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Whereas Grace Sherrwood being suspected of Witchcraft have a long time waited for a ffit upportunity ffor a ffurther examinacon & by her consent & approbacon of ye. Court it is ordr. yt. ye. Sherr: take all such convenient assistance of boats and men as shall be by hin thought ffit to meet at Jno. Harpers plantacon in orde. to take ye. sd. Grace forthwith & but her into above mans debth & try her how she swims therein, alwayes having care of her life to pe serve her from drowning & as soon as she comes out yt. he request as many antient & knowing women as possible he cann to serch her carefully for all teats, Spotts & marks about her body not usuall on others & yt. as they find ye. same to make report on oath to ye. truth thereof to ye. Court & further it is ordr. yt. som women be requested to shist & serch her before she goe into ye. water yt. she carry nothing about her to cause any ffurther serspicion.
(Same Day & only one order between the above order & the following. If I suppose the Court which was then held at the Ferry “Jno. Harper's plantation” & about one mile from witch duck, went to see this ceremony or trial made 2 Clk:)
Whereas on complaint of Luke Hill in behalf of her Magesty yt. now is agt. Grace Sherrwood for a pe:son suspected of withcraft & having had sundey: evidences sworne agt: her proving many cercumstances & which she could not make any excuse or little or nothing to say in her own behalf only seemed to rely on wt. ye. Court should doe & thereupon consented to be tryed in ye. water & likewise to be serched againe wth. experimts: being tryed & she swiming Wn. therein & bound contrary to custom & ye. Judgts. of all the spectators & afterwards being serched by ffive antient weamen who have all declared on oath yt. she is not like yın: nor noe other woman yt. they knew of having two things like titts on her private parts of a Black coller being blacker yn: ye: rest of her body all wth: cercumstance ye. Court weighing in their consideracon doe therefore ordr. yt. ye. Sherr: take ye. sd. Grace into his costody & to comit her body to ye. common Joal of this County their to secure her by irons or otherwise there to remain till such time as he shall be otherwise directed in ordr. for her coming to ye. common goal of ye: Countey to be brought to a ffuture tryall there. (Copy)*
J. J. BURROUGHS, C. C.
In the war of the revolution this county, in common with the country around Norfolk, suffered from the enemy. On the 16th of November, 1775, a skirmish took place between some militia of the county and the enemy, an account of which is subjoined from Girardin :
Hearing that about 200 men of the Princess Anne militia were on their march to join the troops destined for the protection of the lower country, Dunmore had proceeded from Norfolk at the head of a superior force, composed of regulars, fugitive slaves, and disaffected inhabitants, with a view to intercept that patriotic band. The latter, aware of no hostile design, advanced in incautious security to the place of their destination. They were unexpectedly attacked, and compelled to engage under the double disadvantage of an unfavorable ground and inferior numbers. Supported, however, by inherent courage, and warmed by the justice of a noble cause, they for some time fought with great bravery and execution. At last the combined disadvantages just mentioned compelled them to retreat, which they did in perfect order. John Ackiss, one of the minute. men, was killed on the spot. Col. Hutchings and a Mr. Williams, with seven others, were wounded and taken prisoners.t
In the summer of 1777, the counties of Princess Anne and Norfolk became a prey to the depredations of Josiah Philips and his tory-banditti. When pursued, they sought shelter among the disaffected, or fled into their secret haunts in the Dismal Swamp.
The copy of the Record in the above case seems to have been made ont with great care by the clerk. The orthography, abbreviations, and other peculiarities of character, have been preserved in type with as much accuracy as possible; still, in some few instances, it has been found difficult to decipher the copy,
| See Virginia Gazette of this date.-Some of our documents relate this affair rather differenty, and charge part of the militia with misconduct. Candor demands this remark.
