Caroline County
The Brockenbrough - Peyton House, 1765 ~ Roof detail, 2010
THE BROCKENBROUGH-PEYTON HOUSE, built in 1761, is most famous as one of the houses where John Wilkes Booth and David Herold, along with three former Confederate soldiers, went seeking refuge ten days after the assassination of President Lincoln. Once owned by Champ Brockenbrough, it was purchased by the Peyton family before 1865 when Booth came to call. At the time, Sarah Jane Peyton refused to allow them to spend the night, suggesting the farm of Richard Garrett, about two miles south of Port Royal, where thety fled.
THE CATLETT HOUSE, 1760, acquired its name from one of the first families of Port Royal; however the first recorded owner of the property was William Buckner. The Buckner family held the tract until 1805 when it was listed as part of William Buckner's estate. In 1874 it was owned by William Hamilton Carter and in 1924 Robert B. Parish was the owner and operated a print shop next door.
Catlett House, 1760 (Photos, 2010)
THE LECKIE HOUSE, also known as the CARE-HOLLOWAY HOUSE, was built in 1775 by Scottish merchant Andrew Leckie and his wife Alice. It served as the "Port Royal New Tavern" and later became a retail store. In 1784 merchant John Hipkins and his wife Elizabeth purchased the building and made it their home. In 1825 the house was purchased by William and Margaret Care and in 1878 it became the home of Frances Brockenbrough Holloway.
Leckie House, 1775, Basement detail & Dependencies, 2010
Dorothy Roy House, 1730, Photo, 2010
THE ROY HOUSE, built in 1730, has long since disappeared, but as of 2010 there were remains of the old chimneys. In 1673 Richard Buckner established a tobacco warehouse here, later acquired by John Roy (ca. 1655, England - 1734, King & Queen County, Va.) and his wife Dorothy Buckner Roy (Abt. 1655, Port Royal - 1746, Port Royal). Following Roy's death Dorothy became the first female in Colonial Virginia to have a chartered warehouse for processing tobacco. In 1731 a "rolling road" was constructed from the Milford area to the Roy warehouse for the purpose of rolling hogsheads of tobacco down to the docks for loading onto waiting ships. By 1732 a public wharf was in place and a ferry had been established to cross the Rappahannock. By 1743 Dorothy Buckner Roy had married Charles Smith and that year 60 acres of Smith's property near Roy's warehouse was surveyed for the establishment of Port Royal.
Established in 1728 from Essex, King and Queen and King William Counties, Caroline is bounded on the south by Hanover County, on the north by Stafford and King George, on the east by King William, King and Queen and Essex, and on the west by Spotsylvania. Over the years boundaries changed, so depending on the period the town was located in the counties of Essex, Caroline, Lancaster and old Rappahannock, all on the south side of the Rappahannock River.

One of the most historic towns in Caroline is
PORT ROYAL, established in 1652 on the Rappahannock just below Fredericksburg.

At that time, Colonel John Catlett (1622 - 1670) of Sittingbourne, County Kent, England, and his half brother, Ralph Rowzee/Rowzie, patented 400 acres on the south side of the river in what was then Old Rappahannock County. By 1656 Catlett acquired several thousand acres on both sides of the Rappahannock and established a fort at the site of the present town. As of 2010 there are about 35 structures within the small town that date to either the 18th or 19th centuries.
Tavern, ca. 1750, Photo 2010
THE TAVERN, also known as Farish Printing, dates to about 1750. During the Colonial period, over 90 tavern licenses were issued in Port Royal alone; however the origins of this structure are uncertain and it may have been a store instead. In 1929 the building was converted into a print shop by Robert B. Farish, who enlarged windows on either side of the door to provide added light. The shop was still operating into the 1980s.
Tennant House, ca. 1760, Photo 2010
THE TENNANT HOUSE, ca. 1760, a 1-1/2 story house with two rooms on the second level, was constructed in two phases with the section shown here being the oldest.

It was first owned by Dr. G. W. Tennant of Port Royal, charged with the quarantine of sailors in the harbor suspected of having smallpox. One of its rooms became Caroline County's first hospital. It remained in possession of the Tennant family until 1847 when it was sold to a Baltimore merchant for $500.00.
Townfield, 1745-50, Photo 2010
TOWNFIELD, which acquired its name in the mid-19th Century, was built between 1745 and 1750 by wealthy merchant Robert Gilchrist as a one-and-a-half story Georgian dwelling with a central passage plan [left]. In 1790, just before his death, Gilchrist added a wing enclosing a dining room and pavilion. A two-story Federal style wing was added in 1837 [right]. A small cemetery on the property contains graves of the Gilchrist and Lightfoot family.
Fall, Ralph Emmett, Hidden Village, Port Royal, Virginia, 1744 - 1981; Port Royal, VA. 1982; "Port Royal, Virginia, A Walking/Driving Tour of a "Hidden Village"
Photos by Gayle N. Mandell unless otherwise noted
Selected Records, Virginia Department of Historic Resources
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