This bibliography is divided into five sections: Sources (Colonial Records and Local Records), Surveys (Entire Colonial Period and Seventeenth Century), People (Indians, Whites, and Blacks), Habitations (Geographic Places and Structures), and Religion (Anglicans, Presbyterians, and Quakers).
Sources : Colonial Records
Morgan, Edmund S. "A Note on the Sources." In American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of Colonial Virginia.
New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1975. pp. 433-441.
Morgan’s essay, a nicely written guide to the printed and manuscript sources for Virginia’s colonial period, is as
profitable and pleasurable to read as the history that precedes it. Every significant publication and collection is
identified and in a deft sentence or two described and criticized.
Sources : Local Records
The Northampton County court records are continuous from 1632; the Accomack court records from that county’s
creation from the northern part of Northampton in 1663. They- the order, will, and deed books- are invaluable primary
sources of Eastern Shore history. As George Lee Haskins wrote, "the records of the law courts are not merely sordid
accounts of litigation from which chance items of historical information maybe gleaned. If the nature and function of
law is borne in mind, we may expect to learn from court records a great deal about human behavior in a given social
system" ("Court Records and History," William and Mary Quarterly, 3rd ser., 5 :551).
Sources : Local Records : Guides
Waldenmaier, Nellie P. "Records of Northampton County, Virginia." National Genealogical Society, Quarterly 35
In "Records of Northampton County, Virginia" Waldenmaier described the printed sources of Eastern Shore
history, listed the county court records held by the Virginia State Library, supplied the names of settlers who registered
cattle marks, and warned against the nearly illegible handwriting of some of the county clerks. She also acknowledged
the early Dutch presence by drawing attention to some personal names changed from Dutch to English.
Dorman, John Frederick. "A Guide to the Counties of Virginia: Accomack County." Virginia Genealogist 3 (1959) :38-42.
Dorman’s "Guide" is a detailed list and description of the Accomack County court and parish records. It is
more thorough for Accomack than Waldenmaier’s is for Northampton.
"Northampton County." In Lists of the Court Records of the Virginia Counties on Microfilm in the Archives Division,
Virginia State Library. Microfilm. Virginia State Library.
"Accomack County." In Lists of the Court Records of the Virginia Counties on Microfilm in the Archives
Division, Virginia State Library. Microfilm. Virginia State Library.
Almost all the court and parish records of Accomack and Northampton Counties are available on microfilm.
They are listed chronologically by type (order book, will book, deed book, etc.), and reel numbers are given. The
Lists are essential for inter-library loan.
Sources : Local Records : Transcriptions And Analyses
Ames, Susie M. "Law-in-Action: The Court Records of Virginia’s Eastern Shore." William and Mary Quarterly,
3rd ser., 4 (1947):177-191.
Susie May Ames was the foremost historian of the Eastern Shore’s colonial period. Her research was
impeccable. Her style was stately and pleasant. In "Law-in-Action" she described her beloved Accomack and Northampton
county court records as "an historical reservoir of unique value to historians." She maintained that the records
reflect the influence of English traditions and that they contain much information upon such topics as language,
reading habits, leisure, women, labor, and economics. Ames was quick to point out that during the colonial period
the Eastern Shore was politically, socially, and economically similar to the Western Shore.
Ames, Susie M., ed. County Court Records of Accomack- Northampton, Virginia, 1632-1640. American Legal
Records, vol. 7. Washington: American Historical Association, 1954.
lxix, 189p.; footnotes; indexes
Ames, Susie M., ed. County Court Records of Accomack- Northampton, Virginia, 1640-1645. Charlottesville:
University Press of Virginia, 1973
xviii, 494p.; footnotes; index
In a lengthy introduction to the first volume of the County Court Records Ames provided a geographical and
historical background to the formation of the court and drew brief biographical sketches of the clerks and commissioners.
She noted that the commisioners’ basic qualification was wealth, usually in the form of extensive land holdings. She
concluded that the administrative and judicial functions of the court owed much to English tradition but were also
influenced by the frontier environment. For the second volume, published after her death, Ames wrote a few brief
biographies of clerks and commissioners.
The clear, accurate transcriptions expose a crude frontier society. Licentiousness; slander, and violence were almost
as common as death. Ruthless men made their fortunes at the expense of Indians and laborers, while the losers went
heavily into debt and the poor most often stayed poor. Yet, the court, adapting to new conditions and growing in
confidence, imposed order and stability.
Curtis, George B. "The Beginnings of a County Court: Accomack County, Virginia, 1633-1639." Master’s thesis,
Department of History, University of Virginia, 1971.
70p.; endnotes; appendices; bibliography
Like Ames, Curtis noted the influence of the English heritage and the frontier environment upon the county
court. He stressed the practicality of the court’s awards and punishments, while enumerating its administrative and
judicial functions. Like Ames, Curtis sketched the lives of clerks and commissioners and described their duties.
He attached appendices in which are shown the attendance of commissioners and the type and frequency of actions
decided by the court.
Dunton, Alice Wedell. "The Court of Northampton County in Colonial Virginia." Master’s thesis, Department of History,
Duke University, 1930.
xiii, 141p.; footnotes; maps; illustrations; bibliography
Dunton's exhaustive study of the Northampton County Court is best described by its table of contents: Origin
of Northampton County and Its Court; Organization and Membership of the Court; Legislative and Administrative Functions
and Regulations of the County Court; Civil and Criminal Jurisdiction of the County Court; County Officers; and County
Court Houses. The thesis is illustrated with some small, but interesting, black and white photographs.
Sources : Local Records : Abstracts
Although appreciated by genealogists, abstracts of court records are often ignored by historians. The collections
discussed below are the products of careful research. They can save historians time and effort.
Sources : Local Records : Abstracts : Land
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. Certificates and Rights, Accomack County. Virginia, 1663-1709. Onancock: By the Author,
Between 1927 and his death in 1932, Stratton Nottingham compiled a series of thorough and accurate
In the colonial period the county courts issued certificates for fifty acres of land for each person (headright)
transported into Virginia to the person who paid his way. The certificates were redeemed with the secretary of the
colony for a land patent. In Certificates and Rights Nottingham named each person claimed as headright, as well as
each claimant, and indicated the acreage awarded. He cited the court records.
