State Historical Markers

This was the home of John Tyler, Governor of Virginia, 1808-1811. His son, John Tyler, President of the United States, was born here, March 29, 1790.

Located 1 ½ miles south on the James River is Kennon's Landing. Richard Kennon married Anne Hunt about 1735 and lived there until his death in 1761. Anne Hunt's father was Captain William Hunt whose father William Hunt, a supporter of Nathaniel Bacon, is buried directly across the bay at Bachelor Point. The colonial government of Virginia opened a tobacco warehouse and inspection station at the landing in 1742. Hogsheads of tobacco were weighed, inspected for quality, and stored for shipment there. During the Revolutionary War, on 4 Jan 1781, American-turned-British Gen. Benedict Arnold landed some of his troops at Kennon's and others at Westover, then marched to Richmond.

A mile and a half northwest, Lott Cary was born in slavery about 1780. In 1804 his owner, John Bowry, a Methodist minister, hired him out to a Richmond tobacco firm. Cary joined the First Baptist Church in 1807. He purchased his freedom and became a Baptist minister in 1813, then founded the African Missionary Society in 1815. Cary sailed for Africa in 1821 as the continent's first African-American missionary. He established Providence Baptist Church in Monrovia, Liberia, and several schools. As a political and military leader, Cary helped Liberia survive as a colony of free American blacks. He died there in November 1828.

Three miles south is North Bend, a Greek Revival residence built in 1819. Sarah Minge, sister of President William Henry Harrison, and her husband, John, built the original portion of the house located on Kittiewan Creek. Thomas H. Willcox greatly enlarged the dwelling in 1853. General Sheridan established his Union headquarters here while his 30,000 men crossed the James River on a pontoon bridge at Weyanoke.

Paspahegh engravingLocated nearby was the main town of the Paspahegh Indians, tributaries to paramount chief Powhatan.  When Jamestown was built in their territory, the Paspahegh consistently resisted the English settlement. In Aug. 1610, George Percy, on orders from Gov. De La Warr (Delaware), destroyed the Paspahegh town and its crops, killing 16 people and capturing the wife and children of chief Wowinchapuncke. On their return to Delaware’s ship, the English threw the children overboard and then shot them in the head, and later executed the chief's wife — actions that changed the nature of warfare for the Virginia Indians.  Wowinchapuncke was killed in a later skirmish near Jamestown. The remaining Paspahegh left the area by 1611.

Eight miles west on "The Old Main Road" is Piney Grove. The original portion, built ca.1800 on Southall's Plantation, is a rare survival of Tidewater log architecture. Edmund Archer Saunders, a successful Richmond businessman, operated a store at Piney Grove between 1857 and 1874 when he sold it to Thomas Harwood. Saunders later returned to Charles City County and purchased Upper Shirley and Weyanoke plantations. Harwood enlarged the building for his home in 1910.

During the 18th century this property was established as a Southall family seat. Notable family members include James Barrett Southall, owner of Williamsburg's Raleigh Tavern, Turner Southall, member of the committee to build the Virginia State Capitol, and historian Douglas Southall Freeman. Furneau Southall built the original log portion of the structure on his 300-acre plantation before 1800. During the 1780s, Southall's, now known as Piney Grove, was home to Furneau Southall's family and at least 17 slaves. He was a grandson of family patriarch John Southall and served on the county Committee of Safety with John Tyler and Benjamin Harrison.

Just to the south is Sherwood Forest, where President John Tyler lived after his retirement from the presidency until his death in 1862. He bought the place in 1842 and came to it as his home in March, 1845. Here Tyler, with his young second wife, entertained much and raised another large family. The house, well-furnished, was damaged in the war period, 1862-65.