Free Lance-Star reporter Robyn Sidersky covers Caroline County government and schools. You can reach her at 540/374-5413 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can follow coverage on Facebook or Twitter as well.
Port Royal opens art display
Port Royal now has a gallery of oil portraits of 14 of the most famous people in Caroline County’s history.
Herbert Ridgeway Collins, a Caroline historian and a retired curator of the Smithsonian Institution, has given the portraits to Historic Port Royal Inc. The Town Council approved hanging the portraits in Town Hall.
Biographies of the 14 notables, among them a woman and an African–American, have been compiled, and are in a notebook at the gallery in Town Hall.
Port Royal’s new gallery is slated for a reception and grand opening at 1 p.m. Saturday to conclude the Rappahannock River town’s 2010 Independence Day celebration.
Each portrait has a brass tag identifying the person and, if known, life span.
On display are portraits of:
Capt. Sally Louisa Tompkins, CSA, 1833–1916. The only woman commissioned as a Confederate army officer. She won praise for her nursing and hospital administration skills during the Civil War. After the war, she lived in Port Royal for a number of years.
The Rev. James H. A. Cyrus, pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Port Royal. The Rev. Cyrus became the second African–American elected to Port Royal’s governing body and served as town postmaster for three years.
Edmund Pendleton, 1721–1803. A native of Caroline County, Pendleton was a leading Virginia lawyer and political leader at the time of the American Revolution. In 1788, he presided over the Virginia state convention that ratified the Constitution of the United States.
George Rogers Clark, 1752–1818. Clark, from Caroline County, was the highest-ranking American military leader on the northwestern frontier during the Revolutionary War. His battlefield victories over the British resulted in Britain ceding the entire Northwest Territory to the United States.
Gen. William Woodford, 1734–1780. He served as one of Washington’s generals in the American Revolutionary War. The one-time railroad village, now a rural community in Caroline County is named for him.
Richard Henry Buckner. His family operated the first tobacco warehouse in Port Royal, which was later taken over by the Roy family. Buckner owned a plantation near Port Royal, and he served as an officer in the American army during the Revolutionary War.
George Fitzhugh, 1806–1881. Fitzhugh, who lived nearly all his life in Port Royal, authored several books predicting the end of slave labor and an industrialized South. At one point in his life, he established an academy for boys in Port Royal.
John Penn, 1741–1788. He was the only Caroline County-born signer of the Declaration of Independence. Tutored in law by his cousin, Edmund Randolph, he moved to Granville County, N.C., and represented North Carolina for many years in Congress.
John Tayloe [cq] Lomax, 1781–1862. Lomax, who began his law practice in Port Royal, became the first law professor at the University of Virginia, and later an associate justice of Virginia’s general court. He wrote two influential books, one on real estate property rights and the other on legal settlement of estates.
Gen. John Magruder, 1807–1871. Born in Port Royal, he was a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. As a U. S. Army officer, he commanded a light artillery unit in the war with Mexico. When the Civil War broke out, he resigned from the army and became a Confederate general in charge of the defense of Virginia’s Peninsula. After the war, he refused to seek parole and went to Mexico.
John Taylor of Caroline [cq], 1753–1824. He became known as John Taylor of Caroline to distinguish him from others of the same name. A Caroline County lawyer, he served in the American army during the Revolutionary War, rising to the rank of colonel. He served several terms as a Virginia senator in Congress.
Jourdan Woolfolk, [cq] 1796–1868. A highly-successful businessman, Woolfolk ran the lucrative stage coach lines through Caroline County, linking Richmond and Washington. About 1827, he built Mulberry Place about four miles south of Bowling Green and near the “Old Stage Road,” now U.S. Route 301. The name, Mulberry, is derived from his interest in the production of silk. He grew mulberry trees, the leaves of which silkworms were expected to eat; but his anticipation of silk for clothes failed. There are no mulberry trees there today, but owners Dr. Michael and B.L. Trahos have restored the two-story brick plantation home.
Col. John Baylor III, 1705–1772. In 1705, Baylor received a huge Royal Land Grant that became one-ninth of Caroline County. He built New Market Plantation about four miles south of Bowling Green. He named his plantation house after a place in England where he went to watch horse races. He was an original leader in the founding of Port Royal, and imported hundreds of thoroughbred horses from England that arrived at Rappahannock River port.
James Hoge Tyler, 1846–1925. Born at Blenheim Plantation in Caroline County, which he inherited, Tyler enlisted in 1862 at the age of 16 in the Army of Northern Virginia and served as a private until the end of the Civil War in 1865. He became Virginia’s 43rd governor and served from 1898 until 1902.