Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Virginia

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Virginia Tablets and Monuments

There are five tablets and monuments of the Society of Colonial Wars located in the Commonwealth of Virginia:

1. Jamestowne Horse Trough. In 1907, as part of the 300th anniversary of Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in America, the General Society commissioned Harold V.B. Magonigle, a prominent architect, to design a bronze horse trough for Jamestown. For the 1907 Tricentennial, visitors to Jamestown came by steamboat or horse, and the horse trough provided needed water for horses.

The horse trough is prominently inscribed "1607 SOCIETY OF COLONIAL WARS 1907" across the front of its bowl.

By the 400th anniversary of Jamestown, the horse trough was badly in need of restoration, and it was desirable to relocate it to a more prominent position. The restoration and relocation were completed in June 2009. The restored horse trough is now in a prominent location by Yeardley House, next to a path to the new Archaerium. It is no longer connected to a water supply due to archaeological restrictions and conservation concerns, but remains a handsome historical monument.

2. Jamestown Church Chancel Rail. The tower of the church on Jamestown Island dates to circa 1690. By 1893, when the Association for Preservation of Virginia Antiquities acquired Jamestown Island, the ruins of the church tower were the only sign of what had been Virginia's colonial capital until 1698.

For the 300th anniversary of Jamestown settlement, in 1906 the NSCDA commenced reconstruction of the colonial church on its original foundations.

In 1957, for the 350th anniversary, further work was done. The General Society of Colonial Wars contributed the chancel rail for the reconstructed church, and today a silver plaque on that rail reads "For the Church at Jamestown From General Society of Colonial Wars 1957."

The church interior is visited annually by thousands of visitors to Historic Jamestowne, and church services are periodically held in the consecrated church on special occasions, so the Society's chancel rail is important after over fifty years as a historical reconstruction and as a necessary element of the church.

3. Bruton Parish (Williamsburg) Church Pew. The current Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg was built in 1715, when Williamsburg was the colonial capital of Virginia. All prominent Virginians of the late colonial period would have worshipped at Bruton Parish Church when visiting the capitol on business or attending the College of William & Mary, sitting in its high box pews.

Renovations in the 19th century changed much of the church's interior; but in 1905-1907 Rev. W.A.R. Goodwin successfully led an effort to restore Bruton Parisch Church to its colonial appearance (much as he later persuaded John D. Rockefeller to restore all of Williamsburg to its colonial appearance).

The restored high box pews in the church are named in memory of prominent Virginians who once worshipped in the church, and some contain plaques of particular donors.

Pew 17, at the intersection of the nave and north transept, is dedicated in memory of Thomas Jefferson, and a brass plaque with the following inscription is located within the pew: "Contributed by the Society of Colonial Wars in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Endowed by the General Society of Colonial Wars."

For millions of visitors who have come to Colonial Williamsburg, the interior of Bruton Parish Church may be their only way experience of ever seeing a colonial-era church. The Society's pew restoration has helped create that experience for visitors and for an active church congregation.

4. Stratford Hall Gatehouse. Stratford Hall, on the Potomac River in Westmoreland County, Virginia, was built in the late 1730's by Thomas Lee, a member of one of Virginia's most prominent families. Thomas Lee served as a member of the House of Burgesses, a member of the Governor's Council, and as a judge. In 1744 he negotiated the Treaty of Lancaster with the Iroquois Six Nations, opening up the Ohio River Valley for English settlement. In 1749-1750 he served as de facto royal governor, with the titles President of His Majesty's Council and Commander in Chief of the Colony and Dominion of Virginia.

Two of his sons, Francis Lightfoot Lee and Richard Henry Lee, signed the Declaration of Independence. Richard Henry Lee also served as President of the Continental Congress and President pro tempore of the U.S. Senate. Through marriage to Thomas Lee's granddaughter, a cousin, Colonel "Light Horse Harry" Lee of Revolutionary War fame, acquired Stratford Hall, and his son General Robert E. Lee was born there.

Apart from Stratford Hall's historic connections, the house is a striking architectural masterpiece, unique among American colonial plantations.

In 1929 the Robert E. Lee Memorial Association acquired the house, and began restoration work. By 1936 the General Society of Colonial Wars had a Stratford Memorial Committee, chaired initially by Herbert Worth Jackson (Governor of the Virginia Society) until his death, and later by Edwin O. Lewis. The Committee raised funds to restore the gates and gatehouse (and related gatehouse furniture and landscaping) at Stratford Hall, and completed this work in 1937. In addition to the General Society, the Virginia Society and many individual Warriors, contributions were received from the Kentucky, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina and District of Colombia Societies.

There are two matching bronze tablets (one on the exterior and one on the interior) at the gatehouse, honoring Thomas Lee and reflecting the General Society of Colonial War's role. These tablets now both need restoration work, which the Virginia Society hopes to have an expert bronze restorer perform in the near future.

5. Henricus Historical Park. On March 22, 2014 the Society erected (with financial assistance from the General Society) a granite marker at Henricus Historical Park on the James River below Richmond to commemorate the Indian Massacre that took place on March 22, 1622. The surprise attack was a coordinated effort by the Powhatan Indians against English settlements along the James River. Over one quarter of the English population died in the attack, including men, women and children. The ceremony was attended by representatives from various Virginia hereditary and historical organizations as well as descendants of the victims, who laid wreaths at the marker. The ceremony produced a large turnout, and local media covered the event.

The text of the monument reads:

1622 Indian Attack

This monument is erected in memory of the English settlers who died in the 1622 Indian attack that was organized by Chief Opechancanough. On 22 March 1622 the Powhatan Chiefdom launched a coordinated offensive against the English settlements along the James River. Sixty-six men, women and children were killed within the Henrico settlements including five dead at Henricus. Over one quarter of the English population of Virginia died in the attack. The Powhatan Indians did not follow up with subsequent attacks believing their mission had been accomplished when the English withdrew to the area around Jamestown. Instead, the English launched reprisal attacks against the Powhatan and expanded their settlement efforts.

Erected by the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of Virginia

Photo credits: Andrew Baxter (Jamestown horse trough), Paul Reber (Stratford Hall), Mary Anna Broadbent (Jamestown and Williamsburg churches), Lewis Taylor Cowardin (Henricus)