He was finally taken, tried, and executed, in 1778. The facts annexed are from Girardin :
A certain Josiah Philips, laborer, of the parish of Lynnhaven, in the county of Princess Anne, a man of daring and ferocious disposition, associating with other individuals of a similar cast, spread terror and desolation through the lower country, committing murders, burning houses, wasting farms, and perpetrating other enormities, at the bare mention of which humanity shudders. Every effort to apprehend him had proved abortive. Strong in the number of his ruffian confederates, or, where force would probably fail, resorting to stratagem and ambush, striking the deadly blow, or applying the fatal torch at the midnight hour, and in those places which their insulated situation left alınost unprotected, he retired with impunity to his secret haunts, reeking with blood, and loaded with plunder. The inhabitants of the counties which were the theatre of his crimes, never secure a moment by day or by night, in their fields or their beds, sent representations of their distresses to the governor, claiming the public protection. He consulted with some members of the legislature then sitting, on the best method of proceeding against this atrocious offender. Too powerful to be arrested by the sheriff and his posse comitatus, it was not doubted that an armed force might be sent to hunt and destroy him and his accomplices, in their morasses and fastnesses, wherever found ; but the proceeding concluded to be most consonant with the forms and principles of our government was, to pass, during the present session, an act giving him a reasonable, but limited day to surrender himself to justice, and to submit to a trial by his peers according to the laws of the land; to consider a refusal as a confession of guilt, and divesting him, as an outlaw, of the character of citizen, to pass on him the sentence prescribed by these laws; and the public officer being defied, to make every one bis deputy, especially those whose safety hourly depended on the destruction of the daring ruffian. The case was laid before the legislature. The proofs were ample: his outrages no less notorious than those of the public enemy, and well known to the members of both houses from the lower countries. No one pretended then that the perpetrator of crimes, who could successfully resist the officers of justice, should be protected in the continuance of them by the privileges of his citizenship ; and that, when he baffled ordinary process, nothing extraordinary could be rightfully adopted to protect the citizens against him. No one doubted that society has a right to erase from the roll of its members any one who renders his own existence inconsistent with theirs—to withdraw from him the protection of their laws, and to remove him from among them by exile, or even by death, if necessary. An enemy in lawful war putting to death in cold blood the prisoner he has taken, authorizes retaliation, which would be inflicted with peculiar justice on the individual guilty of the deed were it to happen that he should be taken. And could the murders and robbery of a pirate or outlaw entitle him to more tenderness? The legislature passed the law, therefore, and without opposition. Philips did not come in before the day prescribed, continued his lawless outrages, was afterwards taken in arms, but delivered over to the ordinary justice of the country. The attorney-general for the commonwealth, the immediate agent of the government, waiving all appeal to the act of attainder, indicted him at the common law as a murderer and robber. He was arraigned on that indict. ment in the usual forms, before a jury of his vicinage, and no use whatever made of the act of attainder in any part of the proceedings. He pleaded that he was a British subject, authorized to bear arms by a commission from Lord Dunmore ; that he was, there. fore, a mere prisoner of war, and under the protection of the law of nations. The court being of opinion that a commission from an enemy could not protect a citizen in deeds of murder and robbery, overruled his plea. He was found guilty by his jury, sentenced by the court, and executed by the ordinary officer of justice; and all “ according to the forms and rules of the common law."
Prince George was formed in 1702, from Charles City. Its average length is about 21, and its breadth about 11 miles. The James forms its NE., and the Appomattox its nw. boundary Pop.
in 1840, whites 2,692, slaves 4,004, free colored 469 ; total, 7,175. The C. H. is situated near the centre of the county, 28 miles southeasterly from Richmond.
City Point is on the James, at the junction of the Appomattox, and although a small village-containing 1 Episcopal and i Methodist church, and about 25 dwellings—is a place of considerable importance, being the outport of Richmond and Petersburg. At City Point are several wharves projecting into the James, within a short distance of which ships of the largest class can float. “ Not only is a large foreign shipping business done here, but the white sails of domestic commerce daily gladden the eye, as it passes and repasses this port, freighted, in its progress upwards, with the wealth, and productions, and exports of every clime, while its return carries to every port of our happy Union the produce of our soil and our mines." Besides the ordinary shipping, steam, , freight, tow, and passage-boats stop here on their way up and down the river. City Point is a much better site for a commercial town than Richmond, and, it is said, would have been the seat of government, had not its owner, a Dutchman, refused to sell on any terms.
A rail-road also connects this place with Petersburg. The Appomattox has latterly been discovered to be navigable for vessels of considerable size as far up as Waltham's Landing, half way to Petersburg, at which place there is a short branch rail-road. lately constructed, connecting with the Petersburg and Richmond rail-road.
