G L E A N I N G S O N
P R E F A C E
This is an extract of information "gleaned" from the "Walke Scrapbook" concerning Walke Family Homes and other Princess Anne County houses including those with Walke family associations. Added for identification are other houses mentioned therein, such as Rollston and Greenwich.
This compilation is made in view of the present survey of old houses and historic sites for the City of Virginia Beach by Ms. Susan Taylor, Historic Site Specialist. It provides information to local researchers, historians and libraries that may not otherwise be readily available.
Calvert Walke Tazewell. Virginia Beach VA November 1988
I N T R O D U C T I O N
Certain of this material is from notes made by Lewis Walke concerning trips made by him and his son, Roger S. Walke, to visit grave sites in Princess Anne County, Norfolk and Richmond. He wrote, "On October twentieth, 1914, before starting we consulted Mr. H. C. Hoggard as to the way to reach our objective points. Mr. Hoggard is senior member of the firm of H. C. Hoggard & Company, Real Estate Agents, Norfolk, Va., and now lives in Norfolk, Va., although he was born and lived for years at a plantation on Broad Creek in Princess Anne County, called Poplar Hall, and is very well posted regarding Princess Anne County.
"Mr. Hoggard told us that to reach "The Ferry" and Old Donation Church, we should take the electric branch of the Norfolk Southern Railroad, running from Norfolk to Virginia Beach via Cape Henry, and get off at Shelton Station: that to reach Fairfields we should take the electric line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad running direct from Norfolk to Virginia Beach and get off at Euclid Station : and that to reach "Greenwich" (the Moseley seat where Anthony Walke, 2nd, is buried) and the "Lions Den" farm (where he told me my father - Rev. Lewis Walke - lived while he was Rector of Emmanuel Church, Kempsville) we should take the electric line of the Norfolk Southern Railroad running direct from Norfolk to Virginia Beach and get off at Greenwich station. Roger brought his camera with him and photographed all points of interest."
Mr. Forrest, in describing the style of architecture of the best dwellings of the early residents of Southeastern Virginia, says: "there are many of these old ante-revolutionary residences in the counties of Norfolk and Princess Anne. We shall speak especially of one in the immediate vicinity of Kempsville, about ten miles from this City, belonging to the descendants of Anthony Walke, Esq., one of the early settlers, to whom we have alluded on another page. This Dutch roof relic of antiquity is probably (in 1853) two hundred years old, resisting still the effects of time. The walls are more than four feet thick for some distance above the ground. The interior walls and ceilings are heavily wainscotted with black walnut, the passage is exceedingly spacious, and there are other architectural curiosities about it which form a striking contrast to the present style of building." This residence was on the Fairfield plantation, and passed by descent to parson Walke, in whose possession its early reputation for hospitality was fully maintained. The "Ferry" residence, larger than that of Fairfield, and constructed in a more modern English style a few years later, was owned by William Walke(4) (parson Anthony Walke's half brother), by whom and by whose children it was owned and occupied until burned in 1828. (See Note 8.) A considerable portion of the old family estate is still in the possession of the descendants of Colonel Anthony Walke(3).
From the "Private Record of The Walke Family in the United States; Brief Records and Recollections of The Walke Family and Relations in the United States" by Henry Walke, Rear Admiral, U.S.N., c1887
When Thomas Walke died in 1694, he had made provision in land for his two sons. His executors in 1697 purchased the land which was to become Anthony Walke's manor of Fairfield just south of present day Kempsville. Fairfield was an "almost baronial establishment" with liveried black servants, blacksmiths, wagon-makers, saddlers, and tradesmen imported from England. Fairfield manor house was destroyed by fire more than 100 years ago, but the name is perpetuated by a planned residential community developed on the site.
_The Beach_, K. M. Eighmey. Virginia Beach: City of Virginia Beach, 1976, p. 17-18
OCTOBER TWENTY-SECOND, 1914. - We left the train at Euclid Station, and following the carriage road to the right of the Railroad, walked about a mile and a quarter to Kempsville. Mr. H. C. Hoggard had told us that "Fairfields" is now owned by Mr. W. C. Cobb, so we had no trouble in getting directions at Kempsville. "Fairfields" is on the right-hand side of the road running from Kempsville to Great Bridge. The entrance from the road is about half a mile from Kempsville and the old mansion sat about a quarter of a mile from the entrance from the Kempsville-Great Bridge road. We were told by Mr. J. I. Herrick (an old man, who keeps a store in Kempsville and said he had lived there 60 years), that during the Civil War, while Mr. James Brickhouse, who had come from the Eastern Shore, lived at "Fairfields," a fire started in a pinewood which was at that time between Kempsville and "Fairfields." The fire got beyond control and destroyed the old mansion. Hr. Herrick remembered it as one of much spendor for its day, built of brick brought from England, with marble mantels, brass knocker and door knobs, &c. He says it stood between the present house, which was the kitchen, and the gate which opens towards the Norfolk Southern Railroad, and faces towards where the Railroad now runs. Grass is now growing over where the foundations must have been. The present house, which was the kitchen, is built of brick and from its size must have served also as part of the servant's quarters. It is now occupied by a Negro overseer and his family. Across the Kempsville-Great Bridge road from "Fairfields" is a large brick house in good repair, said to be owned by Dr. Baxter. The house and plantation formerly belonged to James Walke. It is now in charge of a tenant. Nobody was at home when we called and the front gate was locked. . . . Across the road from the church is a large brick house in a yard with fine old water oaks. I was told several years ago by Mr. Thurmer Hoggard, Jr., that the Walkes had lived there. Dr. R. E. Whitehead now lives there and, thinking there might be some old cemetary attached, we inquired, but found there was none. Mrs. Whitehead said she had always heard that it was an old Walke homestead, but could not say what Walke lived there or when. The storekeeper, Mr. Herrick, confirmed what Mr. Whitehead said, but could give no further information. The burying ground at "Fairfields" is about 200 yards from the present house to the rear and right of it and in part of the large grounds. Evidently it was originally enclosed by a brick wall which has now disappeared. . . .
