"Before the house, the land was the site of Martin’s Hundred plantation and Wolstenholme Towne, an ill-fated English settlement founded in 1620, just a few years after the establishment of Jamestown five miles upriver. Wolstenholme was destroyed during a native Powhatan massacre of English settlers in 1622.
But Carter’s Grove had better luck. For 260 years, it steadfastly survived looting, flood, hurricane, earthquake, a Hollywood crew filming a now-forgotten Cary Grant movie, and a marauding Revolutionary War colonel who billeted his Redcoats there and, legend has it, rode a horse up the main staircase, hacking the grand railing with his sword along the way. A 1928 renovation diminished the Palladian perfection of its exterior, but still, it endured.
Carter’s Grove may have finally met its ruin, however, in the unlikely form of Halsey Minor, a brash 40-something technology investor living in San Francisco." Washpost
My. My. It appears that some FFV families have their own share of "brash irresponsible punks."
I have visited Carter's Grove a couple of times, always a little unwillingly, but visitors want to go to Colonial Williamsburg and Carter's Grove used to be part of the show.
The last time was in the '80s. I had some French friends in tow. It was a week day and a glorious Virginia display of fine weather was underway. I had gotten tired of the damned syllabub and other treacle in Williamsburg itself. At Carter's Grove the historical enactors both in the house and in the painstakingly created slave quarter were relentless. Their mission, whether dictated or self assigned, was clearly to revile Carter Burwell, the Carters in general and anyone who had ever lived in the house as other than a servant. In the house, one wizened creature announced himself to be a Ph. D. in history from a private university of note in the Deep North. He took our group around the house in a constant enthusiasm for the business of mocking the Carters, the history of the house and particularly the lady whose husband bought the place in 1928 so that she could play the role in society that she thought befit her. To that end she spent vast amounts of her Northern businessman's money on a restoration that made the place comfortable and made it look good. She lived there for about 35 years and was evidently an adornment to the neighborhood and a pillar of local charity, but to this fellow she was just another phantom from the "Lost Cause."
The "slave quarter" was similarly manned and womaned with a variety of Black Studies and history doctors costumed as 18th Century agricultural workers. They were engaged in whittling, making soap, stirring pots of smoking liquids, etc. The group of visitors I was following with my puzzled French guests was a tour group from Georgia. Some were white, some were black. The assigned woman "instructor" got underway in her task of convincing us that Carter's Grove had been a premonition of 20th Century European horrors unnamed. The audience grew increasingly restive under instruction and sensing their inattention she told us that the slaves had been forced to eat hominy, field greens and fat back. There was no reaction and she asked "how many of you would want to eat hominy?" All the hands went up, white and black, including mine but not the French, who knew not. Frustrated, she pressed them to know if that was the truth. The response was that a number of people offered recipes for these ingredients. She was unhappy. I asked if any of the re-enactors were from the South. There were none.
Am I surprised that Colonial Williamsburg sold Carter's Grove to this spoiled wretch? No. At the time, I wote a long note to the adminstration in which I gave my view that perhaps SOME FEW people friendly to Carter's Grove might be included in the staff.
The reply told me that their interpretation was one that they were going to stay with.
Attendance fell off? My. My. pl