Elizabeth City County, Fox Hill, The Lay of the Land, Hampton, Virginia

Presented by Mr. Gerard Chambers

14 September 2002


In 1624, the London Company of England began colonizing the new world, and later the King of England took over colonization. Each person immigrating to the Colony of Virginia received 50 acres. Each person paying for transportation of a person received 50 acres. Ship's captains brought extra people and received 50 acres for each of them.  An good example of this is Adam Thurgood, whose house is open to the public in Norfolk, who one trip or crossing, brought 150 people and received 3000 acres of land in the area of Lynnhaven.

        The first settlement in 1607 was in Jamestown, Virginia.  The next settlement was toward Richmond and, then, back toward the Chesapeake Bay and toward the York River. Across the York River in what is now Gloucester, was the location of the Powhatan Indians primary Village, Werowocomoco and the Indian territories was beyond. For twenty years settlements continued to follow these general directions  until 1634 when settlements were started in what is now Norfolk, Virginia all of the  area was known as Elizabeth City County even on the south side of the Hampton  Roads. The settlement location was based upon the rivers because there were no  roads only Indian trails.

       First roads:

1.  Tyler Street to King Street for the ferry. 

2.  County Street to Woodland Road ended at the Poor Farm (Hampton Shores today) not until 1930 did Woodland Road connect to Fox Hill Road.

          3. Old Buckroe Road ran along the back of the Plantations (Farm site) facing the water Chesapeake Bay and Mill Creek and could be forded where Jones School is located today.

         4. To get to Hampton from Fox Hill: Beginning at Bloxom's Corner the intersection of Old Buckroe Road and Fox Hill Road there were five fingers of water to cross.

a. Harris Creek at Bloxom's Corner

b. Gloria Dei Luthern Church on Fox Hill Road

c. Fire Station next to Syms Middle School on Fox Hill Road

d. Seven Eleven corner of Old Fox Hill Road and King Street

e. Rip Rap Road next to Pembroke Ave where Public Works Building is located and ending at Patrick's Store.

The last four fingers were from Hampton Creek.

       The first recorded land grant in Fox Hill was 1625 to Mary Flint. In 1633 Elmer Phillipps had 100 acres near Indian Spring (Fox Hill).

The point of land where Back River intersects with the Chesapeake Bay was named as follows:

1st North End Point,

2nd Miller Deans Point, and

3rd Factory Point

In 1866, J. S. Darling came from New York in a schooner and settled in Hampton.

In 1878,  Stern was bought out by Darling, who had a 10 year lease of $20.00 a year on 10 acres of land for the Meal Pressing Facility at Factory Point (processing Manhaden (Bunker) Fish) to render fish oil and bag the dried fish scrap for fertilizer.

In 1826, Presson Watson sold 4 acres of land to the United States Government to build Back River Light House. The land was high and had pine trees growing there. Richard F. Johnson was the last light house keeper in 1945.

In 1930, Back River Light was the site of the Kane murder. Dr Kane was charged with the murder of his wife. The trial was held in Hampton and the murder victim is buried in St John's Church yard Hampton, Virginia. He was found innocent.

Floyd's Bay (Hawkins Pond) was sold in 1845 by Hopkins to Horess Jett who sold in 1851, 25 acres to Mathew Lewis for $20.00. Puges Pammack (Tickle Pichards Hammock) (Deed reads Pichel Tammerack, Old English for coarse leather garment with hair still on it).  Lewis dug a ditch to Grundland Creek about 800 feet long by 100 feet wife which is there today.

Mrs. Lancer built Grandview Hotel in 1891 on 75 acres of land. She next bought Bloxoms, the a joining land on the shore line. She ran the Phoebus Hotel too.                     

South of Grandview Mr. Chambers Sr. surveyed the land and found a triangle shaped embankment in the marsh. The salt works had post with a gate that opened on high tide and closed on low tide the boards dried and the salt collected.   In 1611, Sir Thomas Dale was tasked with building two forts at the mouth of Hampton Creek and build salt works. It was said he was a tyrant to the people that worked for him. This is not the salt works described in Charles Elliotts Book 'Fox Hill'.

Point Comfort Creek: Long Creek (Factory Point to Ditch at Buckroe Shopping Center is not Mill Creek.)