OLD FAIRFIELD HOUSE TO BE DEMOLISHED
By Helen Crist
It really doesn't look like much any more...the 17th century little house, all that remains of Fairfield, home of Anthony Walke, at Kempsville. Falling apart now, the sky shows through wide holes in the steep roof. Weeds are high about the decaying house. It seems unsafe to go inside, but we do, and it bears no resemblance to the house we visited only a couple of years ago. Its fate was doubtful then, as new homes sprang up like mushrooms in Kempsville. There were many then who wondered what would become of the historical house. At one point, a renovation was begun by developer W.W. Reasor. But now it's abandoned to the elements, and most cruelly of all, to the twisted whims of vamdals who have torn it apart and beaten upon it for no reason at all. It's an embarrassment to all - because it stands as a monument to the past about which nobody did anything. There are those who look at it and sigh, shaking their heads and feeling somehow, a sense of guilt - a guilt of omission. There are those who tried - Reasor is one. "I bent over backwards on this house. I offered it a year ago to the Historical Society for $10,000, the price of the lot, if they would restore it. But can't blame the Society - they hadn't the funds. This is the little house refrerred to by the late Sadie Scott Kellam and V. Hope Kellam in "Old Houses in Princess Anne Virginia," as ... "a little gem of a house. It is of that early story-and-a-half, sharp roof type. The old hand molded bricks are laid by the Flemish method, now, however, not noticeable because the bricks have been whitewashed." They were told that the house was probably the quarter kitchen of the manor house..."all that was left of the buildings as they were in the days when that plantation vied with Lawson Hall, Greenwich and Rolleston as dispenser of hospitality in that part of the country." After closer inspection, however, they came to the conclusion that it was probably used as an office, lodge, or coachman's house after the manor house at Fairfield was built. Fairfield itself came to a tragic end one windy March day, perhaps in 1865, when it burned to the ground as a spark from the chimney ignited the roof. But all that doesn't matter now, because the remaining little house is going to be demolished anyway. A call to Reasor last week revealed that he has a tentative commitment to a buyer and the house will be torn down as a result. "Give me a week," I asked him. "Just a week to let the people know this will happen." "All right," he said. You have the week." So there's the story - the final one of Fairfield. And maybe the generations of Walkes, reportedly buried on a little ridge not too far from the house, will stir a little and they'll know when the house goes down. But maybe there are those who care, and there are many, will turn their efforts to the remaining old houses...and there aren't too many left. Maybe they'll work harder to spare them the same fate. Pleasant Hall? Reasor says, "They're letting that go too." And when the little Fairfield house comes crashing down, there will be some who will watch misty-eyed and wonder..."how in the world did it happen?" But others, seeing it go, will say, "Good riddance. It's no loss - it was old anyway..."
(Photo with caption: "Weeds choke the historical building in Kempsville")
_The Virginia Beach Sun_, 2/17/72, p. 1
Fairfield Will Go
This is the postcript to the house at Fairfield, circa 17th century, which was marked for demolition. A call from W.W. Reasor, Fairfield developed, advised us that the contract had been signed and a builder will tear down the house. Reasor had offered it to the Princess Anne Historical Society for the price of the lot, $10,000, provided restoration was begun at once on the house. The Society had not the funds to purchase the house and Reasor stipulated that the sale must go through the Society. So many people inquired of the house and visited it and offered suggestions as to its salvation. We are deeply grateful to them. But Fairfield will go, and very shortly. There is, however, an interesting postcript: Reasor did not call the Society making the offer, nor did the Society call Reasor making an offer.-Helen Crist.
_The Virginia Beach Sun_, 3/2/72, p. 1.
Photo in _The Virginia Beach Sun_, 6/22/72, p. 13.
Caption: ALL THAT REMAINS OF FAIRFIELD -- Look closely at the small pile of bricks, all that is left of the once vast plantation of Anthony Walke at Fairfield in Kempsville. There was regret and sadness when the final building fell to the bulldozer to make room for a new houseing development. Perhaps it will serve, though, as a reminder to those interested in preserving historical homes and areas here, that action is necessary to prevent total destruction of our heritage. (Photo by Helen Crist)
Fairfield's Appreciation Substantial
Fairfield is one of those textbook cases. Buy a tract or a lot or a house in the right location, keep the tone of the development high and wait for appreciation. That's what happened in Fairfield, a neighborhood of Virginia Beach that lies on the west side of Kempsville Road, south of Kemps Landing Elementary School and north of Kempsville Colony subdivision. It extends westward to a finger of the Eastern Branch of the Elizabeth River. It was created in November 1967 when the developer, Woodrow W. Reasor, a native of the Virginia mountains who came to Norfolk in 1940, bought a farm from the heirs of J. C. Hudgins for "slightly more than $1.5 million." The tract contained 390 acres. The original price comes to slightly more than $3,846 an acre. Expert testimony in a trial involving the prpperty in 1977 valued theland at $14,000 an acre in 1972 and $26,000 an are in 1977. Its value today can only be speculated. A random survey of 11 houses built between 1969 and 1977 that were resold in 1982 showed the average original cost was $58,209. The average resale price was $110,345. Fairfield is laid out in a complex pattern of streets that seems to defy logic. The thoroughfares curve and cul-de-sacs fan out from them at irregular intervals. This keeps traffic noise at a minimum and prevents monotonous views of houses and yards. The houses are large -- a small model is a four bedroomer with two baths; the larger ones have five bedrooms and up to three baths. Brick is almost universal for exteriors. Most of the designs are traditional Colonial and ranch modifications. There is a moderate sprinkling of "For Sale" signs in the beautifully maintained yards. . . .
