King and Queen County is created from that part of New Kent County lying north of the Pamunkey River. Its western boundary extended to the heads of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Rivers. William Leigh and Joshua Storey are elected as King and Queen’s first representatives in the House of Burgesses. Edmund Tunstall deeds land to the county for a Court House.
The population of King and Queen County is approximately 4,306 making it the second most populous county in Virginia. It is also one of the wealthiest due to its tobacco production.
After losing its town with the creation of King William County from the area on the southwest shore of the Mattaponi River, the Virginia General Assembly authorizes the King and Queen County Court to purchase land for another town. John Walker deeds 40 acres for a town, which is named Walkerton. The act is repealed in 1795 because Walkerton fails to develop.
Robert Beverley, of “Beverley Park” in King and Queen County, writes “The History and Present State of Virginia” for the purpose of encouraging additional immigration to the colony. This is the earleist English work to provide a detailed overview of the climate, environment, natural resources and indigenous people of the area.
French Huguenot Rev. James Fontaine travels through King and Queen County with the Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. The purpose of the expedition, mounted by Gov. Spotswood and comprised primarily of members of the gentry, is to explore the area west of the Allegheny Mountains and encourage settlement of the colony’s western frontier. On their journey westward, the Knights stay overnight 21 August at the home of Robert Beverley. Upon their return, they again stay overnight 14 September at the home of Robert Beverley and 15 September at the home of John Baylor.
Spottsylvania County is created from the western frontiers of King and Queen, Essex and King William counties.
Caroline County is created from the northwestern part of King and Queen County. An additional parcel of land is ceded to Caroline County in 1742.
Donald Robertson opens a private school in Newtown, which he operates until his death in 1773. This school is considered one of the finest private schools in Virginia during this period, numbering a future president, James Madison, among its students. Female students are also enrolled during the first years of the school’s operation.
The boundary between King and Queen County and Caroline County is again redrawn, establishing the present boundaries of the county. (True Relation of History of King and Queen County 1607-1790 by General Edwin Cox.)
King and Queen County residents George Brooke and George Lyne are selected to attend the first Virginia Convention. Richard Tunstall is elected chairman of the 23-member King and Queen County Committee of Safety.
Patrick Henry leads a volunteer troop to “Laneville” in King and Queen County, home of Richard Corbin, Receiver General of Virginia, to demand payment for gunpowder removed from Williamsburg to a place of safekeeping on the order of Governor Dunmore. Mrs. Corbin meets the troops with the information that her husband is not at home. They decline her offer to allow them to search her home for her husband.
Captain George Lyne leads the King and Queen County Minutemen to reinforce the local militia defending Hampton from looting by the British. With additional reinforcement of the Virginia Second Regiment under Colonel William Woodford, the British are forced to withdraw. This is the first military action of Virginians in support of the patriot cause.
Governor Dunmore leaves Virginia after commissioning Richard Corbin Lieutenant Governor and depositing with him many valuables of the colony. Corbin buries the valuables in the cellar of his King and Queen County home, “Laneville.”
The King and Queen County militia join other Virginia militia units under Brigadier General George Weedon at Yorktown and are present through the siege of the town and surrender of General Cornwallis.
King and Queen County citizens petition the state legislature protesting the level of property taxes in the county.
William Fleet and John Roane, King and Queen County residents, attend the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
Residents of upper King and Queen County petition to be redistricted to Essex County citing the distance from their homes to the Court House. This is the first of several unsuccessful petitions for redistricting the county.
Baptist ministers John Lovall and James Greenwood are arrested near Bruington Church and continue to preach to the crowd outside their jail windows at the King and Queen County Court House.
The King and Queen County militia, 200 men strong, is called out to support the Essex County and Caroline County militias in the defense of Tappahannock. The militia is greatly outnumbered and the British take Tappahannock and hold it for three days.
The County Clerk’s Office burns. King and Queen County residents are levied an additional tax of $500 to transcribe the remaining, badly damaged, records and $600 to rebuild the clerk’s office — considerable amounts that residents could not afford. Robert Pollard, County Clerk, petitions the General Assembly to help defray the expense.
Thomas Roderick Dew, Professor of Political Law at William and Mary College and King and Queen County native, publishes his influential pro-slavery tract, “Review of the Debates in the Virginia Legislature of 1831 and 1832.”
Mira Ann Muse Southgate opens a school for girls at Little Plymouth, the curriculum including reading, arithmetic, geography, natural philosophy, chemistry, history, French and lessons in manners and moral training. Four years later, Mrs. Southgate moves to Stevensville and opens Locust Cottage Female Seminary.
