2023 NHPS Programs, Meetings, & ACTIVITIES
Lecture on the Lawn at
October 15th at 2:00
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society invites you to attend a "Lecture on the Lawn" on Sunday, October 15th, at 2:00 p.m., at the site of the Arlington House. The lecture will cover the excavation of the site and the history of the Custis family who lived there.
Guest speaker Nicholas M. Luccketti, Principal Archaeologist for the James River Institute for Archaeology, Inc., will review the 1994 excavation of the Arlington mansion site and contrast it to other archaeological examples of 17th century houses in Virginia. He will discuss the evidence for English settlement at the site that predated the construction of the Arlington mansion. Mr. Luccketti will also present an overview of the archaeological work conducted at the Wilsonia Plantation owned by John Custis III and the ongoing excavations at the John Custis IV site in Williamsburg. NHPS Historian David Scott will address the origins of the Custis family and the history of the Arlington Branch of the Custis family.
No fees are charged for this lecture, but we ask that individuals each consider a $10 donation to support ongoing NHPS preservation and education efforts. Be sure to bring your lawn chair and dress comfortably!
Directions to the Arlington House and Custis Tomb Site: From Route 13, turn west at the “Custis Tomb” sign onto Rt. 644, or Arlington Road. (About three miles south of Cape Charles.) Arlington Road will turn left at Custis Tomb Road, then keep straight onto Custis Tomb Road (still Rt. 644). Custis Tomb Road will bear right onto Arlington Chase Road. The Arlington site will be straight ahead on the shore of Old Plantation Creek. NHPS “red arrow” signs will be in place to direct you.
On September 17th, a Lecture on the Lawn was held at the Cape Charles Rosenwald Elementary School. The lecture gave varied perspectives of life in Cape Charles and Northampton County between the 1930's and 60's. The lecture also covered information from recent research conducted by Hanbury Preservation Consulting, in preparation for the school's nomination to the National Register of Historic Places, and included alumni accounts of their experiences. Any donations at the event were given to the Cape Charles Rosenwald School Restoration Initiative.
NHPS Lecture on the Lawn at The Glebe
Held Sunday, June 24th
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society presented a Lecture on the Lawn at “The Glebe” on Sunday, June 25th. "The Glebe" is one of Northampton County's finest examples of colonial architecture and its history is intimately connected to that of Hungars Parish.
In the 1600s, this was part of a 1500-acre plantation belonging to Mr. Stephen Charleton. The home was probably built about 1745, but this date has been subject to considerable debate. For several decades, “The Glebe” and plantation served to house and support the ministers of Hungars Parish. It was sold in 1839 to William S. Floyd after the Virginia Legislature authorized its sale for the benefit of the Overseers of the Poor for Northampton County. It is now a beautifully restored colonial treasure.
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society presented a "Lecture at Eyre Rectory" on Sunday, June 11th. Eyre Rectory, built in the 1850’s, served as the rectory for the ministers of Hungars Parish until about 1908 when a new rectory was built in Eastville, across Courthouse Road from Christ Church. Eyre Rectory was located on six acres donated by Maria Robins and built with additional funds contributed by Mr. John Eyre of "Eyre Hall". Since 1908 it has had several owners, including Dr. Raymond Brown who was a general practitioner in Eastville for many years. The land where "Eyre Rectory" was built was originally given to the local Native Americans in the 1640s. They lived on this seaside land until the 1830s.
2022 NHPs Programs, Meetings and Activities
2022 NHPS Annual Meeting & Dinner
NHPS was indeed fortunate to have Dr. Carl Lounsbury visiting Northampton County when the featured December 7th Annual Dinner & Meeting speaker Archaeologist Nicholas Lucketti was unable to attend. (Lucketti scheduled presentation will be given at a later date). Dr. Lounsbury's presentation “entitled “House Detective, the Determination of the Age and Construction of Historic Buildings” was well-received by the 70+ attendees at the Mimosa Barn. As the Emeritus Senior Architectural Historian of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Dr. Lounsbury was responsible for long-term architectural research projects and various architectural matters in the Historic Area of Colonial Williamsburg. His writing and research career focused on architecture in Colonial Williamsburg and a broader look at the first two centuries of building in the southern U.S. Dr. Lounsbury's public buildings studies in the American colonies include courthouses, clerk’s offices, jails, churches, and more. The Northampton County Court Green historical buildings were featured in his book The Courthouses of Early Virginia. His most recent book is The Material World of Eyre Hall: Four Centuries of Chesapeake History. In describing the book, the Executive Director of the Jamestown - Yorktown Foundation, Christy S. Coleman, said, “This work is a rare confluence of a historic place, objects, and people captivating readers with a compelling historical narrative that spans over 350 years.”