_The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star_, Nov. 7, 1982, p. F1, 3.
Anthony Walke(3) was a man of high
standing and character. He was Colonel and Commander of troops in Princess Anne County,
under his majesty King George III., but when the trouble with England began, he espoused
the cause of the colonies, and united with Patrick Henry, Mason, Madison, Marshall,
Jefferson, and other patriots, in resisting British oppression, and in establishing
American Independence. He was a member of the Convention that adopted the Federal
Constitution, and voted for its adoption and for the Bill of Rights--see Debates of the
Virginia Convention of 1788, p. 468. He was greatly attached to the old Episcopal or
Established Church, and contributed largely to its support. He was for many years a
vestryman and through his efforts and contributions mainly a church ediface was built near
Lynnhaven River, about twelve miles from Norfolk (of imported brick), which still stands
and is known as the "Old Donation Church;" in 1833, its little burial place
and moss-covered tomb-stones at the dilapidated court house only, were left, to remind us
of our old homestead. The fine mansion called the "Ferry,"
destroyed by fire, was on the west side of the river, and in sight of the Donation Church.
It was bequeathed by Anthony Walke(3) to his son, William Walke(4), and by him to Anthony
Walke(5), where his three eldest sons were born. The last-named sold it to Thomas
Williamson, who married his youngest sister. It was long occuped by the descendants of
Anthony Walke(3), and owned by them until after the Civil War. It was the seat of a
refined and generous hospitality more than a hundred and fifty years ago, "when
Virginia cavaliers were under the title of gentlemen." The old mansion was
burnt in 1818, and was bought and rebuilt by George McIntosh, Esq., who married
Elizabeth Mason Walke; and he gave it to his son, Capt. Charles F. McIntosh, U.S.N. and
C.S.N., but it was again burnt through the negligence of its tenants. The "Ferry," the old Court House and the Donation Church were
built prior to the year 1700. . . . William(4) Walke died at
an early age, comparatively. He was a young man of worth and npromise. After receiving a
liberal education, he retired to his "Ferry Plantation," and devoted himself to
the pursuits of agriculture. Possessing, however, the confidence of all who knew him, he
was called by his fellow citizens to represent them in the Virginia Legislature, and was a
member of that body at the time of his death. He was born in February, 1762, and died in
January, 1795. His wife died in 1798. He was under age in the Revolutionary War, but must
have entertained the views of his father, uncles and other patriots, as to the justice and
urgency of armed resistance to the British encroachments, or he would not have been sent
to the Legislature soon after the was was over. . . . In 1826, after a long absence, the
writer visited "The Ferry," his native home, and
the old chapel, a quarter of a mile west of it, and near the outer gate on the road
leading to the mansion. Close to the chapel were the graves of some of our ancestors,
overshadowed by tall forest trees, dark, whispering pines, white-limbed sycamores and
sturdy oaks, from whose branches the long gray moss, swinging slowly and silently,
appeared like emblems of mourning for the departed. The chapel and cemetery, the old
wind-mill, the county court-house, the mansion and a few of the ancient row of trees on
its spacious lawn were all that remained of the home of our parents, grand parents and
great-grand parents. The original county court house (before the removal of the county
seat to Kempsville) was so near the "Ferry" mansion that Anthony(3) Walke
converted it into a kitchen; and with the tombstones was the only relic of his old home
and birthplace, when, in 1848, the writer vistied it again.
From Notes appended to Admiral Walke "Record"
OCTOBER TWENTIETH, 1914. - Upon arriving at Shelton Station we found that the name "The Ferry" was not known by those of whom we asked directions. However, Mr. Hoggard had told us that the place is now owned by Mr. C. M. Barnett and a colored man gave us directions and told us it was four miles off. The directions were not clear and we missed the way, going five miles further than we should have done. When we reached Old Donation Church, we found nothing but the walls - probably three quarters of them - standing, although a frame Parish House has been erected behind the church, largely through the efforts of the Hoggards, who, with others, I am informed, hope to have the old church restored. The road forks at the Church, and not knowing which branch to take we walked down the left branch a few hundred yards to a store, which was kept by Mr. Josiah Woodhouse, Jr. Mr. Woodhouse was very courteous. He told us that the road to the right of the church led to Mr. Barnett's place, and walked with us to "Springfield." As it was getting late, we returned to Norfolk; Mr. Woodhouse showing us a much shorter way to Shelton Station through the "Springfield" farm.
OCTOBER TWENTY-FIRST, 1914. - We went first to "Springfield" and then on to the "Ferry." Mr. Barnett was not at home, but Mrs. Barnett was most kind in showing us everything which we wanted to see and afterwards in serving tea for us. She is enthusiastic about the old place and was much interested in learning that it had been called "The Ferry" and in other things which I could tell her about it. She told us that the neighborhood tradition says that the house was formerly the jail and Courthouse of Princess Anne County, and one of the ground floor rooms, now used for a bath room, is said to have been the jail, and Grace Sherwood, the famous Virginia witch, is said to have been incarcerated therein. We were shown the iron bars to the window of this room. The house is of brick, stuccoed, except a recent frame addition, and presents the appearance of being the original building. An employee on Mr. Barnett's place, a Mr. Woodhouse, brother of Mr. Josiah Woodhouse, Jr., told me that recently when digging a hundred yards or more back of the house he found heavy brick foundations, indicating that a building had stood there. "The Ferry" house is from a half to three-quarters of a mile from Old Donation Church. It is beautifully located, on high ground, a few hundred yards from a branch of Lynnhaven River. Across this branch there was at one time a bridge, the piles of which protrude from the water, now in a state of advanced decomposition. Mr. H. C. Hoggard tells me that before the bridge there was a ferry, from which the place took its name. We could find only one tombstone at the Ferry. It was that of my great-grandfather, William Walke, 1st, who was left "The Ferry" in the will of his father, Anthony Walke, 2nd. . . . .
