Tag Archives: smiths fort plantation

“47th Cousins, 20 Times Removed”

A couple of years ago, I received notification of a new comment on this blog post that I had written the previous year. The commenter’s name was Megan, and she had discovered the post while researching Smith’s Fort Plantation in Surry County.  Megan and I began communicating by email and soon learned that we are very distantly related.

In that post, I wrote that this property was purchased by Thomas Warren in the 1600’s from Thomas Rolfe, the son of Pocahontas and John Rolfe. And I just happened to mention that Thomas Warren was my 8th great grandfather.

Turns out, Thomas was Megan’s 10th great grandfather.  Megan and I became friends on Facebook, and she said that when she visited this area again, she would contact me so we could meet. (She lives in Ohio.)

We finally met in person on Wednesday. Megan, her mom, and her best friend were in the area visiting nearby Williamsburg. We decided to meet at (where else?) Smith’s Fort Plantation. We had our picture taken in front of a huge old magnolia tree. Hmm…wonder if it was there during Thomas’s time?

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Smith’s Fort wasn’t open for tours on Wednesday, but while we stood out front, chatting, a car pulled in the drive. The driver was a man named Tom, and although I didn’t ask what his exact title was, I’m guessing he may be the site coordinator for Smith’s Fort. When he found out we were Warren descendants, he offered to show us the house.

What a great tour we had. And a special surprise: in one of the upstairs bedchambers, a King James Bible, printed in 1621, is on display. Megan’s mom, Linda, asked Tom if he would look  inside to see if the name John Bill was shown as the printer.  John Bill was one of Linda’s ancestors and was a printer for King James during that time period.  Tom checked for us, and sure enough, John Bill was the printer.

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Here’s a close-up.  Just under the words  “Printed In London”, you can see the names Bonham Norton and John Bill.  And note the Roman Numerals for 1621.

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My online research regarding the King’s Printing House returned this: “In the Jacobean period the King’s Printers were Robert Barker (1570–1645), and the two Shropshire men, Bonham Norton (1564–1635) and John Bill (1576–1630). At this time the office of the King’s Printer included the privilege to print the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer in English.

Since Megan’s connection to Smith’s Fort was on her father’s side, we all thought it quite interesting to find the name of one of her mother’s ancestors in an artifact within the house.

After our tour, Tom graciously agreed to pose for a picture with Megan and me.

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We left Smith’s Fort, and on our way to Smithfield for lunch, we stopped briefly at Bacon’s Castle, just because I can’t pass up a chance to share that special old house with those who’ve never been there. It, too, was closed that day, but we took photos of the exterior and I told them a little about the house and property. That’s Megan’s friend, Diana, on the right.

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Our visit ended with lunch at Smithfield Station and a photo of the four of us. Linda, Megan’s mom,  is on the left.

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(Last week,  I told Marshall that I was going to meet my “47th cousin, twenty times removed”.  Maybe one day, if we compare our genealogy notes, Megan and I can determine what our exact relationship is.)

~These Days Of Mine~

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Random Five Friday

It has been rather quiet ’round here this week, but I finally found five little bits of random to share.

1.) While many of you are having snow and ice, we’ve had several foggy mornings recently.

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2.) This beautiful, hungry creature has decided that my liriope plants are free for the munching.  (Photo taken through our bedroom window.)

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3.) Since it’s been awhile since I’ve shared a photo of Gypsy, here’s one from earlier this week of her and her Motor Man. They were having a little chat.

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4.) Jeff Gordon announced that he’ll retire after this racing season. Although he has his critics (who doesn’t), Motor Man and I have always “pulled for him”.  I took this photo at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1998 or ’99.

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5.) I love it when someone corresponds with me after discovering my blog through an internet search. This week, I was contacted by a gentleman who lives in Georgia. He suspects that we “share” a common ancestor: our 8th great grandfather. But he’s hit a snag in his research, and asked if I could help. So I pulled out my family genealogy information and several books, including “Old Surry” and “Colonial Surry” and did some studying last night. I found one little tidbit that just may be of some help to him. I’ll keep you posted.

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~These Days Of Mine~

Random Five Friday

Wrapping up another week with Random Five Friday:

1.) Sundae had her yearly check-up yesterday and got a good report. I was very proud of her: she was so well-behaved. She didn’t meow or try to fight the vet or the assistants. Good girl!

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2.) Not quite yet, but we’re getting close to seeing jonquil blooms.

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3.) My friends and I celebrated Shirley’s birthday Wednesday at a little Italian restaurant. The servers there know us well and seem to enjoy us coming in for lunch.  We were having fun, posing for pictures and pretending to “cater to” the birthday girl. (“Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional.” ~ Chili Davis)

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4.) One of the perks of blogging is “meeting” new people.  Yesterday, I “met” a VERY distant relative. She’d found my Friday’s Fences post about Smith’s Fort Plantation from April of last year, and left a comment that she was researching a mutual ancestor, Thomas Warren. Thomas was my 8th great grandfather and her 10th great grandfather.  Wonder exactly what “kin” that makes us?

5.) All together now:  “GOOD-BYE FEBRUARY”!

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Stop over at Nancy’s for more random thoughts.

~These Days Of Mine~

Friday’s Fences: Smith’s Fort Plantation

For the first 22 years of my life, I lived in Surry County (Virginia), which neighbors Isle of Wight County, where I currently live. Near the town of Surry lies property now known as Smith’s Fort Plantation.

This land was once owned by the Indian Chief Powhatan. For those of you who never studied Virginia history, his name may not be familiar, but I bet you’ve heard of his daughter, Pocahontas. When Pocahontas married John Rolfe, her father, Powhatan, gave him the property as a dowry. It was later inherited by their son, Thomas.

Thomas Rolfe sold the land to Thomas Warren, who built a house there around 1651. The house that now sits on that property was built after 1750.

Smith’s Fort Plantation House

The property was formerly known as The Rolfe House and The Rolfe-Warren House.  Captain John Smith began work on a fort on that site around 1609 to protect nearby Jamestown from possible attack, thus the current name of Smith’s Fort.

Smith’s Fort Plantation is now owned by Preservation Virginia, the same organization that owns my beloved Bacon’s Castle. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you know that a cousin of my maternal grandmother owned Bacon’s Castle, and that my Mother and her family lived there from around 1920-1940. (For my new followers, click on the Bacon’s Castle category to read previous posts.)

Smith’s Fort Plantation House from the back

But my family also has a connection to Smith’s Fort.  The Thomas Warren who purchased the land and built the first house there? He was my eighth great-grandfather.

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Smith’s Fort Plantation Herb Garden

When Marshall learned a few years ago that his ancestor purchased land from the son of Pocahontas, he was astounded.  “Son, you have deep roots”.

Linking up to Friday’s Fences.

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