Recent News

A New Concept in Colonial Era Entertaining

At the January 25, 2015 King and Queen Historical Society Meeting, Mr. Cary Carson introduced “All Dressed Up, and No Place To Go,” a new concept about Virginia colonial society – magnificent private buildings initially considered private homes (MacMansions) masquerading as private club houses. The owners were born in the Virginia colony or arrived mid-1700s, married into the early prestigious colonial families and were wealthy, fashionable, and cosmopolitan, like their European counterparts. However, the colonial communities had barely begun emerging from their “hard scrabble” existence and had very few, if any, upscale entertainment venues where these individuals could “be seen”.

Fashionable towns in Virginia did not exist before the mid-18th Century. Therefore, they built their own “banqueting” houses where dances, dinners, and musical entertainment were held and which also served as private “inns” for overnight stays. Although no new artifacts specific to this concept have been discovered, a fresh look at existing artifacts and data substantially supports this theory. Mr. Carson walked the audience through the analysis, citing three colonial buildings in Virginia as examples: one each on Green Spring Plantation in James City County built by Gov. William Berkeley in 1645, Fairfield in Gloucester County built by Lewis Burwell II in 1694 and Corotoman in Lancaster County built by Robert “King” Carter in 1725.

Mr. Carson was Vice President for Research at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation until his retirement three years ago. He received his professional training in early modern British and colonial American history from Harvard University. He served as Colonial Williamsburg’s chief historian from 1976-2006 and for many years on the National Historic Landmarks Advisory Board. Currently, Mr. Carson divides his life between Williamsburg, Virginia and The Hague, Netherlands.

Tavern Museum 2015 Opening Date Changed

The Tavern 2015 opening date has been changed from Friday, February 27 to Friday, March 13 due to weather related issues.  Hours are Fridays and Saturdays 10 am–4 pm. Sundays 1–5 pm. Closed on Easter, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. The season will close mid-December. Be sure to visit us, a “gem in a rural setting.” See our “Plan A Visit” page.

Christmas at the Musuem

On Sunday December 7, 2014 members of the King & Queen Historical Society and the public attended the annual Christmas Open House at the Courthouse Tavern Museum. The colorful decorations and the holiday music played by Paul and Bessie Guthrie put the crowd in a festive mood. Santa took requests from both young and old, checking in from time to time with the North Pole. Wagon rides were provided by J.J. the miniature horse guided by Brownie Bevan. There was face painting by Zachary. The snow village was on display with the train running through the snowy countryside. The crowd was offered tasty funnel cakes by the Upper King & Queen Ruritan Club and a long table of delicious treats by the Museum Council. Christmas gifts and decorations were available for purchase from vendors Cindy Taylor, Vicki Paige, Alice Sheley, and Susette Jackson. This well attended event was a wonderful start to the holidays!

Pictures provided by Nancy Hazzard, Alice Sheley, Nancy Herman-Thompson, and Biddie Shelor

Historical Society Meeting At  "Marialva" On October 26

At least one of the quarterly King and Queen Historical Society meetings each year is held at a county historical site.  This year it was at "Marialva," a restored antebellum home on the Dragon Run built in 1821.  Current owners, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Wright, were the hosts, providing some history of the farm and sharing artifacts.  Mr. Wright conveyed that he took a preservation approach to saving the structure rather than just a restoration that would have made the building inhabitable.  Recreating the home of the original owners, Dr. and Mrs Samuel Griffin Fauntleroy, was a labor of love with many challenges. The owners asked those present to share additional information about the Fauntleroy's with them.  One member said that he had Dr. Samuel Fauntleroy's physician's bag and described its contents.  The attendees were invited to tour the house and grounds. Refreshments were provided.

Genealogical Society Meets at the Museum

On Saturday October 11, the Middle Peninsula African-American Genealogical and Historical Society of Virginia (MPAAGHS) held its monthly meeting at the Courthouse Tavern Museum. All persons interested in African-American genealogy and history were invited to attend. MPAAGHS members were available to provide tips and “how to” guides for those interested in getting started on their family trees. Besides the business meeting, the gathering also included lunch and a tour of the Museum. The visit provided the attendees an opportunity to explore the many resources that the Museum offers researchers.

Museum Hosts County School Board

On Thursday October 9, the Courthouse Tavern Museum Council hosted its annual dinner for the King and Queen County School Board. The Museum is a cooperative partnership between the King and Queen County Historical Society and King and Queen County. It is a cultural center promoting county history and welcomes school class visits. The last school tour was in 2013 and enjoyed by those attending. Dr. Jones said that he is currently looking into resources to provide more tours, not only to the Museum, but also to other historical places in the County.

Courthouse Tavern Museum Volunteers Visit Lee Hall Mansion

On September 25th Courthouse Tavern Museum volunteers and their guests visited Lee Hall Mansion in Newport News, Virginia. Built in 1851 by affluent planter Richard Decauter Lee, no relation to the Lees of Northern Neck, this antebellum home is the last of its kind on the Virginia tidewater peninsula. J. Michael Moore, curator and local long term resident, provided an informative and colorful view of life there in the mid-Nineteenth Century, including the Civil War and its impact on the family. The group lunched at the Old Chickahominy House in Williamsburg, dining on delicious brunswick stew, ham biscuits and a selection of pies for dessert. A trip well worth taking. Annually, the Museum schedules a trip for patrons and volunteers to historical sites.

King and Queen County Educators Visit Courthouse Tavern Museum

On Monday August 18, 2014 the King and Queen County School Board sponsored a luncheon at the King and Queen Courthouse Tavern Museum for new public school educators. Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Stanley B. Jones, and School Board Member, Brenda D. Lee, attended with 15 teachers and administrators from King and Queen Elementary School, Lawson-Marriott Elementary School, Central High School, and the School Board Office. This annual event introduces attendees to the Museum and promotes its use by students. A log schoolhouse that was one of the first public schools in the county, Indian artifacts, early tools, a carriage, and collection of short videos on county history are only a few of the many exhibits. The library and an extensive county archive are also available for research.

King and Queen Historical Society Awards Scholarship

At the July meeting of the King and Queen Historical Society, scholarship chairman Biddy Walker, introduced Samantha Burrell this year’s recipient of one of the society’s two annual scholarships. Samantha, a 2014 graduate of Central High School, will be attending Christopher Newport University. She has an outstanding academic record, was active in sports and in community activities. She plans to major in sociology and criminal justice. Samantha is the daughter of Ms. Inga Burrell of St. Stephens Church.

The Northern Neck Antique Car Club Visits

May 14, 2014, King and Queen Court House Historic Green District had an invasion of Classic Cars. The Northern Neck Antique Car Club had included King and Queen County in their 2014 Tour. The tour was organized by Wayne Burgess, National Director.

Traveling in 50 antique cars about 120 owners visited the Mattaponi Baptist Church, toured the Courthouse Tavern Museum and had lunch at the King and Queen Women’s Club. These magnificent cars in pristine condition had traveled from various states, as far away as Michigan, Texas, Florida, New Jersey, Alabama, Maryland and Pennsylvania to participate in this tour. The cars ranged from as early as a 1932 Plymouth. We had a great day talking with the owners, learning about customizing and taking photos.

Photos by Alice Sheley Article by Ellen White

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