Sunday, November 30, 2014

Weehawken Dueling Grounds

Weehawken Dueling Grounds
Hamilton Ave
Weehawken, NJ 07086

Across the Hudson River from New York City, lies the former location of the Weehawken Dueling Grounds in Weehawken, NJ. A bust of Alexander Hamilton and two plaques mark the approximate location of where Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton faced off in a duel on July 11, 1804. Both men were veterans of the American Revolution, who had held high positions in the infant United States government. The rivalry that existed between the men was both political and personal in nature. Hamilton was a leader of the Federalist Party, while Burr was a leading politician in the Democratic-Republican Party. Hamilton had also attacked Burr's personal character in the media during the 1804 New York Gubernatorial election. In this election, Burr would be defeated by the Hamilton supported Morgan Lewis. The duel between the two men resulted in the mortal wounding of Alexander Hamilton. Hamilton would die the next day in New York City. On the other hand, the duel resulted in the official end of Burr's political career. Criminal charges and harsh criticism were both directed towards Burr after the duel. The marker is located on Hamilton Ave in Weehawken. The marker can be easily found in between a row of houses and the cliff that overlooks the Hudson River.

Below is a write up on the duel from the PBS website, as well as some photos that I took last weekend:

"On July 11, 1804, Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey, to fight the final skirmish of a long-lived political and personal battle. When the duel was over, Hamilton would be mortally wounded, and Burr would be wanted for murder.

Hamilton was a Federalist. Burr was a Republican. The men clashed repeatedly in the political arena. The first major skirmish was in 1791, when Burr successfully captured a United States Senate seat from Philip Schuyler, Hamilton's powerful father-in-law. Hamilton, then Treasury secretary, would have counted on Schuyler to support his policies. When Burr won the election, Hamilton fumed.

In 1800 Burr obtained and had published 'The Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, Esq., President of the United States.,' a document highly critical of Adams, a Federalist. Hamilton, its author, had intended it for private circulation. Its publication proved highly embarrassing to Hamilton and helped widen rifts in the Federalist Party. That same year, when Republicans Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson tied in balloting for the presidency, Hamilton lobbied Congress to decide the election in Jefferson's favor. Hamilton's campaign had little effect, but in the end, Jefferson emerged the winner.

It was the New York governor's race of 1804, however, that pushed the two men to violence. In that election, Burr turned his back on the Republicans and ran as an independent. Burr believed that if he won, he would regain power. The prospect of Burr leading New York mortified Hamilton, who despised and mistrusted Burr completely. In early 1804, Hamilton tried to convince New York Federalists not to support Burr.

Although Hamilton's campaign was probably not the deciding factor, the Burr campaign failed. Burr was crushed in the general election by Morgan Lewis, the Republican candidate, who was supported by George and DeWitt Clinton, powerful New York Republicans.

The battle for New York had been a bruising one, but in the end, a relatively minor slight precipitated the Burr-Hamilton duel. In February, 1804, a New York Republican, Dr. Charles D. Cooper, attended a dinner party at which Alexander Hamilton spoke forcefully and eloquently against Burr. Cooper later wrote a letter to Philip Schuyler in which he made reference to a particularly "despicable opinion" Hamilton expressed about Burr. The letter was published in a New York newspaper the 'Albany Register.'

Hoping that a victory on the dueling ground could revive his flagging political career, Burr challenged Hamilton to a duel. Hamilton wanted to avoid the duel, but politics left him no choice. If he admitted to Burr's charge, which was substantially true, he would lose his honor. If he refused to duel, the result would be the same. Either way, his political career would be over.

After Hamilton's and Burr's seconds tried without success to settle the matter amicably, the two political enemies met on the dueling grounds at Weehawken, New Jersey on the morning of July 11. Each fired a shot from a .56 caliber dueling pistol. Burr was unscathed; Hamilton fell to the ground mortally wounded. He died the next day.