          Bell's Island behind Nike Site (Neighborhood Center on Grundland Road):  Several Indian artifacts have been found there by Kenneth Quinn. Property was  first owned by Joseph Bell thus the name Bell's Island.

1635 Indian Stone (a cooking place like a Dutch oven) mentioned in a land grant. The hot stones were used to cook deer meat. The location is the south line of Edmund's property on Hall Road toward the southeast near the shore line.

1839 Fox Hill Academy is difficult to locate, Joseph Phillips gave the land.  Trustees were Joseph Phillips, Joe and James Phillips, William Ironmonger, William Latimer, and Giddens. These people owned land on Harris Creek side and  area around Bloxom's Corner not in Fox Hill.

Christopher Hubbard (1827 -1856), lived at 170 Beach Road. His home was called Lillliputts. It is believed his wife was from Fox Hill and you know what  happened, the man moved to Fox Hill. He was a Doctor, teacher and a surveyor.  His compass has silver plating and was made by Alexander McGary in New York.  He used a Jacob staff and set the compass on a pole - no tripod used. The compass that was on display today will be given to the Hampton Museum and pictures were  taken for our book. The surveyor's chain is not really a chain. Since the 15th century the King set the standard a pole will be 16 Vi feet (4 poles became a chain (66 foot long) in 100 links of chain). The surveyor used two farm boys and swore them in as chain holders. The surveyor with the compass measured the property.    The chain has points known as trees (three tips that look like a metal tulip at pole intervals). Other surveyors were (1854) Mathew Herbert, Surveyor 139 acres  Elizabeth City County Virginia lived Saunders Road on the Crandle Farm, and  (1858) William Ivy (member of the Old Dominion Dragoons) lived on Parrish Ave in Newport News, Virginia.

1803 Benjamin Phillips bought the Cooper Farm and owned where Baron

Elementary School is located on Fox Hill Road. He came to Elizabeth City County  with seven brothers and they had originally come from England by way of Accomac.

Three brothers bought land in Fox Hill between Woodland Road and Hall Road.  One of the brothers went to Warwick County to settle. These men were known for being large in statue. Elmer Phillips who was a very powerful man, son owned a wind mill which was 12 foot off the ground on Wind Mill Point in Fox Hill (There is a replica in Williamsburg of the Wind Mill). When Mr. Chambers surveyed this land the stones were still present on the site.

1806 will of Thomas Fenn who was a Revolutionary War Soldier left his farm to nine slaves. Fenn Point (Cosby Land today) is on Harris Creek side of Harris Creek but part of the farm was in Fox Hill where the Nike sit on Wind Mill Point Road is located. All nine slaves took his name and Mariah Fenn inherited the Fox Hill site making her the first black to own land in Fox Hill.

1812 two British sailors jump ship (Tyier and Weston) and changed their  name so not to be hung as deserters. The story goes that Weston drowned in a mud puddle on his farm in Poquoson and Tyler became Johnson.

            Fence (The Fox Hill Gate) made of logs ran from Harris Creek to Point Comfort Creek because the land was under open range law that meant cattle  roamed freely and all animals were branded. (This is my so many homes had picket fences around the houses.

So many places were named Fox Hill, when it came time for a post office all the names were taken. Fox Hill's post office was named Rip Rap Virginia.

1858 The August gust, people in Poquoson lost cattle to drowning.

            1889 April gust was another storm

Presson Watson sold four acres to U.S. Government to build Back River Light house. His son John H. Watson and his grandson Richard H. Watson owned Bloxom's Corner to Hall Road and up Fox Hill Road for quite a distance the house was located behind the Peak home on Fox Hill Road today.

Mr. Chambers Sr. kept a diary from 1888 to 1950 and Mr. Chambers Jr. has continued to keep this diary even today. The following is an entry from that diary.  

23 Feb 1916, Beatrice, Gerard Jr. went to divide Bloxom estate (Watson                land)   Heirs:

                             1. Georgie E. Copeland

                             2. Martha Copeland

                             3. Nannie B. Weber

                             4. Elizabeth Schwab

                             5. Louisa Peak

               Gerard Jr. was 7 years old and passed the hat that held the slips, A - E to divide the Watson estate among the heirs named above. 

                 In the year 1850 there were 40 farms in Fox Hill.

Mr. Gerard Chambers Sr. wrote a description of the land in Elizabeth City  County in Survey Book 1, Public Records.