Tuesday, August 12, 2014

King William County Courthouse

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Hanging with a BFTA (Benjamin Franklin Tribute Artist)
at Colonial Williamburg

My family and I just returned from Williamsburg, Virginia where we enjoyed the traditional "colonial" tourist experiences at Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown along with the rides at Busch Gardens and Water Country USA and the history of The College of William & Mary.

Being a fan of historic road trips as I am, and still trying to sort out that possible family connection with the college, it was a fun experience and we all learned a thing or two. However, one of the more interesting discoveries took place on the way home when we took a shortcut to avoid some of the notorious I-95 traffic.

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Historic Marker at King William County Courthouse

We stumbled across the King William County Courthouse. Originally constructed in 1725, it's the oldest courthouse still being used in the United States. Prince William County and the surrounding area was once part of the land used by the Algonquian tribes and led by Powhatan, the father of Pocahontas.

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In addition to being the oldest courthouse, it's also said to be the oldest public building in use in Virginia.

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When we returned home, I spent a little time online and learned the building was built of brick laid in Flemish bond and is considered one of the best examples around of colonial masonry still in existence.

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In the middle of the lawn is a Civil War monument dedicated "to our soldiers of the confederacy."

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Commemorative plaque dedicated to Henry Fox

In 1702 Henry Fox and Richard Littlepage donated two acres for the courthouse and Fox later became the first sheriff. According to "Genealogies of Virginia," the home of Fox and his wife, Anne West, was a plantation called Huntington on the Mattaponi River. Although the original location of the house is known, no remnants remain and even the tombstones in the family graveyard are gone. Fox may be gone but he is not forgotten. A commemorative plaque was placed at the courthouse by his descendants at the 250th anniversary celebration of King William County on April 27, 1952. 

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

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