NHPS Lecture on the Lawn
Arlington House and the Custis Tombs
Sunday, October 30th at 2:00 pm
A "Lecture on the Lawn" was held at the site of Arlington House and the Custis Tombs Sunday, on October 30th at 2:00 pm. Arlington House was a late 17th Century brick mansion built by John Custis II in 1670. In 1696, the property was inherited by his grandson, John Custis IV (portrait on the left), who lived there until sometime after his marriage to Frances Parke (portrait below). He then moved to Williamsburg but, when he died, he wished to be buried at Arlington House in Northampton. Their son, Daniel Parke Custis, married Martha Dandridge who, following Daniel’s death, married George Washington.
All that remains of the house today is the brick foundation and the tombs of John Custis II and John Custis IV. Dr. David Scott who covered the history of the Arlington mansion, the Custis tombs, and the Custis family - including the turbulent marriage of John and Frances Custis. The site was saved from development by the Arlington Foundation and is now owned by the Archaeological Conservancy, who will preserve and manage it for the future. NHPS is partnered with the Archaeological Conservancy for the interpretation and promotion of the site.
NHPS has started the restoration of the 1907 Jail.
NHPS held a “Lecture on the Lawn” at Pear Valley featuring new research information from historian David Scott. Pear Valley is a unique and important landmark in Northampton County and Virginia. The home was constructed about 1740 and was belonged to one branch of the Eastern Shore Nottingham family. Pear Valley is an example of a middle-class home in the mid 1700’s and is the only remaining structure of that vintage in Northampton County. David Scott explained the history of the house, including its significant architectural features as examples of 18th century construction. He also covered the Nottingham family which owned Pear Valley for several generations.
Lecture on the Lawn at Elkington
Sunday, May 22nd at 2 p.m.
On Sunday, May 22nd at 2 p.m. the first NHPS “Lecture on the Lawn” in 2022 was held at Elkington in Eastville. Built about 1795, Elkington exhibits a classic Eastern Shore architectural style and has been the home of several prominent families including Stratton, Parker, Upshur, and Willis. The history of this land goes back to the very earliest days of the Eastern Shore and was part of a gift from the Native Eastern Shoremen to Thomas Savage.
This lecture featured guest speaker Dr. David Neff, professor of history at Tidewater Community College. Dr. Neff is a Stratton and Parker family descendant.
On April 22nd and April 23rd, Dr. David Scott and Jenean Hall held the fourth lecture in his genealogy series, entitled, "Finding Data in Atypical Places.’ In this lecture, Dr. Scott explained how to explore a complex Chancery Court Case and estate division; work with the 1840 Northampton County census; and use land and personal property tax lists to keep your research on track. Jenean Hall presented "A Tale of Two Thomases" to illustrate how the records can sometimes offer physical clues to an ancestor's identity.
2021 NHPS Programs and Meetings
NHPS Receives Grant From Virginia Humanities
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society is pleased to be included in the 24 grants awarded in the fall of 2021 by the Virginia Humanities.
Northampton Historic Preservation Society: $10,000
The grant is for the production of an exhibit in the restored 1907 Jail exploring the history of jails in Northampton County. The exhibit will include stories about the inmates of one of the many Northampton jails through the centuries and address what was happening in the community/country at the time. A look at the various jails that stood on the Court Green and the prevailing philosophies and methods of incarceration will be included. Exhibits will also feature a Genealogy Information Center with tips on how to use the valuable resource records found in the County Clerks Office. They are considered to be the oldest continuous court records in the country.
