Elsing Green Plantation manor house
|Location||SW of jct. of SR 632 and 623, near Tunstall, Virginia|
|NRHP Reference #||69000252|
|Added to NRHP||November 12, 1969|
|Designated NHL||November 11, 1971|
|Designated VLR||May 13, 1969|
Elsing Green Plantation, a National Historic Landmark and wildlife refuge, rests upon nearly 3,000 acres (1,200 ha) along the Pamunkey River in King William County, Virginia, a rural county on the western end of the state’s middle peninsula, approximately 33 miles (53 km) northeast of the City of Richmond. The 18th-century plantation, now owned by the Lafferty family, has been in continuous operation for more than 300 years. In addition to the manor house, dependency buildings and cultivated land, Elsing Green includes 2,454 acres (993 ha) of surrounding farmland, forest and marsh land. Elsing Green is also on the Virginia Landmarks Register and in the National Register of Historic Places.
Its history dates back nearly three centuries with ties to the West family of Lord Delaware. The original structure, a brick Jacobean lodge now serving as the east dependency of the manor house, was built before 1690 by Colonel John West. It is said that Lord Delaware used the building as his hunting lodge, escaping to the King William woods by way of the Pamunkey River. Now serving as a wildlife refuge, no hunting is allowed on the property or surrounding wetlands.
Although fire during the American Civil War destroyed many of the records detailing the history of Elsing Green, the Lafferty Foundation holds to what it believes as an accurate account of the plantation’s history.
The plantation was passed down through the West family after the death of Colonel John West in 1692. It eventually became associated with the Dandridge family of George Washington’s wife, Martha Custis. It is said that Martha Custis Washington actually rode her horse through the house.
The plantation, through several inheritances and purchases, was eventually sold in the 1930s to Beverly D. Causey, whose family took it upon themselves to restore the then degraded property and structures.
Nearly two decades later, the family of the current owners, purchased Elsing Green. In 1950, Edgar R. Lafferty, Jr., and his wife, Margaret, continued the restoration and expanded the plantation by adding previously purchased land adjacent to Elsing Green.
The Lafferty Foundation
The Lafferty family formed the Lafferty Foundation to help preserve and protect Elsing Green after Edgar Lafferty, Jr.’s death. The tax-exempt organization acquired the plantation after Edgar Lafferty, Jr.’s death. To further ensure its preservation, Lafferty granted historic preservation easements to the Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission and the Virginia Outdoors Foundation.
Architecture and furnishings
The exterior of the Queen Anne manor house is Flemish-bond brickwork, with its erection dating back to between 1715 and 1720. It is two-stories and U-shaped, with east and west wings jutting to the north. Doors on either side of the wing lead to a detached east dependency home (the original hunting lodge) and a west kitchen house. The Pamunkey River lies just 250 yards (230 m) from the home.
In the home is 18th-century American and English furniture, including the “Surrender Table” on which the American and French negotiated terms of surrender with the English over the Battle of Yorktown of the American Revolutionary War.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2007-01-23.
- "Virginia Landmarks Register". Virginia Department of Historic Resources. Retrieved 5 June 2013.
- "Elsing Green". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-23.
- Elsing Green website
- King William County website
- Landmarks Register - Virginia Department of Historic Resources
- Elsing Green at the National Park Service website
- Elsing Green, State Route 632 vicinity, West Point, King William County, VA: 8 photos and 3 data pages at Historic American Buildings Survey