John Randolph of Roanoke, there is good reason to suppose, was born at Cawson's, in this county, the family seat of his maternal grandfather, Theodorick Bland, Sen. The years of his boyhood were passed at Matoax, near Petersburg.
George Keith Taylor was, we believe, a native of this county. He was a member of the legislature in '98 and '99, during the famous discussion of the alien and sedition laws, in the advocacy of which he bore a conspicuous part. He was a leader of the federal party, and a confederate of John Marshall, whose sister he married. As an advocate in criminal cases he was distinguished : his oratorical powers have been described as little inferior to those of Patrick Henry; and, like him, his manner on commencing was unprepossessing. In Gilmer's “ Sketches and Essays” there is a note which says that " Mr. Taylor was one of the most eminent lawyers of his state-acute, profound, logical, and persuasive ; of fine wit, of exquisite humor, of brilliant fancy, and of the most amiable disposition.”
Col. Theodorick BLAND, Jun., a worthy patriot and statesman, and a descendant of Pocahontas, was born in this county about the year 1742. In 1753, when about 11 years of age, he was sent to England to be educated, and in 1761 he repaired to Edinburgh to study medicine. He was among the first persons from Virginia that devoted themselves to the study of medicine-a profession in that day but little cultivated in the colony, and in the improvement of which, from his diligence, he is entitled to the merit of having been one of its earliest pioneers. After an absence of about 12 years from America, he returned to Virginia, and entered upon the practice of his profession. But he was not an indifferent spectator of the political commotions of the day. In December, 1774, in writing to a mercantile friend in England, he says, “I should have vested the small proceeds in goods, but the present political disputes between these colonies and the mother country, which threaten us with a deprivation of our liberties, forbid such a step, and induce us to exert every nerve to imitate the silkworm, and spin from our own bowels, although the web should be our winding-sheet." The battle of Lexington was the subject of a patriotic poetical effusion by him. On the 24th of June, 1775, Dr. Bland was one of a party of 24 gentlemen who, shortly after the flight of Dunmore, removed certain arms from the governor's palace at Williamsburg. In the following December he wrote, apparently for publication, certain philippics against Dunmore, in which the political corruption and private profligacy of his lordship's character are depicted in the blackest hues. In June, 1776, he was captain of the first troop of Virginia cavalry. He was subsequently appointed lieutenant-colonel of horse, and in September, 1777, joined the main army. From a letter, it would appear that towards the close of this year he was a member of the senate of Va. " While in the army, he frequently signalized himself by brilliant actions."* In November, 1778, he superintended the march of the British troops of convention-made prisoners at Saratoga, to Virginia ; and on their arrival, or shortly after, was appointed by Washington to the command of the post at Charlottesville. From 1780 to 83, he was a member of Congress. In 1781, Farmingdale, his residence in Va., was plundered by the enemy. While in Congress he manifested his usual spirit and industry in the public cause, particularly in the financial department. In 1785 he was appointed, by Gov. Henry, lieutenant of this county. He was in that minority in the convention of Va., convened to consult upon the adoption of the federal constitution, that believed it repugnant to the interests of the country, and therefore voted against its ratification. On its adoption, however, he acquiesced in tbe will of the majority, and was elected to represent his district in the first Congress held under the constitution. While serving in that capacity, he died at New York, June 1st, 1790, aged 48., “In person, Col. Bland was tall-in his latter days corpulent—and of a noble countenance. His manners were marked by ease, dignity, and well-bred repose. In character he was virtuous and enlightened, of exemplary purity of manners and integrity of conduct, estimable for his private worth, and respectable for his public services. His career was distinguished rather by the usefulness of plain, practical qualifications, than by any extraordinary exhibitions of genius. Animated, from his childhood, by a profound love of country, with him patriotism was not an impulse but a prin. ciple. In style, he is fluent and correct, and if sometimes too florid or diffuse, he is at others wanting neither in energy of thought nor in elegance of diction. Moderation and good temper pervade his correspondence, and it is nowhere sullied by profanity or indelicacy.”+
RICHARD BLAND was another of the many prominent Virginians who acted on the theatre of the revolution. Wirt, in speaking of him before the war, says he "was one of the most enlightened men of the colony. He was a man of finished education, and of the most unbending habits of application. His perfect mastery of every fact connected with the settlement and progress of the colony, had given him the name of the Virginian antiquary. He was also a politician of the first class ; a profound logician, and was also considered as the first writer in the colony;" but he was a most ungraceful speaker in debate. “ He wrote the first pamphlet on the nature of the connection with Great Britain, which had any pretension to accuracy of view on that subject; but it was a singular one: he would set out on sound principles, pursue them logically, till he found them leading to the precipice which we had to leap; start back, alarmed; then resume his ground, go over it in another direction, be led again by the correctness of his reasoning to the same place, and again tack about and try other processes to reconcile right and wrong ; but left his reader and himself bewildered between the steady index of the compass in their hand, and the phantasm to which it seemed to point. Still there was more sound matter in this pamphlet, than in the celebrated Farmer's Letters, which were really but an ignis fatuus, misleading us from true principle.” Mr. Bland was a member of Congress from 1774 to 1776 ; he died in 1778.