For more information about the 2021 VA Humanities grants:
NHPS 2021 Annual Meeting and Dinner
NHPS held its Annual Meeting and Dinner at the Mimosa Barn in Cheriton, Virginia on December 8, 2021. The guest speakers for the program were Roger Buyrn, owner of Eyreville, and Mike Clem, Archaeologist, Virginia Department of Historic Resources. In 2016, an ancient beech tree at Roger Buyrn’s home “Eyreville” died and was cut down. As the stump of that tree was being removed, an astonishing treasure trove of artifacts from the early 1600s came to light for the first time in hundreds of years. What was also unearthed was a mystery that raised questions about early settlement, trade, people, and culture. Many believe that the Eyreville archeological excavation work rivals that of Jamestown in importance.
At this lecture, Dr. David Scott presented his third lecture in his genealogy series, entitled, "How to use DNA testing to further your genealogy research". In this lecture, Dr. Scott discussed the various DNA tests that are available and explained how you can use those results to advance your genealogical research.
NHPS Lecture on the Lawn
Arlington House Site & Custis Tomb
Sunday, October 17th at 2:00 p.m.
Lecture by Dr. David Scott
A lecture was held at the site of Arlington House and the Custis Tombs. Arlington House was a late 17th Century brick mansion built by John Custis II in 1670. In 1696, the property was inherited by his grandson, John Custis IV, who lived there until sometime after his marriage. The site was saved from development by the Arlington Foundation and is now owned by the Archaeological Conservancy, who will preserve and manage it for the future. NHPS is partnered with the Archaeological Conservancy for the interpretation and promotion of the site.
This will be an outdoor lecture at the site by Dr. David Scott who will present the history of the Arlington mansion, the Custis tombs, and the Custis family. There will also be a presentation on the Archaeological Conservancy and their plans for the site.
On September 17th and 18th, Dr. David Scott held the second lecture in his Genealogy Series, entitled, "Ancillary Sources for Researching Genealogy in Northampton County". This lecture complemented Dr. Scott’s first lecture on researching genealogy at the clerk's office in Northampton County. He reviewed many sources of published and unpublished information essential for anyone interested in the families of Northampton County. Examples include published transcriptions of the early record books, abstracts of wills, census records, tax records, bible records and more. He covered information about several valuable online sources and show participants how to use them.
This NHPS “Lecture at the Church” featured Hungars Episcopal Church in Bridgetown. It is one of the few colonial churches still in active service on the Eastern Shore, but old as it is, it is only the third and latest building to bear the name and serve Hungars Parish. If its walls could talk, they would tell wonderful stories of its early days, when it was one of the largest brick churches in the new world, graced with a pipe organ in the time when Handel and Bach were current and popular.
Crimson velvet vestments and a sterling communion service attested to the congregation’s prosperity, aspirations – and presumably their desire to bring their best to the worship of God. But such grandeur could not last. The Revolutionary War, the arrival of other religious groups, the ravages of time, and many other forces have made this building’s continued quiet and lovely presence today seem quite miraculous. The program was presented by three members of NHPS with special interest in early Hungars history.
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society presented the lecture “Researching Genealogy in the Northampton County Clerk’s Office” July 30, 2021 from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Christ Church Parish Hall, Eastville, Virginia. This was the first in a series of Northampton Historic Preservation Society genealogy lectures by Eastville historian, Dr. David Scott. Dr. Scott shared his tips on how to use the resources of the Northampton County Clerk’s Office, which houses the oldest continuous court records in America.
Northampton Historic Preservation Society Awarded $50,000 Challenge Grant from The Cabell Foundation to Restore Northampton Court Green 1907 Jail
The Northampton Historic Preservation Society (NHPS) is pleased to announce that The Cabell Foundation has awarded a one-to-one $50,000 challenge grant to support the restoration and preservation of the 1907 jail building on the Northampton County Court Green in Eastville, Virginia. The Society plans to use the 1907 Jail as a museum to recognize the history of all the jails that once stood on the historic court green.
This project will complete a five-building combination of exhibits and buildings reflecting Northampton County governance over the past three hundred years. The existing self-guided tour includes an overview of the Northampton Court Green history in an exhibit room of the 1899 Courthouse (now County Administration Building) and exhibits in the 1731 Courthouse, the Old Clerk's Office (ca.1800) and the Debtors Prison (ca.1814). The addition of the 1907 Jail Museum will become the fifth stop on this educational tour.
