February 15, 2009

Revisiting Rosewell Ruins

Today I returned to Rosewell Ruins in Gloucester VA. I had visited this location last spring and had been wanting to return. All was quiet today but I can certainly see why this place is suppose to be haunted.

Stories have been told at Rosewell. Everything from slaves buried in the Cellar walls, to a mysterious lady who walks the front steps every night.

From Wikipedia,

Rosewell Plantation in Gloucester County, Virginia, USA for more than 100 years was the home of members of the Page family, one of the First Families of Virginia. Begun in 1725, the huge brick Rosewell mansion overlooking the York River was one of the finest in Virginia. Through much of the 18th century and 19th centuries, and during the American Civil War, Rosewell Mansion hosted the area's most elaborate formal balls and celebrations.

Rosewell Mansion and part of its history were described by author James Joseph McDonald in "Life In Old Virginia" (The Old Virginia Publishing Co., Norfolk, Va., 1907) thus:

"The mansion is substantially built of brick, three story and basement. The foundation walls are three and one-half feet thick. The reception hall is large, the ceilings lofty, and the whole mansion is indicative of refined taste and wealth. From the upper windows, a magnificent view is had of the surrounding level lands and the waters of the creeks and the York River.
"During the life of Governor Page, Thomas Jefferson was a frequent and welcome visitor there. While on one of his visits he wrote the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence in what is now known as the 'Blue Room,' situated on the northwest corner of the second story of this house."
The elaborate Flemish bond brickwork, the towering three stories, and the siting of the mansion were all meant to recall elaborate London homes of the era. In that sense, Rosewell was among the most sophisticated early buildings built in America.

The Rosewell Mansion was destroyed by fire in 1916. Today, a largely undisturbed historic ruin, the site has been the subject of archaeological work which has revealed many artifacts and shed light on some aspects of colonial life and architecture previously unclear.

Page family of Virginia
Governor of Virginia John Page (1744-1808) was the grandson of Rosewell's first owner, Mann Page (I). He grew up there, and was a classmate of Thomas Jefferson at the College of William and Mary in nearby Williamsburg where he graduated in 1763. John Page fought during the American Revolutionary War, attaining the rank of colonel. He also served multiple terms in the U.S. Congress and the Virginia General Assembly.

Other notable members of Virginia's Page family also include Governor Page's brother Mann Page III, his great grandfather, Colonel John Page of Jamestown and Middle Plantation, author and U.S. Ambassador to Italy Thomas Nelson Page, and Virginian Railway builder William Nelson Page; Confederate General Richard Lucian Page.

A family legend says that the courtship of John and Margaret Lowther Page began with an exchange of poems.

In 1790, John Page was a 47-year-old widower serving in the First Congress of the United States. Congress was meeting in New York, and it was there that he met Margaret Lowther, who was about 30 at the time. According to the legend, John escorted Margaret to a party and later realized that she had left a glove in his carriage. He sent the glove back to her with a note reading

"Taking 'G' from 'Glove' leaves 'Love'

Tis that I offer thee."

Margaret replied with another note:

"Taking 'P' from 'Page' leaves 'Age,'

And you are too old for me."

Perhaps Margaret was only teasing, or perhaps she soon had a change of heart, for the couple was married a few months later. They continued to write and exchange poems during their marriage.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visited Rosewell Ruins about 2 years ago. It was cloudy and drizzling, made it kind of eery but a great place. If you use your imagination you can see how grand the place once was. At the visitors center they took us back into the archaeologist room to show us some of the finds like half an egg shell still in tact that they had just found under the main stairs. Weird that it hadn't burned. My daughter walked the back trails for quite some distance but she came back in a hurry. Said she thought she heard strange noises but it could of been just an animal...we'll never know!

2/15/09, 11:48 PM  
Blogger Goat Creek Grandma said...

The ruins are beautiful. One can almost imagine what it looked like in its day. Thank you for sharing the history with us!


2/16/09, 7:54 AM  
Blogger Linda said...

What a fascinating place - such a shame that it was destroyed by fire as I can only imagine how majestic it truly was!