Sketch of Col. Bland, in the History of Va. by J. W. Campbell. † The foregoing memoir is abridged from that in the introduction of "The Bland Papers, being a selea tion from the manuscripts of Col. Theodorick Bland, Jr., etc. etc.," edited by Charles Campbell, of Petersburg, and published there, in 1840, by Edmund and Julian C. Ruffin--an octavo volume of about 300 pages and composed principa of an interesting collection of letters written by the first personages in country during the revolutionary era.
Prince William was formed in 1730, from Stafford and King George. It is about 35 miles long, and 12 wide. The Potomac forms its eastern boundary. Pop. in 1840, whites 4,867, slaves 2,767, free colored 510; total, 8,144.
Brentsville, the county-seat, is situated 101 miles from Richmond, and 33 n. of Fredericksburg, in the heart of the county, at the head of Occoquan River. It is a small village, containing 3 stores and about 20 dwellings. The county buildings are handsomely situated on a public square, containing 3 acres. Thoroughfare and Liberia are small places in the county, containing each a few dwellings. Dumfries is situated on Quantico creek, near the Potomac. It was once the county-seat; but in 1822 the courts were removed to Brentsville, and the old court-house is converted into an Episcopal church. Dumfries is a very old town, and once had considerable commerce; but from a combination of causes it has gone rapidly to decay, and many of the houses have been removed out of town.
Occoquan, situated near the mouth of a river of the same name, was established by law in 1804. It contains a large cotton factory, an extensive flouring mill, several stores, and about 40 dwellings. A handsome bridge is erected over the river at this place. The Occoquan here has a fall of 72 feet in one and a half miles, affording excellent sites for manufactories. This is the market for many of the most important shad and herring fisheries on the Potomac. The scenery around this village is uncommonly picturesque.
William GRAYSON died at Dumfries, whither he had come on his way to Congress, March 12th, 1790, and his remains were deposited in the family vault, at the Rev. Mr. Spence Grayson's. He was first appointed a member of Congress from Virginia, in 1784, and continued a number of
years. “In June, 1788, he was a member of the Vir. ginia convention which was called for the purpose of considering the present constitution of the United States. In this assembly, rendered illustrious by men of the first talents, he was very conspicuous. His genius united with the eloquence of Henry, in opposing the adoption of the constitution. While he acknowledged the evils of the old government, he was afraid that the proposed government would destroy the liberty of the states. His principal objections to it were, that it took from the states the sole right of direct taxation, which was the highest act of sovereignty; that the limits between the national and state authorities were not sufficiently defined ; that they might clash, in which case the general government would prevail; that there was no provision against raising such a navy, as was more than sufficient to protect our trade, and thus would excite the jealousy of European powers, and lead to war; and that there were no ade. quate checks against the abuse of power, especially by the president, who was responsible only to his counsellors and partners in crime, the members of the senate. After the constitution was adopted, Mr. Grayson was appointed one of the senators from Virginia, in the year 1789 ; his colleague was Richard Henry Lee. His great abilities were united with unimpeached integrity.”
Immediately after Dunmore was driven from wyn's Island, in July, 1776, he sailed up the Potomac to this section of the state. The reception he met with from the inhabitants is thus related by Girardin :
Ascending the Potomac, he left, on many parts of its banks, hideous traces of piratical and depredatory warfare. A little above the mouth of Aquia creek, Mr. William