area known as Fox Hill started as a fishing village in a remote area of
Elizabeth City County. Many of the
residents had gardens and cattle. The
"open range law" was in effect so the cattle were permitted to roam
freely and all the animals were branded. The
houses and vegetable gardens were fenced in instead of the cattle.
To keep the cattle from leaving the area, a fence ran from the water's
edge of Harris Creek on the west to the Chesapeake Bay on the east.
A unique iron gate was installed on Beach Road which opened automatically
when a horse drawn cart drove over the trigger mechanism placed in the road.
A trigger on the opposite side would close the gate again.
When the gate and fence were designated to be removed, a petition was
sent to the Honorable William R. Willis, Judge of the County Courts of Elizabeth
City County. This petition was
signed December 18, 1973 by most of the tax paying residents.
The blank lines are unreadable words.
signed 18 Dec 1873
the Honorable William R. Willis, Judge of the County Courts of Elizabeth City
The (signatures) of the undersigned
residents of that portion of Chesapeake Township known as Fox Hill which lies
between William Holston's residence and the Chesapeake Bay shore which is now
enclosed by a fence and agate across the main county road as now enclosed,
respectfully request your Honor to permit the said enclosure and gate across the
road to remain as at present. They make this request for the following reasons
viz The land owners within the same section of county above designated are
generally small farmers owning small tracts of arable sand and many of them
large marshes which they have from time out of mention used for grazing purposes
the same being one of their main sources of support for themselves and families.
Some of the residents in said section being widows are almost entirely dependent
for this grazing privileges for bread and meat for their families. A
(continuance) of the said fence and gate will injure no one will be a most
mutual benefit to your petitioners who are prepared to prove from the _______
_______ list of said Township that at least eight if not nine out of ten are in
favor of the continuation of said fence and gate. It is a mutual benefit to your
petitioners and an injury to no one. Your petitioners would further _________
that they came. Their small farms enclosed and the raising of cattle at large
within the ______ acres aforesaid on the extensive marshes on which they pay
taxes to the county and state would otherwise be worthless to them. The gate
which crosses the main road is immediately in front of the door of one of your
petitioners, William Holston who has three boys ready at all reasonable hours to
open this gate for all travelers who might otherwise be inconvenienced.
County VA __________________
To the Honorable
John Booker, Judge of County Court of Elizabeth City County, ___________ the
undersigned petitioners in _________ of an order issued by your Honor at the
_________ __________ of the said county court that owners of the gate across the
road known as the Fox Hill Road should appear at this term of the said Court and
show cause the said gate should not be discontinued across the said road. We
your humble Petitioners adopt as the
_______ way in
making known to your Honor _____ ______ _______
gate should be continued across the said road our first and strongest
claim is as our petitioners will show against the one already presented for your
Honor that a very large majority of the tax paying citizens ______________ below
strongly favors it remain as it is ____ next claimer is that it is a
material advantage to all citizens. ___________ below the said gate and also it
is to the interest and advantage to the county in point of taxation are dear as
Dear Sir, there is from 6 to _______ acres of wasted land of no
______ _________except for pasturage.
is 3 ___________ who would be _____________ by gate remaining across.
Please have the case ____________ on ___________ 30th all the
evidence that is desired will be presented.
SIGNED DECEMBER 18,1873
W. Johnson, Sr.
W. Johnson Jr.
Johnson, widow) X
James H. Routen
John W. Lewis
more. See original document copy