The Berkeley Plantation is a very historic plantation located between Williamsburg and Richmond, Virginia. The plantation is one of the first plantations in America. The Berkeley Plantation sits on approximately 1000 acres. The Berkeley Plantation was first called Berkeley Hundred as it was named after the Berkeley Company of England.
In 1619 the Good Ship Margaret landed at Berkeley with 36 men. The men had the first official Thanksgiving in America in accordance with instruction given in a charter by the Virginia Co.
In 1691 the Harrison’s purchased Berkeley. In 1726 they built their mansion. Benjamin Harrison V signed the Declaration of Independence and William Henry Harrison was are ninth US President.
Mrs. Harrison did not like her husband and friends smoking in their home. She told him to smoke in the guest house with his friends and colleagues. The family loved their pets and they have a pet cemetery on the site. There was also a house used as a kitchen. They also had small cabins for their slaves.
Benjamin Harrison IV and his two youngest daughters were killed when lightening stuck their home while they were trying to close their window and shutters upstairs on July 12, 1745. His wife took to her sick bed after she lost her husband and two daughters. She never recovered and died 30 days later. William Henry Harrison was only 18 and he took care of his four younger surviving siblings while also attending college. He later became our ninth President of the United States of America. William Harrison’s Grandson Benjamin Harrison became the 23 rd President of the USA.
During the Civil War General George McClellan’s troops were in the buildings and had tents in front of the plantation. The upstairs of the house was used as a hospital as well as the guest house. General Butterfield with help from O. W. Norton a bugler created Taps while camped at Harrison’s Landing on the plantation.
The Berkeley Mansion is made with bricks that are made out of materials found on the site. Some of the bricks have a rich purple color and shine like diamonds when you look at them. The colors of the brick vary by the amount of time they are in the kiln. The house is built up high and the bricks shine brightly to let people know that a wealthy family resides here. It was popular with all wealthy families to have a house that was built up high as it was a status symbol.
I loved my tour of the Berkeley Plantation. We had a wonderful and knowledgeable guide that was dressed in appropriate attire for that time frame. Our guide new all of the history of the plantation and other items of interest. He told us years ago yarn was dyed with tobacco juice as the smell of the tobacco dye killed off bed bugs for many years. Families have donated furniture and other household items that fit the timeline of the mansion.
I would highly recommend taking a tour of this wonderful old plantation with all of the rich and vast history that it holds. Travel often and enrich your mind.
Copyright 2019 Not to be reproduced in any form.