through the woods or going through some private plantations. On the York river the storm was particularly severe. Many person having cord-wood corded on the landing haves suffered great loss. Captain George E. Brown, living on the Brick House farm, opposite West Point in this county, told your correspondent this morning that he sustained a loan of not less than $250. 


 The breastwork opposite Plum Point, which was thought to be so substantial as to defeat any power that might be brought to bear upon it by the wind and waves, was broken in many places. The tide was said to be two feet higher than ever before known. At West Point I learn that a one time it was thought the Terminal Hotel was in danger of being washed away. The lawn in front was washed to the steps of the hotel, and I learn it will take a large sum to place it in proper condition again. Although I hear of much loss of property, I hear of no lives lost.

-Richmond Dispatch,  October 17 1893


The Storm of Tuesday Kills George Davis. 

Wrecks Houses, and Ruins Crops. 

 OAK. NEW KENT COUNTY, VA.. June 8.-(Special.)~The most terrific Wind, hail and rain storm known to any of our oldest citizens visited the section lying between the villages of Barhamsville and Plum Point on Tuesday the 5th instant leaving death and destruction in its path. 

 Mr. A.R. Jennings¹ had two chimneys blown down which had stood the winds and storms for near a century. Mr. W.F. Woodward², who lives about one mile from Barhamsville, had the most of his potato plants washed into am adjoining field.

 Your correspondent visited the damaged section, and found that many of the crops were partly, and some totally destroyed.

 The crops of wheat and oats of Mr. A.G. Farinholt will prove a total loss. I was told by a gentleman that after the storm bushels of hail could have been collected, and by another that quantities of hail could be seen next morning. But the saddest case was the killing of George Davis, aged 14. The youth, with three colored men, had taken refuge in an unfinished log house, which was blown down, one of the logs striking the boy on the head and shoulders killing him instantly, but the colored men, with one exception, and he only slightly hurt, escaped.

 Many other houses in the stricken section were blown down, but I hear of no other injury to person or beast.

 Master George Davis was the stepson of Mrs. Rebecca Davis (nee Timberlake), and a son of John A. Davis.

 Were I to attempt to report all I hear of the storm, I should weary your patience too much. Let the above suffice

-Richmond Dispatch, June 9 1894

"Oak" was a post office in New Kent near the present location of the Saude Creek Winery

¹probably Alonzo R. Jennings

² probably Wyatt Franklin Woodward

Monday, May 16, 2022

Happenings - 1925



Tuesday was regular term of court for New Kent. Judge Robertson presided¹. The court was in session two days it being regular grand jury term. There were three indictments brought in for prohibition violations. One was fined $50 and sentenced to 30 days in jail, but jail sentence was suspended. Others were acquitted. One colored boy was indicted for breaking into the store of Goode Brothers² near Quinton. Case continued until next term, Sept. 15. A large crowd was present from Providence Forge, interested in the case of a young merchant, Mr. Charlie Hughes³of Providence Forge, who was indicted the last term of court for selling groceries on the Sabbath. Mr. Hughes is a hustling young merchant, doing a fine business, has beautiful property, beautiful dwelling, fine hotel, and is a fearless plunger in any enterprise where the vision of an extra dollar is in sight. He is on the job, and when he puts out a dollar there is soon another to keep it company. In a few years he will be wealthy, another New Kent millionaire. Another hustling merchant there is young Lem Binns. He is doing a fine business, as also are R. F. Mountcastle and R. E. Richardson, all in this growing little town of 500 inhabitants (soon will reach 1000).

Another at this place is Dr. Parker, a retired physician. He is now on Easy street, has a beautiful home and happy family. Doing an immense business at his large garages and selling automobiles, trucks, and tractors. He has sold more cars and trucks than all others combined. Wealthy he is, yet plain and sociable. Across the street is the beautiful home of Sheriff E. F. Gill, one of the happiest homes of the village. Electric lights, porcelain bath tubs, running water in every room, cold or hot as needed. Several years ago he married the beautiful operator Miss Cammie Robertson, one of the four beautiful Robertson girls. Unusual to see, yet it was a family off operators, they having learned under their devoted father, who served as such for the C. & O. for 30 years. All these sister operators, yet all of these sisters decided to get married and have homes of their own and now they have them. “While we are young we have a position as long as we want it, but the day will come when younger ones will take our places.” So all decided, as wise girls will, to marry young, and often if need be, for they would say we have no time to wait for time is flying, the rose that blooms today tomorrow may be dying.                                                                                TRUTHFUL JEEMS.


-West Point News, 7 August 1925

 ¹ Judge Thomas B. Robertson of the Hopewell corporation court who was sitting on the bench due to the illness of Judge D. G. Tyler.

² I have not been able to find a thing about any "Goode Brothers" store.

³ Charles Evans Hughes, but not that Charles Evans Hughes. He owned the wreath factory in Providence Forge as well as the general store. 

Leonard Binns the postmaster?