Instead of reviving Burr's political career, the duel helped to end it. Burr was charged with two counts of murder. After his term as vice president ended, he would never hold elective office again. And his next plot to gain power would end with charges of treason." (http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/duel/peopleevents/pande17.html)

MW










Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bey's Boxing Camp

Bey's Boxing Camp Marker
516 River Road
Chatham, NJ 07928

As most my readers know by now, two of my passions in life are history and boxing. That being said, I jump at most opportunities to visit locations associated with the history of boxing. When I discovered that Chatham, NJ put up a roadside local history marker for Madame Bey's Boxing Camp, I put it on the top of my "must see" list. I drove out to Chatham last weekend on a chilly fall afternoon, and found the marker in a residential area on River Road. It was very interesting to see and photograph this marker, because I was also able to take in the terrain in which Madame Bey's boxing campers trained. River Road has a particularly curvy feel to it, along with nice inclines to support the conditioning of fighters. For those of you who also plan to make the trek out to Chatham to see the former location of Madame Bey's Boxing Camp, you will have no problem finding the marker with GPS via the address I provided above.

Below is a write up on the history of Bey's Boxing Camp from NJ.com, along with some photos I took of the marker:

"Can you picture world famous boxers running down River Road? It happened in the mid 1900’s as Madame Bey’s world famous prizefighting camp operated on River Road from 1918 through 1960. The Chatham Township Historical Society has commemorated the site at 516 River Road, placing its third historical marker there last week.

Madame Bey must have cut quite an interesting figure back in the early 1900’s in the rural township. According to John Cunningham’s book Images of America: Chatham Township, Bey was born in Turkey, graduated from the American College in Constantinople, spoke four languages, was a trained soprano and was married to the secretary of the Turkish Empires Delegation in Washington, D.C. Close friends of President McKinley, she was only two people away from him when he was fatally wounded by an assassin.

Madame Bey came into the world of boxing via the Welsh Wizard, also known as Freddy Welsh the lightweight boxing champion from 1914 to 1917. He invested his winnings in a mansion on Meyersville Road and opened a health farm for businessmen. Upon joining the army in 1920, Welsh asked Bey to continue the health farm which she expanded to include prizefighters. In 1926 she moved the camp to her own farm, built a full-size outdoor boxing ring and staged daily boxing exhibitions.

The boxing camp hosted many prominent contenders from all over the world who trained on River Road. She ran a tight ship with no drinking or swearing. Gene Tunney, Mickey Walker, Max Schmelling (Adolf Hitler’s favorite,) Jimmy Braddock, (known as the Cinderella Man), Kid Chocolate, Kid Gavilan, Floyd Patterson, Sugar Ray Robinson, Rocky Graziano, Archie Moore and many others trained there and were frequently seen running on township roads.

Exhibition matches were held on Sundays and in the audience were sports writers and local residents. The Chatham Township dateline was seen in papers around the world on the sports writers’ articles commenting on the various fighters chances before matches, large and small.

Madame Bey died in 1942 but the boxing camp continued to thrive for more than 20 years, run by her assistant Ehsan Karadag. It closed in the 1960’s when the so-called Borscht Belt Hotels started to provide free training space for boxers with the purpose of attracting patrons."
(http://www.nj.com/independentpress/index.ssf/2011/06/chatham_historical_society_com.html)

MW









Friday, November 28, 2014

Head of Navigation

Head of Navigation Marker
County Route 516
Old Bridge, NJ 08857
(Located near the Matawan - Old Bridge border)

Central New Jersey is an area that is full of early American history. Modern-day Matawan and Old Bridge are two areas that are particularly rich in this history. At the border of Matawan and Old Bridge is a marker showing where the head of navigation existed in colonial East Jersey. The marker reads:

"Head of Navigation - This site marks the head of commercial navigation during the 17th-19th centuries. It is part of the land that originally belonged to Thomas Warne, East Jersey proprietor, from 1683-1722."

Below is a write up on Thomas Warne from the Find a Grave website, along with some photos I took of the marker this week:

"Thomas Warne was born in Plymouth, Devonshire County, England in 1652. Sometime later, he emigrated to Dublin, Ireland where he worked as a merchant. He and his father Stephen Warne emigrated to America in March of 1683. Thomas Warne, in addition to his cargo, brought with him eleven indentuted servants. They were as follows: William Elleson, 3 yrs., John Kighin and Nora Rae, 5 yrs., Patrick Kemane, 7 yrs., Anthony Ashmore and Walter Newman, 9 yrs., also Abraham Smith, Jane Hankinson and her three children Thomas, Peter and Richard Hankinson.
Thomas Warne settled in Perth Amboy, NJ. On September 13, 1683, Thomas Warne purchased 400 acres in Matawan, Monmouth County, NJ. It is there where he established his plantation eventually expanding it to one thousand acres.

