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New Kent County Courthouse, New Kent, VA

The village of New Kent appears to have been the County seat since 1691 from land given to county by William Basset of Eltham Plantation.  Prior to this location, the courthouse was located at Brickhouse on the York River.  Most of the County’s colonial records were destroyed in the burning of the clerk’s office in 1787, and later records were destroyed in the burning of Richmond during the Civil War.


More Colonial Trash Pit Digging and Detecting

Made it back out with Bill D. to a spot where we’ve been digging some colonial trash pits. Bill knew the tide would be low early in the morning so before we started digging he decided to walk out into the marsh towards the river in hopes of finding a whole onion bottle in the mud. Since I didn’t have any rubber boots, I detected close by in case Bill got caught in the mud and couldn’t get out. I was able to find a really neat eyepiece to a telescope, binoculars or a sexton.

eyepiece eyepiece-2

A few minutes later I see Bill walking out of the marsh holding an onion bottle base and a couple of spouts. The fact that he found these in a few minutes of looking has really piqued my interest and I may have something to do now during the hot summer months!!


After Bill quit playing Swamp Thing, we hit the pit location where we last left off a couple of weeks ago and decided to start digging test holes in hopes to find a productive pit. The first few weren’t overly productive but I was able to pull a pewter button out of one along with brick and a thousand oyster shells…..which are nearly impossible to dig through.

pit-oyster-shells pit-oyster-shells-2 trash-pit-oyster-shells trash-pit-oyster-shells-2

Since I wasn’t finding much in my test pits I decided to abandon Bill and head over to the other side of the property where we had originally dug some bottle bases, spouts and pottery. I was a little more successful over there and found about 10 spouts and bases along with some pottery.

onion-bottle-base-and-necks pewter-button

After a lunch break, we decided to stretch out and do some detecting in the field. The field has been pretty much cleaned out over the years but I was able to pull out some keepers including a sporting or livery button (I’m not sure which it is) that has an embossed bird on it.

colonial-field sporting-or-livery-button-2

Thanks for checking out my post!


Back to the colonial trash pits

Got out again yesterday with Bill D. to dig and sift a few more holes in hopes to find some colonial wine bottle seals or maybe a whole onion or mallet bottle. Didn’t quite pan out that way but we did find more bottle bases, spouts, pottery and a few pipe stems. We also broke out the detectors for another spin around the fields and produced the usual colonial brass pieces, tacks and other mess. I did score a cut piece of silver.  It’s a Netherlands Silver 6 Stuivers 1683 -1691.

A Stack of Spanish Coins

I received permission to metal detect at an undisclosed farm on the York River this past weekend. There was a late 1600’s home on site and is really evident by the very large presence of iron and brick in the ground by the river. Since the corn stubble was really high and I didn’t bring […]

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.

Another Mid 17th Early 18th Century Spectacle Buckle

I found another spectacle buckle at the same site as the last.  This one is complete and I’m super stoked.  It was found in close proximity as the other one so I plan on concentrating on that area.

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!