Floor Plans

Built By The 2008 PHBA
Builder of the Year

The Kotan Co.

Professionally Managed By

Coldwell Banker


The History of Hampton up to William Wilson

elizabeth city countyIn 1607, there was a Native American village "pleasantly seated" on a waterfront site known as Kecoughtan. With its good fishing, abundant fruit trees and well-tended cornfields, it was a remarkably good place to live. When the first English settlers arrived in 1610, they forcibly removed the inhabitants. Centuries of Native American occupation at Kecoughtan came to an end.

William Claiborne was the most famous of all the early settlers of the region and in 1620 he sailed from England to Virginia. He was a surveyor, Treasurer of Virginia and Secretary of State. He was granted 150 acres of land located near the present Settlers Landing Road where he established a trading post.

In 1680, this land had become the property of a ship captain named Thomas Jarvis. Under the Town Act, the General Assembly had fifty acres set aside for the layout of the proposed town on Jarvis's land. Jarvis was the second husband of Elizabeth Duke, daughter of Sir Edward Duke, and widow of the celebrated Nathaniel Bacon, Jr. They had only one son, Thomas. In 1684 Jarvis made his will directing that his entire estate be sold to pay off his debts. His wife succeeded in paying only a portion of her husband's debt. In an ugly court battle, William Wilson purchased and took position of Jarvis's estate.

Born in 1646, Col. William Wilson was the most prominent person of Elizabeth City County. He was a wealthy planter and a successful merchant in Hampton. He also accumulated a large estate. For many years he was the presiding justice, County Lieutenant and also a Magistrate for Elizabeth City County. He was appointed to the House of Burgess representing Elizabeth City in 1685, 1688 and 1703. He was the Royal Naval Officer of the Lower James District 1699-1710.

His wife was Jane Wilson. They had two children, a son, Willis and a daughter, Mary. Willis Wilson was born in Hampton in 1672. He was Justice of the Peace, Captain of Militia, was elected Burgess in 1692 but was declared incapable of serving because he was under age. Mary was beautiful, a typical belle of the period, vivacious and charming, with a townhouse in Hampton and a country home at Ceely's. She was married three times. She was first married to William Roscoe and he died. Then she married Col. Miles Cary, and finally on his death she married Archibald Blair of Williamsburg where her home is still standing. Her daughter was the young lady who refused George Washington's marriage proposal at Carter's Grove.

colonial virginia merchantsIn 1691 William Wilson acquired Ceely's Plantation. In 1706 he built his home, a handsome two story large building with wings at each end and a spacious portico supported by white columns. It laid along the river and adjoined the present Newport News. It stood about a block from the old Mary Immaculate Hospital with a magnificent view of Hampton Roads. He later added some 2,000 neighboring acres of property to the estate.

William Wilson died November 19th, 1701 and was the first person buried in St. John's Churchyard in Hampton, Virginia. There was once a large stone slab over the grave with the coat of arms and inscriptions on it. The slab is said to have been destroyed by Federal troops during the War Between the States. Fortunately the inscriptions were copied before they were destroyed and have been preserved. They read:

"Under this stone lyes the body of Capt. Willis Wilson who departed this life on the 19th day of November in the year 1701, it being the 28th year of his age. The memory of the just is blessed. May his memory be recorded in everlasting remembrance. Under this stone also lyes the bodies of Col. William Wilson and of Jane, his wife, the parents of the before mentioned Capt. Wilson. The said Col. Wilson died June 17th, 1713 aged 67 years, and his said wife May 15th, 1713 aged 58 years and left an only daughter surviving."