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Northern Neck Virginia

Privacy Level: Open (White)
Date: 1640 to 1830
Location: Northern Neckmap
Surname/tag: Northern_Neck
Profile manager: Cole Aubrey private message [send private message]
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Athens of the New World

Originally inhabited by eight Virginia Indian tribes who established villages along its shores, Virginia’s Northern Neck is one of the most historic regions in Virginia. In 1608, our first tourist, Captain John Smith, referred to it “as a place heaven and earth never agreed better to frame man’s habitation.”

This peninsula nestled between the Potomac and the Rappahannock Rivers and spilling into the Chesapeake Bay was part of the enormous 1649 land grant by Charles II, known as the Fairfax Grant. The bountiful waters of the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, and the Chesapeake Bay supported and induced English settlement. The English built stately homes and farmed tobacco for export to England, which became the basis of the Northern Neck’s economy during the Colonial era. The Northern Neck’s most famous son, George Washington, born on Pope’s Creek off of the Potomac River, called the region “the Garden of Virginia.” Our nation’s fifth president, James Monroe, was born in Westmoreland County in 1758.

The Lee family of Virginia called the Northern Neck home and built Stratford Hall in the 1730s, of bricks fired from the clay soil on the premises. A son of Thomas Lee, Richard Henry Lee, co-wrote the Westmoreland Resolves, which proposed American independence in 1766 in protest against the Stamp Act. Richard Henry Lee and his brother Francis Lightfoot Lee were the only two brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence. The last Lee to survive to maturity, Robert E. Lee, was born at Stratford Hall in 1807.

During the Steamboat Era, from 1813 to 1927, the Northern Neck utilized the network of about 600 steamboats to move people and products throughout the Chesapeake Bay region. In addition to facilitating trade of local produce, seafood and tobacco for manufactured goods, spices, and fruits, the steamboat made the Northern Neck more accessible to Baltimore and provided the residents with entertainment from the James Adams Floating Theater that circulated ports of call throughout the Chesapeake Bay region.

The waters of the Potomac River, Rappahannock River, the Chesapeake Bay and their tributaries provide a haven for boaters and water enthusiasts, and have supported a fishing industry for generations. At the present, Colonial architecture, small-town charm, bed & breakfast inns, eight wineries, seventeen museums, historic sites, marinas and retail shops are among the valuable assets that attract visitors to the area.

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The original counties are Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, and Westmoreland but modern day Prince William, Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, Stafford and King George should would be considered as they were not established.





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Northern Neck 1736
Northern Neck 1736

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