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A Brief History of Gloucester, Virginia

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A brief history of Gloucester, Virginia. Very much a part of early US English history. This report can be copied and or shared on any site and or used by anyone as long as the contents are not altered in anyway.

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A Brief History of Gloucester, Virginia

  1. 1. A Brief History of Gloucester, Virginia From the earliest of English history in the US to modern day technological advancements, Gloucester County, Virginia is in the forefront of the silent history that impacts the world. This brief history will show you how and why. By; Chuck Thompson of TTC MediaUnited States English American history begins with the landing at Jamestown, Virginia. Lessthan 30 miles away from what is now known as Gloucester, Virginia. The new English frontierbegins in Jamestown but is superseded by native American history of Gloucester, Virginiawhere Pocahontas was born in 1595 to chief Powhatan. Pocahontas, aka Matoaka, her realgiven name, was responsible for saving the life of Captain John Smith and building the firstbridges of understanding between the Native Americans and English settlers. Pocahontasmarried John Rolfe in Jamestown, Virginia and lived with him on his tobacco plantation inHenrico County, Virginia until they moved to England where she died a year later from smallpox. Gloucester County or Werowocomoco, was the seat of Powhatans Confederacy of 30 tribesor about 12,000 to 15,000 Native Americans until around 1609. The location of Powhatanschimney in the area of Wicomico in Gloucester County, was first thought to be the site ofPowhatans seat of power, but has since changed to further north in the county around Arkand Purtan Bay area. It is hard to pinpoint exact present locations of early American history as land values havechanged dramatically throughout time. Counties such as Gloucester were once part of YorkCounty which was also a part of James Citti an area that held Jamestown as the seat ofgovernment and encompassed land all the way out to West Point and included Williamsburg,Yorktown, Gloucester and others at one time. Present day Mathews county was once a partof Gloucester County. So again, even early Gloucester history is partially skewed by past andpresent day boundary lines that did not exist in earlier times. Early history shows that Gloucester was a part of the tobacco trade and plantationsflourished throughout the county taking advantage of this lucrative business. FairfieldPlantation was established in 1642 by Lewis Burwell and was a part of the many tobaccoplantations of the early colonies. Tobacco back in that era was as good as cash. 1651 – Gloucester County is formed off of York County and established. The county isnamed after Henry Stuart, Duke of Gloucester, third son of King Charles 1 st of Great Britain.Daffodils are planted around the county that later become significant to future history. 1657 – Warner Plantation is established by Augustine Warner, the grandfather of GeorgeWashington. 1667 – Fortifications are built at Tyndal Point to serve as a protection location of the YorkRiver. Tyndal Point is presently known as Gloucester Point.
  2. 2. 1674 – Nathaniel Bacon begins his famous “Rebellion”. 1676 – Nathaniel Bacon burns Jamestown to the ground. He and half his troops run forcover in Gloucester, Virginia while the other half run to nearby Surry, Virginia to hide out. OnOctober 26th he dies of Dysentery in Gloucester County. Where is not known. 1715 – 1773 World renowned botanist John Clayton comes to Gloucester, Virginia with hisfather from England. He also serves as clerk of the county. Many books today still site hisresearch. 1725 – Mann Page begins Rosewell Plantation in what is presently known as the RosewellRuins. The Page family is considered one of the first families of Virginia. Rosewell isconsidered the most elaborate home ever built in the colonies and was designed to exceedthe Governors Palace that was just built in Williamsburg in every level of luxury andamenities. The home, (now ruins), is of tremendous historical importance in our nationshistory. John Page, grandson of Mann Page went to the college of William and Mary inWilliamsburg and was close friends with Thomas Jefferson who spent a great deal of time atthis site. It is said that early drafts of the Declaration of Independence were created here. John Page went on to become Governor of Virginia and also served in the AmericanRevolution attaining the rank of colonel. Meetings between John Page, Thomas Jeffersonand George Washington were a normal occurrence. 1781 – Battle of the Hook takes place here in Gloucester that essentially hinders LordCornwalliss escape route from the coming American and French armies. Surrender by theBritish occurs both in Yorktown and in Gloucester. 1851 – Dr Walter Reed is born here. Dr. Reed is famous as the medical hero whodiscovered the cause for and cure of Yellow Fever. 1861 – The first shots of the Civil War in Virginia are fired from Gloucester Point. It was wellunderstood that protecting the York River from a northern invasion was very important as theYork is an easy access point to Richmond via West Point. A northern ship trying to sail upthe York River was fired on and rendered helpless moving over to the York County side of theriver staying away from further enemy fire. 1930s and 1940s. Gloucester is named the “Daffodil Capital of America”. Annual festivalsare still held each year celebrating this vibrant flower. 1940 – VIMS or the Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences is founded here. Part of the collegeof William and Mary, VIMS impacts the world with its research findings and its work is muchsought after around the globe. 1952 – The George P Coleman Bridge is opened to traffic. Rebuilt in record time in 1995 tocreate more lanes for traffic, this bridge once it was finished was the largest in the world at thetime. Today it ranks largest of its kind in the United States and Second in the world but itsabout to become third place. It is a double swing span bridge that extends almost 90 feetabove water at its highest area.
  3. 3. Present day. Gloucester as one can clearly see, has been at the forefront of history that hashad great effects on both the nation and the world around us and yet its all in the backgroundof the history books if mentioned at all. Gloucester continues this great tradition today andwho knows what the future holds? If history is a key indicator, then Gloucester will continueits greatness but maybe, just maybe, no longer in the footnotes of the history books butinstead at the front of the history books. Gloucester County government sponsors events throughout the year celebrating its greathistory and now you what pride exists amongst its residents.

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