The purchase in 1683 was part of the original Twenty-Four Proprietors of East Jersey Purchase. The Twenty Four Lords Proprietors of East Jersey, Thomas Warne being one of them, established Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, NJ, as their capitol.

The original Warne Plantation, located between the Matawan and Gravel Creeks in present day Matawan, Monmouth County, NJ, is the site of the Thomas Warne Historical Museum and Library. The museum is located inside an 1820's schoolhouse.

Thomas Warne was a bachelor until he was about fifty years old. He married Mary, the widow of Thomas Carhart. She was the daughter of sea captain Robert Lord who was born in London, England in 1627 and emigrated to America with his family on April 29, 1635 aboard the ship Elizabeth and Anne. Thomas Lord, the father of Capt. Robert Lord, was born in London about 1585. He married Dorothy and settled with their six children in Newtown, Long Island, NY, before settling in Cambridge, Maas. Capt. Robert Lord was 8 years old when his family left Emgland for the American Colonies.

Captain Robert Lord of Cambridge, Mass. married Rebecca Stanley. Their children were Robert Lord, Thomas Lord and Mary Lord (b.July 13, 1668).

Mary (Lord) Warne was born in Cambridge Massachussetts on July 13, 1668. She married Thomas Carhart in November of 1691 on Staten Island, NY. They moved to Woodbridge Twp., Middlesex County in 1695. she became a widow the next year. Between 1700-1702 Mary Carhart of Woodbridge married Thomas Warne of Perth Amboy.

Thomas Warne raised his three step-sons along with the children born to his union with his wife Mary.

Mary (Lord) Warne died about 1713, shortly after the birth of her last child George Warne. Thomas Warne, her husband and father of their children as well as step-father to her children with Thomas Carhart, granted 600 acres of land '...to be divided equally between my (his)three sons-in-law (step-sons).,' in 1714, about a year after the death of his wife.

Thomas Warne and Mary (Lord) Warne had six children. They were as follows: Stephen Warne,
Thomas Warne, Samuel Warne, Joshua Warne, Sarah Warne and George Warne, respectively.

Thomas Warne purchased and sold several thousand acres of land in Middlesex and Monmouth County New Jersey. He was a Justice of the Court of Common Right (Court of Chancery) and a Member of the Governor's Council from 1683-1699. He sold several of his lots in Perth Amboy so that the first government house could be built and a road leading to it could be paved. The Proprietary House, the home of the Royal Governor of New Jersey, which was erected in 1762, was built on one of his original lots." (http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=55705602)

MW







"Brandywine" – Meet the Author & Book Signing 11/28/2014 at 1:00 PM

Valley Forge National Historical Park - The Encampment Store (Located in the Visitor Center)
1400 North Outer Line Drive
King of Prussia, PA 19406

About the book:

"Brandywine is the first complete study to merge the strategic, political, and tactical history of this complex operation and important set-piece battle into a single compelling account. More than a decade in the making, Michael C. Harris’ sweeping prose relies almost exclusively upon original archival research and his personal knowledge of the terrain. Enhanced with original maps, illustrations, and modern photos, and told largely through the words of those who fought there, Brandywine will take its place as one of the most important military studies of the American Revolution ever written."

About the author:

"Michael C. Harris is a graduate of the University of Mary Washington and the American Military University. He has worked for the National Park Service in Fredericksburg, Virginia, Fort Mott State Park in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at Brandywine Battlefield. He has conducted tours and staff rides of many east coast battlefields. Michael is certified in secondary education and currently teaches in the Philadelphia region. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, Michelle and son, Nathanael."
             
More information at:

The Friends of Valley Forge Park

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from the Matt Ward History Experience!

I found this interesting article on MSN.com this afternoon:

20 Things You Didn't Know About Thanksgiving

MW

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Burrowes Mansion

Burrowes Mansion
94 Main St.
Matawan, NJ 07747

One of the locations in this country that I largely accredit with developing my passion for history is the Burrowes Mansion in my hometown of Matawan, NJ. I still vividly recall hearing stories about the old home on Main Street from my relatives as a child. I have passed by this house thousands of times throughout my life, and to this day still take the time to gaze upon the house when I pass by.

The Burrowes Mansion played an important role in the local and state history of New Jersey. At the time of the American Revolution, the home was owned by the Burrowes family. The Burrowes family were patriots, and would pay the price for their allegiance to the American cause for independence.

