Pampatike Farm lies along the Pamunkey River just two miles South East of the intersection of Rt. 360 and the Pamunkey River in King William County, Virginia. The Farm has a long and varied history.
It was a Indian village called Cattachiptico and was drawn on John Smiths Map of the new world in 1609. It was then transformed into Opechancanough's fortress and newly identified documents show the possibility that it was the location where John Smith grabbed Opechancanough by the hair and put a pistol to his head in order to escape an ambush.
In the 1600 through the mid 1700's, it was the location of sub-tribe of the Pamunkey Indians called the Manskin Indians who were accidentally erased from history when their name got confused with the Manakin Indians just up river.
It was sold by the Pamunkey Indian Queen and by 1744 it became part of the the Carter Family empire. By the early 1800s, Hill Carter lived at Shirley Plantation and his brother, Thomas N. Carter lived at Pampatike. In 1820 and 30s both Hill and Thomas Carter experimented with an almost forgotten farming technology called land reclamation where the swamps were diked and corn and wheat was grown. This was a massive transformation of the land where over 500 acres of land were reclaimed. The swamps were diked and all creeks on the property were re-routed to reduce water from the newly made "blacklands" or "meadows." The dikes were abandoned after the civil war and the land returned back to natural swamps.
During the Civil War Union forces camped on the property and Col. Thomas H. Carter was often visited by his first cousin General Robert E. Lee.
The house was burned at about 1900 and was rebuilt a few years later and is now Pampatike Organic Farm which raises vegetables, herbs, flowers, free-ranging chickens for eggs, other free-ranging poultry (guineas, peafowl, Royal Palm turkey), and purebred Nubian dairy goats using organic farming practices for all. Kid goats are raised as breeders for export and domestic sales.
The swamp and fields of the farm are owned by Frank Townsend and my Dad, Harrison Tyler, and are used for corn, bean and wheat farming. The farm also has wonderful duck, goose and turkey hunting.
I have completed this historical research and want to make it available to all interested. I would also appreciate and new documents or related information so I can add it to this site.
This is the Rosetta Stone of land reclamation in Virginia in the early 1800s. Hill Carter at Shirley Plantation wrote this for Edmund Ruffin's magazine "The Farmers Register" and it details everything you ever want to know about dike construction. The entire East Coast of the United States were nearly clear cut. Most fields had stopped producing. An agricultural crisis gripped the United States. The Carters stepped up to the plate in Virginia promoting "land reclaimation," and Edmund Ruffin promoted "marling." Both practices were dropped at the end of the civil war with the the loss of cheap slave labor and the chemical synthesis of nitrogen for fertilizer.
Shirley Sinking Swamp Article
This is the book end to the first article and describes the failure of the diked swamps due to sinking. The cost of repairing the sinking swamps was too high and he eventually attempted to plant trees in the swamp which had then turned into a grassy marsh as it remains today.
Draft of York River -W Pictures
Martha McCartney was prompted to do research on the Pamunkey River when the Newport News Water Reservoir was first announced. She found a map of the Pamunkey River in archives in England, but with no date or author it had been of little use. Through hand writing analysis she identified the document as being written by Anthony Langstrom in 1662. Landstrom identifies the Island field on Pampatike as the headquarters of Opechancanough.
Deep Water -Pampatike
Deep Water is a book about the houses along the Pamunky River and was written By Steven A. Colvin. It has a concise history of both Pampatike and Piping Tree Ferry.
Deep Water - Manskin Lodge
A History of Manskin Lodge, just up river from Pampatike. It mentions the location as a "slight peninsula, known as Manskin Neck, after a tribe of Indians of that name."
Land, Labor and Reform at Shirley
Robert James Teagle wrote this thesis paper while at Va Tech. There are at least 40 pages on the effects of the diking project at Shirley on the lives of the slaves.
R. E. Lee A Biography
Robert E. Lee grew up at Shirley Plantation and was first cousin to Col. Thomas H. Carter who lived at Pampatike. This details some of Lee's visits to Pampatike.
Abrams Supreme Court Decision
THE SEARCH FOR ELUSIVE VIRGINIA COASTAL PLAIN BURIAL
These are image based presentation attempting to visually show the history of Pampatike. They involve extensive progression of maps combined with bits of text pulled from many sources to create the complete history of Pampatike. I initially intended to write a text document, but most of the clues I had were map based, so I chose to visually represent the ideas with PowerPoint presentations. We live in a changing world and right this minute libraries all over the world are putting high resolution versions of historic maps online. This allows arm-chair archeologists like me have access to vast amounts information all sorted, googled and scanned. If one focus on a small niche, like 4 miles of a river, then all sorts of new conclusions can jump out of the research.
Indian Burial Mounds
Tribe became Manskin
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