Beside Donation Church is a private road leading across flat fields to Ferry Farm in a wood. The house, its whitewashed brick walls rising in three sections to gabled roofs, overlooks an arm of Lynnhaven River. Anthony Walke II directed that if he `should depart this life` before erecting `a decent Dwelling House,' then `1000L current money' should be `laid out . . . in building on the Land . . . called "Ferry" Plantation at the old Court House.' The duty doubtless fell to his son, William Walke (1762-95). This was the site of Princess Anne's second courthouse (c.1735-c.1751).
(From _Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion_. NY: Oxford University Press, 1964, p. 470-1.
"Progress Crowds Fabled Farmhouse" VL/LS 3/7/87 p. B1 "Arts Center To Get Historic Farmhouse" VP 3/11/87 p. D1 "Archeological Dig Is Planned At Farm" VP 3/12/87 p. D1 "Ferry Farm's Owner Blocks Archaeologist" VP 3/18/87 p. D1 "Builder Invites Archaeoloical Study" VP 3/19/87 p. D1 "Past Mistakes Haunt Ferry Farm Proposal" Dennis Hartig Editorial Beacon 4/15-16/87 p. 2 "Exploring On Farm Is Suggested: Courthouse Ruins Would Be Sought" VP 4/24/87 p. D1 "Planner Reid's Project Got Special Handling" Dennis Hartig Editorial Beacon 4/29-30/87 "Council Puts Off Vote On Ferry Farm Project" Beacon 5/20-21/87 p. 4 "Council Makes Clarifications On Ferry Farm Controversy" Sun 2/24/88 p. 1
"Endorsed a subdivision of the Ferry Farm to allow owner F. Donald Reid to give the historic farmhouse and a quarter-acre to the Virginia Beach Arts Center. Last year the farm was rezoned for a small housing development." "Industrial Park Plan Deferred" (in article about Planning Commission meeting) Beacon 6/16-17/88
"Farm Land Gives Way To Luxury Dwellings" VP 6/18/88 p. D1 "The property also includes a historic structure, a farmhouse dating from around 1780. It also is the site of the second or third of a series of four early Princess Anne County courthouses that served as the county's seat of government before the exisiting courthouse was built in 1824. "Reid said he and Womack plan to donate the white brick structure and a small portion of nearby land to the Virginia Beach Arts Center, which is likely to use it as an art gallery or for other programs. The developers are paying for some exterior imporvements to the old house. "The property, rich in history, has deed citations dating from 1719, when it was called the Ferry Plantation. Its previous owners bore family names tied to local history: Smythe, Walke, Martin, Dye [sic], Hudgins and Howren. "The currrent owners bought the property at the end of 1986 from the estate of Ethel H. Howren. The sale was prompted by changes in the federal tax law, Reid said. "Although the basic residential zoning of the land was not changed for the development, Reid said he took advantage of a new open-space zoning law that made it feasible for him to preserve the old house and the grounds around it. Reid is a member of the Virginia Beach Planning Commission. "Preservation of the building and the site's historical value were topics of debate when developers sought City Council's approval for the subdivision. The council made as a condition of the development that the house not be demolished or used as a dwelling, that a long-term use and maintenance plan be developed and that four acres of open space around it be declared a city historical and cultural district."
"Ferry Farm Proposal Concerns Residents" Guest Commentary by R. A. Finley, Pres., Civic League of Pembroke Meadows/Shores) Beacon (date not now known)
"Ferry Farm Plan Clears 1st Hurdle" Beverly Shepard Beacon Beacon (date not now known)
As to the "heavy brick foundations" at Ferry Farm, we believe them to be the remains of the original house there built by William Walke, son of Anthony Walke II, whose will was dated 1777. See Louisa Kyle's book "The History of Eastern Shore Chapel," page 16. This shows the house to have been built about 1780, and burned about 1830-40. This William Walke died in 1795, and his widow sold the property and moved to Norfolk. The property changed hands several times before Mr. Burnett bought it. Perhaps you know who built the house now standing there sometime between 1830 and 1914. Grace Sherwood's last trial was in 1706 and she was dead by 1740, as that was when her will was probated. Before the Burnett's occupancy of the house, the room with the bars on thewindow was used as a post office. This would account for the bars.
Letter from Florence Kimberly Turner to the editor, October 6, 1988.
On OCTOBER TWENTY-FIRST, 1914, after visiting "The Ferry," we called again on Mr. Josiah Woodhouse, Jr. He lent me to copy a very old unsigned and undated paper, the writer of which related various traditions regarding the formation of Lynnhaven Inlet and regarding Grace Sherwood, the Virginia Witch. Mr. Josiah Woodhouse, Jr., had had this paper nine years, it having been given him by his uncle, Josiah Woodhouse, Sr., who had it 62 years and for whom it was written by an old man 75 or 80 years old. Mr. Woodhouse does not know the author's name. Being much interested in the tales about Grace Sherwood in this paper, and also in the story of her having been incarcerated at "The Ferry," we inquired where she had been thrown in the water, bound, as a test of witchcraft. Mr. Woodhouse told us to follow the road to the left of Old Donation Church about a mile, until it got to the water, which we did, and on reaching the water, the exact spot, as held by tradition, was pointed out to us: there being a deep place there in the river, it is said. "Witchduck" as pointed out to us is about two hundred yards to the right of the point where the main body of Lynnhaven River branches. Facing Chesapeake Bay, it is just in the beginning of the branch to the right, which runs by "The Ferry." From the point between the forks of Lynnhaven River the Norfolk Southern Railroad bridge over the inlet is in plain sight, apparently about there miles off.
