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Sunday, January 8, 2017

"Castlewood Plantation" in Virginia #virginiapioneersnet

Henry Esmond of "Castlewood"

Henry EsmondDuring the reign and wars of Queen Anne, Henry Esmond, Esq. served as a colonel. As there were opponents against the restoration of the family of the Queen to the throne, Colonel Esmond was counselled by his friends to go abroad. It was said that Esmond belonged to the noble English family which takes its title from "Castlewood" in the county of Hants (England) and it was generally known that King James II and his son had offered the title of Marquis to Colonel Esmond and his father. Weary of the political struggles in which he had been engaged and annoyed by family circumstances in Europe, the Colonel preferred to establish himself in Virginia, where he took possession of a large estate (in Westmoreland County) conferred upon his ancestor by King Charles I. Mr. Esmond called his American house "Castlewood" after the patrimonial home in the old country. The gentry of Virginia dwelt on their great lands after a fashion almost patriarchal, having many servants to cultivate the fields and forests. While the land yielded foodstuffs, livestock amd game, the rivers were plentiful with fish. Their tobacco crops were stacked upon private wharves from for convenient shipping down the Potomac and James Rivers to London or Bristol. English goods and articles were exchanged for Virginia produce. Virginia was a friendly colony. No stranger was ever turned away from "Castlewood." When he lost his wife, his daughter assumed the management of the Colonel and his affairs, while the Colonel preferred his books and his quiet. When company came to Castlewood, he entertained them handsomely. "My love, I shall not be sorry to go myself," he said to his daughter, "and you, though the most affectionate of daughters, will console yourself after a while. Why should I, who am so old, be romantic? You may, who are still a young creature." After fifteen years of residence upon his great Virginian estate, affairs prospered so well with the worthy proprietor, that he acquiesced in the proposal of his daughter to build a mansion much grander and more durable than the plain wooden edifice in which he had been content to live, so that his heirs might have a habitation worthy of their noble name. His daughter had a very high opinion of the merit and antiquity of her lineage and had eagerly studied the family history and pedigrees, and brought to the Virginia home a store of documents relative to her family upon which she relied with implicit gravity and credence, and with the most edifying volumes then published in France and England, respecting the noble science. These works proved that the Esmonds were descended from noble Norman warriors who came into England along with their victorious chief (Charlemagne) and Queen Boadicea. The daughter was marrie into the Warrington family, and thought little of its heritage, so wrote herself as "Esmond Warrington" and after the death of her father, referred to herself as "Madam Esmond of Castlewood." Although her father had had a marquis patent from King James, which he had burned and disowned, she would frequently act as if that document existed and was in full force. She considered the English Esmonds of an inferior dignity to her own branch; and as for the colonial aristocracy, she made no scruple of asserting her superiority over the whole body of them. Her notes reflect that quarrels and angry words had occurred at some of the assemblies of the Governor held in Jamestown. Madam Esmond had twin boys, who, upon the death of their grandfather, the eldest son (George) was proclaimed successor to the estate. Source: The Virginians by William Makepeace ThackerayWestmoreland County VA Genealogy Records

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