Photo taken in Gordonsville Va.

photos on blog are mine unless stated otherwise. please ask before using. Thanks - Betsy

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Monday, January 18, 2010

Smithfield Va, Weekend getaway

Smithfield Va., located in Isle of Wight county and also one of the eight original shires of Virginia.    A River town  that  is known as the Ham capital of the world. 
Prior to the Revolution, members of the English Monarchy had standing orders for Smithfields hams.

Located on the banks of the Pagan river, the opposite shore of the James River and across from Jamestown, it was soon discovered by Captain John Smith and the early settlers.
Segar Cofer Dashiell Smithfield was born on banks of Pagan river . In 1752, incorporated by Arthur Smith the IV.   Smithfields life and growth was conditioned by the river,  Smith IV parceled out the family farm in 72 lots and 4 streets and housed British merchants and Sea Captains.
this info from the visitor guide we picked up at the visitor center in Smithfield.

Pigs are not native to Va., and were brought to the colonies from Bermuda and England.
Since the climate of Va. was so suitable for raising pigs, they multiplied and became a nuisance and the settlers rounded them up and transported them to an island called "Hog Island".
They became the principle food for the settlers and Indians.  Long before the settlers arrived in Jamestown the Indians had been curing venison by smoking, they taught them to cure meat with what they called "magic white sand" or salt.  The methods of salting, smoking and aging venison was adapted by the white man to preserving the meat of the plentiful Razorback Hog.  ( I credit this information from a site called "whats cooking in America / History of country Ham)

Walking this historical town is truly taking a step back in time. Sixty homes of Colonial, Victorian and Federal architecture - some pictures.....            click on pictures to enlarge
here is a business with the faux window painted on side.  

The tan home in the middle is one of the first lots to be sold in the new town of Smithfield in 1752
It went for four pounds and six shillings.
James Eason first occupied the house in 1756
Home of Whitley family from 1913 to 1988

I thought this was decorated nicely , I am glad some decorations were left up.

Very old crepe myrtle,  I couldn't get over how big around this tree is.

circa 1900  ballroom on third floor
widows walk at it's peak

lot purchased by Andrew Mackie in 1758 who was the  builder of original part of home and occupied until 1778

marsh view behind home

P.D. Gwaltney Jr. House - re established the meat curing and packing co. started by Mallory Todd
took two years to build, completed in 1901- turrets , towers, stained glass,tiled roof, bay windows and cabinet mantles inlaid in mother of pearl.

erected in 1897 Victorian

built in 1877 for captain O.G. Delk in Kempers brigade in civil war.
built about 1795  of board and batten

built around 1889

this home was being renovated,  lots of work to be done on this one.

built about 1899

local newspaper

notice that the post office is also fallout shelter

The Castle, built before 1750 by Arthur Smith IV
stuccoed brick home , most likely not the original home of the plantation patented in 1637 to the third son of Arthur Smith of Blackmore Essex England. The town of Smithfield was laid out on a portion of Smiths original land grant from the King of England.
this info from the brochure I picked up from visitor center in town.

built in 1830 Church contains original Tiffany windows

built about 1796


zillions of blackbirds over cornfield as we were leaving Smithfield


  1. Hello Betsy.....
    I’m so pleased that you stopped by and left a comment for me. I spotted that you had also posted, so here I am.....

    What an interesting post. I did a double take when I saw you’d written about ‘Smithfield’ and the ‘Isle of Wight’.... how very English! Maybe these names originated from way back when the English Monarchy had standing orders for the hams. Did you know that Smithfield is one of London’s oldest meat markets and the Isle of Wight is a small island located just off the south coast of England in the English Channel... Queen Victoria had her summer residence on the island... part of it is now a Royal museum dedicated to the Queen.

    I have lingered long over your pictures of the magnificent homes loving the different styles of architecture.... their designs interests me so. I love their verandas... particularly the colours of the blue and pink one.... and the shutters, how I love the shutters.

    I have so enjoyed this tour of yours, thank you. Marion

  2. Beautiful homes. I must go there, looks very relaxing.

  3. Hi mom.

    That is one lovely place. Would love to see. Just a sleepy little town that is cozy and inviting. I could live there. The picture i like the best or the house i would want is of the one with the yellow sign in front. It is a little run down but it is beautiful.

  4. To Marion - Thank you for explaining some history to me. I didn't know this about Isle of Wight,
    or about Smithfield being the oldest meat markets in London.

    I am excited to learn new things like this.

    Thanks so much


  5. This was a lovely tour and a history lesson too! Now that we aren't working, Hubby and I need to explore Virginia. One of my favorite places is Staunton in the Shenandoah Valley.


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