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. Virginia Land Causes (Northampton County, 1731-1868; Lancaster County, 1795-1848).
Onancock: By the Author, 1931.
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. Land Causes, Accomack County, Virginia, 1727-1826. Onancock: By the Author, 1930.
These volumes contain abstracts of chancery suits for dower, ejectment and division on lands. Court records
Sources : Local Records : Abstracts : Wills
Nottingham, Stratton, camp. Wills and Administrations, Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800. 2 vols. Onancock: By
the Author, 1931.
Nottingham, Stratton, camp. Wills and Administrations of Accomack County, Virginia, 1663-1800. Cottonport, La.:
xi, 484p.; map; bibliographies; indexes
This long book contains abstracts of Accomack County wills and administrations. Court records are cited.
The 1973 edition also includes a bibliography of Stratton Nottingham’s works and "Hungars Parish Records for 1660-1662,
Northampton County, Virginia." See Robertson, comp., "Hungars Parish Records."
Callahan, G. C., comp. "Accomac County Notes’ William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 18 (1909-1910): 108-lll.
"Accomac County Notes," covering the period 1738- 1850, includes abstracts of twenty wills, one inventory,
one account, and one marriage bond of the Ashby Barnes, Beach, Callahan, Custis, and Kendall families. Parker Barnes
(d. 1850) owned one hundred cats, two hundred kittens, and twelve dogs.
Sources : Local Records : Abstracts : Taxes
Nottingham, Stratton, camp. Accomack Tithables (Tax Lists), 1663-1695. Onancock: By the Author, 1931.
For each year, Nottingham identified the tax-payers, the number of tithables (white males over sixteen and
black males and females over sixteen) for which they were responsible, and the total number of tithables in the
precincts and in the county. He cited the court records.
"The Tithables of Northampton County, Virginia, in 1744." County Court Note-Book 7 (October, 1928);
(December, 1928):48-49; 8 (February, 1929):6; (April, 1929): 15; (June, 1929):22-23; (October, 1929):39;
This is a list of names of tithables. The number is not given.
"The Rent Roll of Northampton County for the Year of Our Lord God 1704." In The Planters of Colonial Virginia, by
Thomas J. Wertenbaker. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1922. pp. 244-247.
"Accomack Rent Roll." In The Planters of Colonial Virginia, by Thomas B. Wertenbaker. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton
University Press, 1922. pp. 239-244.
The "Rent Rolls" are alphabetical lists of land owners with their acreage for the year 1704. The quitrents
owed the king by the planters were determined from them.
Sources : Local Records : Abstracts : Marriages
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. "A List of Marriage Bonds - Northampton County, Virginia, 1706-1800." Tyler’s Quarterly
Historical and Genealogical Magazine 1 (1919-1920): 192-211; 2 (1920-1921):338-356.
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. The Marriage License Bonds of Northampton County, Virginia from 1706-1854. Onancock:
By the Author, 1929.
1359.; index of brides.
Nottingham, Stratton, comp. The Marriage License Bonds of Accomack County, Virginia from 1774-1806. Onancock: By
the Author, 1927.
49p.; index of brides.
These lists are arranged alphabetically by name of the groom. The date of the marriage, and the name of
the surety are given.
Callahan, G. C., comp. "Northampton County, Va.: Some Marriage Bonds." William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 18
"Some Marriage Bonds" number twenty from the period 1722-1798.
Sources : Local Records : Personal Papers
Savage, Nathaniel Littleton. Account Book, 1766-1785. Microfilm. New York Public Library.
See Ames, "A Typical Virginia Business Man."
Mears, James Egbert, comp. Scrapbooks of Material Relating to the History of the Eastern Shore of Virginia. 31 vols.
Microfilm. Eastern Shore Public Library.
comprehensive index vols. 1-13; individual indexes vols. 14-25; comprehensive index vols. 26-31.
Sources : Local Records : Personal Accounts
PAGE 6 MISSING
In 1736 Edward Kimber traveled among the rough, but kind, people of the Eastern Shore. He found commodious roads
and bridges, handsome plantations, and a thriving grain and meat trade with the Western Shore. He also discovered one
of the dangers attending a Chesapeake Bay ferry crossing. While attempting to board the sloop, he fell overboard and
This section includes works about the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the entire colonial period and in the seventeenth century. There are no books or articles about the Eastern Shore in the eighteenth century.
Surveys : Entire Colonial Period
A political, social, and economic history, comprehensive and integrated, of the Eastern Shore of Virginia in
the colonial period is needed.
Surveys : Entire Colonial Period : Bibliography
Barnes, Brooks Miles, and Keeney, W. Robert, comps. A Bibliography of the Eastern Shore of Virginia: A
Union Catalog of Local History Sources Currently Held by the Drummondtowm Branch, Association for the Preservation
of Virginia Antiquities, the Eastern Shore Community College, the Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society,
and the Eastern Shore Public Library. Accomac: Eastern Shore Public Library, 1976.
The bibliography is arranged alphabetically by main entry with a subject index Not selective, it includes
inconsequential, as well as essential, material. There are numerous minor errors. Corrections and additions are collected
in a master file at the Eastern Shore Public Library.
Surveys : Entire Colonial Period : Chronology
Ames, Susie M. A Calendar of the Early History of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. Onancock: Eastern Shore of Virginia
Historical Society, 1959.
The calendar is a useful chronology of Eastern Shore history for the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
It is significant that between 1710 and 1754 there is a gap in the outline. This forgotten period in Eastern Shore,
and Virginia, history invites study.
Surveys : Entire Colonial Period : Histories
Ames, Susie M. "Beginnings and Progress." In The Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, edited by Charles B. Clark.
New York: Lewes Historical Publishing Co., 1950. pp. 73-148.
"Beginnings and Progress" is the best history of the Eastern Shore for the colonial period. Ames examined The
Political Background; Tenure of Land; Servants and Slaves; Products and Markets; Industries; Legal Institutions
and Law Enforcement; The Church of England and Early Dissent; Schools and Libraries; Roads and Ferries; Hospitality
and Recreation; and The French and Indian War. As usual, her research was thorough and her style pleasant.
