Not only have I lived in the Old Dominion for most of my life, but also several previous centuries in the sense that my ancestors were among the earliest settlers of the Shenandoah Valley (1730’s/1740’s). Chapel Hill, circa 1816, the Churchman family home place on my father’s side, is part of the inspiration behind the old homes in my novels, as are the other early plantations I’ve visited like Berkeley, Shirley and Carter’s Grove. My Scots-Irish forebears settled Augusta County in the southern valley with names like Houston, Patterson, Finley, Moffett and McLeod. These clannish people often intermarried, so I can tie in with many other early families depending on how I swing through the ancestral tree.
Colonial Virginia encompassed a vast territory. Initially Augusta County named for Princess Augusta, wife of Frederick, Prince of Wales, stretched northward from the present day county of Rockingham to include part of Page; to the South it extended the full length of Virginia’s border, and to the northwest it included the present day states of Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and part of western Pennsylvania, all the territory claimed by Great Britain at that time.
Jamestown, the earliest successful English colony, and Williamsburg, a vital center in early America, are both in Virginia. If you haven’t visited Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown, you’re in for a real treat. These sites are wonderfully restored so it’s like stepping back in time to another age, one that fascinates me.
Virginia is also the site of more battles than any other state in the union, encompassing the Indian Wars, the Revolution and that most uncivil of wars, the Civil War. Not to mention, Virginia has more ghost stories than any other state. Also fodder for the imagination and yet more stories.
*Pics are of: The Shenandoah Valley, Chapel Hill, Thomas Jefferson‘s Monticello, Early home in Jamestown, The first church in America in Jamestown, Shirley Plantation, Early American church doorway in Jamestown, Colonial Virginia home, The rotunda at the University of VA designed by Jefferson, young girls in colonial dress at a historic farm, old plantation kitchen, the capitol building in Williamsburg, the Susan Constant Sailing Ship that brought English settlers to Jamestown Virginia in 1607, and several from colonial Williamsburg.