"Shirley Plantation" Charles City Things to Do Tip by butterflykizzez04

Charles City Things to Do: 27 reviews and 50 photos

  Shirley Plantation Manor house facing James River
by butterflykizzez04

A visit to Shirley Plantation affords a panorama of rare historical continuity. Shirley was founded six years after the settlers arrived at Jamestown in 1607 to establish the first permanent English Colony in the New World.

Shirley Plantation, granted to Edward Hill in 1660, features the pineapple (the Colonial symbol of hospitality) in the hand-carved woodwork in the house, and as a three-foot finial on the peak of the roof. And for good reason -- Shirley was a well-known center of hospitality in Colonial times.

The Hills and Carters entertained the Byrds and Harrisons, not to mention Washington, Jefferson and other prominent Virginians at Shirley. Visitors today see an 800-acre working plantation operated by the tenth and eleventh generations of the Hills and Carters, who continue this tradition of hospitality.

During the Revolution, Shirley was a supply center for the Continental Army. Twice, it was a listening post for both sides in the no-man's land between the British at City Point, now Hopewell, and Lafayette's army at Malvern Hill.

A century later, during the War Between the States, Shirley survived the Peninsula Campaign and the struggle for nearby Richmond, the Confederate capital. Anne Hill Carter, wife of Henry Light-Horse Harry Lee, of Stratford and mother of Gen. Robert E. Lee, was born at Shirley. The famous Confederate general, widely regared as one of the greatest Americans of all time, received part of his schooling in the converted laundry house.

The present mansion was begun in 1723 by Edward Hill III, a member of the house of Burgesses in the Virginia Colony, for his daughter Elizabeth, who married John Carter, eldest son of King Carter. It was finished in 1738 and is largely in its original state.

Address: Rt 5 James River Road
Website: http://www.jamesriverplantations.org/Shirley.html

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  • Written Apr 29, 2005
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