(Pocomoke City, Md,)-Accomac-Onley-Exmore-Eastville-Cape Charles; US 13. Maryland Line to Cape Charles, 62.2 m.
Concrete-paved throughout. Pennsylvania R.R. parallels route. Ferries cross Chesapeake Bay from Cape Charles to Old Point Comfort and Norfolk; for costs and schedules see below. Small hotels on Chincoteague Island, in Accomac, Eastville, and a few other towns; tourist homes in villages; a few tourist camps.
US 13 drops down the middle of Virginia's Eastern Shore on a fairly straight course to Cape Charles near the tip of the narrowed peninsula that separates Chesapeake Bay from the ocean. The fertile land of Accomac County-the northern two-thirds of this peninsula-is abundantly wooded and rolls gently out to marshy flats along both coasts, which are interlaced by innumerable inlets and shallow bays. A chain of low islands along the east protects the mainland from the full winter force of Atlantic storms. These sheltered waters abound with fish and shellfish, which form one of the chief sources of local income. Most of Northampton County, the other third of the peninsula, is absolutely flat. Truck farms dotted with neatly-kept white frame houses stretch away to the dark green walls of pine woods, which form windbreaks against wintry gales. This landscape makes a curious impression; it is as though everything in sight had been laid out with T-square and compass. At the end of long side roads, houses, occasionally of brick and very old, stand in solitude on meadowy lawns close to the water.
The Eastern Shore can boast an unusual number of small seventeenth and eighteenth-century houses. They are generally story-and-a-half frame structures on brick foundations with dormered gambrel roofs-often with brick end walls-or, somewhat later and more numerously, designed in a style peculiar to this region: the 'big house, little house, colonnade, and kitchen.' This type evolved to keep pace with families that grew in size and prosperity. A single unit sufficed at first. Another was built adjoining it, and finally.unless it had been constructed along with the first -the 'kitchen' at the end of a short, enclosed passage called the 'colonnade,' though quite innocent of columns. In fishing communities by the water T-shaped houses with gable roofs were more popular. Some fairsized brick mansions date from the latter half of the eighteenth century.
All is prosperous looking in this world of vast vegetable gardens. The potato has long been the staple crop here. When its price is up, the people live well; when its price is down, sadness prevails. The principal industries are closely related to agriculture: chiefly canning of fruit and vegetables, manufacture of containers, production of fertilizer, and lumbering.
The Indians called all of the lower peninsula Accawmacke (land beyond the water). It was first settled by whites in 1614 and in the early years Crown messages were sent: 'To our faithful subjects of ye Colonie of Virginia and ye Kingdom of Accawmacke.' Accomac was one of the eight shires into which Virginia was divided in 1634.
US 13 crosses the Maryland Line, 0.0 m., 6 miles south of Pocomoke City, Md. (see Maryland Guide). The boundary between Virginia and Maryland was not clearly established across the peninsula until 1894. This settled a controversy between these states reaching back to the early days of Lord Baltimore's Proprietary. In 1663 Colonel Edmund Scarburgh, surveyor general of Virginia, was ordered by the general assembly to run a line setting the limits of the territories. Attended by five companions and 'about fourty horsemen,' whom he took with him 'for Pomp of safety' and 'to repell that Contempt' which, he was informed, 'some Quakers and a foole in office had threatened to obtrude,' he dragooned the inhabitants into submission to Virginia. The recalcitrants were arrested 'to answer their Contempt and Rebellion'; and, where they could obtain no security, their goods were seized and 'the broad arrow set on the doore.' Nor was the opportunity to harass dissenters neglected. George Johnson, one of those arrested, was stigmatized by Scarburgh in his report as 'ye Proteus of heresy,' notorious for 'shiffting, scismatticall pranks.' What the Virginia assembly had intended simply as a surveying expedition was converted into a war of conquest and a religious crusade. In 1668 another survey was made-called the Calvert-Scarburgh line--and became the basis for a long-drawn-out controversy between the States.
NEW CHURCH, 1.7 m. (50 pop.), a scattered handful of houses, recalls a church that once stood here.
Left from New Church on County 709 to HORNTOWN, 4.2 m., a group of frame houses and two or three shops, long a trading place for the people of Chincoteague. Its name was derived from a habit fish peddlers had of blowing horns to advertise their wares.
SHEPHERDS' INN (open), SE. angle of crossroads, a log structure built before 1731 with end chimneys, has been weatherboarded.
WELBOURNE (L), built about 1811 by Drummond Welbourne, is now a roofless, crumbling shell of brick. An arcaded loggia on one side and indications of a once gracefully sloping roof hint at former beauty. Having planned beyond his means, Welbourne was unable to complete his house and is said to have committed suicide out of consequent sorrow.
Left from Horntown 0.4 m. on County 679 to a dirt road; R. here to CORBIN HALL, 1.5 m., a brick mansion on Chincoteague Farm built in 725 by Samuel Welbourne and remodeled in 1787 by George Corbin. Below the gabled roof is a modillioned cornice. Renovations in 1895 included a slate roof and a small vestibule projecting from the facade below a tiny Palladian window dating from 1787. A wide Victorian porch faces Chincoteague Bay. The attractive old interior trim includes pilasters rising to an arch across the hall. Beneath the house lies a drainage system constructed in the eighteenth century. North of the house are the graves of the Corbins.
At about 2.8 m. the tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad are seen (R). In the 1880's the first tracks were laid down the peninsula by the New York, Philadelphia & Norfolk Railroad to meet ferries from Norfolk across the bay. The initials of the company, NYP & N, became the local name for the line-'the Nip and N.'