"Beginnings and Progress" is, and will continue to be, an important survey of the colonial period. Yet, it should
be supplanted by a longer, more detailed history.
Whitelaw, Ralph T. Accomack County. Typescript, n.d. Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society.
Whitelaw, Ralph T. Northampton County. Typescript, n.d. Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society.
Whitelaw, Ralph T., and Upshur, Anne Floyd. Untitled typescript, n.d. Eastern Shore of Virginia Historical Society.
Whitelaw, Ralph T. Virginia’s Eastern Shore. 2 vols. Richmond: Virginia Historical Society, 1951.
1511p.; maps; illustrations; endnotes; appendices; bibliography; index
Virginia’s Eastern Shore is the product of an amazing amount of hard work. Beginning with the tip of the
peninsula and working northward, Whitelaw traced the history of each colonial land patent, indicating the many
divisions of property and the various owners. If an important event occurred upon the patent, it was explained; it an
important person lived there, he was identified, and if a notable home stood upon the site, it was described. Whitelaw
also prepared chapters on Indians; General History; Virginia Patents in Maryland; Religion; and Education. He
illustrated the volumes with numerous photographs.
Virginia’s Eastern Shore is an awkward and difficult work. The narrative is not continuous.
The patent histories are at times no more than names of land owners and dates of land transfers.
They contain architectural and genealogical errors. Yet, the volumes are crammed with information and
are indispensable companions of the colonial historian.
Ralph Whitelaw, a Mid-Westerner who came to love the Eastern Shore, died in March, 1950. George
Carrington Mason edited his history and brought it to press.
Accomack County, Northampton County, and the untitled typescript are early versions of Virginia’s
Turman, Nora Miller. The Eastern Shore of Virginia, 1603-1964. Onancock: Eastern Shore News, 1964.
ix, 3-6p.; maps; illustrations; endnotes; appendices; bibliography; index
Nora Miller Turman devoted the first ten chapters of her informative history to the colonial Eastern
Shore. She wrote simply and avoided controversy. She inserted brief biographies of early leaders which are as
valuable to historians as to genealogists. The Eastern Shore of Virginia is the standard history of the region
and a useful introduction to the colonial period.
Turman, Nora Miller. Eastern Shore Heritage. 6 vols. Accomac: Accomack County School Board, 1974-76.
Written for junior high school students, the Eastern Shore Heritage booklets contain a wealth of basic
information. The deal with Agriculture, Seafood, Wetlands; Geography, History, Government; Homes, Ornamental Gardens,
Schools; Information, Conservation and Recreation, Highway History and Scenery; Our Buildings; and Transportation,
Communication, Defense. Education in Eastern Shore history owes much to Nora Miller Turman.
Evans, Cerinda W. "Shipbuilding on the Eastern Shore." In Some Notes on Shipbuilding in Colonial Virginia.
Williamsburg: Virginia 350th Anniversary Celebration Corporation. 1957.
In a separate section Evans briefly examined local shipbuilding. She found that schooners and
sloops, small craft for the coastal trade, were constructed upon the banks of shallow Eastern Shore
Surveys : Seventeenth Century
Surveys : Seventeenth Century : Histories
Wise, Barton H., comp. "Northampton County Records in the 17th Century." Virginia Magazine of History
and Biography 4 (1896-1897): 401-410; 5 (1897-1898): 33-41.
Covering the period 1632-1658, this documentary history from the court records is enlightening of the
Dutch presence upon the Eastern Shore and of the difficult Indian relations. Colonel Edmund Scarborough, in
and out of trouble with the provincial government, dominated the scene.
For the Dutch presence, see Waldenmaier, "Records of Northampton County," and for Scarborough,
see Ames, "Colonel Edmund Scarborough."
Upshur, Thomas T. "Eastern-Shore History." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 9 (1901-1902):
88-99; 10 (1902-1903): 65-71.
In his day Thomas Teackle Upshur (d. 1910) was the leading authority on Eastern Shore history.
Unfortunately, the former Confederate officer published only one article of more than genealogical interest.
In "Eastern-Shore History" Upshur discussed early settlement, Indians, churches, court records, traditions,
and the creation of Accomack County from the Northern portion of Northampton. Not romantic, and certainly
not as simplistic as some of his successors, he held no illusions about his colonial forebears. His
well-researched article is as lively and provocative as when it was written.
Wise, Jennings Cropper. Ye Kingdom of Accawmacke or the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the Seventeenth Century.
Richmond: Bell Book and Stationary Co., 1911.
x, 406p.; footnotes; appendices; bibliographies; index
Ye Kingdom of Accawmacke is an extensively researched and charmingly written political history
of the Eastern Shore in the seventeenth century. Although there are some errors, the book has held
up well for over sixty years. With its emphasis on politics and personalities it is an excellent companion to Ames’s
social history, Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore. Jennings Cropper Wise, a grandson of Governor Henry A. Wise,
and John S. Wise, a son of the governor, used Thomas Teackle Upshur’s notes in the preparation of this early
Ames, Susie M. Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore in the Seventeenth Century. Richmond: Dietz Press,
274p.; maps; footnotes; appendix; bibliography; index
Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore is the best work on Eastern Shore history so far written by an
Eastern Shoreman. It is researched with precision and written with style. Its range is best described by its table
of contents: The Geographical and Political Background; Tenure of Land; Products and Markets; Servants and Slaves;
Early Industries; Legal Institutions and Their Relation to the Provincial Government; Law Enforcement; and The Church
of England and Early Dissent. Studies of the Virginia Eastern Shore is essential reading for the colonial historian.
Surveys : Seventeenth Century : Articles
Covington, Harry Franklin. "The Discovery of Maryland or Verrazzanno’s Visit to the Eastern Shore."
Maryland Historical Magazine 10 (1913): 199-217.
Covington maintained that in 1524 Giovanni da Verrazzanno, exploring for France, landed upon
the coast of upper Accomack County or lower Somerset and Worcester Counties, Maryland, and penetrated
eight miles inland. Covington went to pains to locate the point of landfall. He also identified
the Indians encountered by the explorer (who was later eaten by cannibals in the West Indies).
See Mariner, Nothing Ever Happened in Arcadia.