Portion of article - will just have to get the rest:
the house for a token rental sum while they apply finances and elbow grease to returning the house to its former classic grandeur. The house is called Upper Wolf Snare. What passers-by will be able to see and appreciate soon in the landscaping Virginia Beach Garden Club has just begun to undertake. The project is "big, challenging, exciting," said Mrs. Kimberly Turner, who presented it to the club. Mrs. Thom Henderson is her co-chairman. Mrs. Turner is on the board of both the garden club and the Princess Anne Historical Scoiety, which is backing the restoration. Preserving the giant oak trees, which date from 1650 and are older than the house itself, was the starting point and is now underway. Planting the banks of the borrow pit with shrubbery and small trees -- the areas favorite crape myrtle for one -- to hold the soil and beautify the area, comes next. . . . And the painting and restoration will be carried out one room at a time. "But for the present we'll do just enough to make it livable so we can move in," she said. Both Mrs. Townsend and her husband have the feel for the past so necessary to patiently cope with inconveniences of a dwelling that will require considerable repair. There is much to be done. Presently wallpaper is peeling from rooms that possess some of the finest hand-carved peneling in the area. This paneling is camouflaged now under layers of paint. It will eventually emerge in soft Williamsburg colors to which the Townsends are so partial. They've studied the Williamsburg homes extensively, and will incorporate similar ideas at Upper Wolf Snare. "But any structural changes can't be made without consulting the society's architect," Townsend said. They hope to eliminate, for instance, the concrete front porch, a recent addition. Perhaps, too, a modern wing, adjoining the kitchen will be removed. All this will require time and study. Lou Townsend will enjoy this. Home is important to her, and she surely shares none of the "home-is-where-the-woman-isn't" attitude of modern Women's Lib. As she quietly goes from room to room in the lovely old mansion, she carries with her the air of competent homemaker, eager to set into motion her plans for restoration. Equally enthusiastic, Townsend is also anxious to begin "country living in the middle of the city." Now stationed at the Norfolk Naval Air Station, he hopes to entertain often in the gracious home. And he envisions the grounds as they will eventually be. The spacious lawn that formerly sloped down to Wolf Snare Creek, where boats docked to take on tobacoo, will be seeded and grown again. Huge beech and oak trees, reportedly older than the house itself, will frame a circular driveway. Winn Nursery has offered to landscape the approach road with appropriate plantings. What matter, then, if the hum of modern cars racing along the toll road in the near distance, or the Oceana jets disturb the peaceful surroundings. It's a spot set apart with its peace of the past, not easily ruffled. Sharing the home will be the Townsend's sons, Brian Lee, 17, and Stevan Allen, 20. A daughter, Cheryl Jo Bunting, and her husband, Peter, now in Colorado, will visit often. They are enthusiastic about the chanllenges of restoration. "Brian remarked the other day that it was going to be a lovely home," Mrs. Townsend siad. And, surely it will be unique.
Photo with caption: Upper Wolf Snare Built by Thomas Walke, Virginia Beach Garden Club will soon be putting in plants to enhance the exterior of the old structure, one of the earliest in the Beach.
_The Beacon_, 11/19/70, p. 1 & 8.
PRINCESS ANNE HISTORICAL SOCIETY
February 15, 1971 Report to the Membership:
It is with pleasure that we bring you up to date on Upper Wolfsnare developments. Lt. and Mrs. Okey Townsend took up residence about mid December. Before moving in, the Townsends had some basic improvements done to the old residence. Over the course of the next several years, the Townsends plan considerable in the way of basic repairs and some restoration. (Of course, this is subject to counsel with and approval of our architect.) Landscaping and new planting along the approach road and around the house is well along in the planning stage. Winn Nurseries have kindly offered to do the planting along the approach road. Do you think we might interest Garden Clubs to take on various projects of planting and landscaping of the grounds proper? We welcome volunteers and ideas in this area. At last, the opportunity presents itself, of inviting members and friends, to join in an effort to furnish this Old Treasure in the proper fashion. Now we have a safe and sound repository for furniture, rugs, pictures and objects de art, of the period. Members and friends who want to be a part of restoring a bit of Old Princess Anne will have the pleasure of seeing their treasures on display in the proper setting for the enjoyment of the many visitors who we hope will be coming to this old home for the years to come. (Naturally it will be necessary to have an acceptance committee to pass on items offered to be certain that they are of the proper period.) We hope this significant step towards a dream "Come true" will be an impetus for an all out membership drive. Enclosed is a copy of, HISTORY OF UPPER WOLFSNARE, by our good friend, Louisa Venable Kyle. Enclosed also are five membership applications. Do have five of your friends join up right away. Pembroke Manor, Plans are in the works and we hope to have some news for you about this old treasure soon. Wishart House, We have reason to hope for some good news about this soon. Would you like a "picnic luncheon meeting" at Wolfsnare sometime soon? As soon as the Townsends can be ready. To hurry this up, how about upgrading our dues classification? If you are now enjoying a $2.00 membership, make it a $5.00 one. If you are now on a $5.00 basis, make it $10.00 How about a 1972 goal of 5,000 members at $5.00 each?