At 4.1 m. is CHINCOTEAGUE (Ind. large stream, inlet; pronounced shin-ca-teeg) CROSSROADS.
Left here on State 175, which traverses flat marshland cut by several inlets, over a series of causeways and bridges to CHINCOTEAGUE ISLAND (guides and equipment for fishing), 9.8 m. (2,130 pop.). Dozens of small fishing boats hug little wharves that jut out from amongst piles of oyster shells along the shore where the center of the island community is concentrated in neatly.kept white frame buildings. Houses and commercial structures along the water front are set upon brick piers. The principal street continues north and south as a shore road; several side roads lead off through pine groves and low meadowland across the long, narrow island.
Oysters, clams, and fish provide a source of income for a majority of the islanders, though poultry raising and catering to amateur fishermen have begun to bring in more cash. The local importance of commercial fishing is evident in the long lines of nets hung out to dry, boats being built or repaired in little home yards, figures of speech used by everyone, and the blue overalls, pea jackets, and hip boots of the men at work. Fishing goes on the year round, clams, oysters, and crabs being the chief catches. Chincoteague oysters have always been notable. Seed or small oysters are brought here from natural beds and put down on hard sand bottoms rented f rom the State.
Various devices are used in this area for commercial fishing. The pound-net or weir-called locally 'ware'-is most common, but gill nets, haul nets, and even purse nets are used-though the latter, pulled behind a motor boat, are strictly illegal in Virginia waters. Public opinion, however, regards purse netting much as it did bootlegging during prohibition. Full of disaster for the hard-working fishermen are the hazards of their enterprise: ice that may tear nets and storms that damage boats as well as nets and sometimes bury oyster beds under silt and debris. The fresh seafood is sold on the local wharves to buyers for Northern markets, the prices being fixed by the wholesale marketers.
Widely known too are the Chincoteague ponies, which, like those on the neighboring Assateague Island, used to roam over the island pastures. The origin of these animals.stunted horses rather than real ponies-is obscure, but all accounts agree that they are descendants of horses that strayed or were abandoned in early Colonial times. Their present size is probably the result of a marsh grass diet over many generations. Romanticists prefer to believe that these ill-behaved Houyhnhnms descend from Arabian mounts left by pirates in the heyday of the Spanish Main, or that such horses swam ashore from a Spanish galleon, wrecked off this coast. Annual Pony Penning Day, the last Thursday in July, is an important local event, drawing a large crowd of visitors. The ponies, taller and more graceful than Shetlands, are corralled, the foals branded, and many sold at auction. Visitors buy colts the size of large dogs, which they carry off in their automobiles. The island wears a carnival air for a day, with amusement concessions; but the revels of a century ago are known no more, especially since fencing laws have thrown the business entirely into the hands of a few.
On October 25, 1662, Chincoteague Island was granted to Captain William Whitington by Wachawampe, Emperor of the Gingo Teagues, and regranted twice later. Wachawampe's will of 1656 is on file at Eastville.
ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, separated from Chincoteague by an inlet dotted with flat little islands (reached by boat; hire 500), is a long strip of land with an excellent beach stretching its wooded and meadowy area, without habitation, outside Chincoteague and far up the Maryland coast. Wild ponies roam this island freely, and one of the most interesting sights of Pony Penning Day is the spectacle of their being forced to swim across the inlet to the auction.
TEMPERANCEVILLE, 7.9 m. (140 pop.), another loose gathering of modern frame dwellings and shops, was early settled by Quakers and named, it is said, for a Mr.Temperance, who owned a plantation near by. Most of the Quakers moved away about 1657 to avoid stringent laws passed against them.
Right from Temperanceville on State 288, which becomes County 695 at 1.6 M., to a dirt road, 5.6 m.; R. here 0.5 m. to the MAKEMIE MONUMENT (L), a stone figure of Francis Makernie (1658-1708) in clerical garments on a roughhewn granite pedestal near the site of his house. A small truncated pyramid of brick fragments from the house marks the probable site of the family graveyard.
Makemie, born in Ireland, came to this country in 1683 as a Presbyterian missionary and trader. Settling in Accomac, he acquired much property and a wife, Naomi Anderson, daughter of a wealthy merchant. He moved to the Barbadoes, stayed until 1698, then returned to Accomac. When he was arrested for preaching without a license, he pleaded his cause in such a manner that he was later granted a license to preach; his 'dwelling house in Pocomoke near the Maryland line, and at Onancock . . . , were recognized meeting places. After organizing several congregations and importing two missionaries from London, he formed at Philadelphia in 1706 the first presbytery in America.
County 695 becomes a dirt road, 8.2 m., on a causeway that crosses marshy flats dotted by clumps of trees on firmer ground, to SAXIS ISLAND, 11.5 m. (500 pop.), a fishing settlement of widely scattered houses not far from little wharves on the bay side. Here, as in other fishing communities on the eastern shore, the mainstay is the seafood industry. Windmills pump water in summer for muskrats, which are the source of income for at least one islander.
MAPPSVILLE (105 POP.), 11.5 m., is a roadside huddle on US 13.
Left from Mappsville on County 689 to County 679, 1.3 m.; L. here to County 689, 1.5 m.; R. to a dirt road, 1.8 m.; L. to WHARTON PLACE, 2.3 m., an almost square brick house at the far end of a field above Assawoman Creek. The openings have white stone lintels, and once-decorative wooden plaques break the space between upper and lower windows. Though the general design suggests 1825 as the approximate date of construction, it is known that at the time of the Revolution a distinguished smuggler, John Wharton, lived here. Smuggling was common throughout the colonies, and respectable.