Upshur, Anne Floyd, and Whitelaw, Ralph T. "Some New Thoughts Concerning the Earliest Settlements on
the Eastern Shore of Virginia." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 50 (1942): 193-198.
In "Some New Thoughts" Upshur and Whitelaw attempted to close a long debate over the location
of the first English settlement upon the Eastern Shore. They concluded that the camp at Dale’s Gift
(circa 1616) was across from Smith Island (site of Lt. Craddock’s salt work) at the seaside tip of the
peninsula, not on the bayside upon Old Plantation Creek. Their well-documented argument is convincing.
For several years Anne Floyd Upshur worked closely with Ralph Whitelaw and contributed much
to Virginia’s Eastern Shore. She was the daughter of Thomas Teackle Upshur.
Adams, Charles Francis. "The Kingdom of Accomac." Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings 45
In "The Kingdom of Accomac" Adams traced the influence of Puritan New England upon the Eastern
Shore. He pointed out numerous trade connections and the presence of several non-conformist ministers.
His essay owes much to Jennings Cropper Wise’s Ye Kingdom of Accawmacke.
See Hiden, "Three Rectors of Hungar’s Parish."
Morgan, Edmund S. "Northampton County, 1664-1677." In American Slavery, American Freedom: The Ordeal of
Colonial Virginia. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1975.pp. 423-432.
For this appendix Morgan counted the personal names upon the tithable lists of Northampton County
for the period 1664-1677. With the aid of a computer he determined that there was "an increase of households
that contained no worker . . . except the head of the house;" that a substantial number of households
remained the same size, but those decreasing in size outnumbered those increasing; and that blacks moved
from household to household less than whites.
Susie M. "The Reunion of Two Virginia Counties. Journal of Southern History 8 (1942): 536-548.
In 1670 Accomack, which had been created from the northern part of Northampton in 1663, was reunited
with the older county. Accomack remained under the control of the Northampton County Court until 1673.
The man responsible for the first division was Colonel Edmund Scarborough. He was also responsible for the
reunion. In financial trouble, Scarborough wished to patent land in northern Accomack County. He initially
wished to shift the boundary with Maryland northward, but, thwarted, he attempted to drive the Indians (whom
he hated) off their land and into the Catholic colony. For this depredation Scarborough was arrested and
Accomack County, his administrative tool, was reunited with Northampton.
See Ames, "Colonel Edmund Scarborough."
Brent, Frank P. "Some Unpublished Facts Relating to Bacon’s Rebellion on the Eastern Shore of Virginia."
Virginia Historical Society, Collections, new ser.,11 (1892): 177-189.
Citing Accomack County Court records, Brent attempted to prove that Eastern Shoremen were
zealous in the cause of Sir William Berkeley. Other evidence indicates that their half-hearted
support was gained by the promise of plunder. Brent mistook Edmund Scarburgh, signer of the
grievance petition of 1677, for his father, Colonel Edmund Scarborough, who died in 1671.
The neglect of the history of the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the eighteenth century is appalling.
People : Indians
In the early seventeenth century the tribes of the Eastern Shore, of which the largest were the Accomack, the
Gingaskin, and the Chincoteague, numbered around 3,000 people, yet, excepting the work of C. A. Weslager,
Eastern Shore Indians have largely been ignored. As usual, the neglect has been worse for the eighteenth century.
Weslager, C. A. "Indian Tribes of the Delmarva Peninsula." Archaeological Society of Delaware, Bulletin 3 (May,
In this article Weslager located and identified the Indian tribes on Virginia’s Eastern Shore in the
Weslager, C. A. "Indians of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia." In The Eastern Shore of Maryland and
Virginia, edited by Charles B. Clark. New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1950. pp. 39-69.
Expanding upon the earlier article, Weslager showed that the tribes were seated upon creeks on the bayside
and seaside, that they spoke the Algonkian language, and that they were subject to the emperor at Nandua. He also
described the attacks by Virginians, led by Colonel Edmund Scarborough, upon Indians of the Maryland Eastern
Shore during the 1650s and 1660s.
Weslager, C. A. The Accomac and Accohannock Indians from Early Relations. Onancock: Eastern Shore of Virginia
Historical Society, 1961.
3Op.; footnotes; appendix
In this booklet Weslager presented the tribes as they were at the time of the white man’s arrival.
Citing the accounts of Smith, Pory, Norwood, and others, he described the Indians’ appearance, diet, and habitations,
their language, and their tenuous connection with the Powhatan confederacy.
See Norwood, "A Voyage to Virginia."
Weslager provided a firm foundation upon which a history of Eastern Shore Indians may be based. A close reading of the court
records (as suggested by Weslager) would reveal much about race relations, trade, slavery, disease, white encroachment upon Indian
land, warfare, and the decline of the Eastern Shore Indians to the pathetic state in which Thomas Jefferson found them late in the
For early research in the court records on Indians, see Upshur,
People : Whites
The history of the Eastern Shore of Virginia in the colonial period is necessarily based upon the public and private records of
whites. For this reason, this bibliography deals essentially with with the history of whites; this section is reserved for works upon
many lives of individual whites.
People : Whites : Seventeenth Century
Among Eastern Shoremen of the seventeenth century who deserve biographical sketches are Stephen Charlton (d. 1654),
Nathaniel Littleton (d. 1654) and his son Southy Littleton (d. 1679), and Obedience Robins (d. 1662) and John Stringer
(d. 1689), the nemeses of Edmund Scarborough.
Stiles, Martha Bennett. "Hostage to the Indians." Virginia Cavalcade 12 (Summer, 1962): 5-11.
Ensign Thomas Savage was a hostage to Powhatan, interpreter, courier, trader, and soldier for the
Virginia Company. In 1622, or earlier, Debedeavon, the "Laughing King" of Eastern Shore Indians, granted
him what is now Savage’s Neck in Northampton County Savage resided on the Eastern Shore until his death
in 1635. Stiles narrated the Ensign’s story with more than touch of romanticism. Sources are not
For a more straightforward account of Savage’s life, see Upshur and Whitelaw, "Elkington." Unfortunately,
they did not cite their sources either.
A more complete exploration of Thomas Savage’s life would be fruitful.
Turman, Nora Miller, and Lewis, Mark C., eds. "Inventory of the Estate of Argoll Yeardley of Northampton
County, Virginia, in 1655." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 70 (1962): 410-419.