W. B. Copeland President
The very name Wolf Snare stirs the imagination, but it was not used for this house until it was purchased by the late State Senator James H. Barron and his wife in 1939. Prior to this it was designated in deeds and wills as The Old Walke place or Brickhouse Farm. Upper Wolf Snare dsitinguishes it from another old house a mile to the northwest, which was built before 1750 and has long been known as Wolf Snare Plantation. Both of these old houses get their names from the creek on which they are located. The known history of the area around Wolf Snare Creek goes back to the 17th century. As early as 1651, am Ensign Thomas Keeling patented 700 acres of land on Olover Van Hick's Creek. The Keelings must have renamed it, for two generations later, in a will, reference is made to the creek as "Wolfes Snare." This creek which flows west across the lower end of present day Great Neck, enters the Eastern Branch of the Lynnhaven River just north of the village of London Bridge. The name London Bridge has also been used since the late 1600's. This area is now known as Great Neck and including Oceana Air Station was kbnown prior to the revolution as the Lower Eastern Shore precinct of Princess Anne County. The earliest settlers of this part of Virginia had Indians as well as packs of wolves to endanger their lives. The wolves also killed precious livestock brought over from England. To snare a wolf deep pits were dug, covered with twigs and branches and leaves. The traps were baited and the weight of the wolf caused him to fall into the pit and be captured. A bounty was given for all wolves killed. Long after there was no danger from wolves in the area of Wolf Snare Creek, the deep pits remained and were seen as late as the beginning of this century. Wolf Snare Creek was an important waterway in times past. Today one sees it filled with marsh grass, but trees along the edge mark its original boundaries. The cReek has two branches; one leads up to present dat First Colonial Road and the other flows south, around the neighborhood of Point of Woods up to the Virginia Beach Boulevard. Prior to the building of the Expressway to Norfolk, the Creek went almost to Upper Wolf Snare Plantation House. In the last years of the seventeenth century, there was a settlement on the north branch of Wolf Snare Creek. Here, prior to 1689 was built the first Eastern Shore Chapel, a secondary courthouse for Lower Norfolk County and a Presbyterian Meetinghouse. Before 1714, 600 acres at the mouth of Wolf Snare Creek was sold by Capt. Adam Keeling to John Pallet. The Pallets build a trading post, known as Pallet's Landing where the creek enters the Lynnhaven River. It was possible, due to a deeper Lynnhaven River in those days, for ships from England and the West Indes, to bring cargo to Pallet's Landing and to reload their ships with tobacco, tar and other exports from the colony. John Pallet built his Wolf Snare Platation House in 1750, on the south shore of the creek. Upper Wolf Snare located up the creek from Pallet's house was built in 1759. The Walke family who built the beautiful Georgian brick house were very prominent in this part of the colony. The first Thomas Walke came to Lower Norfolk County from the island of Barbadoes in 1662. He was granted land on the south side of the eastern branch of the Elizabeth River. He acquired more land south of the present day village of Kempsville and was a mariner, building up a fleet of ships that carried on trade with England and the West Indies. He remained a bachelor until 1689 when he married Mary Lawson, the daughter of Col. Anthony Lawson of Lawson Hall. By this time Thomas Walke has made quite a name for himself as a member of the House of Burgesses and was commissioned a colonel by the Governor. Thomas Walke lived only four years after his marriage but left three children, Thomas, Anthony and Mary. His will leaves Thomas Walke II the house where he was living and Anthony, theplanation near Kempsville. Here Anthony Walke built Fairfield, one of the most beautiful homes in Princess Anne County. Anthony Walke's descendants lived at Fairfield until it was destroyed by fire in 1865. Thomas Walke's children were evidently raised by the Lawsons; anyway, we find that Major Thomas Walke II acquired land in the Lower Shore Precinct near London Bridge in the early 1700's. He married Mary Anne ? and had five daughters and one son. When he died in 1761, he devised "to son Thomas Walke III, my plantation, lands and houses where I now live at the Eastern Shore." From this it seems that Thomas Walke II had already built a house before the present Upper Wolf Snare because in his will he leaves instructions as to how the brick house begun in 1759 was to be furnished and finished. Fortunately, the house has remained in remarkedly good condition for more than two hundred years. The beautiful hand carved wood panelling today attests to the taste of the builder. A hall runs through the house; there is a large and a small room on either side of the hall, upstairs there are four rooms and an attic. There is a large cellar entered from outside the house. The chimney of the east side is triangular in shape, giving fireplaces oin the corner of the house. Major Thomas Walke, the builder of Upper Wolf Snare, was prominent in Princess Anne County. For years he served as Vestryman and Warden of Lynnhaven Parish. He had much to do with the designing and nuilding of the third Eastern Shore Chapel, which stood less than a mile from his home on land given by the Cornicks, from a part of their Salisbury Plains Plantation. He was present when the newly completed chapel was received from the builder. Major Walke was also appointed to arrange for the shipment of the Communion Silver for Eastern Shore Chapel which was made in England. This silver bearing the date 1759 is now on exhibit at the Norfolk Museum. Thomas Walke III married Elizabeth ?. They had no children. He was the owner of the brick house after his father's death and he and his wife lived on Wolfe Snare Creek for 36 years. He fought in the Revolutionary War and was a Colonel. He was also a vestryman of Lynnhaven Parish and active in the county. One canimage that Col. and Mrs. Walke entertained often in their beautiful home. With five married sisters, there must have been a constant stream of visiting nieces and nephews and cousins. There were neighbors, the Jacob Hunters, living at Pallet's Wolf Snare Plantation, the Cornicks at Nearby Salisbury Plains, the Woodhouses, Elligoods, Lovetts, Keelings and Lnads who came to service at Eastern Shore Chapel. The Walke's home faced the main road that ran from Kempsville to Eastern Shore Chapel and then south to Pungo, so there was always contact with travelers. On the Western Branch of the Lynnhaven River, near Old Donation Church were Walke cousins that lived at Ferry Farm. Col. Thomas Walke III died in 1797. In his will he left his estate to his wife and to two of his sisters and at their death to go to three nephews. His will lists property on both sides of the road, marsh land, slaves, farm equoipment and household furnishings and a mill that he is buoilding on Wolfe Snare Creek. Elizabeth Walke must have lived on at the plantation for some years, for in 1822 there is record of the property (1000 acres of land and house) being sold by trustees of the three nephews to Caleb Boush. This frist sale was not completed, for a month later the property was sold to John Cornick form $4,750.00 The Walke Farm on Wolfe Snare Creek changed hands many times between 1822 and 1964 when it was purchased by the Commonwealth of Virginia to obtain right of way for the Norfolk-Virginia Beach Expressway. The price that the state paid for the house and 85 acres was $235,000 showing how the value of property increases. The Commonwealth of Virginia planned to tear down the house at Upper Wolfe Snare and to use the land on which it stood for fill for the new expressway. At this time the members of the Prinsess Anne Historical Society, realizng that one of the fine 18th century homes in the city of Virginia Beach was to be destroyed, began negotiations with the highway department. An agreement was worked to trade land on which the old house stood for an equal amount of land at another location that would supply sufficient fill. Than land was secured by the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. James Sadler, and on March 22, 1966, the Commonwealth of Virginia deeded the Old Walke house and (the) acres of land surrounding it, to the Princess Anne Historical Society. The fine old trees near the house, and older than the house itself, were also saved and the grounds about the house are planted and cared for by the historical society.
