Cultural Landscapes of Menokin: An Historical Analysis – Part II

Originally prepared in October 2012 and revised in November of 2013, this research conducted and prepared by C. Allan Brown is part of the The Menokin Glass House Project.
The report will be shared in a serial fashion with the intention of a weekly post as time allows.

PART II

The earliest documented European settlement in the locality of Menokin occurred about 1650 with a patent of land on the Rappahannock River, at the mouth of Rappahannock Creek, by PlatteMoore Fauntleroy (Fig. 10).[1]Colonial authorities had not officially allowed settlement of the Northern Neck until 1649.[2]  Fauntleroy’s initial plantation (south of the creek) was named Mangorite, evidently another phonetic transliteration of an Indian word (“Mangorike [sic] Marsh” is along the north bank of the Rappahannock River, near the Sabine Hall lowlands).  North of the creek, a substantial brick house, quite like Sabine Hall, was built c. 1740 by his descendant, William Fauntleroy, near present Naylor’s Beach.[3]  That house was situated so near the shoreline that, by 1905, it was reported that “the waves of the river . . . have undermined the bank at the rear of the garden and invaded the family burial-ground.”[4]  Soon after, the house itself was demolished.

A little farther inland, Capt. Henry Fleete patented 750 acres in 1652 on the west shore of Menokin Bay.[5]   His patent noted that Fleete’s property was situated “southwest of the Great Rappahannock town where the Indians are at present seated 2 miles up Fleets Creek” (i.e., two miles upstream from the confluence of Rappahannock Creek and Rappahannock River).[6]  “Southwest of” evidently was meant to imply that the creek was between Fleete’s property and 120409_MSA_AIA_Richmond_Lecture_Menokin_MFthe Indian town.  Six years later, John Stephens patented the Menokin property (originally 1000 acres) directly across the bay from Fleete’s land on 13 March 1657/58, however Stephens may not then have occupied the land.[7]  His will written three years later, before embarking on a return visit to England, referred to the “one thousand acres of land lying on Rappae: Creek on ye same side ye Indians liveth on….”[8]  Thus it appears from multiple sources that in the mid-17th century, the Rappahannocks were residing on the east bank of Menokin Bay, not on the western shore as has been suggested by some recent writers.

surveyIn the 1960s, local historian Thomas Hoskins Warner who also was a professional surveyor, determined that a Rappahannock town had been situated “on the northeast side of Rappahannock Creek (Cat Point) about two miles above its mouth and less than a mile above the point where Menokin Swamp flows into the creek.”[9]  He surmised that the town had been sited there for defensive purposes and for observation of rivercraft:  “Back of it was a high hill, from the summit of which a man might see down the creek almost to the river.”[10]  Although authorities on regional Indian cultures indicate that such towns often were built on high ground, Warner suggested that the town at or near Menokin was not on the uppermost plateau.[11]  As a surveyor, Warner gave its precise location as latitude 380 0’ 15” and longitude 760 48’ 50”, but that position may not now allow for a subsequent slight shift in magnetic declination.[12]

Warner also made an observation of an “Indian relic” on the “north slope” (possibly on Menokin Foundation property) that he claimed “has aroused keenest interest.”[13]  He described it in some detail as the “remains of a circular stone wall,” about 30 feet in diameter, “no doubt one of the last existing monuments of a long departed race.”[14]  (It is presently unknown if that feature survives.)  He further noted that early records refer to Cat Point Creek as “Indian Creek” or “Great Hunting Creek” and Menokin Run as “Little Hunting Creek,” but I have not verified those names.[15]  If Warner was correct in his assertions, then it appears that the Rappahannock Indian presence on the Menokin property was quite significant.


FOOTNOTES

[1]Moore Fauntleroy (1610-1663), from Craundall, Southampton, England had arrived in Virginia about 1643, according to a monument erected on that property by a descendant in 1927.  See Sanford and Klein, “Archaeological Assessment,” pp. 100-101; Robert R. Harper, Richmond County, Virginia, 1692-1992:  A Tricentennial Portrait (Alexandria, Virginia, 1992), p. 34.

[2]See James Horn, Adapting to a New World:  English Society in the Seventeenth-Century Chesapeake (Chapel Hill, 1994) pp. 161-164, 175; Jean B. Russo, Planting an Empire:  The Early Chesapeake in British North America (Baltimore, 2012).

[3]See Harper, Richmond County, p. 46.  Evidently Avery Naylor was an early landowner in the vicinity (“Naylor’s Creek” is on the south side of the Rappahannock River, opposite the mouth of Rappahannock Creek) and “Naylor’s Hole” was the name for the deep water in the Rappahannock River at that location, where ocean-going vessels would often anchor.  “Naylor’s Wharf” projected from the north bank of the river (near present Naylor’s Beach) and “Cat Point” nearby, along the Rapahannock Creek, was sometimes also referred to as “Naylor’s Point.”  The Fauntleroy house itself became familiarly known as “Naylor’s Hole.”

[4] George W. Beale, “Naylor’s Hole:  Ancient Seat of the Fauntleroy Family in Richmond County,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2 July 1905.

[5] Virginia Land Office Patent Book 3, p. 97 (1 August 1652).

[6] Ibid. For further relevant information regarding the Indian town, see Virginia Land Office Patent Book 3, p. 73; 4, p. 235; Northern Neck Grant Book 1, p. 134. See also (old) Rappahannock County Deed Book 2, pp. 39-40, 135.

[7] Virginia Land Office Patent Book 4, p. 303; Northern Neck Grant Book 1, p. 135 (18 March 1691/92).  For further confirmation of the location of this land, see Virginia Land Office Patent Book 5, p. 198; 6, p. 77.

[8] (Old) Rappahannock County Will Book 2, part 1, pp. 66-68 (5 March 1660/61); the will was proved 6 February 1677/78.  See also Northern Neck Grant Book 1, p. 137.

[9] Warner, Old Rappahannock, p. 36.

[10] Ibid.

[11] According to Helen C. Rountree, they “preferred to locate settlements on high ground overlooking the water, so that everything and everyone approaching the town could be seen;” Powhatan, p. 58.

[12] Warner, Old Rappahannock, p. 37.

[13] Ibid.

[14] Ibid.  The circular dancing-ground/prayer-plot depicted by John White in his famous painting of the Indian town of Secota, was about that size; see c. 1620 DeBry engraving of that painting, in Rountree, Powhatan, p. 59.

[15] Warner, Old Rappahannock, pp. 170-171.


PART I of Series

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