Southward the highway runs through well-cultivated farms, on which Irish and sweet potatoes and many other vegetables are grown. The decline in potato prices has encouraged diversification. The marketing season of 1936 was the occasion for picketing of the highways by farmers in this area in an effort to enforce organized selling of crops to maintain prices.
Tenant houses dot the far edges of fields along the roads. Whole tenant families work during harvest time, women and children 'graveling' potatoes, picking fruit, or gathering vegetables, while the men load and carry the produce from the fields in two-wheeled carts, called locally 'tumble carts.' The pine woods, alternating everywhere here with the fields, have a park-like trimness.
PASTORIA, 18.6 m. (50 POP.), is so scattered that only a few houses and a filling station are visible at the crossroads. Colonel John Donelson and his wife Rachel Stockley, who lived in this neighborhood sometime before 1766, became the parents of Andrew Jackson's wife, Rachel.
Right from Pastoria on State 176 to PARKSLEY, 2.5 m. (800 pop.), an inharmonious union of commercial district full of garish signs on shabby buildings and a spacious, regularly laid out residential section wearing a pleasant late-Victorian air. Factories here can and ship fruits and vegetables.
At 21.3 m. on US 13 is a junction with County 662.
Left here to the entrance (L) to MOUNT CUSTIS, 2.5 m., three separate houses knit into a compact hodgepodge by passages. Attractive dormers are perched on its red gabled roofs. The house stands on land patented by John McKeel or Michael, a Scotchman who migrated about 1640 to Virginia and married the daughter of his friend and fellow traveler, John Custis. McKeel built the house, to which a west end was added in 1710 and an cast wing in 1834.
At 21.9 m. on US 13 is a junction with County 652.
Left here to BOWMAN's FOLLY (R), 2.5 m., on a knoll almost surrounded by creeks. The white frame structure has brick ends and a gabled roof above a cornice with delicate corbels. A Palladian window above a simple porch and five dormers give some distinction. Two small and perhaps older buildings ramble out as a low wing at one side, and several others stand about in the picket-fenced yard.
The first house on this site was built by Edmund Bowman, who considered his migration to Virginia a folly when his only son died here of 'slow fever' in 1660. The present house was built for General John Cropper (1755-1821), who married Bowman's daughter Gertrude. General Cropper, says the inscription on his tomb here, 'was an officer in the Revolution and did continue until the end.' On February 12, 1779, while at home on leave, he was surprised by a raiding party from the British-Bermudian sloop Thistle Tender, which had come up Folly Creek, a deep inlet that reaches the foot of the lawn. Cropper escaped in his underclothes and went for aid, but the only companion he could find deserted when near the house. Cropper held his ground, fired his weapons in quick succession, and shouted, 'Come on, my braves.'The British fled, thinking he had brought many defenders. Cropper found his wife and daughter locked in an outhouse, the main house planted with gunpowder, and his plate, jewelry, and 30 slaves missing.
ACCOMAC, 22.5 m. (41 alt., 700 POP.), seat of Accomac County, is a leisured little center of affairs for two-thirds of the Virginia eastern shore, with plenty of old trees and several houses surviving from the middle of the eighteenth century. In 1786 the general assembly voted that 'ten acres of land, the property of Richard Drummond, adjoining to Accomack. courthouse, shall be . . . laid out into lots of half an acre each, with convenient streets,' as 'a town by the name of Drummond.'
Henry Alexander Wise (1806.76), a native of Accomac, was governor of Virginia from 1856 to 1860. During the trial of John Brown and his associates, Governor Wise went himself to Harpers, Ferry to see that the laws of Virginia were properly carried out; and, after the prisoners were condemned, he ordered troops to Charles Town to guard them. In the army of the Confederacy he served with distinction as brigadier general.
The COURTHOUSE (R), which in the late 1890's replaced a charming Colonial building, is of bright red brick, its appearance somewhat ameliorated by a row of several little old frame law offices at one side of its yard. Accomac (Ind., otherside place) was formed in 1655 from Northampton County (see below), though the boundary was not officially defined until 1662.
At a court trial held in Accomac in March 1679, a jury of women was summoned. The case concerned the alleged murder of an infant, born of Mary Andrews, unmarried daughter of Sarah Carter and stepdaughter of Paul Carter. By the 'ordeal of touch,' which involved digging up the body of the baby and causing it to be'stroaked' by the accused persons, the jury Of 12 women found Paul Carter guilty, for-while he was 'stroaking' the child-black and 'sotted' places on its body grew 'fresh and red.'
Anthony Johnson of Accomac County, one of the first African captives brought to Virginia, was the first free Negro, the first Negro landowner, and the first Negro slaveowner in the Colony. Freed in 1622 or 1623, Anthony Johnson by 1651 was able to pay for the importation of five persons into Virginia, on whose 'head rights' he received 25c, acres of land. On the Pungoteague Creek Anthony Johnson established the first Negro community in America. In 1654 he was able to persuade the court that he was entitled to the services 'for life' of one John Casor, a Negro-a decision that marks, so far as the records reveal, the first judicial sanction of life servitude except as punishment for crime.
The DEBTOR'S PRISON (R) is a small brick building, stuccoed and vinecovered, with a gabled roof over its one story.
ST.JAMES' CHURCH, N. side of street between US 13 and Back St., is a very pleasant example of Greek Revival design. Before the yellow stuccoed end of the rectangular, brick body stand four Greek-Doric columns of a portico.
The DRUMMOND HOUSE, E. side Back St., a weathered red brick dwelling, is composed of three units: a large, two-and-a-half story section with the ridge of its gabled roof parallel to the street; a smaller, two-story section with its gable end forming part of the facade; and a low connecting passage. The house was built in 1750 by one of the many land.holding Drummonds.
