History

The York River is arguably the most historically significant location for early colonial history found anywhere in America. European and Native American civilizations collided here. This was the land of Powhatan, Opechanacanough, Pocahantas, and the legendary explorations of Captain John Smith. No wonder this area’s colonial land patents (King’s grant lands) were so highly sought after by the first families of Virginia for the their Colonial plantations. The Washington’s, Lee’s, Anderson’s, Roane’s, Tucker’s, and Taliaferro’s settled its shores. History lives and breathes here. It is woven into the fabric of the estuary and its surrounding lands.

Aerial Photograph 2
2010 April 10th

Anderson’s Neck Today

With clear cutting and development posing a real threat to the natural beauty of Anderson's Neck, the Hild family purchased the land on April 10th, 2010. Avid wildlife enthusiasts, the Hild’s have preserved the historic property and are using sustainable management practices for both the land and their oyster farm. Revitalization of the upper York River’s famous oyster beds is now officially underway. Read More ›
View From Home Site
2007

Anderson’s Neck Loblolly Pine Plantation & The Great Rececession

Anderson’s Neck eventually fell into the hands of the Chesapeake Corporation in the 20th century and became a loblolly pine plantation for the nearby mill. Over time it changed hands to John Hancock Insurance as part of their Timber Investment Management Operation. Read More ›
Oyster Shell Pile at West Point, VA
1938

The Chesapeake Corporation & Sea-Rac Oysters

The Chesapeake Corporation established in 1938 a wildly successful model oyster farm near Williamsburg at Queen’s Creek where they installed off bottom oyster trays in which they placed oysters to avoid siltation from the increasingly turbid York River water. Not only did this technique work, but the oysters were a sensation in the culinary community and were marketed as Sea-Rac oysters.These attractive oysters were grown individually and were regularly worked by men at low tide. Because of the exposure to the air the oysters were forced to exercise their abductor mussels by clamping shut until high tide would return. As a result, these same oysters were reported to successfully remain clamped shut after harvesting and shipment for upwards of three months! As such, the Sea-Rac brand commanded top dollar and its oysters were served at high end restaurants around the country. Read More ›
The Oyster Wars
1865

The Oyster Wars

While you are probably familiar with the Gold rush that took place in the American West and its legendary San Francisco 49ers, are you aware we had a similar, larger rush that took place right here in the Chesapeake Bay over oysters instead of gold? That rush to capitalize on what was believed to be an inexhaustible supply of “oyster rocks” found in the Chesapeake Bay led to some fairly unsavory behavior. That period is commonly referred to as the time of the “Oyster Wars”. This little know period of American history involved pirate ships, gun battles between oyster tongers, skipjack dredgers, and a ramshackle marine navy trying to bring order to the Wild West-like lawlessness of the Chesapeake Bay oyster fleet. Read More ›
Civil War
1864 March 2nd

The Dahlgren Affair

The York River has plenty of Civil War history as well. If you haven’t heard of the Dahlgren affair and love conspiracy theories, this is the story for you. The twists and turns involve a controversial, ultra-secret document supposedly containing a directive to assassinate C.S.A. President Jefferson Davis and his cabinet. This document was purportedly found on Ulric Dahlgren here at King And Queen County after he was shot and killed by Confederate forces in a failed Union attempt to raid the Confederate capital of Richmond. The directive was linked all the way up the Union chain of command to Abraham Lincoln, General Ulysses S. Grant , and Secretary of War Edward Stanton. Read More ›
George Richardson Oyster House
1820

The Yankee Oystermen

The plentiful supply and quality of York River Oysters caught the attention of Dutch businessmen from New York in the early 1800s up through the early 1900s. Soon schooner Captains were plying the York River and tonging oysters. Often these oysters would be replanted up north in areas such as Prince’s Bay off Staten Island Sound to replenish their overharvested oyster beds. The Dutch Captain David Van Name who settled on the east side of the Poropotank naming his land Starvation Farm, was one of the early pioneers of this planting technique. The Wright’s, another Dutch New York family, took possession of Anderson’s Neck and worked the abundant oyster beds successfully just off its shores. Read More ›
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1781 September 28th

Battle of Yorktown

Downriver of Anderson’s Neck, the historic battle at Yorktown took place. This is where the Continental Army, led by General George Washington with the assistance of the Marquis de Lafayette, soundly defeated Cornwallis. Read More ›
Aerial Photograph
1662 March 18th

Anderson’s Neck Land Grant

Anderson’s Neck is named for Richard Anderson who obtained the property as a Land Grant on March 18th, 1662. Anderson was Captain of the County Militia, a member of the Commission of Justices, and sheriff of King and Queen County. Tobacco and cotton were the main crops grown in this area during that time. Read More ›
800px-1622_massacre_jamestown_de_Bry
1622

Lee Family & Indian Massacres

The progenitor of the Lee family, Col. Richard Lee I, left England in hope of finding a better life in America. He came to America with nothing but eventually became the largest landowner and perhaps the wealthiest man in the Virginia colony. He settled the plantation he called “Paradise” just east of Anderson’s Neck on a tributary of the York River known as the Poropotank. Read More ›
290px-Pocahontas-saves-Smith-NE-Chromo-1870
1608

Captain John Smith, Powhatan, Opechanacanough, & Pocahontas

When the English settled Jamestown on the James River, the hero of the colony, Captain James Smith explored the York River in 1608. Smith was captured and taken prisoner by no other than Opechanacanough, who according to legend was the same young Indian boy the Spanish Jesuits Christened Don Luis in his childhood. Read More ›
Jesuits
1525

The Spanish Jesuits

As early as 1525 the Spanish were aware of the Chesapeake Bay and named it Bahia de Santa Maria.In 1559, a Spanish expedition captured a young Indian boy and brought him back to Spain against his will. The Spaniards baptized the boy and gave him the Christian name of Don Luis. According to legend, this Indian boy was no other than Chief Powhatan’s half-brother Opechanacanough, the King of the Powhatan Indian confederacy. Read More ›
John White 1585
  Earlier

Native American Oyster Middens & Colonial Oyster Rocks

The islands at Anderson’s Neck and the shores of Morris Bay are scattered with prehistoric oyster mounds know as oyster middens. Read More ›