The son of a governor of Virginia, Argoll Yeardley was a very prosperous Eastern Shoreman.
He died in possession of about 5,700 acres of land upon which was seated a well-furnished house.
While a sketch of Yeardley’s life, Turman and Lewis’ introduction to the inventory also provides insights
into early Eastern Shore agriculture, trade, land patent and purchase, and marriage connections.
See Heite, "A Seventeenth-Century Trash Dump," and MacCord, "Hungar’s Neck Trash-Pit."
Turman, Nora Miller, and Lewis, Mark C., eds. "The Will of Ann Littleton of Northampton County, Virginia,
in 1656." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 75 (1967): 11-21.
Like the introduction to the Yeardley inventory, that to "The Will of Ann Littlet on" indicates the
pattern of land patent, purchase, and inheritance and the network of marriage that united the leading
families of the Eastern Shore. Ann Littleton was the widow of Nathaniel Littleton, commander of the
Northampton County Court.
Ames, Susie. "Colonel Edmund Scarborough." Alumnae Bulletin of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College 26; 16-23.
Colonel Edmund Scarborough (d. 1671) was the outstanding Eastern Shoreman of the colonial period.
He owned thousands of acres of land, engaged in various local industries, and traded along the Atlantic
coast. He warred against the Indians, persecuted Quakers, and harassed Dutchmen. His rivalry with
Colonels Obedience Robins and John Stringer led to the creation of Accomack County from the upper part
of Northampton County in 1663 and to their brief reunion in 1670. His impulsiveness led him to
flaunt his Royalism before the commonwealth (and Obedience Robins) and to accuse the Rev. Thomas
Teackle of seducing Mrs. Scarborough. In 1670 at his Gargaphia Plantation Scarborough received
a "fierce stroke" at the hands of a servant who called him "ould Rouge old dogg." Ames’ narrative
is wel1-written and affectionate. Unfortunately, sources are not cited.
See Ames, "The Reunion of Two Virginia Counties."
Edmund Scarborough should be the subject of a
People : Whites : Eighteenth Century
Eastern Shoremen of the eighteenth century deserving biographical sketches are Coventon Corbin (a. 1778) of Accomack and
Littleton Eyre of Northampton. Indeed, a long study of Eyre seems appropriate. An aggressive businessman, he owned several
plantations, engaged in the coastal trade, and operated the ferry across Chesapeake Bay. Eyre was a member of the Hungars
Parish Vestry, the Northampton County Court, and the Virginia House of Burgesses. He served as churchwarden, militia
officer, sheriff, and chief magistrate. Until his death in 1768, Littleton Eyre was the leading political figure on the Eastern Shore.
Nix, Foster 0. "Andrew Hamilton’s Early Years in the American Colonies." William and Mary Quarterly,
3rd ser., 21 (1964): 390-407.
Andrew Hamilton (d. 1741), the Philadelphia lawyer who defended John Peter Zenger, passed his
first years in American upon the Eastern Shore. He established a law practice, married a landed
widow, and formed friendships with Bridgett (Chariton) Foxcroft and Rev. Francis Makemie (who
willed Hamilton his law library). Nix’s well-researched article shows the legal, economic, end
social interests of a shrewd Eastern Shore gentleman.
Crowson, E. T. "Colonel John Custis of Arlington." Virginia Cavalcade 20 (Summer, 1970): 14-19.
Colonel John Custis (d. 1749), the Councillor and naturalist, was born and buried in Northampton
County but spent most of his life in Williamsburg. Crowson’s slick account deals mostly with the unhappiness between Custis and his wife,. Frances Parke,
and with Custis connections with other great families of Virginia. The Eastern Shore (or Custis
the individual) figures little. Sources are not cited.
Barnes, Brooks Miles. "Severn Eyre, 1735-1773." Master’s thesis, Department of History, University of Virginia,
iii, 71p.; map; endnotes; bibliography
Severn Eyre, son of Littleton Eyre, was described by John Adams of Massachusetts as a man
of "Genius and Learning," as a "Gentleman of great fortune, and of great Figure and Influence in the
House of Burgesses," as an intimate Friend of Mr. Patrick Henry," and as "zealous in the Cause of
American Liberty." Eyre died of consumption in 1773. This unevenly-written paper is regarded as
incomplete and in places untrustworthy. A revision would more closely examine Eyre’s activities as
Northampton County planter, ferry operator, and politician and as a member of the Lee-Henry clique
in the Virginia House of Burgesses.
Turman, Nora Miller, and Hamilton, Gladys Lee. The Daughter of Francis Makemie. Typescript, n.d.
Eastern Shore Public Library.
Ann Makemie (d. 1788), the daughter of Rev. Francis Makemie and his principal heir, successively
married Thomas Blair, a merchant formerly of Glasgow, Scotland; Robert King, a justice of the Somerset (Md.)
County Court; and George Holden, Clerk of Court of Accomack County. She survived them all and left a
large estate which included two plantations and seventy-seven slaves. Based almost exclusively upon
the deed and will books of Accomack County, Turman and Hamilton’s paper reveals much of inheritance,
marriage, and widowhood among the Eastern Shore gentry.
For Rev. Francis Makemie, see PRESBYTERIANS.
Ames, Susie M. "A Typical Virginia Business Man of the Revolutionary Era: Nathaniel Littleton Savage and
His Account Book." Journal of Economic and Business History 3 (1930-1931): 407-423.
Nathaniel Littleton Savage (d. circa 1785), a descendant of Ensign Thomas Savage, was a member
of the Hungars Parish Vestry and the Northampton County Court and an active participant in the
revolution. His account book, which Ames discussed after a brief biographical sketch, is most valuable
for information on business activity of the revolutionary period, but it also affords insights into
pre-war agriculture, trade, banking, and partnership. "A Typical Virginia Businessman" is at Ames’ usual
high standard for research and style.
See Savage, Account Book.
Savage is worthy of a longer biography.
People : Blacks
In the past the history of Eastern Shore blacks has been neglected even more than that of Eastern Shore Indians. Fortunately, this
neglect is coming to an end. A dissertation by Doug Deal, a student at Cornell University, on Eastern Shore slavery is
now in progress.
