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Exeter Lodge Plantation

from:   Northern Neck Of Virginia Historical Magazine, Vol X (1960)

article by James Motley Booker, MD

.....Beverly, Sarah Ann Beverly Addison Hansford and Michael Wallace conveyed to him the said William Henderson as trustee, a certain tract of land situated in the county of Northumberland called Exeter Lodge."  The above was to secure deeds of trust to Wallace etc...  The deed conveyed the tract known as "Exeter Lodge" to Baldwin M. Leland for $2,200.
Baldwin Mathews Leland who thus bought "Exeter Lodge" at public auction lived at nearby "Cypress Farm" in Cherry Point neck.  He was a lawyer and planter and son of the Episcopal minister, Rev. John Leland who died in Lancaster in 1788.  His mother was Judith Smith, a daughter of Baldwin Mathews Smith.
As the first resident of Northumberland to own the property in approximately thirtyfive years we would have hoped that Baldwin Leland could have lived to develop and bring the estate back to some of its former glory, and then pass it on to one of his children.  However, he died intestate on August 27, 1832, and it was necessary to divide the properties among his many children, Baldwin Leland who was born March 11, 1780, married in 1806 Elizabeth Fauntleroy Haggoman.  She was the daughter of Capt. John Haggoman and his wife Mary Anne Jameson, of Accomac.  She bore him nine children and died July 2, 1824.
He married secondly on February 25, 1828, Rebecca Ann Travers, daughter of Henry Hicks Travers.  By her he had three more children before his death at the age of 52.  She married again on November 15, 1837, W. W. Harding.  After his death a suit in chancery soon arose over the distribution of his property among his many heirs.  In 1833, the Northumberland Court ordered a survey of the "Exeter Lodge" property in order to divide it into three parts for distribution.  This was completed in 1834, and recorded in 1835.  The report of the division is as follows:
Northumberland Record Book No. 28 p. 647 April 28, 1834.

Division of real estate belonging to Baldwin M. Leland, who died intestate. "the real estate of said deceased called and known by the name of the 'Exeter Lodge Estate', being a separate and distinct tract of land has been divided into three lots as follows, to wit: Lot No. 1-225 acres drawn by Baldwin Leland; Lot No. 2-234 acres drawn by Samuel A. M. Leland in right of his purchase of William Lelands interest in B. M. Lelands real estate; Lot No. 3-243 acres drawn by Fabricius Leland, which will more fully appear from a Plat of the said "Lodge" land hereto annexed as part of this report, all of which is respectfully submitted etc...."  Recorded Dec. 14, 1835 (the report of the survey is recorded in Book No. 28 p. 64.)

That the old brick dwelling was considered beyond repair seems to be reflected in this survey.  The surveyor had been directed to divide the estate into three parts of equal value.  The 225-acre portion on the South Yeocomico River possessed the dwelling house, but the other portions of 234 and 243 acres respectively, had but few more acres of land to compensate for it.  The survey also showed the estate to contain only 702 acres instead of the 800 acres more or less noted in numerous deeds for generations back.  Also the records show that it was sold for 3,000 lbs. 1785, 2,400 lbs. in 1795, and for only $2,200 in 1829.  Considering the fact that there may have been currency fluctuations during this period, there is still a marked drop in valuation which bespeaks the ruin and decay of this old plantation.

Thus "Exeter Lodge" in terms of the original estate comes to an end.  Now not even the oldest living citizen remembers that there was such a property.  However, research shows there is still another story to tell.  This has to do with the establishment of a public landing at "Lodge" - the continuance of the mercantile interest here- the building of the first steamboat wharf and the first vessels.  And there is the 1900's and the flowering and disappearance of the steamboats, and the story to the present day.  But of course that will have to come in another paper--supplement to this--which the author hopes to present at some future date.

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