Introduction: the Forgotten Port Series West Point,Virginia

History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses. ~Charles Angoff


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The purpose of this series is to document West Point, Virginia’s long, complex and significant multicultural history for hundreds of years as a port of entry, port of delivery and port of departure. Along these shores, Indigenous tribes fought to retain their ancestral lands. Africans arrived in bondage during the transatlantic slave trade. Indentured servants came ashore hoping for a new life in a new world. As dreams were deferred, this port also became a point of escape. Goods critical to an ever evolving colony and village were imported and exported. Later in its history, people traveled for business and pleasure. Immigrants arrived searching for the American Dream.

The rivers were a source of life to be celebrated and also a final resting place for many who deserve our remembrance. This special region surrounded by three rivers has a transformative and inclusive story to tell. Join us as we take this journey together. Wade in the water  . . .

Series Introduction

For many people, “West Point” conjures up one of two images—a military post on the Hudson River in New York or a mill town in Virginia where the York River is formed by the confluence of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey rivers. This series is about the latter and its forgotten history as a major port during its long, historic evolution.

Part of the confusion may be related to the fact the land where the contemporary Town of West Point stands (incorporated in 1870) has been a part of various counties at different points in its history. Currently, West Point is part of King William County which was formed in 1702 from part of King and Queen County; the land was once part of New Kent County which was created in 1654 from York and James City Counties. In 1634, Virginia was originally divided into 8 shires.

In April of 1691, West Point, Virginia was included in an Act for Ports as a port of entry:


West Point (De la War) was not annexed to the Port of Yorktown until 1799.


In the next part of the series, we will explore documentation of our port history as reflected in letters and advertisements during the 18th century.

We welcome your feedback and hope you will contribute your ideas for an innovative, inclusive, interactive outdoor experience designed to honor the past, celebrate the present and look forward to the future! Our goal as we work with local, regional and national partners is to create a space where all voices are heard.

©REACH Consulting, LLC, 2018

This series is meant to highlight answers to a few questions and encourage further dialog. If you are interested in having additional research for a particular property, family history, or court case, contact Theresa Sirles with REACH Consulting for a quote: (804) 843-3495, via e-mail at or by text at (804) 310-0516. Follow us on Facebook and join the conversation!

3 thoughts on “Introduction: the Forgotten Port Series West Point,Virginia”

  1. This is the land we use to own. You may want to research a thesis printed by the Virginia Historical Society on Strong Women of the South. One of the histories written was about Evelina Brooks, not sute hiw many great great grandmothers.

    Her father eas a Gregory and the Elsing Green was his plantation on the Pamunkey, across the river from Martha Custis’ families plantation, White House Plantation.

    Anyway, when she married a neighboring plantation owner, whose name was Coates; her dowery was the plantation across from this port and West Point. It borders were south of the bridge all down the coast and east until you reach the private airport in King and Queen.
    To make a complicated story short, her brother helped her to divorce this very cruel husband; and all her diwry property was returned and put in her name. She may have been the first woman in the South to be a landowner and a divorcee. ZShe didvown the ferry thst operated off her land to WestPoint.
    I have the Va. Historical publication. Just need to look for it and can give its volume no. Etc so it would be easy to fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I found the article (several actually). The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography
      Vol. 100, No. 1, “Working out Her Destiny”: Virginia Women’s History (Jan., 1992), pp. 29-78 (50 pages)


  2. Thank you so much for sharing that and yes–that represents EXACTLY the kind of hidden history we want to highlight. I have heard from many people who have stories to share, many of which are painful. No healing or reconciliation can take place until every voice is heard. This particular introduction is simply meant to be a jumping off point and we welcome every contribution. You can e-mail me at and we can work together to highlight that story in the series.


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