Charles City County (Plantations)
Berkeley is Virginia’s most historic plantation. On December 4, 1619, early settlers from England came ashore at Berkeley Plantation and observed the first official English speaking Thanksgiving in America. See the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence, and President William Henry Harrison, “Old Tippecanoe.” “Taps” was composed at Berkeley when General McClellan headquartered 140,000 Union troops here in 1862.
Sherwood Forest Plantation was the home of 10th US President John Tyler from 1842 until his death in 1862. Known to be the longest frame house in America, over 300 feet long, Sherwood Forest has been the continuous residence of the Tyler family since the President purchased it in 1842. The house is currently owned by Harrison Ruffin Tyler, President Tyler's grandson.
Shirley tells the story of the Hill-Carter family, eyewitnesses to 11 generations of American history. Shirley Plantation is Virginia’s first plantation (1613) and one of the first economic engines of the New World. The chronicle of Shirley Plantation best exemplifies the period in our nation’s history between the settlement at Jamestown in 1607 and the movement towards American independence from Britain in 1776. Today, Shirley continues to be a working plantation, a private family home, a growing business, a National Historic Landmark and a direct link between the past and the present.
Westover Episcopal Church was established in 1613 within close proximity to the original settlement at Jamestown. About 1730 the construction of the present Westover Church was completed. For almost thirty years after 1803, Westover Church lay abandoned. In 1833 religious services were revived and the Church structure was repaired, but it was ruined by Federal troops who used the church as a stable during the Civil War. The Church was restored again in 1867 and has been faithfully supported ever since.
Westover Plantation was built in the mid-18th century by the Byrd family and is considered a premiere example of Georgian architecture in America. The home is noteworthy for its secret passages, magnificent gardens and architectural details. In 1814 Westover Plantation was sold out of the Byrd family and today is a private family home and National Historic Landmark.