Dr. J. Russell Parker(Nov 20 1880- Dec 10 1964) owned Woodberry and Sycamore Springs

Sheriff Edward Franklin Gill (b. 1879) would be killed in a hit and run incident in 1929

Camilla J. Robertson one of the seven daughters of Junius Edward Robertson.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Slow News Day 1906



Trustful Cetacean Victim of York River Steamer's Rudder- Died Game. 

An immense porpoise followed the steamer Charlotte, of the York River Line, to West Point yesterday. While the boat was making its landing the rudder dealt a blow which crippled the fish. It managed to make Its way to the opposite side of the river, near Plum Point, where it was caught. It took four to lift the porpoise into a boat. It was put on exhibition on the King William pier at Beach Park.

-Richmond Evening Journal, 1 August 1906

Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Safe Blown Open!!- 1916



Providence Forge Establishment Entered—Several                                                    Thousand Stolen 


Work Apparently That of Export Thieves—Bloodhounds From State                                           Farm on Trail 

Bloodhounds were this morning brought from the state farm and put on the trail of the thieves who last night broke into and looted a store at Providence Forge in New Kent county, blowing open the safe and making away with several thousand dollars in cash and merchandise.

Early this morning Sheriff Sydnor¹, of Henrico county, received a long distance phone call from J.B. Richardson, of Providence Forge. apprising him of the robbery. Mr. Sydnor at once got into touch with Luther Scherer, of the Chesapeake & Ohio, and made arrangement for bringing the bloodhounds from the State farm to this city.

It is the hope of the police that with a fresh scent to work on the dogs may be able to locate the thieves in a short time. The police are of the opinion that the robbery was perpetrated by experienced yeggmen on account of the apparent ease with which they accomplished the entry to the safe and the fact that they got away with a large quantity of merchandise. That a large amount of merchandise was taken away leads the police to believe that a wagon was used to haul It. How the thieves managed to elude discovery on this account Is not known and this fact indicates unusual daring and ingenuity on their part. It is thought that there were several of them, as it is not believed one man could have accomplished the entry of the store, the breaking of the safe and the making away with & large quantity of goods by himself. Encumbered with the goods it is not thought that they could get far, and for this reason the police hope to nab them early. Arriving at Providence Forge the dogs were immediately put on the trail and will be kept on it until tonight if the thieves are not captured before then. Sheriff Sydnor issued orders for a sharp lookout to he kept for suspicious characters in Henrico county, as it is said that the thieves made their way in this direction.

-Evening Journal (Richmond) 13 July 1916

"Yeggman" was an early 20th century word meaning safecracker.

¹ William Webb Sydnor

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

One Hundred Years Ago




“The snow, the snow, the beautiful snow”—that is to the beaux and belles as they speed over it as only lovers can, while the sleigh bells give music to the occasion. It makes one who has passed courting days sigh for the days of his youth, but the mill can never grind with the water that has passed. We have had our pleasures and our sorrows, and so it will be with all. 

This is one of the worst snow storms for many years. The poor dumb creatures suffer, both the domestic animals and the wild game of the forest. Beautiful partridges are coming from the woods where they have been hiding from the huntsmen. The farmers are feeding them. 

Young Whit Tunstall*, who is a fine farmer and good sportsman in season, says he has put away his gun. He has killed this season twelve wild turkeys, seven deer, and no telling how many squirrels and rabbits. Returns from a shipment of fur caught this season amounted to $194. He now has more to sell. He is an expert trapper. Now he is knitting a shad seine that will be ready when the fish begin to run. All this will be over in time for farming. He has the prettiest fields of wheat and oats to be found and over 500 bushels of Irish potatoes ready for market. There are many other young men who are making money by farming.

There was general sorrow all through New Kent when it was reported that Dr. C. L. Bailey had sold his- beautiful farm to Mr. Richard McCormick near Quinton. Dr. Bailey has been here twenty years—one of the most beloved and successful doctors we ever had. He is going to locate at Highland Springs. He says he cannot stand the terrible roads in New Kent. He is quite a young man and has only his wife. He could have retired from practice years ago and lived at ease the rest of his life. He will have a fine field to work and fine roads.

Mr. C. W. Bowry¹is building a fine dwelling on the farm bought some time ago. Will move in the spring to his new home. 

Johnson Miller will soon move into his new dwelling near Quinton.

Mr. Riley, of Gloucester, who bought several large tracts of timber near Quinton will soon finish cutting the timber. Mr. Walker, his brother-in-law, is general manager. 

Our faithful rural mail carrier is having a hard time as only a half of the route from Quinton can be made in one day. No one complains, though we certainly miss our mail, especially as we can do nothing this weather but keep fires, feed the stock, and read our paper all day and our Bible at night. The school teachers and children are having a difficult time getting to school. 

Hens have struck. Say they will not lay until the weather breaks up. Now for 75c eggs again!      

                                                                  Truthful Jeems.

- West Point News,  3 February 1922

*Whitmel Pearson Tunstall Jr.,(Jan 13 1890-April  28 1979). W. P. Tunstall Jr. lived at White Hall.

 Dr. Charles Llewellyn Bailey (May 14 1876- Aug 1 1929)

¹ Charles W. Bowery, (Sep 9 1866- Dec 23 1951), The property date fits the house on Henpeck Road.