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Local Counties

Northern Neck

lancaster

Lancaster County

Lancaster County was established in 1651 from Northumberland and York counties. It was home to Robert King Carter in the 18th century, and remaining buildings from that time include Christ Church and St. Mary’s, White Chapel. Other historic attractions open to the public include the Lancaster Courthouse Historic District including the Mary Ball Washington Museum and Library, Belle Isle State Park, and the Village of Morattico Historic District.

The most densely populated county in the Northern Neck, Lancaster County offers a unique combination of water life, history, natural beauty and culture for visitors and residents alike. The county edges on the Rappahannock and Corrotoman rivers, Carter Creek, and multiple creeks flowing into the Chesapeake Bay. The quaint town of Irvington houses the Tides Inn and Premier Sailing, the shops, Steamboat Museum, Farmer’s Market, Fourth of July parade, Rappahannock River Yacht Club, Hope & Glory Inn, and the Dog & Oyster Vineyard. Kilmarnock, which finds its namesake in Kilmarnock, Scotland offers a wide variety of stores and unique shops, restaurants and a festive Christmas parade through downtown. White Stone highlights include Windmill Point, White Stone beach, River Market – a gourmet deli, the Old Farm Truck and Willaby’s – a restaurant with a view of the Rappahannock River. Enjoy nature walks, boating and summer concerts at Belle Isle State Park.

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northumberlandNorthumberland County

The area was occupied at the time of English settlement by the Algonquian-speaking historic tribes of the Wicocomico and Chickacoan. The county was created by the Virginia General Assembly in 1648 during a period of rapid population growth and geographic expansion. Settlement began in this area of the Northern Neck around 1635. Originally known as the Indian district Chickacoan, the area was first referred to as Northumberland in the colonial records in 1644. The following year, John Mottrom served as the first burgess for the territory in the House of Burgesses, which met at the capital of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown.

The colonial court ordered the two tribes to merge and by 1655, assigned them a reservation of 4,400 acres (18 km2) near Dividing Creek, south of the Great Wicomico River.[3] By the early 1700s, the Wicocomico tribe was greatly reduced, and English colonists took control of their lands. They were believed to be extinct as a tribe as, landless, they disappeared from the historical record. Descendants of the last weroance are working to regain recognition as a tribe, the Wicocomico Indian Nation.[4]

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richmondRichmond County

Richmond County, Virginia was formed in 1692 from old Rappahannock County. There is no consensus on the origin of Richmond County’s name, but it has been accepted that the county was named for the First Duke of Richmond, cousin to King William and Queen Mary. It is believed that Richmond County was inhabited by the first Indians, who migrated to hunt and gather food for their small, mobile families, more than 10,000 years ago during the Paleo-Indian period in 11,000 B.C. Artifacts from this time have been found around the county.

Richmond County is located in the heart of the Northern Neck of Virginia, where it lies on the north side of the Rappahannock River. Its 192 square miles of community is within one hour’s drive of the city of Richmond, Virginia and within two hours’ drive of Washington D.C. Throughout its existence, farming, fishing, and forestry have formed the backbone of the county’s economy.  Serving as the crossroads of U.S. Route 360 and State Route 3, the county seat of Warsaw is currently the headquarters for many regional government agencies as well as a regional community college, vocational center, and jail.

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westmorelandWestmoreland County

As originally established by the House of Burgesses from Northumberland County in 1653, the territory of Westmoreland County encompassed much of what later became the various counties and cities of Northern Virginia, including the city of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, and Prince William County. These were part of Westmoreland until 1664, when Stafford County was formed.

Westmoreland County was the birthplace of George Washington, the first President of the United States (at the former settlement of Bridges Creek, Virginia);[3] of James Monroe, the fifth President; and of General Robert E. Lee, commander of the Confederate armies.

The county was the place of residence for Colonel Nicholas Spencer (1633-1689), who patented the land at Mount Vernon in 1674 with his friend Lt. Col. John Washington, ancestor of George Washington. Spencer, who served as President of the Council and acting Governor of the Colony of Virginia, was the cousin of and agent for the Barons Colepeper, proprietors of the Northern Neck. He lived at his plantation Nomini, which his descendants later sold to Robert Carter I.

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Middle Peninsula

Middlesex County

This area was long settled by indigenous peoples; those encountered by Europeans were of the Algonquian-speaking peoples, part of loose alliance of tribes known as the Powhatan Confederacy. The Nimcock had a village on the river where Urbanna was later developed. English settlement of the area began around 1640, with the county being officially formed in 1669 from a part of Lancaster County. This settlement pushed the Nimcock upriver. The county’s only incorporated town, Urbanna, was established by the colonial Assembly in 1680 as one of 20 50-acre port towns designated for trade. It served initially as a port on the Rappahannock River for shipping agricultural products, especially the tobacco commodity crop. As the county developed, it became its commercial and governmental center.

During the American Civil War, Urbanna was planned as the point of landing for General George B. McClellan‘s 1862 Peninsula Campaign of 1862 to take Richmond. McClellan shifted to use Fort Monroe as the starting point, almost doubling the distance by land that troops had to travel to the Confederate citadel. Delays in reaching the gates of Richmond allowed the Confederates ample time to erect substantial defensive batteries, contributing to the Union failure in this campaign.

Today Urbanna is the home to several marinas, boutique shops, galleries, restaurants, and the annual oyster festival which attracts thousands from throughout Virginia and beyond. Deltaville is known as the boat building capital of the Chesapeake, a heritage seen in its multiple marinas, sail and canvas makers, sail and power boat brokers and suppliers. The Maritime Museum provides a fun outlet with concerts and an annual wooden boat building week.

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Matthews County

Mathews County is located in the eastern tip of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula surrounded by the Rappahannock River, the York River, and the Chesapeake Bay. It was founded in 1791 and is named after Brigadier General Thomas Mathews. The Continental Navy built many of its ships in Mathews during the American Revolution and the only female confederate officer, Captain Sally Tompkins, was a resident of Mathews.

In addition to its rich history, today Mathews has thriving local merchants, art galleries, restaurants, and is the Daffodil Capital of the World. Mathews Market Days are not to be missed!

Properties vary from waterside condominiums to prominent historical plantations, cottages, and many other choices. Whether you’re looking for a slower pace or are ready to explore all that this area has to offer, Mathews County will not disappoint.

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Essex County

Essex County, on the northern side of the Middle Peninsula, is bordered by the Rappahannock River on the North. It was established in 1692 and is named for either the shire or county in England or the Earl of Essex. There are 14 properties and districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Essex County.

Located in Tappahannock is St. Margaret’s School, an all girls Episcopal School for grades 8-12. It was founded in 1921 to provide a high school education which was rare for girls at the time. Tappahannock has some great antique shops in their historic district adjacent to St. Margaret’s School.

The housing inventory includes condominiums with views of the Rappahannock, single family, and historic plantations, farms, and farm land.

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