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Historic Overview

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Isle of Wight County’s Historic Resources

Established in 1634, Isle of Wight County features a rich history.

Shortly after the establishment of the Jamestown settlement in 1607, Capt. John Smith crossed the James River in search of food. He met the Warraskoyak Indians who supplied him with several bushels of corn.

In 1619, the first English settlement in Isle of Wight was established close to the village of Mathomauk. As Indian lands were encroached upon, the relationship between the English and Warraskoyak began to falter. The Warraskoyak took part in the March 1622 massacre. They attacked the two settlements known as Basse’s Choice and Bennett’s Welcome and killed 53 people. Between 1622 and 1650, the Warraskoyack disappeared from the colonial record as a result of the ongoing Anglo-Indian Wars.

The first English plantations along the James River within present-day Isle of Wight were established by Puritan colonists, beginning with that of Christopher Lawne in May 1628.

By 1634, the colony consisted of eight shires, or counties, with a total population of approximately 5,000 inhabitants. Warrosquyoake Shire was renamed Isle of Wight County in 1637, after England’s island of the same name.

A visit to Isle of Wight County tells the story of American hisory from early English settlement to colonial expansion, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War and the Cold War.

Visit the Isle of Wight County MuseumFort BoykinFort Huger and Boykin’s Tavern, and check our calendar of events to see what special happenings, walking tours and programs are planned this year.