Brewer, James H. "Negro Property Owners in Seventeenth-Century Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly,
3rd ser., 12 (1955): 575-580.
Around Pungoteague in the seventeenth century was a community of free blacks who owned personal
property, cattle, and, most important, land. They came by their property in the same ways that whites
did - by headright, purchase, and bequest. Anthony Johnson, the most prosperous of their number, owned
several, hundred acres of land. Johnson and the rest of the community probably came to Virginia as indentured servants.
Excepting a brief passage in the Peninsula Enterprise of 20 November 1888, "Negro Property
Owners" is the only article on blacks, free or slave, of the colonial Eastern Shore. The experience
of free blacks, like those of slaves, needs to be studied.
Habitations : Geographic Places
Habitations : Geographic Places : Barrier Islands
While Assateague, over half of which is in Maryland, has been the subject of considerable study, the lower islands
have been, for the most part, ignored. A history of the entire chain with emphasis on the larger islands- Assateague, Hoe,
Parramore, Cobb - would be a valuable addition to the history of the Eastern Shore for the colonial period.
Bearss, Edwin C. General Background Study and Historical Base Map, Assateague Island National Seashore,
Maryland-Virginia. Washington: Department of the Interior, 1968.
iv, 139p.; map; illustrations; footnotes; bibliography
By the late seventeenth century the numerous horses upon the unfenced Eastern Shore mainland
were causing great damage to crops. As a result, the Virginia House of Burgesses enacted a law
restricting public grazing. The advantages of the barrier islands as pastures quickly became
evident, and in 1687 Daniel Jennifer patented all of Assateague up to the Maryland line. The
study is a report for the Division of History, Office of Archeology and Preservation, National
Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Gaines, William H., Jr., and Hemphill, W. Edwin. "Pastures
Fenced by the Sea." Virginia Cavalcade 5 (Summer, 1955) :8-15.
This slickly-written article nicely explodes the stubborn myth that the famous Assateague ponies
are survivors of the wreck of a Spanish galleon. Sources are not cited.
Coldham, P. Wilson, ed. "The Wreck of the Schooner Kitty."
Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 82 (1974):
The Kitty was beached and burned off Assateague in 1764. In 1767 depositions, implying that the
schooner was scuttled in order to collect insurance and that Accomack County Sheriff Coventon Corbin was
perhaps involved, were taken under commission of the Barons of the Exchequer. The testimony also indicated
the interest of the poor and illiterate islanders in the salvage of the Kitty’s cargo.
Truitt, Reginald V. Assateage . . . the Place Across.
College Park: Natural Resources Institute, University
of Maryland, 1971.
147p.; map; illustrations; bibliography
Wroten, William H. Assateague. Salisbury, Md.: Peninsula
45p.; map; illustrations
These similar booklets are entertaining histories of Assateague. Among the topics discussed
are geography, Indians, explorers, settlers, livestock grazing, and shipwrecks. Although sources are not
cited, either work is an excellent introduction to the barrier island.
Graham, Maria Ann. "Land Use History: A Study of Man’s Influence on Virginia’s Barrier Islands." In The
Virginia Coast Reserve Study: Ecosystem Description, by the Nature Conservancy. Arlington: Nature Conservancy,
1976. pp. 1-86.
map; illustrations; footnotes; bibliography; appendices.
For The Virginia Coast Reserve Study Graham examined most of the twelve barrier islands below
Assateague. She concluded that in the colonial period the islands were used for pasturage and that
settlement was "restricted to temporary arrangements." The first section of the Nature Conservancy publication
is a chronological history of the islands. The second section is an exploration of "aspects of this
history which are directly related to ecosystem development" - hunting and trapping, livestock grazing,
"Land Use History" is a strong base upon which to build a history of the barrier islands.
Habitations : Geographic Places : Arcadia
Mariner, Kirk. Nothing Ever Happened in Arcadia. Richmond: By the Author, 1968.
54p.; maps; endnotes; bibliography
Nothing Ever Happened in Arcadia is a well-written history of the New Church - Horntown - Greenbackville
section of upper Accomack County. Arcadia was the scene of Colonel Edmund Scarboroughts depredations
upon the Indians, his persecution of the Quakers, and his dispute with Maryland over the Virginia-Maryland
boundary. Mariner’s narrative is complemented by a useful series of maps
See Ames, "Colonel Edmund Scarborough."
Habitations : Geographic Places : Hacks Neck
Nears, James Egbert. Hacks Neck and its People, Past and Preseht. Chicago: By the Author, 1937.
236p.; map; indexes
Nears, James Egbert. Supplement to Hacks Neck and its People, Past and Present. Hollywood, Fla.: By the Author,
James S. Nears was interested in genealogy and in the history of the Eastern Shore in the nineteenth
and twentieth centuries. Those interests are reflected by the initial volume. Well over half is devoted to
genealogy and most of the history section is concerned with the post-Civil War period, Of interest to colonial
historians is Nears’ tracing of land ownership in Hacks Neck from the earliest patent and his discussion of the
roads dissecting and the creeks bordering the bayside neck. The supplement provides additions and corrections
(mostly for the genealogical section).
For related material, see Ames, "The Bear and the
Cub", and Brewer, "Negro Property Owners."
Histories similar to the Mariner and Nears works are badly needed. Studies of the Old Plantation Creek and Old Town Neck
areas, for example, would cover much of the early history of Northampton County. Among other important areas are Bridgetown
and Eastville in Northampton and Guilford, Onancock, and Pungoteagne in Accomack. Indeed, as James Egbert Mears maintained,
a history of any village or neck of land is a useful contribution to Eastern Shore history.
For Accomac, see Nook, Drummondtown, and for Pungoteague,
see Brewer, "Negro Property Owners."
Habitations : Structures
Articles on Eastern Shore courthouses and homes of the colonial period are included in this section.
See also Whitelaw, Accomack County Whitelaw, Northampton County Whitelaw, Virginia’s Eastern Shore and Whitelaw and
Upshur, Untitled typescript. Whitelaw's works, particularly Virginiars Eastern Shore, are invaluable for site histories
and architectural descriptions. However, as H. Chandlee Forman pointed out, Whitelaw was not an architectural historian
and, as a result, some of his judgments were faulty. See Forman, The Virginia Eastern Shore and its British Origins.
