Posts Tagged ‘Moving to Richmond’

Relocating to Richmond, VA

Sunday, February 27th, 2011

The Powhatan tribe had lived in the region before 1607 . For centuries, the tribe recognized the value of this site, rich in natural beauty, and had one of their capitals here, also known as Powhatan. They knew it as a place to fish, hunt , play, and trade , and they also called it Shocquohocan, or Shockoe.

In 1606, James I granted a royal charter to the Virginia Company of London to settle colonists in North America After the first permanent English-speaking settlement was established in April 1607, at Jamestown, Captain Christopher Newport led explorers northwest up the James River, and on May 24, 1607, erected a cross on one of the small islands in the middle of the part of the river

that runs through today’s downtown area.

The first English settlement within the present limits of the city was made in 1609


by Francis West at the falls, in the district known as Rockett’s and was known as “West Fort”. Captain John Smith then bought the fortified Powhatan village on the north bank of the river from chief Parahunt, about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the fort. He named this tract Nonesuch, but the English garrison soon abandoned the entire area after attacks by the Powhatans.Lord de la Warre made a second attempt to buils a fort at the falls in 1610 , which managed to last all winter, but was then likewise abandoned.

In 1645, Fort Charles was erected at the falls of the James  – the highest navigable point of the James River – as a frontier defense. New settlers moved in, and the community grew into a bustling trading post forhides, fur , and tobacco. Col. David Crawford, a Virginia Burgess, owned much of the land in the mid-1600s that would become Richmond.

In 1673, William Byrd I was granted lands on the James River that included the area around Falls that would become Richmond and already included small settlements . Byrd was a well-connected Indian trader in the area and established a fort on the site. William Byrd II inherited his father’s land in 1704 , and in 1737 founded the town of Richmond at the Falls of the James and commissioned Major William Mayo to lay out the original town grid. Mayo divided the town into four-lot thirty-two squares, and immediately outside of town limits there were larger plots of land which were to be sold as the future sites for suburban villas. Byrd named the city Richmond after the English town of Richmond near (and now part of) London, because the view of the James River was strikingly similar to the view of the River Thames from Richmond Hill in England, where he had spent time during his youth. The settlement was laid out in April 1737, and was incorporated as a town in 1742.

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Real Estate in Richmond

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

At the outbreak of the American Civil War in 1861 , the strategic location of the Tredegar Iron Works was one of the primary factors in the decision to make Richmond the Capital of the Confederacy. From this arsenal came the 723 tons of armor plating that covered the CSS Virginia, the world’s first ironclad used in war, as well as much of the Confederates’ heavy ordnance machinery. In February 1861, Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as President of the Confederate States of America in Montgomery, Alabama, the first Confederate capital. In the early morning of April 12, 1861, the Confederate army fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston, South Carolina, beginning the Civil War. Virginia seceded from the United states and joined Confederate States on April 17, 1861 , and soon thereafter the Confederate government moved its capital to Richmond. The Confederate Congress shared quarters with the Virginia General Assembly in the Virginia State Capitol, and the Confederacy’s executive mansion, the “White House of the Confederacy”, was two blocks away in the upscale Court End neighborhood.

In late June and early July 1862 The Seven Days Battle followed . During this time Union General McClellan threatened to take Richmond but ultimately failed, 3 years later, on April 2, 1865, Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army captured Richmond, and the state capital was then relocated to Danville. Six days later, Robert E. Lee’s retreating Army of Northern Virginia surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House, symbolically ending the war. On April 2, 1865, about 25% of the city’s buildings were destroyed in a fire set by retreating Confederate soldiers . Union soldiers put out the fires as they entered the city. President Lincoln left Washington for Richmond immediately upon hearing of the city’s capture, arriving on April 4 with the city still smoldering from the fires.Lincoln wanted to make a public gesture of sitting at Jefferson Davis’s own desk, symbolically saying to the nation that the President of the United States held authority over the entire land. He was greeted at the city as a conquering hero by freed slaves, whose sentiments were epitomized by one admirer’s quote, “I know I am free, for I have seen the face of Father Abraham and have felt him.”When a general asked Lincoln how the defeated Confederates should be treated, Lincoln replied, “Let ’em up easy.” Unfortunately, just ten days later, on April 14, 1865, President Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. by John Wilkes Booth.

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