Right from Accomac on State 177 to County 66r, 3.1 m., which turns L. to a dirt road, 4.9 m.; R. here to HILL FARM, 5.7 m., by the water. The red brick house, built about 1685, is large for that date. It has one long, full story on a high foundation and a half-story lighted by dormers set closely on the tall gabled roof. A formal porch, a small frame extension at one end, and the sash windows topped by flat brick arches, as well as the dormers must have been added in later years. This land was patented about 1663 by a Captain Richard Hill, who seems to have come to Accomac in 1632 and whose daughter was later married to John Drummond, the immigrant.
TASLEY, 24.7 m. (250 POP.), is a railway shipping point. The annual Potato Blossom Festival, held here about the first of June, centers around the crowning of a young girl as queen of the pink and white blossoms.
Right from Tasley on State 178 to ONANCOCK (Ind., foggy place), 2.2 M. (1,240 pop.) (boats for charter to Tangier Island; Sm.), with inlets bringing water to the foot of many streets. Away from the business district lawns are wide and houses, several of them old, are pleasantly shaded by trees. This is a storage point for oil and gasoline, which are brought in by boat and distributed in tank trucks.
Onancock was an Indian village when John Pory was a guest of Ekeeks, king of the Onancocks in 1621. At the feast the visitors were introduced to oysters and 'batata' or potatoes. After burning his mouth on hot potatoes, Master Pory said, 'I would not give a farthing for a shipload.' Onancock was established in 1680 as one of the 19 places designated by the general assembly in the Act of Cohabitation, to provide 'ports of entry.' Onancock became the county seat the year it was created, and so remained until 1786.
During the Revolution it was headquarters for the troops under General John Cropper. In these years the Eastern Shore suffered from frequent raids by British privateers. On November 30, 1782, occurred the Battle of the Barges, so called because of the crude craft used. Commodore Whaley of Maryland sallied forth with four barges to attack the marauders. He pursued the enemy vessels, caused them to strike their colors, but was killed when the powder on his barge exploded.
The KERR (pronounced, car) PLACE (R) is a large red brick house at the end of a very deep tree-shaded lawn. The two-story facade is heightened by a pediment that rises from the cornice of the gabled roof above a formal central entrance. Considerable length is added by a wing set back slightly at one end. The house was built in 1779 by John Shepard of Scotland.
TANGIER ISLAND (1,225 POP.) (reached by mail boat from Crisfield, Md.; noon daily, fare $0.50), in Chesapeake Bay about 12 miles from the mainland, is almost unspoiled by the machine age. Descendants of early settlers live in freshly painted frame houses surrounded by picket fences along straight, narrow streets. In the front yards are many tombstones, though burials are now in a public cemetery. People in Tangier fish, worship, live peaceably, and are intimate with rain, sun, and the sea. Their transportation needs are met by boats, pushcarts, wheelbarrows, and bicycles. Their speech retains old words, phrases, and pronunciations. Retaining a doctor, whom they pay by assessing each family, the islanders have demonstrated the efficiency of co-operative medicine.
Yet the outside world is reaching Tangier. Visitors now bring strange notions and even flasks in pockets or handbags. Time was when no islander dared be seen on the streets during church hours, but customs have changed since the death of a pastor who was known to break beer bottles and pour their contents into the sea.
When Captain John Smith explored the bay in 1608, he found Tangier inhabited by the Pocomokes. On his map of 1612 Tangier and Watt Islands bear the name'Russels Isles,' honoring Dr. Walter Russell, the physician who accompanied Smith. In 1670 Tangier was granted to Ambrose White; and in 1686 John Crockett and his eight sons settled here. About a third of the present inhabitants bear the name of Crockett.
The hero of the island is the early minister, Joshua Thomas, whose prayers were those of a righteous man. As a fisher lad, he prayed for large catches and was heard. He prayed that the girl he loved would marry him; and then, praying for a home, he was led to Tangier. That was not so long after America became a republic. Then came the War of 1812, when the British used the island as a base for their operations in the Bay. Brother Joshua, sorely distressed, invited the enemy to come to his temple in the grove. There he prayed that their efforts would meet failure and, in a stirring sermon, declared their cause to be unrighteous and prophesied their defeat.
ONLEY, 26.1 m. (476 pop.), a few dwellings and stores at a bend of the road, is headquarters of the Eastern Shore Produce Exchange, a co-operative marketing agency, organized in 1899.
KELLER, 31.8 m. (300 POP.), is a railroad shipping point.
1. Left from Keller on State 180 to KELLER FAIRGROUNDS (L), I m., where the Keller Agricultural Show has been held annually since the early 1880's.
WACHAPREAGUE (Ind., little city by the sea), 5.3 m. (675 pop.), on the site of the Indian town of the Machipungoes, is a base for sport fishing.
2. Right on State Igo to PUNGOTEAGUE (Ind., place of fine sand), 3.4 M. (150 pop.), seat of Accomac from 1662 to 1677. Court was held at the tavern of John Cole, who vainly attempted to keep the court day trade by offering to furnish bricks and woodwork for a courthouse. On August 27, 1665, the first theatrical performance in Virginia was given in this town. For presenting Ye Bare and Ye Cubb, Cornelius Wilkinson, Phillip Howard, and William Derby were ordered to appear before the court (on the complaint of a busybody named Edward Martin) 'in those habilmets that they then acted in, and give a draught of such verses, or other speeches and passages which were then acted by them.' After presenting their wares, the men were acquitted of the charge of immorality; the complainant was fined.