Habitations : Structures : Courthouses
Gaines, Wiflism H., Jr. "Courthouses of Virginia’s Eastern Shore." Virginia Cavalcade 14 (Summer, 1964):20-27.
In the colonial period the courts at Accomack and Northampton Counties moved from place to place
until settling in what are now the towns of Accomac and Eastville, respectively. In this smoothly- written article
Gaines traced these movements and described some of the buildings in which the courts
were held. Regrettably, sources are not cited.
Robertson, T. B., comp. "Court Houses of Northampton County." William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser.,
23 (1914-1915) :51-58.
This is a documentary history from the court records.
Ames, Susie N. "The Bear and the Cub": The Site of the First English Theatrical Performance in America.
Onancock: Eastern Shore News, 1965.
20p.; map; endnotes; appendix
In this booklet Ames sought to determine the location of Fowkes Tavern, supposed site of the
first English theatrical performance in America (1665) and occasional meeting place of the Accomack County
Court. She included, as an appendix, excerpts from the court records pertaining to the play.
For a different location, see Whitelaw, Virginia’s Eastern Shore, 1:712-719. Somewhat
abated, this controversy continues, an example of the difficulty of precisely determining the
geographic location of vanished colonial buildings.
Nock, L. Floyd, III. Drummondtown, "A One Horse Town", Accomac Court House, Virginia. Verona: Mcclure
xviii, 352p.; maps; illustrations; endnotes; bibliography; index
Accomac, or Drummondtown, was selected as the site of the Accomack County Court because it was
easily accessible for seaside people via Matompkin (Folly) Creek and for bayside folk via Hunting Creek.
The first part of this handsome volume is a history of the early years of the courthouse town. It is
well-researched and beautifully illustrated.
The next, and final, step in the study of Eastern Shore courthouses is a definitive history.
Habitations : Structures : Homes
Often beautifully situated upon creeks and inlets, the surviving colonial homes of Virginia’s Eastern Shore are an
eloquent link with the past.
Habitations : Structures : Homes : Archaeology
Maccord, Howard A. "Hungar s Neck Trash-Pit, Northampton County, Virginia." Archaeological Society of
Virginia, Quarterly Bulletin 27 (September, 1972): 59-64.
Heite, Edward F. "A Seventeenth-Century Trash Dump in Northampton County, Virginia." Archaeological
Society of Virginia, Quarterly Bulletin 28 (December, 1973) :80-86.
These are reports of excavations near Hungers Beach in Old Town Neck, Northampton County. Among
the items uncovered were pottery, English and Indian pipes, hasps, and a knife. The artifacts clustered
about the period 1630-1640, when the land belonged to the Yeardley family.
See Turman and Lewis, eds., "Inventory of the Estate of Argoll Yeardley."
Eastern Shore archaeology is an almost unexplored field.
Habitations : Structures : Homes : Architecture
Forman, H. Chandlee. The Virginia Eastern Shore and its British Origins: History, Gardens and Antiquities.
Easton, Md.. Eastern Shore Publishers’ Associates, 1975.
xiv, 402p.; map; illustrations; bibliography; index
In The Virginia Eastern Shore and its British Origins H. Chandlee Forman demonstrated the influence
of English traditions upon the architecture, gardens, and housewares of the Eastern Shore. At once expert,
honest, and opinionated, Forman wrote in a charmingly bitter style and illustrated the book with his own
drawings and snapshots and with Frances Benjamin Johnston’s photographs of the 1930s. The Johnston
photographs are quiet, evocative, timeless. In a haunted light they capture old, broken-down houses
in over-grown yards beneath the ocean sky.
Throughout the volume Forman corrected architectural errors committed by Ralph Whitelaw in
Virginia’s Eastern Shore. For this, Forman was often hotly criticized, especially by those whose homes he
had assigned a later date of construction. Forgotten was his statement that "Whitelaw was the foremost
preservationist of the Eastern Shore."
This excellent architectural history is flawed only by Forman’s failure to cite material taken from
the county court records.
Upshur, Eleanor Walton. "Early Houses of Virginia’s Eastern Shore." Virginia Cavalcade 23 (spring, 1974):
The typical Eastern Shore house consisted of a "big house, little house, colonnade [actually a "curtain],
and kitchen" joined end to end. The building was often only one room wide and, located upon a creek or
inlet, situated to catch the summer breeze and winter sunshine. The article is nicely-written and handsomely illustrated.
Upshur, Anne Floyd, and Whitelaw, Ralph T. "Two of the Oldest Brick Dwellings in America." Virginia
Magazine of History and Biography 46 (1938): 212-221.
This article consists of site histories and architectural descriptions of Winona and of the
Hungars Glebe House. Sources are not cited, and Forman noted "errors as the dates and architectural details."
See Stitt, "The Will of Stephen Charlton."
Upshur, Anne Floyd, and Whitelaw, Ralph T. "Elkington." Virginia Magazine of History and Biography 46 (1938):
Like "Two of the Oldest Brick Dwellings in America," this article is a site history and,
according to Forman, a flawed architectural description of an Eastern Shore plantation house. It
is, also, a straightforward narrative of Ensign Thomas Savage, the initial owner of the land upon
which the home is located. Again, sources are not cited.
See Stiles, "Hostage to the Indians."
The religious history of the early Eastern Shore of Virginia has been neglected, and most of the sources listed
below are somewhat out-of-date.
Religion : Anglicans
The Anglican Church was the state church of colonial Virginia. Its influence on the spiritual, social, and political
lives of Eastern Shoremen was pervasive. Yet, only the outline of its history has been drawn.
Religion : Anglicans : Primary Sources
Robertson, Thomas B., comp. "Hungars Parish Records." William and Mary Quarterly, 1st ser., 18 (1909-
1910): 178-181; 22 (l9l3-l9l4): 39-43.
"Hungars Parish Records" includes lists of births, baptisms, marriages, and burials for the
For Parish Records [Hungars Parish), 1758-1782, see "Northampton County." For Vestry Orders [Processioners’
Returns of Accomack Parish], 1723-1784, and Processioners’ Returns [of St. George’s Parish],
1764-1783, see "Accomack County."
