Peckatone

Peckatone Plantation lies in the lower part of Westmoreland County,Virginia, on the bank of the Potomac opposite St. Georges Island, MD. The tract was named for an Indian chief of the region who traded a neck of land between "Euocomoco's River mouth and to a Creek joining to Muchotas" for three wool coats. On March 26, 1664, the land was secured by Henry Corbin. Corbin came to America from England in 1654 on the ship, Charity. He first lived in King and Queen County. He held many posts, including burgess of Lancaster County 1657-1660. Peckatone stayed in his family for nearly 200 years. Other large estates nearby included the Lee's and Allerton's. Where their lands met and banqueting hall was built that was later referred to as the "first country club in America." The Corbins were wealthy indeed, the silver ladle for their punch bowl was rumored to weigh three and a half pounds.

When Henry Corbin died January 8th, 1675, the land was passed on to his son and then grandson, both named Gawen. The mansion house is thought to have been completed about 1750. The widow of the second Gawen was Hannah Lee, one of Peckatone's most famous residents. Hannah was an early proponent of women's suffrage, and one of the first members of the upper-class to join the new Baptist Church (She had an early association with Morattico Baptist Church). She complained openly and vocally that as a widow she had to pay heavy taxes on her large estate but had no voice in shaping the laws that governed her land. Through the years Peckatone was inherited by Corbin descendants who married into the Turberville, Taliaferro, Brown, and Murphy families, all distinguished Westmoreland County names.

The design of Peckatone has been attributed to the Colonial architect Richard Taliaferro due to its similarity to Cleve in King George County, a home built by Robert Carter 1st, for his son, Charles, also believed to be by Taliaferro. Peckatone mansion was a magnificent estate, a spacious and massive building of imported English bricks. The only hint of interior detail was given by Dr. George Washington Beale who wrote that the house had immense halls and wainscoted rooms. On the exterior were wide porches, reached by broad flights of stone steps, in front and rear. They offered views of a large lawn and fields on the one side, and on the other side the river was only a few yards away. A wall extended from one corner of the main building to a brick kitchen and servants' rooms; and on the opposite side stood the spacious brick stable. The grounds had shade trees, lawns and graveled walks. There were many fruits and flowers. It looked more like a proud aristocratic residence than any other in the county.

The house was sold out of the family after the Civil War. In the late 1860's, Peckatone was purchased by Samuel Redman Hardwick. Samuel probably lived on land adjoining the plantation, a home known as "River View" is thought to have been built by him. Samuel Hardwick raised tobacco and is reported to have built the first tomato cannery in Kinsale. At his death in 1876, the house was inherited by his oldest child, daughter Elizabeth Catherine Hardwick (1844-1908), and her husband John A. Lynham (1840-1885), a Richmond attorney. Samuel Hardwick is believed to be buried at the "River View" home, but no marker remains.

The house was sold by Elizabeth (Hardwick) Lynham, in 1884 to Horace Kirkwood. Reportedly Kirkwood had difficulty making his payments. Two years later (1886) the house was completely gutted by a mysterious fire. Mr. Kirkwood "disappeared into thin air." Tradition says that prior to this fire, Kirkwood loaded the furniture onto a boat and left for Maryland where he collected substantial insurance. The house was passed back to Elizabeth Hardwick Lynham.

Around 1900 the property was sold to John Dos Passos, Sr, father of the famous novelist by the same name. He purchased many properties to assemble a large estate. The bricks from the original mansion were transported to Stratford Hall restore the birthplace of Robert E. Lee in the early 1930s.

In 1938, Mr. and Mrs. Maurcie A. Thorne of Detroit bought a piece of property that included the site of the Peckatone Mansion and 175 adjoining acres from the Dos Passos. In 1959, the Thornes moved into the house that they had built on the property. Mrs. Thorne was the great-grand-daughter of Samuel Redman Hardwick. Either the kitchen or the stable was still standing at the time. Consideration was given to renovating it as a dwelling; however, it is said that the building was too far deteriorated to be revived. That last building was pulled down and its foundations enclosed a flower garden. The site of the mansion at Peckatone has now eroded into the Potomac River.

The only photograph which remains was taken of the Peckatone ruins after the fire.

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Sources:

  • Stratford Hall Website
  • Times Dispatch, Number 18,165, 13 February 1910
  • Mallory, Dalton W. Westmoreland County, Virginia Cemeteries: Volume One. New Papryus, 2009.
  • Wolf, Thomas A. Historic Sites in Virginia's Northern Neck and Essex County: A Guide. Warsaw, Va: Preservation Virginia, Northern Neck Branch, 2011. Print.
  • Norris, Walter B. Westmoreland County, Virginia, 1653-1983. Montross, Va: Westmoreland County Board of Supervisors, 1983. Print.
  • Dos Passos, Elizabeth H. "Peckatone, Then and Now" Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Magazine. 23.1 (1973). Print.
  • Dorman, John F. Adventurers of Purse and Person : Virginia 1607-1624/5: Volume Three Families R-Z. Baltimore, MD: Genealogical Pub. Co, 2007. Print. Pg. 308.

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Curabitur mattis purus ornare augue finibus, sed tempus ex eleifend. Maecenas vitae volutpat diam. Curabitur sollicitudin porttitor nisi. Nulla rutrum facilisis quam, sed bibendum magna consectetur sit amet. Fusce nulla turpis, efficitur eu tempus eu, accumsan malesuada sem. Morbi vestibulum libero et metus porttitor, vel ultrices lorem facilisis. Donec maximus ultrices ex ac tincidunt. Praesent vel enim laoreet, pharetra massa feugiat, iaculis neque. Nunc volutpat, nibh a laoreet venenatis, sem augue sodales nunc, eu commodo quam nisi vitae nunc. Nullam tristique placerat quam quis ornare.