On May 30, 1814, the British admiral, Sir George Cockburn, landed on Pungoteague Creek with 500 marines and fought the Eastern Shore militia. Fearing capture, he retired to Tangier Island.
Right from Pungoteague 0.3 m. on State 178 to (L) ST.GEORGE'S CHURCH (open 10-5), a rectangular, early eighteenth.century building of brick with gabled roof. The front wall, which has been rebuilt above the simple entrance, is laid in Flemish bond-the dull glazed headers still making a strong pattern. This is only a remnant of a much larger church, which was cruciform in plan. During the War between the States this building was used by Union forces as a stable. The two transepts were so badly damaged that when the church was restored they were taken down; their bricks were used to restore the part that remains. The church preserves an early Bible and prayer book and, though now in St. George's Parish, still uses on special occasions the communion service presented to Accomac Parish by Queen Anne.
PAINTER, 34.5 m. (200 pop.), is a modern settlement around a railroad station.
Left from Painter on State 182 to County 605 in the little settlement of QUINBY, 3.8 m.; R. on County 605 to WARWICK (L), 4.7 m., long and low, half brick and half frame. The steep gabled roof has five dormers on each slope. The house has been restored and extended by a porch-girt addition facing the water. Another house faces it across the yard, a slightly later frame dwelling of three units. The brick part of Warwick was built in 1672 by Arthur Upshur as his seat on 2,000 acres granted him by 'Pyony, King of the Machipungoe' for 'four good coats.' Rachel, Upshur's wife, was bitten by a rabid fox near the well and developed hydrophobia. To save her from the agonies of death from rabies.or in an effort to prevent her from injuring herself.her attendants smothered her to death between two feather beds.
At 37.5 m. on US 13 is a junction with State 181.
Right here to a junction with State 178 in BELLE HAVEN STATION, 0.7 M.; straight ahead on State 178 to County 613, 3.4 m.; L. here to County 612,6 m.; R. here to County 6 11, 6.7 m. and L. to HEDRA COTTAGE (L), 7.2 m., a 'big house'-not so big-and a little house both gray and weather-beaten. The two units are connected by a 'colonnade.' The larger house, two.storied, is older than the tiny story-and-a-half cottage and replaced Occahannock House, the home of Edmund Scarburgh 11, villain of the early Eastern Shore drama.
The first Edmund Scarburgh settled on the Eastern Shore in the early days and patented much land. The story goes that his son, the second Edmund Scarburgh, was a bold and unscrupulous man. He accumulated wealth to the hurt of his friends; yet he was once a powerful person, even for a time speaker of the house of burgesses. Charged with piracy and debt, he had fled from the Eastern Shore sometime before 1653; in that year he had been disabled from holding office, and a warrant had been issued for his arrest. In March 1655 he had been pardoned by the governor and council. He played a part in Virginia history till his death during a smallpox epidemic in 1671. This Edmund had two sons. One of these, another Edmund, sided with Berkeley in Bacon's Rebellion of 1676. Charles, however, the second son, sided with Bacon and later became a trustee of the new College of William and Mary.
EXMORE, 39 m. (37 alt., 700 POP.), shipping point at the junction of several roads, has comfortable brick and frame houses.
Left from Exmore on State 183 to WILLIS WHARF, 1.5 m. (467 pop.), on flat marshes facing warehouses. Spic and span modem houses stand beside those mellowed by time and salt air. Cargoes of iced seafood are sent from the wharves to Northern ports. Fertilizer is manufactured here from fish unsuited for the market. Oyster shells from the packing plant are used for road surfacing and are converted into lime.
Southeast of Willis Wharf across Hog Island Bay is HOG ISLAND, 11 m. (300 POP.) (mail boat to Willis Wharf daily, fare $0.50), a narrow strip of land with a 9-mile beach on the Atlantic Ocean. The island is the home of fisherfolk, who, like those on Tangier Island, have retained many of the customs of their forefathers. Hog Island is one of the few places in Virginia and the country where gasoline is sold legally without a State tax. Because the beaches are used as roads, nature has eliminated the expense of road building, for which the tax is collected elsewhere.
Along the highway in NASSAWADOX, 43.4 m. (1,000 pop.), are unpainted frame houses and a canning factory. William Robinson, a Quaker who entered the colony about 1656 and was promptly arrested on the complaint of the Anglican churchmen, was eventually released and aided fellow-Quakers by pretending to help them leave the colony. Actually he landed the dissenters on Nassawadox Creek, where Levin Denwood provided them with a log-cabin meeting house.
BIRDSNEST, 46.3 m., bears some resemblance to its name.
Right from Birdsnest on County 620 to County 618, 0.7 m.; R. here to County 61g, 1.6 m.; L. here through woods of straight, longleaf pine mixed with Oak and occasional holly to HUNGAR'S CHURCH (L), 3 m., built in 75 1. Its urbane charm is unexpected in the woods. Rectangular, of old-rose brick in Flemish bond with the headers making a faint blue design, it has blankets of ivy here and there. S and T irons give support to the old walls, and the facade is broken by twin entrances with semicircular brick arches set off by white stone keys and springers. A long window, similar in design, is set above and between them.
After the Revolution the organ was dismantled, the pipes being melted down for the manufacture of weights for fishing nets. When the building was restored in 1850, the wall at one end was re-erected some distance behind the former one, shortening the church. Vestments presented to the parish by Queen Anne are in the clerk's office at Eastville. Hungar's, formed with the first settlement here and once divided into two parishes, was in 1691 again made a single parish, because the 'small number of tithables ...are soe burderned that they are not able to maintain a minister in each...'
