The Gate


The 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.


The Gate

Fox Hill

Chesapeake Township

Elizabeth City County


Petition signed 18 Dec 1873

Petitioned Signed

Court Decree



To the Honorable William R. Willis, Judge of the County Courts of Elizabeth City County.


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.





Elizabeth City 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 said gate        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 set forth.




      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. 


Yours Truly,




W. T. Holston





William J. Stores

James H. Roaten

Thomas J Rowe

Benjamin F. Rowe

George Elliott

Smith Guy

William D. Burge

(George Johnson)  X

John Benthall, Jr.

John W. Johnson, Sr.

Samuel Johnson

John W. Johnson Jr.

Sam R. Johnson

William P. Wallace

(David Wallace)  X

(John Wallace)  X

(James Spencer)  X

James F. Johnson

James Johnson

Richard P. Routten          

John S. Wiatt

Sylvester E. Horton

Henry E. Horton

John Evans

Thomas Dixon

M. E. Wallis

(Catharine Johnson, widow)  X

David S. Johnson

James Wallace



Second page        

W. T. Holston                 James H. Routen

M. E. Wallis                   William Roaten

D.S. Johnson                  John W. Lewis

W. H. Wallace


And more. See original document copy