Thank you so much for sharing some of the history of the house and the people who lived there, I especially enjoyed the poems! Those were so sweet!

2/16/09, 12:41 PM  
Blogger Biddie said...

I can actually imagine what that place looked like in its glory..Amazing!

2/21/09, 1:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I visit the ruins at least once a year. I live close by and I go there to "get away". It's a very peaceful place. I want to share with you two incidents that i was told about the place.
A friends daughter and some of her friends went down to the ruins late one night and came home in a panic. Saying the heard voices and what sounded to be horses coming from down the drive. NO they did not trespass, they stood on the gravel road that leads up to the gates.
Last year, I took my kids there for a local history lesson. While walking the grounds my eldest daughter wanted to walk back into the woods were the old "ice cellar" is/was. While walking back to the mansion she asked if there was a farm near by. She then told me she was around the back of the cellar when she heard the sound of horses and gravel "churning". We were the only people there. NO other cars or visitors had been there that day. She had no idea that what appears to be the back of the mansion is actually the front of the dwelling. When people would come ashore from the river they were taking by carriage to the house.

9/7/09, 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have never related this story publicly, other than to family members and friends.

Back in the late 1970`s me and two friends of mine drove to rosewell one night to check the place out because of the ghost stories. we were all teenagers about 16 - 17 years old. We were riding in a Ford F100 pickup truck that my friend Dallas was driving. We parked the truck in front of the mansion aprroximately 100 feet or so from the front steps. There was no moon out, and it was pitch black. We turned off the engine of the truck and cut off the headlights. As our eyes adjusted to the darkness, we noticed two red lights slowly coming into view in front of us. As our eyes adjusted, it looked like the taillights of a car parked in front of us, but we could not be sure. Me and my other friend Tommy were discussing the possibility of it being a car, while Dallas said nothing. While watching the two lights, Tommy and I finally became convinced that it had to be a car, and someone else was parked here tonight also.

But then these lights started levitating and moving around. Tommy and I were astonished and started asking each other if we were both seeing the same thing as each other. We asked Dallas if he was seeing what we were seeing.... Still silence from Dallas. So, Tommy and I started trying to figure out what we were really seeing. Was it somebody messing with us?. Then how could the lights float as high as the tree limbs. Was it possibly a boat on the York river, for the river was in that general direction behind Rosewell mansion. But we decided that the river was to far away from the mansion, and besides, the vegetation and forest would obscure the view anyway. Well as we watched in fascination more lights started to appear and dart around the tree limbs in front of the mansion stairs. Tommy and I were enjoying this light show and marvelling at the performance, when all of sudden Dallas started the pickup truck, through it into reverse, flying backwards into the cornfield behind us. Then he threw it into drive and proceed through the cornfield with Tommy and I bouncing around in the cab of the truck as we bumped across corn rows tearing out of there.

Tommy and I are almost 50 years old now and we discuss that night from time to time, But Dallas will not discuss it. He claims he saw nothing. But, Tommy and I know better. We have always speculated that since Dallas`s mother was Spanish, and he was raised Catholic, he was taught not to mess around with spirits of the dead, so he has avoided, and still avoids to this day talk of that night at Rosewell mansion.


Anybody else ever have an experience at Rosewell?

10/16/09, 1:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

we visited rosewell i felt a presents there a strong one i heard someone on the front steps walking up and down i also think there is something watching u when u go on the path to the ice pitt i wanna go at night and see if i can cetch something

10/21/09, 5:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live in Gloucester and I have recently visited Rosewell at night. My friends and I like to go out there for a spook. Well a couple years ago there was four of us that went, two girls and two guys. We all had our own flash lights to carry incase we freaked and ran. Well the guys went in the cellar first and the room got brighter, my sister and I walked in after them and both of our flash lights dimmed and the guys freaked saying there was a guy standing on each side of us. My sister and I never saw them but we felt them. It felt as if they were escorting us into the room. Never have I gone back into the cellar. It's pretty kewl though, if you go over by the ice hole and look at the mansion, it looks like a man is sitting on one of the ledges.

1/5/10, 11:11 PM  

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