The entrance (L) to WINONA (open by arrangement), is at 3.6 m. Standing on a high foundation in a meadow near the water, the story-and-a-half house has a modern shingled roof, pierced by pairs of reconstructed eighteenth-century dormers, and is flanked by two modern frame additions. The bricks of the walls, mellow rose except for a bright red section restored on the front, are laid in Flemish bond. Hidden by the addition at one end is the most striking feature of the house, a buttressed chimney topped by three tall clustered stacks that rise high above the roof. Winona and Bacon's Castle (see Tour 10) have the only chimneys of this type that have survived in Virginia. None of the old woodwork remains.
The land was patented in 1644 by Edwyn Conaway, who received it for John Severne, then under age. As he came of age in the following year, Severne repatented it. This house may have been built at about that time. The initials 'J.S.' are on bricks in the wall near the south door, and in the chimney is a brick with a date that looks very Re 1645.
At 4.2 m. is a junction with County 622; R. here 1.4 m. to HUNGAR's GLEBE, a neglected but sturdy survivor from 1745. The dark red brick walls rest on a high foundation with pronounced water table and are broken by windows with flat-arched heads of brick. The end chimneys have molded tops, and the unusual gabled swag roof has dormers irregularly spaced.
On County 619 is VAUCLUSE, 7.6 m., a white frame house in a grove of trees by the water. Two-storied and rectangular, the building has brick ends and a gabled roof over denticulated cornice. The twin formal porches that shelter both entrances and the irregular additions were added long after the house was built about 1784 by Littleton Upshur, father of Abel P. Upshur (1791.1844), who lived here for many years. Abel Upshur was Secretaryof the Navy 1841-43) and then succeeded Daniel Webster as Secretary of State. He was killed with others on February 28, 1844, when a gun exploded on the Princeton.
At 52 m. on US 13 is a junction with a dirt road.
Right here to KENDALL GROVE, 1.2 m., in a forest. The main part of the large graywhite frame house is a tall gabled unit with a central pediment; there are lower, gabled extensions at the sides. Outbuildings at the rear include several tiny frame cabins. The nearest dependency, the kitchen, is reached through a 60-foot arched colonnade.
Built in 1706, this delightful house stands on the site of one erected by Colonel William Kendall, one of many men of that name prominent in Northampton County. After Bacon's Rebellion, when it was decreed that pardons be granted all rebels who would take the oath of obedience and give security for their good behavior, Colonel Kendall appeared before the court held at Berkeley's home in 1677, and took the prescribed oath.
At 52.7 m, on US 13 is a junction with County 630.
Right here to HUNGAR'S WHARF, 2.9 m., near the mouth of Mattawaman Creek. White sand beach and the water of the bay gleam through the trees at the site of what was once a private port for the numerous ships of John Kendall, trader with the West Indies. On one of his ships worked Stephen Girard (1750-1831), later a financier and philanthropist of Philadelphia. While playing cards with Kendall years later, according to tradition, he won Kendall's holdings. But when he sold the house, the new owner brought an ejection suit. Kendall's two daughters faced the sheriff with a goose gun each time he came to serve the papers. Possession was gained while the family was visiting neighbors.
EASTVILLE, 53.4m. (37 alt., 387 pop.), seat of Northampton County, is a prosperous little town spread out neatly around the courthouse. Both old and new houses are set pleasantly in wide yards.
The COURTHOUSE, built in 1899, is a typically nondescript brick building with a double-galleried porch. Here are kept county records, continuous from 1632.
When the county that formerly embraced all the Virginia Eastern Shore and was first called Accawmacke (Accomac) was divided, the new upper county assumed the old name, and the lower county retained the one adopted in 1643. Eastville became the county seat in 1680, succeeding Town's Field.
Three small old structures in the square have a pleasantly antiquated charm. A former CLERK'S OFFICE, probably the courthouse built in 1731, is of ivy-covered brick, with high foundation and a steep gabled roof. Behind this office and connected with it by part of a wall that once bounded a prison yard is the DEBTORS' PRISON, a small, plain brick building. Here is kept the old whipping post.
CHRIST CHURCH (R), a small building of sandy pink brick, stands with its graveyard behind a modern brick wall. Beneath a little belfry is a crude portico. This church was built in 1826 to take the place of Magothy Church. The communion service was given to the congregation in 1741 by John Custis IV.
TAYLOR TAVERN (R), south of the courthouse, now the Eastville Inn, is a long, two-story frame building painted white, with gabled roof and wide weatherboarding. Along its whole length runs a veranda, close to the walk. Although remodeled and enlarged, the core of this building has been a public house since pre-Revolutionary times.
CESSFORD (R), on the southern edge of town, is a shallow, rose-red brick house in a large yard. Turning a gable end toward the highway, the handsome little mansion displays identical facades to north and south with a columned porch on each. Windows in two tiers are headed by white stone lintels, and dormers are along both sides of the roof. The house, built in 1815 by Dr. John Kerr, was named for the seat of the Scottish clan of Kerr. During the War between the States it was occupied by General H.H. Lockwood. An order signed by Lincoln, instructing the soldiers to leave the house in the condition in which they found it, is on the wall.
Left from Eastville on State 185 to INGLESIDE (R), 0.6 m., a large, well-kept house painted saffron. The two-and-a-half story gabled main part is extended at one side by a wing. The design of the beautiful garden is elaborate. Wallpaper in the hall, showing Egyptian scenes, was hung when the house was built about 1810.
At 54 m. on US 13 is a junction with County 634.
Right on County 634 to a junction with a dirt road, 1. 1 m.
