Flowerdew Hundred – One of the earliest original land grants in Virginia

“Every year Flowerdew Hundred changes and grows more beautiful as it matures.”David A. Harrison III. So let’s take a closer look at Flowerdew Hundred – one of the earliest original land grants in Virginia.

Flowerdew Hundred is one of the earliest original land grants in Virginia. The abundant natural resources at this strategic bend in the James River have attracted people from prehistoric times through the 20th Century. Showcasing extensive material culture collections, museum exhibits and educational programs interpret a past at Flowerdew Hundred that is intricately woven into the history of Virginia. Browse through the artifact collections, view sample exhibits, listen to the stories.

History was never so beautiful! Chartered and founded by David A. Harrison, III, Flowerdew Hundred Plantation and Museum began as a dream and has grown into one of the most uniquely and beautifully landscaped properties in Virginia.

Flowering trees, shrubs, and plants, especially chosen for particular characteristics and beauty, fill the plantation landscape year-round with a cornucopia of varying color arrangements of reds, pinks, yellows, whites, blues, purples and many shades of green. A walk of the grounds is a testimony to the dream of one man.

The Flowerdew Hundred Museum was housed in an original c.1850 schoolhouse. Extensive exhibits highlighted various aspects of the plantation’s history and over 25 years of archaeological exploration. The museum exhibits included artifacts dating back to Native American, Antebellum, Colonial, and Civil War sites and “hands-on” displays were demonstrating various methods of grinding food and more agricultural methods and the natural history and beauty of Flowerdew Hundred.

Visitors could tour a replica of an 1820 detached kitchen, with exhibits that gave them an idea of domestic Virginia slave life and they could conclude the tour with an over four miles of riverfront drive that was taking them past former archaeological and historical sites like Grant’s Crossing and the unique commemorative windmill at Flowerdew.

Flowerdew’s history is best told through the stories of the people that lived there. These folks were recording their everyday lives in diaries and letters. Estate sale inventories, census records, deeds and wills, and maps are providing us with detailed information on building construction, land usage, and personal possessions in the area. Ultimately, the history of the Flowerdew land grant tells the story of Virginia’s history.

To better understand these past inhabitants, we can look at the images of the objects left behind by those who lived at Flowerdew Hundred. The artifacts allow us to imagine how people dressed, furnished their houses, prepared and served their meals.

The stories of these people, however, provide descriptions that the artifacts cannot provide. Through tales of soldier invasions during the Civil War or personal disputes resulting in lawsuits, we are carried from this century into the past and witness first hand the events being described. Listen, yourselves, to the stories at the museum.

The Flowerdew Hundred Collection is housed at the University of Virginia and highlights some stories and artifacts that were unearthed at this one of a kind site. The exhibit “Flowerdew Hundred – Unearthing Virginia’s History” is permanently displayed at the Harrison Institute featuring the most beautiful archaeological artifacts from the Flowerdew Hundred Collection at the University of Virginia Library. The exhibit provides an authentic look at Virginia’s earliest inhabitants and the way they lived.

Leave a Comment