Below is a write up from the "2014 Weekend in Old Monmouth Booklet", along with some photos that I took of the mansion in January 2014:

"The Burrowes Mansion, one of Monmouth County’s most important early Georgian buildings, is dated by stylistic evidence to the c.1750 introduction of the Georgian style to Monmouth County when the 2 ½ story main block was begun as a Georgian three bay side-hall plan. Inference suggests that John Burrowes, Sr. (1718-1785) may have acquired the property at the time of his 1749 marriage to Widow Hope Taylor Watson (1721-1792). An earlier date attribution stems from a 1722 property sale, but this house could not be as early as the c.1723 date cited elsewhere. Burrowes was a major grain and produce merchant who was nicknamed the Corn King. His property backed on Matawan Creek, once a waterway that handled oceangoing ships when the town was the Bayshore’s major port. In 1778 during the Revolution, loyalists attempted to capture Burrowes’ son, John, Jr., a Continental Army captain. He escaped, but his wife was injured and the father was captured, but soon released in a prisoner exchange.

The property was designated for John, Jr. in his father’s will, but documentary history over the next four decades is vague until the house and 15 acres were sold to Joseph H. and Holmes Van Mater in 1825. Later the mansion was a hotel, a dentist’s residence, a tea room and under the ownership of Benjamin F.S. Brown whose family retained the place until its 1974 sale to the Borough of Matawan. The Matawan Historical Society, founded in 1969, furnishes and operates the restored house, one that retains a strong character of its colonial roots."
(http://www.oceanmuseum.org/2014_WOM_Booklet_Web_-_Smaller.pdf)

MW






Monday, November 24, 2014

New Jersey Journal

New Jersey Journal Marker
55 Main Street
Chatham, NJ 07928

This marker in Chatham, NJ marks the site of where one of New Jersey's most historic and well known newspapers was once printed. The newspaper was founded in 1779 by Revolutionary War Soldier, editor, and printer Shepard Kollock.

The marker reads:

"New Jersey Journal - During the Revolution, former soldier Shepard Kollock printed The New Jersey Journal on this site 'to maintain the cause of freedom' and serve the army in Morristown. The Journal, North Jersey's only wartime newspaper, founded in 1779, later thrived in Elizabeth from 1786 to 1991." (Morris County Heritage Commission)

Below are three photos that I took yesterday of the marker.

MW




Sunday, November 23, 2014

Matt Ward and the Sweet Science

The sport of boxing has always been a passion of mine. I largely accredit this passion to boxing stories that my father told me from his childhood and young adulthood in Jersey City, NJ. My favorite stories to this day are those that my father told me about his friendship with former light heavyweight title contender "The Jersey Jolter" Frankie DePaula. My father also had chance encounters with boxing legends such as "The Bayonne Brawler" (aka “The Bayonne Bleeder”) Chuck Wepner from Bayonne, NJ.

Over the years I have the privilege to meet many of boxing's legends and attend numerous live fights. The current and former professional boxers that I have had the opportunity to meet have all been class acts, who are very appreciative of their fans. One of my favorite boxing related destinations is the International Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota, NY. I had the opportunity to visit the Boxing Hall of Fame on November 15, 2014. Stay tuned for a blog post next week! (http://www.ibhof.com/)

In the spirit of this weekend being a big fight weekend, I figured I would take the opportunity to share some of my favorite personal boxing photos... I'm sure all of you reading this are very excited! Haha!

Enjoy!

MW


George Foreman in Yuma, AZ

Mike Tyson in Las Vegas, NV

Ray Mancini in Indio, CA

Jake LaMotta in White Plains, NY

Adrien Broner in Indio, CA

Leon Spinks in Las Vegas, NV

The original ring from Madison Square Garden at the IBHOF in Canastota, NY

                             Canelo Alvarez vs. Alfredo Angulo fight poster in Las Vegas, NV
                                                                
Joe Louis statue in Las Vegas, NV

Saturday, November 22, 2014

King of Prussia Inn

King of Prussia Inn
101 Bill Smith Blvd
King of Prussia, PA 19406

One of my favorite historic sites in Pennsylvania is the King of Prussia Inn in King of Prussia, PA. The inn was built in 1719 by William Rees, Sr., and served a variety of purposed over the years. Just minutes away from where I live, the King of Prussia Inn is located near the entrance of the Abrams Run apartment complex. The building currently houses the offices of the King of Prussia Chamber of Commerce. The current location of the inn is not the original location. The inn was moved to the present location in 2000, in order to better preserve the inn for future generations.

