of Elizabeth City County
Consolidation into the City of Hampton
by David Routten
Fox Hill Historical Society
Counties in the State of Virginia are equal in jurisdiction (courts
and governmental set up. Also, may be only State to have this type of
Dr Lyons, of
William and Mary College prepared a history for City of Hampton in
1607 Hampton is mentioned as Kecoughtan by the
Virginia Company of the London Company, England. Old Point Comfort got the name
because it gave natural comfortable docking for ships entering Hampton Roads
(mouth of the Chesapeake Bay). Strawberry Banks and Kecoughtan until 1619 when a
delegation decided to change the
heathen Indian name to Elizabeth Corporation for King James I daughter. In 1634
status changed from a corporation to County system. Elizabeth City County is one
of the original 11 counties created. Most of our local names are of English
A description of the native inhabitants when the English arrived goes as
follows: Upon seeing the Englishman
the Indians crawled on the ground, made mournful sounds, groans, wolf hollers,
and danced around. They were very hospitable toward the Englishman. The Indians
were amazed at what the English brought.
2000 to 3000 acres was reserved for the Virginia
Companies own use. An unusual feature was a big cleared tract of land from
Buckroe to Mill Creek no one knows why
the Indians had the cleared land or for what purpose it was used. All the
surrounding area was wooded.
acres were for common use
acres for glebe (church) land
acres were given individuals who paid their way to New World (Virginia) and
acres for each person who paid passage for and individual.
1620 French people began to settle in Buckroe which is an English name.
Buckroe was an investment. First Mulberries were planted in hopes of
producing silk. Next grapevines were planted to make wine but it spoiled before
reaching England. Finally, tobacco was grown and proved to be the most
successful venture in crop development for a profit.
1625 Fox Hill was first
mentioned in court records.
(Charles Elliott was researching the name Fox Hill origins before his
death. David H. Wallace stated that
during World War II he had physically been in Fox Hill in England's Northwest
corner. David Routten stated he had met English people from Wickham England near
Fox Hill England.)
Indian Massacre happened but in our area of Elizabeth City County no casualties
were sustained by residents.
The name Hampton is believed to
have come from one of the Virginia Company supporters the Earl of Southampton.
1630 is the earliest date of
the town of Hampton probably used by the General Assembly.
1887 Hampton was first
incorporated as a town
1908-1940 Hampton was a second
class city a magisterial district.
1941 map was displayed hopefully a copy can be distributed to member wanting
Minutes of the Consolidation of Elizabeth City County and Hampton can be found in Book 15, page 157. Hampton official records.
7 Aug 1861, Hampton was burned
by the Local Militia, Confederate troops to keep Yankees from taking the houses
and turning them over to the contraband refugees congregating at Fort Monroe.
All but about 5 houses were burned to the ground.
An excellent source for additional information is Hudgins' Book 'The Old
Dominion Dragoons" which describes life on the peninsula before, during,
and after the Civil War. This is a very good picture of reconstruction and how
difficult life was in Elizabeth City County, Virginia. The Civil War can be
referred to as 'The Rebellion', 'The War of Northern Aggression', or the 'War
Between the States.' Hudgins
described 7 August 1861 as a hot day. Downey Farm was located where Parklawn
Cemetery is today. The troops marched past and down Pine Chapel Road into
Hampton. Some went to Jefferson C. Phillips property in Fox Hill (off Fox Hill
Road). Hudgins was a land owner in the area of Langley Air Force Base today
(Sherwood, Lamington, and Shellbank were the names of the farms.)
Yankee activity during the Civil War and Post war restricted movement of
citizens. People living in Fox Hill
were watched very closely. Another source of information is George Benjamin West
story as told by Parke Rouse book 'When the Yankees Came'. Poorer families as
well as Richer families buried valuables (china, silver and the like) and food
but the Richer families went to Richmond and further west to Charlottesville to
escape the ravages of war. Times
were very bad after the war for white men. They could not vote. Their land
was taken for taxes owed and those labeled as taking part in the
rebellion were especially, targeted by the Freedman's Bureau. The Freedman's
Bureau of Hampton was located near Hampton University. The farm Pumpkin Hill
(where MacDonald's Nursery is today) is an example. The owner went to Richmond
to pay the taxes and had the foresight to ask for a duplicate copy because no
record was ever recorded in Hampton for payment of taxes. Many native
Southerners had their property sold out from under them.
1900 Phoebus was incorporated
as a town and was named for Harrison Phoebus a Yankee. Phoebus was occupied
mainly by carpet baggers after the Civil War.