FORMER OWNERS OF UPPER WOLF SNARE PLANTATION:
1759 Major Thomas Walke II (builder) 1761-97 Col. Thomas Walke III 1797-1815 Mrs. Thomas Walke III (& Nephews of Col. Walke III - Wescoat, Willoughby & Murdough) 1816 Caleb Boush 1817 Warren Ashley 1822 John Cornick Thomas Cornick 1847 Thomas James Cornick 1856 William Dozier 1857 Enoch Ferebee 1885 George Ferebee (rented) John Bell 1903 Malachi L. Fentress 1911 Lucien D. Stark 1920 Louise Adair 1920 H. C. N. Batten 1934 J. F. East 1936 Morris Franklin - Laura Worrell 1939 James H. and Kate R. Barron 1952 Rodney Malbon 1966 Princess Anne Historical Society
TV Presentation, "Return to Wolf Snare"
"The Archaeology of Upper Wolfsnare" The College of William and Mary in Virginia. Andrew C. Edwards & Norman F. Barka, prepared for Princess Anne County Historical Society, Virginia Beach, 1979, 60 pages.
On OCTOBER TWENTIETH, 1914, In looking for "The Ferry," we questioned Mr. Josiah Woodhouse, Jr., who keeps a store a few hundred yards from Old Donation Church, on the road to the left of the church. He directed us to "The Ferry," but told us that a road at the side of his store, leading through a body of woods, terminated in a quarter of a mile at an old house, in the yard of which were several tombs which he thought were of Walkes. It was too late to go to "The Ferry" that day and he kindly left his store and went with us to show the way. We found a very old two story brick house, but the tombs were Boush. One was the tomb of Mrs. David M. Walke, who adopted my sister Mary, and who was a Boush. Sister Mary told me a few days later that the place was called "Springfield." A Mr. Campbell now lives there, but the place is owned by A. E. Anderson. Editor's note: "Springfield" was recently referred to as the Wishart House, and is now called the Lynnhaven House.
The following is from a letter to a brother of the writer (Admiral Henry Walke), dated May 15th, 1892, from a near relative residing in Norfolk, Va., who is well informed on all subjects relating to the history of the family. (handwritten notation, "Who?") I drove out lately to the two old Moseley places, Rollston and Greenwich, and visited the graveyard at each. Alas! even their names had been forgotten; the old tombs remain, but the homesteads are occupied by the owls and bats. . . . The residence of Col. Moseley (brother of Mrs. Anthony(3) Walke) like the "Ferry," was also built on the old English model for country mansions; its walls appeared to be sound when the writer saw them in 1828, and it was then, as well as Fairfields and Greenwich, one of the most interesting landmarks of ancient times.
Admiral Walke continued: Parson [Anthony] Walke was twice married. The children by his first wife were John N.(5), Edward(5) and David M.(5); by his second wife, Edwin(5). (John N. Walke was the father of Dr., Frank Anthony Walke of Norfolk, Va.) . . . David M. resembled his brother John. David, with his wife moved to Norfolk recently, and died there nearly a century old. John N. had previously moved to Norfolk, where he married Miss Land, of Princess Anne County, Virginia, but he died a few years afterwards, leaving a widow with one or two children. His half sister married Dr. McAlpin, a highly estemed physician of Kempsville, who was godfather of the writer. Edward [Walke] lived for many years on his plantation (Greenwich) near Kempsville. His eldest daughter married Mr. Blow, of North Carolina. They resided and prospered in New York City until the breaking out of the Civil War, when Mr. Blow's business was ruined. He died about 1866, leaving a widow, two sons and a daughter, who, with Miss Martha Walke (Mrs. Blow's sister), are now residing with Mrs. Blow in California.
From Admiral Walke "Record"
OCTOBER TWENTY-FOURTH, 1914. - We left the train at Greenwich Station and first made an effort to locate the grave of Anthony Walke, 2d. . . . Desparing of locating the grave of Anthony Walke, 2nd, we walked from Mr. Hudgins' house north about three quarters of a mile to Greenwich Station, and then looked up the "Lion's Den" farm. My older sisters call this place Elmwood and my father's papers speak of it as such. It lies about a quarter of a mile north of Greenwich Station in the angle between the road to Kempsville and the Newtown Landing road. A Mr. Masters lives here, who said it was called the "Lion's Den," although he had only recently learned of the name. He says the name comes from a tradition that lions had a den in a hole in the back of the place, although he thinks the animal was more likely a woodchuck. Upon our asking him about the Moseley burying ground at "Greenwich" he pointed southwest to a place several hundred yards beyond the Railroad and just east of the creek and told us that the foundations of the old "Greenwich" mansion and the burying ground were there in a clump of locust bushes. . . .