Below is a write up from the National Park Service website along with some photos I took during my recent visit:

"The history of the King of Prussia Inn begins in 1719, when William Rees, Sr. purchased 150 acres of land from his father. The Rees's, like most families in 18th-century Pennsylvania, were farmers. There is evidence that the Rees dwelling was a small, frame, two-room, 1½-story structure, typical for farmers of that period.

When William Rees, Sr. died in 1756, his estate passed to his son, William, Jr. Unlike his father, the younger William Rees was not interested in agriculture. He rented out his farmland and began a tavern business in 1769, having constructed a large new stone addition to his parent's farmhouse. William, Jr. was actively involved in running the inn for only three years, after which he turned his tavern license over to someone else. Rees died in April 1776, leaving his family in considerable debt.

By 1770, the place was referred to as “the Sign of Charles Frederick Augustus, King of Prussia.” There are several stories about how the inn received its name. One story said that the name was in reference to Frederick the Great of Prussia who assisted the British in defeating the French in the Seven Years War (known as the French and Indian War in North America). Another story said the inn was named for King Frederick the Great for his support of George Washington during the American Revolution. A third account states that a sign was hung outside the tavern honoring the German king to attract the German contingent participating in the American Revolution.

Over the years, there has been considerable speculation about the role of the inn during the American Revolution, particularly during the Valley Forge encampment. In September 1777, Sir William Howe and 15,000 British troops invaded Pennsylvania and quickly captured Philadelphia after defeating George Washington's army at the Battle of Brandywine. That winter, the Continental Army went into camp at Valley Forge, which was very close to the King of Prussia Inn. According to James Thomas Flexner, in his biography on George Washington, he made the decision to move his troops at an inn about a mile from Valley Forge.

Considering how close it was to the encampment, the assumption that Washington, his officers, and their men spent time at the inn is logical. Local tradition states that George Washington and a number of his officers ate and slept there. The inn was also reputed to have hosted British officers and loyalist spies. Masonic lodge meetings (Masons are part of a universal brotherhood of men dedicated to serving God, Family, Fellowman, and Country), presided over by Washington, are also said to have taken place at the King of Prussia Inn. There is unfortunately no documentary evidence solidly linking the inn to any of the famous names associated with Valley Forge.

The known connections between the King of Prussia Inn and the Revolution are more ordinary than what tradition passed down through the years. James Berry, who managed the business during the war, was in fact an officer in the militia, and Griffith Rees, William Jr.'s son, served as a private and was wounded in a skirmish with British forces near Darby, Pennsylvania, in October 1777.

The family struggled to keep the inn and the farm going, but to no avail. Two years after the official end of the Revolution (1783), the Rees family sold the King of Prussia Inn and surrounding farmland to John Elliot, Sr., who made a series of improvements to the property. Elliot demolished the original log or frame dwelling and constructed a 2½ story stone addition onto the east end of the building.

Elliot and his wife Sophia ran the inn and its supporting farm for the next 35 years, and it was then that the inn reached its height as a social center for the surrounding community. In addition to its role as a place of entertainment, the inn served as an informal town hall where meetings were held and as a collection point for U.S. taxes.

John Elliott, Jr. and his wife also farmed the property and operated the inn, which, by the 1860s, was known as the King of Prussia Hotel. The change in name most likely came about because of pressure from the temperance movement, which sought to restrict the consumption of alcohol. The term “hotel” served to distance the King of Prussia from its less temperate past.

James and Madeline Hoy acquired the property shortly after Elliott died in 1868. They turned the farm into an up-to-date mechanized agricultural operation. The Hoys possibly added the two-story veranda to the front of the building and the porch built onto the rear of the western half of the inn.

James Hoy died in 1886, and for the next 20 years his widow, Madeline, ran the farm and presided over the hotel. After Madeline Hoy sold the place in 1906, the King of Prussia went through a period of relatively short-term occupations until Anna Heist bought it in 1920.

