Menokin, the Color Guard and the Founders of the American Revolution

Yesterday was the 248th anniversary of the signing of the Leedstown Resolves. This courageous protestation of the Stamp Act eventually led to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence and the American Revolution.

leedstown mapSometime before 1678, Edward Bray had built a brick church, an ordinary, ferry, and wharf at the present Leedstown. Up to this date the site was known as Rappahannock. After 1678, it was known as Bray’s Wharf or Bray’s Church. By 1742, it was known as Leeds. Later it was known as Leedstown. Leedstown was created a town by an act of the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1742.[1]

In colonial days, Leedstown was not only a place for commerce. General George Washington often visited Leedstown. There was a ferry across the river Laytons, on the south side of the river in Essex County (it operated until about 1927 when the Downings Bridge to Tappahannock opened). Following the Revolutionary War shipping at Leedstown began to decline as many planters moved west into the Kentucky and Ohio territories.

Late in the 19th century, Leedstown had a slight revival steaming from visits of the Rappahannock River Steamboat Line.

Both Francis Lightfoot Lee (of Menokin) and Richard Henry Lee signed the Leedstown Resolves. The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society hosts an annual event commemorating this important day in American History. For the second year in a row, this event was held at the visitor’s center of The Menokin Foundation. A standing-room-only crowd of over 60 people gathered to listen to the history of the event. They were also treated to a Color Guard presentation by local Colonial reenactors.

We thank the NNVHS for including Menokin in this celebration.

Menokin’s Tenant House

The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society posted a photograph of the remnants of a chimney from a tenant house on the Menokin property that sparked a discussion about the structure. This led to the eventual question about who had lived there. The NVHS called me to inquire…

Sarah dug up a 1985 National Register Assessment of Menokin and shared with me a transcript of an oral history interview done with Mr. Omohundro who was the last private owner of the property. His recollections are interesting, and I have posted a PDF of this on our website if you’d like to read it.

In the meantime, I thought I would share a few photos of the chimney. As are most vistas at Menokin, this structure is romantic and mysterious and makes a wonderful photographic subject.

We’d love for you to share any photos you have, or stories that you may know about people who may have lived in the tenant house.

(c) 2013 Hullihen Williams Moore
(c) 2013 Hullihen Williams Moore
Chimney and daffodils
(c) 2013 Hullihen Williams Moore

 

Commemoration of The Leedstown Resolves – February 27, 2014

The Leedstown Resolves, or Westmoreland Resolves, a courageous protest against the Stamp Act, was executed on 27 February 1766 and signed over the next several weeks by 115 citizens of the Virginia colony from twelve counties whose names are listed at the end of the document.

On Thursday February 27, 2014, The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society and The Menokin Foundation will commemorate the signing of the Leedstown Resolves at the Martin Kirwan King Visitors Center at Menokin.

Speaker Bill Horn, will lecture on the significance of the character of the Lee brothers in forming our nation. Among other related points, Mr. Horn will discuss Thomas Lee and the traits he passed on to his sons, Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee, who were the only two signers of both the Leedstown Resolves and the Declaration of Independence.

Bill Horn’s long and colorful life features a 4-year military service in the Korean War. This experience inspired him to study American history and pursue the field of education. His 28-year career teaching high school American and World History in New York culminated in a post-retirement job as a coach for handicapped adults.

Since moving to the Northern Neck in 1997, he has spoken about Living Museums at an American Legion Hall and again about the Lees. He has lectured at various sites in the Tidewater region about the American Revolution and our founding fathers. He was also a regular substitute teacher at Woodland Academy until it closed.

This annual commemoration starts at 10:00 am and will conclude no later than 11:00 am. No reservation is needed. Menokin is located at 4037 Menokin Road in Warsaw, VA. Call 804-333-1776 with questions.

This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.
This copy of the Leedstown Resolves is at the Westmoreland County Museum. The text of the resolves is included for your enjoyment.