See Nottingham, comp., Wills and Administrations (1973).
Religion : Anglicans : Histories
Mason, George Carrington. "The Colonial Churches of the Eastern Shore of Virginia." William and Nary
Quarterly, 2nd ser., 20 (1940): 449-474.
Mason, George Carrington. "The Six Earliest Churches of the Eastern Shore of Virginia." William and Mary Quarterly,
2nd ser., 21 (1941): 199-207.
Mason, George Carrington. "Accomack and Northampton County Churches." In Colonial Churches of Tidewater
Virginia. Richmond: Whittet and Shepperson, 1945. pp. 320-356.
map; illustrations; footnotes; index
"Accomack and Northampton County Churches" is an excellent study of the parishes of the two counties,
their formation and division, and the location and construction of their churches. The chapter summarizes
with additions and corrections the earlier articles.
Drawing from court and parish records and from the research of Whitelaw and Upahur, George Carrington Mason
constructed a framework upon which a history of the Anglican Church on the Eastern Shore of Virginia may be built.
The spiritual, social, and political roles of the Mother Church and of the men (rectors and vestry) who guided her
must still be examined.
Religion : Anglicans : Hungars Parish
Hiden, Mrs. P. W. "Three Rectors of Hungar’s Parish and their Wife." William and Mary Quarterly, 2nd ser.,
19 (1939) :34-41.
Ann Graves (a. circa 1670), daughter of Captain Thomas Graves was married successively to William
Gotten, Nathaniel Eaton, and Francis Doughty. The latter two had emigrated from New England. Eaton was
the disgraced first master of the school that later became Harvard, and Doughty once held a pastorate at
Taunton, Massachusetts. Citing parishioners’ reluctance to pay tithes and their selection of
ministers, Hiden described Hungars as "more Puritan than Anglican."
For early connections with New England, see Adams, "The Kingdom of Accomac."
Hiden wrongly claimed all of Northampton County for Hungars Parish before 1691. From 1643-1691,
Northampton was divided into two parishes.
Upshur, Anne Floyd, and Whitelaw, Ralph T., comps. "Library of the Rev. Thomas Teackle." William
and Mary Quarterly, 2nd ser., 23 (1943): 298-308.
At his death in 1696 Rev. Thomas Teackle, long-time rector of Hungars Parish, left a library of
329 volumes. Without comment Upshur and Whitelaw compiled a list of titles from the inventory of the
minister’s estate. The books were in Greek, Latin, English, and other languages and dealt with history,
medicine, and, predominantly, religion.
The colonial pastors are deserving of study as community leaders and as individuals. A close look at the
lives of such men as that "black cotted Raskoll" William Gotten (d. 1640), Teackle (the alleged seducer of the
wife of Colonel Edmund Scarborough), and the patriot Richard Hewitt (d. 1774) would reveal much about
the Anglican Church and her ministers.
Stitt, Susan. "The Will of Stephen Charlton and Hungars Parish Glebe." Virginia Magazine of History and
Biography 77 (1969): 259-276.
In 1654 Stephen Chariton willed land, house, and outbuildings to Hungars Parish. In 1859 the property
was lost to the parish after years of court cases following an act of assembly of 1802 by which the
overseers of the poor of the counties were empowered to seize glebe lands and endowments made before 1777.
For the colonial period, Stitt explained the terms of the will and identified the various ministers and the
periods of their residence upon Hungars Parish Glebe.
Articles have not been written about Accomack and St. George’s, the parishes of Accomack County.
For both counties, the eighteenth century has, again, been neglected.
Religion : Presbyterians
Writings on the history of the Presbyterian Church on the Eastern Shore have taken the form of biographies of the Rev.
Francis Makemie. Although the importance of Makemie must be acknowledged, the role of the church deserves to be separately
studied (especially when the active role played by Eastern Shore dissenters of the seventeenth century is recognized).
Ford, Harry Pringle, comp;. "Chronological Outline of the Life of Francis Makamie." Journal of the Presbyterian
Historical Society 4 (1908): 410-414.
Ford traced, year-by-year, Rev. Francis Makemie’s (d. 1706) location and activities. In citing the
sources of his information Ford also compiled a useful bibliography of early writings on the Presbyterian
Page, I. Marshall. The Life Story of Rev. Francis Makemie. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,
258p.; map; illustrations; appendix; bibliography; index
John D. Grant, Jr., former Clerk of the Accomack County Court, transcribed from the court records every
action in which Francis Makemie was mentioned. So arduous was the task that Grant suffered a physical
breakdown. Most of the value of Page’s romantic biography is in the appendix, where Grant’s transcriptions
are collected. Page himself provided complete texts of extant Makemie letters, but he also supplied a series
of imaginary conversations.
Uhrbrock, Richard S. Francis Makemie (c. 1658-1706). Palo Alto, Ca.: By the Author, 1972.
Uhrbrock drew heavily from the Accomack County Court records and from Francis Makeinie’s own tracts
to indicate not only the ministers role as one of the founders of American Presbyterianism but also his
large personal estate. He owned several thousand acres of land and more than thirty slaves. This well-written
narrative is the best study of Makemie's life. Uhrbrock’s realism is in happy contrast to the romanticism of earlier
Jones, Walter L. "Francis Makemie, Disturbing Dissenter." Virginia Cavalcade 17 (Summer, 1967): 27-31.
Jones’ article is a brief account of Makemie’s life. Although smoothly written, it lacks the detail
of Uhrbrock’s narrative. Like other Virginia Cavalcade articles, sources are not cited.
Religion : Quakers
Carroll, Kenneth L. "Quakerism on the Eastern Shore of Virginia.’ Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
74 (1966): 170-189.
Quakers appeared on the Eastern Shore in 1654. Persecuted in the late 1650s and early 1660s, they
flourished during the last three decades of the seventeenth century. In the early years of the eighteenth
century their numbers declined rapidly and by 1740 only a handful of Quakers remained. Among the Friends were
several, leading Eastern Shoremen including Richard Drummond, Thomas and Daniel Eyre, and Matilda West
(daughter at Colonel Edmund Scarborough). Carroll researched the first-hand accounts of traveling
Quakers but relied on secondary sources for references from Accomack and Northampton court records.