Anna Heist took advantage of the American's newfound love of the automobile and interest in their colonial past, by turning the King of Prussia Inn into a modest tourist attraction. Anna Heist continued to operate the King of Prussia Inn until 1952 when the Pennsylvania Department of Highways acquired the property. Ironically, the automobile, which saved the inn from possible oblivion earlier in the century, now proved to be a threat. The rapidly growing suburbs outside of Philadelphia required improved highways, and Route 202, like many other roadways, was widened and divided to handle the increased volume of traffic.

For nearly 50 years, the inn slowly fell into a state of decay despite local efforts to perform maintenance. By the early 1990s it became clear that additional improvements to the local roadways were necessary to ease traffic congestion and improve safety. Such improvements would clearly impact the historic inn and options to move, demolish, or retain the building were investigated. Because of its connections with the American Revolution and the inn's role in the development of the community, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. This listing required PENNDOT to assess the affects of the proposed highway improvements. After careful consideration, public meetings, and engineering studies, PENNDOT and the Federal Highway Administration determined that the best way to minimize damage was to conduct both archeological and architectural investigations of the inn, and then actually pick it up and relocate it!

While PENNDOT developed engineering plans to move the inn, found a suitable new location, and identified a new owner; researchers investigated the architectural history and archeology of the inn. The hope was that those investigations would provide some insights into the development of the property and shed some light on the daily lives of the people that lived and worked at the King of Prussia Inn." (http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/119king/119facts1.htm)

MW





Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Berkeley Plantation

Berkeley Plantation
12602 Harrison Landing Rd.
Charles City, VA 23030

While stationed at Fort Lee, VA for Army training in 2009, I had the opportunity to visit a number of historic sites associated with the American Revolution and Civil War. One of my favorite sites was Berkeley Plantation in Charles City, VA. Berkeley Plantation is known as one of the James River Plantations. Berkeley Plantation is the site of the first official Thanksgiving in America, which occurred on December 4, 1619.

This plantation is the birthplace and resting place of Benjamin Harrison V, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. The plantation was also the birthplace of his son and future president of the United States, William Henry Harrison. William Henry Harrison served as a career Army officer, and was a veteran of the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795), Tecumseh's War (1811-1813), and the War of 1812 (1812-1815). President Harrison was the ninth President of the United States. He served as president for 32 days before dying from complications from pneumonia.

Berkeley Plantation was also the site of the first playing of the famous Army bugle call, "Taps". "Taps was played in July 1862 by Union Army bugler Oliver Wilcox Norton. The song was arranged by Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield.

Below is a write on Berkeley Plantation from the Virginia's James River Plantations website, along with some photos I took during my visit:

"Berkeley, on the James River between Williamsburg and Richmond, is the birthplace of a signer of the Declaration of Independence and a U.S. President.

Benjamin Harrison, son of the builder of Berkeley and the plantation's second owner, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and three-time Governor of Virginia.

William Henry Harrison, Benjamin's third son, born at Berkeley, was the famous Indian fighter known as "Tippecanoe," who later became the ninth President of the United States, in 1841. His grandson, Benjamin Harrison, was the 23rd President.

On December 4, 1619, early settlers from England came ashore at Berkeley and observed the first official Thanksgiving in America.

At Berkeley the date of the building, 1726, and the initials of the owners, Benjamin Harrison IV and his wife, Anne, appear in a datestone over a side door. The early Georgian mansion is said to be the oldest 3-story brick house in Virginia that can prove its date and the first with a pediment roof.

The original mansion, built in 1726 of brick fired on the plantation, occupies a beautifully landscaped hilltop site overlooking the historic James River.

The handsome Adam woodwork and the double arches of the "Great Rooms" in the mansion were installed by Benjamin Harrison VI in 1790 at the direction of Thomas Jefferson. The rooms in Berkeley are furnished with a magnificent collection of eighteenth century antiques.

Good Housekeeping magazine suggests: 'If you only have time for one plantation, Berkeley should be at the top of your list." Says U.S. Sen. Charles Robb: "If you haven't been to Berkeley, you haven't lived.'

Berkeley's ten acres of formal terraced boxwood gardens and lawn extend a quarter-mile from the front door to the James River. In the basement, the original hand-hewn floor joists are visible. The basement also displays models of early plantation buildings.

George Washington, and later the succeeding nine Presidents of the United States, all enjoyed the famous hospitality of Berkeley in this dining room with its view of the James River." (http://www.jamesriverplantations.org/Berkeley.html)

MW