1. Right here 0.8 m. across level fields to ELKINGTON (open), a two-and-a-half story frame house in a white-fenced grove. The gabled roof is extended on the chimney side by rambling additions. In the hall is scenic French wallpaper, depicting the hunt. The library and parlor are paneled with heart pine. The house was built about 1800 by a descendant of the Savage family and named for the first wife of Captain John Savage, Ann Elkington. Captain Savage was a burgess from Northampton in 1666-67. His father was Thomas Savage (see White Cliff, below).
2. Left here 1.4 m. to OLD CASTLE, a dilapidated frame house with brick ends, a curbed roof over its rectangular body, and an insignificant addition at one end. It was probably built about 1721 by John Stratton, who gave aid to Governor Berkeley during Bacon's Rebellion, turning over to him one of his own vessels, which was later wrecked. The house was remodeled, however, in 1794.
County 634 continues to a dirt road at 2.1 m.; R. here along a strip of Pine woods undergrown with holly to WHITE CLIFF, 3.4 m. a frame house, with unsymmetrical wings, on land jutting into a body of water known as the gulf.
Nearer the water once stood the house of Thomas Savage, who came to Virginia in 1608 with Christopher Newport and was given to Powhatan-whose fancy the 13year-old boy had taken-in exchange for Namotacke, an Indian youth. Later, because of the jealousy of Opechancanough, brother of Powhatan, Savage was sent by Powhatan, who called him Newport, to live near this site with Debedeavon, 'the Laughing King' and chief of all 'Accawmacke.' According to his statement in 1633, Debedeavon 'had given that neck of land from Wissaponson Creek to Hungar's Creek' to Governor George Yeardley and the 'south side of Wissaponson [Savage's Neck] to his son, Thomas Newport' (Thomas Savage).
When Captain John Smith visited the Eastern Shore in 1608, this king, whom Smith called `the comliest, most proper, civill Salvage we incountered,' told him' of a strange accident lately happende him, and it was, two children being dead, some extreame passions, or . . . phantasies, or affection moved their parents againe to revisit their dead carkases, whose benumbed bodies reflected to the eyes of the beholders such delightful countenances, as though they had regained their vitall spirits. This . . drew many to behold them, all which . . . not long after dyed, and but few escaped.'
At 55.3 m. on US 13 is a junction with a dirt road.
Right here to EYREVILLE, 1.8 m., a large, comfortable.looking brick house, painted red. Gabled roofs two-arid-a-half stories above the basement cover the two main parts of the structure and an irregularly connecting link. The dates 1708, 1800, and 1803 on chimney bricks tend to substantiate the tale that it took 10 years to build. The estate, first called Newport, was later won and lost three times by gambling Severn Eyre (see below).
At 56.7 m. on US 13 is a junction with a dirt road.
Right here to EYRE HALL, 1.1 m., a large, delightfully rambling white frame house among numerous outbuildings in a large grove of trees. The most important, and probably oldest, part of this eighteenth-century house has a gambrel roof above a single line of green-shuttered windows. Lower extensions form a square with one open side. Behind the well-kept house is a formal brick.walled garden-one of the most attractive on the Eastern Shore.
This was the center of the Eyre estate, which once extended across the peninsula, and the home of Severn Eyre, who was a burgess f rom 1766 to 1773.
At 58.3 m. on US 13 is a junction with County 639, One of the largest canneries on the peninsula stands near this crossroads.
Right here to a junction with County 640, 0.9 m., and L. to a fork, 1.7 m.; L. here on a dirt road to another fork, 1.8 m.; R. here to TOWN FIELDS, 2.6 m., a farm on flat lands also called Secretary's Plantation. The present house, a white frame structure with beaded weatherboarding built apparently late in the eighteenth century, may incorporate a much earlier dwelling -one brick end forms part of the wall facing the water closeby.
Accawmacke Plantation, one of the first settlements on the eastern shore, was established here in 1620 to provide commodities from the peninsula, especially salt, from the mother settlement. The governor and council directed that 'Mr. Pory, the Secretary, and his successors in that place (office) should have five hundred acres of land,' that 'twenty Tenants' should be 'planted thereupon,' and that 'the Secretary then, from henceforward, should receive no fees for himself,' because he was to have the quitrents and the purchase price from any land sold. In 1664 Accawmacke Plantation became the seat of Northampton County and in 1680 it was laid out as a town.
At 59 m. on US 13 is a junction with State 186.
Left here to County 645, 4.4 m.; R. 0.8 m. to County 644; R. here to the SITE OF ARLINGTON (L), 2.3 m., the ancestral estate for which George Washington Parke Custis named the more celebrated Arlington (see Tour 12).
With the rise of the Parliamentarians in England John Custis fled to Holland and about 164o to Virginia. His son John Custis 11 (1630-96), born in Rotterdam, built on this land the house in which Governor William Berkeley took refuge in July 1676 during Bacon's Rebellion and from which he launched his surprise attack upon Giles Bland and William Carver, two of Bacon's followers sent to capture him.
Near the site of the house is the CUSTIS GRAVEYARD, where are buried several members of the family, including John Custis H. The tomb of John Custis IV (1678-1749) bears this inscription:
Under this Marble Tomb lies ye Body of the Honorable John Custis Esqr. of the City of Williamsburg and Parish of Bruton Formerly of Hungars Parish and the Eastern Shore of Virginia and County of Northampton the Place of his Nativity Aged 71 years and Yet liv'd but Seven Years which was the space of time He kept a Batchelers house at Arlington on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
This epitaph was the last word in a long quarrel between John Custis and his wife, Frances, the daughter of Daniel Parke, governor of the Leeward Islands. Young John had been the gay blade of Virginia, and his lady the reigning belle. After their marriage these self -willed people found it impossible to get along together. They would address each other through a slave, Pompey. Then, one day, Frances accepted Colonel John's invitation to take the air in his carriage. Her husband helped her to her seat and then silently drove straight ahead into the bay. At last, when the water was above the floor board, Mrs. Custis asked: 'Where are you going, Colonel Custis? ' ' To hell, madam,' he replied. 'Drive on,'she answered. 'Any place is better than Arlington.'