Northampton Court Green buildings showcase architectural styles from the last three centuries and provide informative exhibits for students, academicians, and other visitors about activities that took place on the historic court green. With the restoration of the 1907 Jail, the Northampton County Historic Court Green is certain to be one of the most intact and restored court greens in the country. In order to receive The Cabell Foundation challenge grant, NHPS must raise $50,000 in cash and pledges.
The Cabell Foundation challenge grant relies on community involvement for the project through contributions to support preservation efforts! Every gift counts! One-time or monthly donations may be made with the donation button below. Contact Mike Ash at 757-678-0963 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org more information about the project or to discuss your pledge, contribution, or becoming a sponsor.
For a form to use to send a donation by mail, click here: Donation Form
Drawing for the Buck Doughty's Pear Valley Sculpture
on June 13th, 2021 at the
Northampton Court Green Day:
Preserving History with the Restoration of the 1907 Jail
NHPS held it's first Northampton Court Green Day the afternoon of June 13th. The day's activities for the attendees included open house viewing of four historic buildings from the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. Various artists and vendors were on hand and the event ended with the drawing for the Pear Valley Sculpture by Buck Doughty.
1st Northampton Court Green Day:
Preserving History with the Restoration of the 1907 Jail Held on June 13th, 2021
NHPS is pleased to announce that the lucky winner of the drawing for the Pear Valley Sculpture is
Rick Gregor from Franktown!
Why are the historic buildings on the Court Green in Eastville significant? A quick look at the history of the Northampton County Historic Court Green.
A court green or courthouse square in the first settlements in America became the central location for all classes to hear and determine legal activities, transact business, and gather for news and social activities. They typically consisted of a courthouse, clerk’s office, and jail.
By 1634, the Virginia colony was divided into eight shires (including Accawmack) and each was required to hold monthly courts. Accawmack was renamed Northampton in 1642, and by 1663 was divided into two counties; the southern being Northampton and the northern being Accomack.
ABOUT THE 1907 JAIL
NHPS needs your help to restore the 1907 Jail for use as a museum about Northampton County jails and an information center for genealogy research. With the restoration of the 1907 Jail, the Northampton County Court Green is certain to be one of the most intact and restored court greens in the Country.
If you would like to contribute to restore the 1907 Jail for use as a museum, a donation button is available below. The museum will feature the role jails played in county governance in Eastville, Virginia from Colonial times until today.
To place the restoration of the 1907 Jail in perspective, in 1913 the founder of NHPS saved the 1800 Clerk's Office, 1814 Debtors Prison, and the 1731 Courthouse from destruction. Think about what a significant historical loss that would have been. This time it is our turn to save this 113-year old structure for future generations to understand the role jails played in Northampton County governance, in conjunction with the other remaining historical structures, for over 300 years.
Learn more about the 1907 Jail and all the other jails that once stood on the historic Northampton County Court Green
by watching the video on Northampton jails found by clicking here.
NHPS has designed special notecards featuring two of the historic buildings on Northampton's Historic Court Green in Eastville, Virginia. They are perfect for sending messages of thanks, greetings from your vacation, get well notes, or just to send a little hello. Eight folded notecards and envelopes are included in each package and shipping is included.
Order your package(s) with any credit card using the button below or a paper mail in form can be found HERE.
We're Fundraising To Restore the
1907 Jail as a Museum
Please help support Northampton County's preservation efforts!
Already a member? Consider volunteering for the various NHPS activities.
If you wish to learn more about the Northampton Historic Preservation Society before becoming a member, receive our emails about our programs and exhibits by sending your email address to the link below and indicating you would like to be added to our mailing list.
Click here for: Membership Information
Northampton Historic Preservation Society History
In 2013, the Northampton Historic Preservation Society was granted 501(c)(3) status. The mission of the NHPS is to preserve the historic heritage of properties primarily in Northampton County, Virginia through education, advocacy, and restoration activities. The NHPS is dedicated to continuing its century long historic preservation mission as the Northampton Branch of Preservation Virginia (a.k.a. the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities).