The Old Tobacco Warehouse
According to Rivers and Roads of Middlesex County, Virginia, research has shown that what is commonly referred to as "The Old Tobacco Warehouse" was
"likely a store built in 1763 by James Mills, first of many Scots storeowners in Urbanna, to provide a diverse selection of goods for townspeople and port travelers. It may also have provided quarters for the tobacco inspector and an inspection office as well as accomodations for the owner."
The marker on the General Puller Highway reflects this understanding as well.
So Where was the Tobacco Warehouse?
Below is a 1767 survey for laying out 10 acres of prison lands; it was oriented in reverse north and south directions (upside down). The building marked "warehouse" in the lower left corner is much more likely to be the tobacco warehouse and it is clearly much further down the road, on the river. The building labeled "store" is in the location of what is traditionally, but mistakenly, called the tobacco warehouse.
The following deeds look to be about the "warehouse" named in the survey, the one that is located on the creek. Note that these warehouse lots also end up in the possession of James Mills.
Deed Book 2-519 to Mr. Christopher Robinson Junr...begining at a Stake on ye Northermost side ye Maine Street and runing North to a Stake thence West to ye begining place (being the third lott from the Creeke on ye Northermost side of the Maine Street)... [this is a flawed lot description]
Deed Book 8-387 John Gordon and wf Lucy to Robert Daniel 10 May
1762, for £100, two lotts or one Acre of Land in Town of Urbanna
which sd 2 lotts or 1 acre of land is commonly called & kinown by
the name of the Warehouse Lotts....sd 2 lotts was sold to sd
John Gordon by James Reid Esqr 1 Oct 1757. witnesses Wm Meacham,
Wm Chowning, George Daniel. recpts and ackn [no relinq, but Lucy
signed]. recd 6 Jul 1762.
followed by completion bond and Lucy's relinq.
This Robert Daniel willed his town properties to his son Beverly (Will Book E459, written 31 Jan 1770, proved 24 Jun 1771), described as "to son Beverley Daniel after death of his mother land where I now live 900a, and all my lots in Urbanna, Tobacco warehouses & Ordinary".
Deed Book 9-436 Beverly Daniel of Msex Gent and wf Milley Daniel to James Mills, Simon Frazier, Overton Cosby of Town of Urbanna 25 Sep 1780, £1000, 2 lots of half acres of land in Town of Urbanna whereon the Publick Warehouses are erected, and commonly known and called by the Name of the Warehhouse Lots, one of which lots abutted easterly on the Creek, and the other adjoins upon the West (which said Lots were formerly granted by the Feoffees of the said Town to Christopher Robinson Gent, deceased, from whom they descended to his Son Christopher Robinson and by him were sold to James Reid, who afterwards sold and conveyed the same to John Gordon, by whom they [were] sold and conveyed to Majr Robert Daniel deced and by him were devised to his Son Beverley Daniel Party to these Presents), with all.... Subject neverthless to a Lease or Term for Twelve Years, granted to the said Simon Fraser of a Piece of Ground Sixty Feet square Part of the same whereon a Warehouse is erected, which said Term commenced from the ?second? Day of May 1774. no wits, $ recpt. deed ackn by Beverly. recd 22 Jan 1781.
These descriptions and the locations of the lots being discussed support that the Urbanna Tobacco Warehouse was located on the creekside, not where the Scottish Factor's Store is.
Below is the survey oriented, traced and scaled to the satellite image. The courthouse and "store" of the survey are in their corresponding places on today's map. Virginia Street and Prettyman's Rolling Road were drawn as running straight east-west which helps account for much of the variances of buildings. The comparison also shows that the riverfront land was later built out, and that the lower, east-west section of today's Oyster Point Road originally fronted on the river inlet.
John Daniel's house (in the southwest corner) could have been on the lot to either the west or east of the tracing; adjusting for the Virginia Street variance would suggest it's the one to the east. But deeds described later show that he owned both lots.
There are orders for an ordinary license granted to John Daniel: one on 5 Feb 1765 (Deed Book 8-494, his security was William Chowning), and another on 6 Aug 1766 (Deed Book 8-517, his security was James Daniel). I believe this is the same John Daniel whose lot is on the above survey.
The John Daniel of the Urbanna lot died in 1772. His will was written on 24 Apr 1772 and probated on 25 May 1772 (Will Book E488). He directs that his lotts and houses in Urbanna are to be sold to pay debts; his executors are James Gregorie and George Lorimer. This is the John Daniel, son of Robert and Elizabeth (Carter) Daniel, grandson of William and Mary (Moseley) Daniel, great grandson of Captain William Daniel. John married first Sarah Reid and had children John, James, Chesley, and Bathseba. He married second Elizabeth Rice and they had Overton.
John's executors had to deal with the town lots because the conveyance to John Daniel had not been formalized, the work is abstracted here. Note that the second deed identifies Long Lane, a street in Urbanna that no longer exists.
DB9-223 James Gregorie and George Lorimer, exrs of LW&T of John Daniel decd, 26 Jul 1773, John Cornelious of 2nd part, James Ross of 3rd part. Whereas sd John Daniel in his lifetime had purchased of the sd John Cornelious one lot of land in the Town of Urbanna numbered ?33? in plan thereof by Henry S--- made 15? May 1747, and died without having received any Conveyance thereof from the sd John Cornelious.... they are confirming a new sale to James Ross[?].
DB9-331 [need date of execution] James Gregorie and George Lorimer exrs of John Daniel late of Town of Urbanna decd to Henry Daniel of Town of Urbanna. Whereas the sd John Daniel was at the time of his Death seized in Fee Simple of and in two Lots or half acres of Land in Town of Urbanna, his will instructed their sale to pay debts, £100, 2 lots in Urbanna whereon John Daniel lately lived, #60 and 61, being on the southside of Prince George street and on the East side of Long lane, with all.... wit James Montague, Thomas Webb, J Ross, Chas Neilson. $ recpt. recd 21/24 Apr 1775.
Long before the store/warehouse that stands today was built, the Daniel family was involved in tobacco growing:
Order Book 1-174 7 Apr 1679
An example of Quality Control in the tobacco industry
Order Book 2-16 7 Mar 1680/81
How did William Daniell and Richard Willis judge Mr. Davis' tobacco?
Order Book 2-21 4 Apr 1681
Whereas Mr. William Daniell and Mr. Richard Willis by Ordr: of the last Courte held for this County were appoynted to goe to the House of John Davis and theire looke upon & veiwe ye hogshead of tobaccoe paid by ye said John Davis to Capt. Walter Whitaker & bring ye samples both good & badd to this Courte, wch: the said veiwers haveing now produced in Courte, some of which appeareing to be very badd old trash tobaccoe & other some good & merchantable. And ye said Veiwers saying upon their Oathes that ye said hogshead of tobaccoe is false packed & above halfe of it trash tobaccoe. It by this Courte ordered that ye said John Davis doe forthwith pay to ye said Capt. Walter Whitaker ye summe of five hundred & eleaven pounds of very good swt. sented tobaccoe and caske and that ye said John Davis doe before ye next Courte held for this County, build or cause to be built a good sufficient & strong Pillory & a pr of Stocks and cause ye same to be sett up & fixed at ye Courte Howse of this County, where ye Sherriff of this County shall appoynte to ye end such offences as this may for ye furture receive a more publique punishment with: costs.
There are many examples of this kind of viewing in the court records!
The shipping of tobacco was also controlled
Order Book 2-60 2 Jan 1681/82
Order Book 2-64 6 Feb 1681/82
Thomas Wharton had also turned in information against Captain George Purvis of the ship "Baltimore", with pretty much the same results. Captain Purvis also appealed the case, but the order books contain no information about the results of the appeals.
Remember Richard Willis who, along with William Daniel,
viewed the tobacco of John Davis back in 1681?
Order Book 2-414 2 Sep 1689
The back and yard
But don't work the tobacco on Sunday!
Order Book 2-493 2 Feb 1690/91
"Striking" was bringing the tobacco down from hanging to dry and laying it on the floor.
Weight Standards were carefully maintained
Order Book 3-2 22 Nov 1694
Order Book 3-136 1 Jun 1696
Order Book 3-223 9 May 1698
Also see later on this page for more records about the warehouse management and maintenance.
The Daniel family shipped tobacco
Deed Book 3-195
Shipped by the grace of God in good order and well conditioned by Mr. Robt Danl upon his own account and in and upon the good Shipp called the Mansfeild ffrigitt of London whereof is Master under God for this present Voyage John Burfod and Now riding at anchor in the River of Rapp'a. and by Gods grace bound for London to Say five hoggs of Virginia Tobacco being Marked and Numbred as in the Margent and are to be delivered in the like good order and well conditioned at the aforesaid port of London (the danger of the Seas only Excepted) unto Mr. John Goodwin of London Mercht or to his assignes he or they paying freight for the Said goods at the Rate of Sixteen pounds ye Tun with [?primage, my reading and the Sparacios'] & Overidge [Sparacios say Averidge] accustomed. In witness whereof the Master or Pursor of the Said Shipp hath affirmed to two bills of Lading all of the tenor and date the one of which two bills being accomplished the other one to Stand Voyd and So God Send the good Shipp to her desired port in Safety Amen. dated in Rappahanock River in Virginia Jan: ye 30th 1705/6.
Quantity received Quality unknown to Jno Burford.
(Signed in blank) Robert Daniell
At a Court held for Middlesex County the Second day of May 1709
At the Motion of Mr. William Gordon the within mentioned bill of Loading and the Endorsement thereon were admitted to record. Test: Wil Stanerd CC, Recorded: Test Wil Stanard CC
Deed Book 3-195
Shipped by the grace of God in good order and well conditioned by Mr. William Daniel upon his own account and resg-d? in and upon the good Shipp called the Mansfeild ffrigitt of London whereof is Master under God for this present Voyage John Burfod and Now riding at anchor in the River of Rapp'a. and by Gods grace bound for London to Say five hoggs of Virginia Tobacco being Marked and Numbred as in the Margent and are to be delivered in the like good order and well conditioned at the aforesaid port of London (the danger of the Seas only Excepted) unto Mr. John Goodwin of London Merchant or to his assignes he or they paying freight for the Said goods at the Rate of Sixteen pounds ye Tun with [?primage, my reading and the Sparacios'] & Overidge [Sparacios say Averidge] accustomed. In witness whereof the Master or pursor of the Said Shipp hath affirmed to two bills of Lading all of the tenor and date the one of which two bills being accomplished the other one to Stand Voyd and So Good [sic] Send the good Shipp to her desired port in Safty Amen. Dated in Rappahanock River in Virginia Jan: ye 30th 1705/6. Quantity received Quality unknown to Jno Burford.
(Signed in blank) Will: Daniell
At a Court held for Middlesex County the 2'd day of May 1709
At the Motion of Mr. William Gordon the within mentioned bill of Loading and the Endorsement were admitted to record. Test: Wil Stanerd CC, Recorded: Test Wil Stanard CC
Robert Daniel lost a shipment of tobacco to fire and spent almost a year (in vain) trying to get compensation:
Order Book 4-261 3 Oct 1709
In an action of Trespass upon the Case between Robert Daniell, Gent., Plt. and George Beverich, Commander of the Carter Frigate, Defendt. for twenty four pounds sterling damage by meanes of Defendt suffering four thousand eiight [sic] hundred pounds of tobacco and caske of the Plt's to be burned as set forth in the Declaration, Mr. Leonard Hill promises in open Court that he will (in case Defendt be cast in this action) deliver ye Defendt.'s body to Prison or pay the debt with all damages and costs as shall be awarded by the Court, whereupon at motion of said Hill, Attorney for the Defendt. refference is granted him till next Court.
Order Book 4-267 6 Dec 1709
In an action upon the Case between Capt. Robert Daniel, Plaintiff and George Beverich, Commander of the Carter Frigate, Defendt. for twenty four pounds sterling damage by meanes of the Defendt's Servants burning four thousand eight hundred weight of the Plt.'s tobacco in caskes as set forth in the Declaration, a Refference being granted to Defendt. at last Court and he faileing now to appear at Plt.'s motion, Judgment by nihil dicit is granted him for the sume against the Defendt and Mr. Leonard Hill his Security returnable to next Court as usuall.
Order Book 4-312 3 Jul 1710
Corbin v. Beverich Judgment [long]. Corbin wins. Tobacco was to be shipped, but the Carter Frigate burned. Corbin charged neglect, Beverich denies, says since there was no bill of lading signed yet.
Order Book 4-313 3 Jul 1710
The action of Trespass upon ye Case between Capt. Robert Daniell, Plt. and George Beverich, Defendt. is dismist.
More records about the Tobacco
Including Daniel family records
Deed Book 3-361 Orders to build warehouses from the Assembly
Know All Men by these presents that wee John Robinson & Christopher Robinson gentl. [no cap] are bound unto ye Honble. Alexander Spotswood Esqr. Her Majts. Lt. Governour and Commander in Cheif [sic] of this Dominion in the penalty of two thousand pounds lawfull money of Virginia this third day of November 1714.
Whereas by an Act of Assembly made at her majestie Queen Annes Royall Capitoll begun at Williamsburgh ye 22d day of October in the 11th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lady Anne 1712 and thence continued by severall prorogations to the fifth day of November 1713 and in the 12th year of her Majts. Reign Entituled an Act for Preventing Frauds in Tobacco and ye Better Improveing the Staple of Tobacco, it is provided that Storehouses shall be erected and built wherein all Tobaccoes shall be viewed and Stamped before any Tobaccoes shall be laden on board any Shipp or Vessell in order to export such Tobaccoes out of this Colony and that ye Governour or Commander in Cheif [sic] shall commissionate and appoint persons accordingly and Whereas the above bound John Robinson Gentl. hath a Commission from the Honble. Alexander Spotswood to be Agent of the Store House att Urbanna in Middlesex County Now the Condition of this obligation is that if John Robinson Gentl. shall in all things relateing to the Office of an Agent hereafter & fairly demean himself according to the intent and meaning of the aforesaid Act that then the above obligation to be voyd otherwise to remain in full force
In presence of us Wil. Stanard, Jn. Thacker
At a Court continued and held for Middx. County the 8th day of November 1714 John Robinson and Christopher Robinson gentl. came into Court and acknowledged the above bond to be their act and deed which is admitted to record.
Vestry Book pp.188/189 vestry 16 Jun 1724
Pursuant to an Act of the last Session of Assembly Entitled an Act for the better and more effectual Improveing the Staple of Tobacco This Vestry doe lay out the Parish into precincts and appoint two persons in Each precinct to Examine and Enquire of the names & number of ye persons Allow'd by the Said Act to tend Tobo and the Crops of the Several planters within the sd precinct respectivley and the numbr [superscript] of plants growing or Shall have been tended on any plantation or plantations Some time in July next.
[followed by precinct definitions and persons assigned]
Order'd that if the bounds of any precinct Shall Strike through any plantation or plantations, the Crops on Such plantation or plantations Shall fall under ye View & numbering of the Viewers &c appointed for that precinct wherein the house Stands that the people Tending Such Crop Shall live in.
Order Book 6-129 6 Oct 1724 county accounts
To James Smith and James Daniel, Counters of tobacco plants 473lbs tobo.
Vestry Book p.203 vestry 15 Jun 172 [8 added by Chamberlayne in
Order'd That Mr Richd Hill & Mr John Marston, in the beginning of the next Month do Examine & Enqr of the names & number of the persons allow'd by Law to tend Tobo and the Crops of the Several Planters & number of Plants growing on any & Every Plantation or Plantations from the Lower end of this Parish to Mr. Kemp's Mill and So across to Mr Churchhill's Creek wch is alotted for their precinct. And that they cut up or cause to be cut up & distroy'd [sic] all Stalks Slips & Suckers wthin the Sd Prcinct and perform & Execute the Several duties & powers given & enjoin'd them by the Act of assembly for the better & more Effectual improving the Staple of Tobo.
[followed by the various districts "to do the Same" including the following]
Mr James Smith [sic on James, see below] & Mr James Daniel to do the Same from the lower bounds of Colo Grymes's Land up the Parish to the road leading from Prittymans to the Dragon Bridge.
From Middlesex County VA Order Book Abstracts 1732-1737
by Lydia Sparacio Bontempo 2002 [original court pages given]
p.37 3 Dec 1734 Churchill Jones & Edmund Berkeley, Gent. are appointed to examine the Weights at Major Matthew Kemp's Warehouse by the Standard of the County.
James Reid & John Robinson, Gent. are appointed to examine the Weights at Urbanna Warehouse by the Standard of the County.
p.76 5 Oct 1736 Edwin Thacker and James Reid, Gent. are apointed to view the warehouse at Urbanna and to agree with workmen to make such an addition to the warehouse and such repairs as they shall think fit.
p.78 5 Oct 1736 [payment list] To William Duble per his account for addition to the warehouse at Urbanna 3500
p.89 4 Oct 1737 John Rhodes and John Wortham came and made oath before me Edmund Berkeley that the Transer [sic for "Transfer"] Tobacco in Urbanna Warehouse was one thousand seven hundred and six pounds and was sold at sixteen shillings and six pence percent.
p.91/92 1 Nov 1737 [payment list]
To the Inspectors at Urbanna for percent at 1.13.0 200
To the Constable for removing Tobacco suckers 1170
To 4 percent for Cask on 4150 166
To the Sherif [sic] for collecting 3931# Tobacco at 6 percent 659
To 10 percent on 11806 for paying Inspectors notes 1181
From Middlesex County VA Order Book Abstracts 1740-1745 by Lydia Sparacio Bontempo 2002
p.134 1 Jul 1740 John Rhodes, John Wortham, Christopher Curtis
and Robert Dudley are adjudged to the honourable the Lieutenant
Governor as persons duly qualified to serve as Inspectors at Urbanna
Warehouse in this county.
George Harding, Churchill Jones, Thomas Laughlin and Thomas Harding are recommended to the honourable the Lieutenant Governor as persons duly qualified to serve as Inspectors at Kings [sic for Kemp's?] Warehouse in this County.
p.148 4 Nov 1740 Christopher Robinson and James Reid, Gent. are
appointed to examine and Try the Weights belonging to the Scales at
Urbanna Warehouse by the Standard Weights of this County.
Edmund Berkeley and John Robinson, Gent. are appointed to examine and Try the Weights belonging to the Scales at Kemp's Warehouse by the Standard Weights of this County.
p.170 4 Aug 1741 John Rhodes, John Wortham, Christopher Curtis
and Robert Dudley are recommended to the Honourable the Lieutenant
Governor as persons qualified to serve as Inspectors at Urbanna
Warehouse in this County.
George Hardin, Churchill Jones, Thomas Laughlin and Thomas Hardin are commended to the Honourable the Lieutenant Governor as persons qualified to serve as Inspectors at Kemp's Warehouse in this County.
p.176 30 Sep 1741 James Reid and John Walker, Gent. are
appointed to examine and try the weights and scales at Urbanna
Warehouse by the Standard weights of this County according to the Act
of Assembly in that case made and provided.
Edmund Berkeley and John Robinson, Gent. are apointed to examine and try the weights and scales at Kemp's Warehouse by the Standard weights of this County according to the Act of Assembly in that case made and provided.
p.200 7 Sep 1742 John Rhodes, John Wortham,Christopher Curtis
and John Aldin are recommended to the Honble. the Lieut. Governor as
persons duly qualified as Inspectors at Urbanna Warehouse in this
George Hardin, Churchill Jones, John Fearn and William Hackney are recommended to the Honble. the Lieut. Governor as persons duly qualified as Inspectors at Kemp's Warehouse in this County.
p.231 6 Sep 1743 John Rhodes, Christopher Curtis, John Aldin
and Robert Dudley are recommended to the Honble. the Lieut. Governor
as persons duly qualified to serve as Inspectors at Urbanna Warehouse
in this County.
George Hardin, Churchill Jones, William Owen and John Berry are recommended to the Honble. the Lieut. Governor as persons duly qualified to serve as Inspectors at Kemp's Warehouse in this County.
James Reid and John Walker, Gent. are appointed to examine and try the Weights and Scales at Urbanna Warehouse by the standard weights of this County according to the Act of Assembly in that case made and provided. John Robinson and Philip Grymes, Gent. are apointed to examine and try the Weights and Scales at Kemp's Warehouse by the Standard weights of this County according to the Act of Assembly in that case made and provided. Ordered that the Sheriff remove a sufficient number of the Standard Weights from where they are kept to Kemp's Warehouse in order to try the Weights belonging to the said Warehouse and after the warehouse weights are tryed then to return the Standard Weights to the place from where they were carryed and for his so doing to be allowed at the laying of the next County levy.
p.234 4 Oct 1743 The Inspectors at Kemp's Warehouse in this
County returned their account of the Transfer Tobacco in their hands
&c. and made oath thereto.
The Inspectors at Urbanna Warehouse in this County returned their account of the Transfer Tobacco in their hands &c. and made oath thereto.
p.262/263 4 Sep 1744 John Rhodes, Christopher Curtis, John
Aldin and Robert Dudley, Gent. are recommended to the Honble. the Lt.
Governor as persons duly qualified to serve as Inspectors at Urbanna
and Kemp's Warehouse in this County.
Thomas Laughlin continued an Inspector of pork and beef &c. in this County.
James Reid and John Walker, Gent. are appointed to examine and try the Weights and Scales at Urbanna Warehouse by the standard Weights of this County according to the Act of Assembly in that case made and provided. John Robinson and Philip Grymes, Gent. are appointed to examine and try the Weights and Scales at Kemp's Warehouse by the standard Weights of this County according to the Act of Assembly.
From film of the Court Orders 1758-1767, 6 Apr 1762
George Daniel Gentleman apptd an Inspector of Tobacco at Urbanna Warehouse.
Prettyman's Rolling Road
Of course, there were other crops grown in Middlesex, but the following is an interesting note regarding various production activities in Middlesex.
Order Book 3 4 Apr 1698
The Customs House
The Customs House is across Prettyman's Rolling Road from the Old Tobacco Warehouse. The tour book Rivers and Roads of Middlesex County, Virginia (1996) says the following:
Customs House was noted as early as 1770 when Inspector General John Williams visited Urbanna and wrote that it was "a good brick building" consisting of three rooms, one large and two small ones, and that "no part of it is occupied for any other purpose. And I think it reasonable at a rent of ten pounds per annum." A window in an interior wall through which customs business might have been conducted and an old vault in the basement seem to confirm this use of the building which is now a private home named Little Sandwich for the Earl of Sandwich. Dormer windows have been added and the brick-floored English basement transformed into kitchen and dining room. Unusual details include the exterior chimney on the south end of the house and interior chimney on the north end. The brick pattern, Flemish bond, matches that of the Old Tobacco Warehouse. Since 1934 the home has been in the family of Virginia Governor Andrew Jackson Montague.
Thank you for reading! For more pictures of Urbanna be sure and
read the Urbanna
Original Court Order Books on film and at the Courthouse
Court Order Book Abstracts by Ruth and Sam Sparacio (titles vary)
Middlesex County VA Order Book Abstracts 1732-1737 by Lydia Sparacio Bontempo 2002
Middlesex County VA Order Book Abstracts 1740-1745 by Lydia Sparacio Bontempo 2002
Deed Books on film and at the Courthouse
Deed Book Abstracts by Ruth and Sam Sparacio (titles vary)
The Parish Register of Christ Church, Middlesex County, Va. from 1653-1812. The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Virginia 1897, reprinted 1964, 1975, 1990
Rivers and Roads of Middlesex County, Virginia Self-guided Tours of Historic and Scenic Sites. 1999
Return to the Middlesex Tour Page
to my main Genealogy Page
4 Jun 2010
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