He turned his carriage around and drove home, with the remark, 'Madam, I believe you would as lief meet the Devil himself if I should drive to hell.' 'Quite true, Sir,' she answered. 'I know you so well I would not be afraid to go anywhere you would go.' This incident apparently cleared the air enough for an agreement settling property differences. But Colonel John ordered the lastword inscribed on his tombstone.
Near the Custis tombs is the SITE OF MAGOTHY CHURCH, an early church of Hungar's Parish. The first was the Fishing Point Church, built in 1620 'neare the ffishinge poynte' at Dale's Gift (see below).
The Reverend Francis Bolton, a pioneer minister in this parish, was paid 'ro pounds of tobacco and one bushel of corne for everye planter and trader above the age of sixteen alive at the crop.' The rectors ruled with an iron hand. In 1637 the second one, Mr.Cotton, reported one Henry Charlton to the court for not paying his tithes. Three men testified that they 'heard Henry Charlton saye if he had had Wm. Cotton without the church yeard, he would have kickt him over the Pallysadoes, calling of him Black catted (coated) raskall.' Upon the 'complaynt of Mr.Cotton against the syd Charlton,' it was ordered that the said Charlton should 'for the syd offence buyld a pare of stocks, and sett in them three severall Sabouth days in the time of Dyvine Servis, and there ask Mr. Cotton forgiveness.'
On State 186 at 11.1 m. from US 13 is KIPTOPEKE, a post office and railroad station among fields and evergreen woods that were formerly on the Hallet Plantation.
This is near the tip of the peninsula, the point of land named Cape Charles on April 26, 1607, when the three ships of the London Company entered the Chesapeake on their way to Jamestown. The name honored the prince who was later Charles 1, younger brother of Henry, Prince of Wales, for whom the opposite cape was named.
East of the tip of the peninsula lies flat SMITH ISLAND (no regular boat service). In 1608 Captain John Smith left Jamestown to explore the Chesapeake Bay. He touched this island, and on the cape met two Indians who directed him to 'Accahawacke,' home of their chief. He was hospitably received and then cruised along the bay shore to the Pocomoke River. In 1614 Governor Dale sent 20 men, under Lieutenant William Craddock, to this peninsula to make salt by boiling down the sea water and to catch fish for the colonists. They settled along Old Plantation Creek at Dale's Gift (see below) but established the salt works on Smith Island.
The salt makers' residence on the faraway peninsula was looked on as the equivalent of exile. But they found that in the sandy soil corn, vegetables, and fruit would grow in abundance; that fish abounded in the ocean, bay, and inlets; that wild fowl of many kinds swarmed in the marshes; that game could be had for the shooting; that the climate was delightful; and that the Indians were friendly. The exiles were soon envied by the James River settlers.
At 60 m. on US 13 is a junction with County 641.
Left here to County 642, 0.2 m., and L. to STRATTON MANOR (R), 0.6 m., approached along a short avenue of trees in four lines. The weatherboarded white frame house, with brick ends painted red, has three little dormers in the red shingled gabled roof. Outside end chimneys have wide bases. Across the front stretches a full-length veranda; additions straggle at the rear. The house, built about 1694 by Benjamin Stratton (1657.1717), was enlarged in 1764.
CAPE CHARLES, 62.2 m. (8 alt., 2,527 POP.) (ferries to Little Creek, near Norfolk, 7, 9, 11:15 a.m., 1:30, 3:45, 5:45, 7:45, and 10 p.m.; fare $0.50, automobiles $2.50 and $3. Ferries to Old Point Comfort and Norfolk, 6:10 a.m., berths available after 11 p.m. previous evening; 12:20, and 4:15 p.m. weekdays, 12:50 and 4:45 p.m. Sun.; fares $0.50 to Old Point Comfort and $0.75 to Norfolk, automobiles $2.50 and $3).
The town has a seaside air with its beach along the bay. Behind a miniature 'board walk' are brick and frame residences looking more like resort cottages; a single business thoroughfare faces the railroad tracks and ferry slips along the little harbor. Houses, in generous yards, are all late Victorian or modern. Down the middle of every street runs a slender, sodded strip set with boulevard lights. Tugs with the railroad car barges they haul between the terminals here and at Norfolk are always present in the harbor, which is protected on the north by a breakwater. The shore southward to the tip of the peninsula shows an unbroken line of white sandy beach against a background of blue-green pine woods.
Although Cape Charles was reborn when the railroad arrived in 1884, it is a belated successor to the first two settlements on the Eastern Shore: Secretary's Plantation to the north and Dale's Gift to the south.
This area was occupied by Federal forces early in the War between the States, as a precaution against use of the peninsula as an attacking base by the Confederacy. When the Federal troops landed here, the residents, thinking there was to be a battle, armed themselves with whatever odd weapons they could lay hands on, only to find that no fighting was contemplated. The false alarm has been called the Battle of Three Ponds.
Though General H.H. Lockwood, who commanded the Federal forces, established friendly relations with the people, most men of the Eastern Shore who enlisted chose the Confederate side.