Chesterville Plantation
Posted by: Groundspeak Regular Member NASA Langley CRGIS
N 37° 06.200 W 076° 23.306
18S E 376626 N 4107237
Quick Description: Colonial plantation owned by George Wythe, the first Virginian to sign the Declaration of Independence.
Location: Virginia, United States
Date Posted: 10/22/2013 8:18:15 AM
Waymark Code: WMJB11
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member Math Teacher
Views: 0

Long Description:
NOTE: This waymark is located INSIDE the security perimeter of NASA Langley Research Center. You MUST have access privileges for this facility in order to visit the waymark.

The 1050 acres which later made up Chesterville, the property owned by the Wythe family, was originally granted to John Laydon (500 acres), Thomas Garnet (200 acres), and Elizabeth Thompson (200 acres) in 1635. In 1648, John Howitt bought 204 acres of Laydon’s tract, later sold it to Humphrey Lee, whose heirs sold the tract to Edmund Swaney.

In 1691, Thomas Wythe I began to purchase land that later became Chesterville, starting with Edmund Swaney's 204 acres. This piece of property was identified in a court order dated 18 January 1697 as being the 'Oares Plantation.' Grandson Thomas Wythe III inherited this tract of land, along with the manor house, the house believed to have been the birthplace of George Wythe. The manor house is presumed to the the stone foundation to the north of the brick house. This house has tentatively been dated by a J. Benthall as third or fourth quarter 17th century based on surface artifacts. That would place this house as one of the 'Buildings, Edifices, and Houses' described on the property when purchased by the Wythes in 1691. The stone cobbles are quartzite sandstone and native to the Tidewater region of Virginia.

The Chesterville property was left to George's older brother, Thomas Wythe IV, and upon his death George Wythe inherited the property. After his first wife's death George Wythe lived on the property from 1748-1755. In 1771 Wythe bought windows, nails, and hardware from London to build a new house. There is only one known photograph of the two-story house Wythe built taken before fire destroyed it in 1911. Local legend holds that the house was designed by Thomas Jefferson, though no direct evidence for this exists one way or the other. Construction was similar to the Fairfax County Courthouse of 1800, and can also be compared to Pavilion VII at the University of Virginia and Berry Hill Plantation in Orange County, VA. When the state courts moved to Richmond in 1788, Chancellor Wythe followed, but he continued to operate the property as a plantation until 1792.

George Wythe purchased surrounding farms, and by 1771 held 1050 acres of land. He grew tobacco, corn, wheat, and barley. He also raised livestock including cattle, and maintained apple and pear orchards. During the Revolutionary War, his overseer Hamilton St. George proved to be a spy, giving the British information and supplies from Chesterville.

In 1795, George Wythe tried to sell Chesterville, which included the house, servant's quarters, kitchen, stable, store house, and a granary and wharf where ships could dock. After the first purchaser defaulted on their loan, George Wythe bought the property at auction, and sold it in 1802 to Col Houlder Hudgins.

Col. Hudgins gave the plantation to his daughter Mary. The plantation was divided upon her death in 1845, and her son Levin Y. Winder inherited part of the plantation including the house. Just before the Battle of Big Bethel Levin Winder’s family left Hampton for Williamsburg, and did not return until the war was over. Union troops ransacked but did not destroy the house.

In 1875 Francis A. Schmelz bought Chesterville, and gave the property which included land and the house, to his daughter Frances. Around this time, the property is described as including "a large brick building old and out of repair, a good barn, other out buildings & fencing and the yard." Frances and her husband, Robert S. Hudgins left the property to their son, Robert S. Hudgins Jr., who lived in George Wythe’s house until 1911. In 1911, a kerosene stove in the kitchen exploded and the house was destroyed. Hudgins continued to rent the plantation as farmland until the 1930’s. In 1950 he sold the plantation to the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). Included on the property are areas identified as the Chesterville house foundation, Oares stone foundation about 100' to the north, the foundation of a brick kiln about 400' east, a wharf, and the Winder-Garrett cemetery about 1000' west.
Link to the Homestead: [Web Link]

History if no Link: Not listed

Additional Parking or Point of Interest: Not Listed

Structure Type: Not listed

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