. . . we add a few items of interest that we have gleaned relative to "Rose Hall," the home plantation of Jacob Ellegood when he made his will in 1753. In 1714 we find William Ellegood patenting 214 acres on Lynnhaven, known as "Thomas Cannon's Old Landing Cove.' This tract was repented by Jacob Ellegood in 1730. Before making his will as above mentioned, more land had been bought and added to the original patent. The son Jacob Ellegood left the Colony of Virginia and moved to the Parish of Prince William in the County of York, Province of New Brunswick. From the Calendar of State Papers, volume VIII, Mr. Edward James in his Antiquary _________ quotes the verbal proposition of Lord Dunmore on the exchange of certain prisoners. The exchangee offered was Col. Alexander Gordon and Col. Jacob Ellegood for Col. Anthony Lawson and Col. Joseph Hutchings. Since we know Col. Lawson was an ardent patriot and member of the Princess Anne Committee of Safety, we reach the conclusion that Col. Jacob Ellegood was a Tory, thereby accounting for his removing from Virginia and taking up residence in what is now the Dominion of Canada. From his home in New Brunswick in 1801, Col. Ellegood made his will in duplicate. Col. Jacob Ellegood left "Rose Hall" plantation, consisting of 615 1/2 acres, to his friend Col. Anthony Walke, his brother-in-law John Saunders, and to two of his sons Jacob (3) and John Saunders Ellegood. Col. Walke refused to act as an executor since he was also beneficiary under the will. So Jacob Ellegood (3) in 1803, as acting executor of Col. Jacob, sold the property to William Ellegood, a younger son.
_Old Houses in Princess Anne_, Sadie Scott Kellam and V. Hope Kellam. Portsmouth VA: Printcraft Press, Inc., 1958, p. 68-9.
(Trant Development, west side of Great Neck, old Ellegood Plantation, more recently owned by Swepson Whitehead Brooks, whose widow was alive in 1958. Area was called Indian Point at one time.)
One of the Thoroughgood mansions, called the Pleasure House, was on the bay shore near Lynnhaven River, west of the Ferry "four or five miles." It was destroyed by sailors from the British fleet in 1812 for which Congress vorted an indemnity. The other was on Church Point, Lynnhaven River.--Historical Sketches, p. 49. "In his will, dated February 17th, 1640, Capt. Adam Thoroughgood, who was a brother of Sir John Thoroughgood, of Kensington, near London, bequeathed `to the Parish Church of Lynnhaven, one thousand pounds of tobacco in leaf, to be disbursed for some necessary and becoming ornament.'" "About this time it is probable he moved across the bay to Lynnhaven, in the present County of Princess Anne, where he died and wad buried near his children. He appointed his `dearly beloved brother, Sir John Thoroughgood, one of the executors of his will and testament."
Right on County 647 to Donation Church, in a grass plot among pine and oak trees. The restored building is rectangular, of red brick with high-pitched roof. It was built in 1736 and succeeded a predecessor, erected in 1692, and Lynnhaven Parish's first church, completed in 1640 on another site. The Reverend Thomas Dickson in 1776 left his farm in trust to the vestry, the income wto be used to employ `an able and discreet teacher in the Latin and Greek languages and mixed mathematics' for the instruction of male orphans of the parish. This, according to tradition, led to the church's being called `Dickson's Donation Church' and later `Donation Church.' The old building was gutted by a forest fire in 1882, and only the walls were standing when restoration was begun in 1916. The old silver communion service, pewter collection plate, and marble font, recovered from the river, have survived. Close by Donation Church stood Princess Anne County's first courthouse. Soon after the county was formed in 1691 a courthouse was ordered built `in Jno. Keelings old field by London Bridge,' but the courthouse was not erected until about 1696 and then here on `land belonging to the Brick Church.'
"Poplar Hall Grounds Could Be Hiding Archaeological Gems, Local Woman Says"
Before bulldozers and excavators tear through the earth, an archaelogical search of the Poplar Hall grounds might be in order, says Alice G. Walter of Virginia Beach. Mrs. Walter is a family historian and an eighth generation descendant of Thurmer Hoggard, the first in the Hoggard family to own the property. In February 1761, Hoggard bought 200 acres along Broad Creek from Lewis Thelaball for 235 pounds sterling. He built his Georgean brick home there shortly afterward. Mrs. Walter, who has scoured court records and other documents in her genealogical work, is not sure what an archaelogical dig might reveal. But the property has been the site of shipbuilding and military activity. Somewhere on the premises might be the keels of three ships burned by the British during the War of 1812. As late as 1900, the keels were visible, Mrs. Walter said. . . . Mrs. Walter has researched the title to the Poplar Hall territory, which first belonged to William Moseley, a Dutch merchant who willed land to his son Arthur in 1655. She also wrote what she called a "potpouri of facts, tradition and the statements of the Hoggard family members of the fourth through the eighth generation." . . . A patent to the land, written on sheepskin and rolled on a small piece of wood, might be found wherever trash was being discarded in 1907. The patent would have been in Arthur Moseley's name and dated 1670. Mrs. Walter said the document was kept in a living-room closet until Thurmer Hoggard V married Matilda Alexander of Pittsburg in 1907 and brought her to the ancestral hoome. She is reputed to have cleaned out the closet to store her china. The patent has not been seen since, and Mrs. Walter thinks it was lost or thrown away....
_The Virginian-Pilot and The Ledger-Star_, 3/18/84, p. F1, 2
Census Records | Vital Records | Family Trees & Communities | Immigration Records | Military Records Directories & Member Lists | Family & Local Histories | Newspapers & Periodicals | Court, Land & Probate | Finding Aids