Fleetwood Academy, modeled after VMI, is opened by Oliver White in upper King and Queen County. It offers military training in addition to a general curriculum of English, Latin, Greek, French, mathematics and natural philosophy. In 1854, pre-medical training is first offered.
Stevensville Academy is founded by John Bagby and Colonel John Pollard to educate their many sons. The curriculum emphasizes the classics, mathematics and English. In 1871 the school is merged into the public school system.
Croton Female Seminary is established by Dr. Zachary Lewis. In 1858, the school is incorporated as Croton Female College with Dr. Lewis as president and his wife, Maria L.C. Lewis assisting in operating the school. The Civil War forces the school to close.
Federal soldiers camped at West Point come upriver and burn the bridge at Dunkirk along with the ferry and granaries there. William, the black ferryman, manages to save the ferry house by telling the troops the building is his home.
Union cavalry stationed at Gloucester Point camp at King and Queen Court House. Dr. Bernard Walker and other members of the Home Guard have a brief encounter at Walkerton with six Union cavalry members whose intent is to destroy the ferry.
Union General Judson Kilpatrick and his soldiers enter King and Queen County. Fifty cavalry men camp in a field opposite Locust Cottage. The ferry and boats at Dunkirk are destroyed as the soldiers remain in the area for two days stealing horses, provisions and carrying off slaves.
Union gunboats travel up the Mattaponi River and upon landing on the King William County shore the troops march to Aylett where they burn 16 to 18 houses, a machine shop, William Aylett’s mill and lumber houses. Houses on both banks are shelled as the boats travel back down the river.
Colonel Ulric Dahlgren and 120 Union troops enter King and Queen County and skirmish with the 9th Virginia Cavalry and Home Guard units at Bruington. As Dahlgen’s troops move down the River Road, they are ambushed near Stevensville and Mantapike and Colonel Dahlgren is killed. In retaliation, the King and Queen Court House, Clerk’s Office, jail, several stores and homes belonging to Robert Pollard, County Clerk, and William Martin, are burned by Union troops stationed at Gloucester Point. Tradition holds that the tavern was spared because the troops were told someone was lying ill upstairs with smallpox causing them to flee the area, but that in reality no one with smallpox had been in the building.
Union troops under General Ambrose Burnside move through Newtown on their way to Cold Harbor. The Home Guard, greatly outnumbered, does not attack but instead attempts to keep stragglers from vandalizing the county.
General Sheridan’s Union troops camp for three days at “Green Mount,” Dr. Benjamin Fleet’s home. General Sheridan calls on Mrs. Fleet, sits on her front porch and asks her if she’d like his men to play some music for her. Maria Louisa Fleet requests “Dixie” and the general complies.
Black churches begin to form in King and Queen County. First Mount Olive Church in Newtown is formed in 1867 or 1868 with Reuben Roots, Lewis Booker and Tazewell Green as pioneer members. New Morning Start Baptist Church, New Mount Zion Baptist Church (1870), Bethlehem Baptist Church (1871) and Zion Baptist Church (1869) also form.
Twenty-one public schools, eight of them black, are operating in King and Queen County. The schools are the result of ratification of the Underwood Constitution, which provided for the first time for a free public school system in Virginia.
A local Grange chapter is organized in King and Queen County.
The Pamunkey Indian Tribe requests and obtains representation at the Chicago World’s Fair.
Ruffin Academy is established by James R. Ruffin, a former slave. It is the first black high school in the county. By 1906 enrollment grows to 75 students and the Southside Rappahannock Baptist Association begins to help fund the academy. The school operates until 1922, two years after Rev. Ruffin’s death, when it is succeeded by King and Queen Training School, the first public black high school, which is opened at Newtown by Rev. R.N. Lawson.
H. Cox Rilee buys one of the first automobiles in King and Queen County.
St. Stephen’s Church is wired by Roy Spates for $75 making it one of the first buildings electrified in the county.
John Garland Pollard becomes the first King and Queen County native to be elected governor of Virginia.
Prepared by Sue Wright for www.rootsweb.com and republished with permission. Source: Kaplan, Barbara Beigun, Ph.D., Land and Heritage In The Virginia Tidewater: A History of King and Queen County, Virginia, (Gaithersburg, Maryland: Barbara Beigun Kaplan, 1993.) Excerpted with the kind permission of the author, Barbara Beigun Kaplan, Ph.D. My thanks also to Mrs. J.F. Jones for her valuable comments and suggestions on the content of the time line. — Sue Wright. Minor corrections were completed by the King and Queen Historical Society in 2013.