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Westover Parish, Westover Plantation, Charles City, VA

Please note – This is private property and there is absolutely no metal detecting or relic hunting on this property.  The owners are kind enough to open up these wonderful and historic grounds to the public for a nominal fee and we must respect their private property rights.

Located a short walking distance west of the grand Westover Plantation house is the site of the original Westover Parish church.  It was built around 1630 by Theodorick Bland, 100 years prior to the erection of the brick Georgian mansion on the banks of the James River in Charles City, Virginia.  Like all of the original Virginia parish churches, not only was it a house of worship, it also served as a court house and even a prison!  Below is a Google Earth screen shot of the location of the church site and it’s proximity to the plantation house which was later built by William Byrd II, the founder of the City of Richmond.

As noted in the screen shot above, the church would have either been accessed via boat or land.  Both the original carriage path and pathway from the James River still exist.  The below photo shows the carriage path.  This is the view towards the church site with the plantation house behind me.

The church site is about 1/4 of a mile from the plantation house down this carriage path.  Before you get to the church site, you will encounter the path that leads down to the river.  This is where the other inhabitants of the parish would have sailed and moored at the base of this path to attend church or court.

Below is what the parishioners would have seen as they entered the church grounds.  Notice the ancient boxwoods and trees.

As you enter the grounds, to the right is the cemetery

Buried here are some of the original members of the parish including Theodorick Bland and William Byrd I.

Below is the tombstone of Capt. William Perry.  This is (or was) the oldest known legible tombstone in America

Between the cemetery and the church building location are two more tombs of Benjamin Harrison III and his wife.  Harrison’s son, Benjamin Harrison IV, built the neighboring Berkley Plantation House which is the ancestral home of two future Presidents.

The below Google screen shot actually shows the outline of the ancient church which has been gone for over 250 years!

There is so much more to this church site and the Westover Parish as a whole, which in the 1730’s, was eventually moved to the present site a short distance away on Rt 5.  If you do ever visit Westover and the other wonderful James River plantations, don’t forget about this forgotten site.


New York Excelsior Cuff Button

Found this nice button in a local field that has produced numerous Civil War and colonial relics. I’ve never had any luck cleaning these buttons but this one looks like it has tons of gilt left so I may give it a shot.

2nd Spanish Cob in a Week!

This morning I met up with a new metal detecting buddy, Bill D.  We first hit up the spot where I have pulled out two spectacle buckles and, last weekend, a 1 reale Spanish cob.  Right off the bat today I get a good signal and pull out a SECOND cob!  It’s a really worn 1/2 reale (i’m guessing) but I’ll take it!  I didn’t find much after that except for more furniture tacks and pistol balls but Bill did find another partial spectacle buckle and a bridle rosette.  Next, Bill took me to a spot up the road that he hunted a few years back that dates to the early 1700’s.  It’s an awesome old site that has an evident old house site (house burnt during the Civil War), a really old grave site and it’s on the water.  To top it all off, the original owner was a big deal in Virginia history!  All this adds up to a colonial relic hunter’s dream site and we were able to pull some keepers from it.  I got a few buttons, buckle pieces and some old glass (this stuff was in almost every hole I dug along with brick and oyster shells) and Bill got roughly the same.  Bill did tell me that he cleaned up pretty good the last time he was there and obviously other people have hunted there as well.

Bill is a wealth of knowledge and a really nice guy.  He has really motivated me to find a great colonial site with a trash pit so I can invite him to show me the ropes.

The first two pictures are of the cob I found today and the next two are of the one I found last week.

Spanish Cob in Virginia!!!

I’d never thought I would find any hammered silver never mind Spanish!  This was found on February 17, 2012 at the same site I found the spectacle buckles in King and Queen county.  Of the 500 acres, I’ve narrowed the hot spot to about a half an acre near a spring or small water source.  This area has produced very few buttons but loads of musket and pistol balls.  I’ve also found quite a few pieces of ornate brass or copper, fragments of buckle frames and of course the two 17th century spectacle buckles.  This little area is loaded with iron but with my Teknetics T2 and 5″ coil I was able to navigate through the constant grunting and find a sweet high tone that produced this awesome Cob.

1847 Large Cent – Copperhead movement

From Wikipedia – “The Copperheads were a vocal group of Democrats located in the Northern United States of the Union who opposed the American Civil War, wanting an immediate peace settlement with the Confederates. Republicans started calling anti-war Democrats “Copperheads,” likening them to the venomous snake. The Peace Democrats accepted the label, but for them the copper “head” was the likeness of Liberty, which they cut from copper pennies and proudly wore as badges.”

I found this 1847 Large Cent which someone has cut out the bust of Lady Liberty.  Perhaps it was removed to make a lapel pin to represent the Copperhead movement……in Virginia??  Go to the JustGoDetecting Forum to see great daily metal detecting finds or to share your own!

Mid 17th Century Spectacle Buckle

I spent two beautiful winter Saturdays relic hunting on 500 acres of farm land in King and Queen county.  The home owner was extremely receptive and friendly and asked that I show him what I found when I was done.  I ended up finding a lot of modern bullets, farm iron and aluminum cans….but that is to be expected.  The good finds were numerous mid 19th century buttons, musket and pistol balls, ornate brass and copper pieces and a mid 17th century spectacle buckle (half of one anyway)!