Make your own free website on Tripod.com







Berkeley, on the James River between Williamsburg
and Richmond, is the birthplace of the first Thanks-
giving, the first bourbon, the first performance of
"Taps", a signer of the Declaration of Independence
and a U.S. President. Built in 1726, Berkeley
survived the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812
and the War Between the States.

Benjamin Harrison, son of the builder of Berkeley

and the plantation's second owner, was a signer of
the Declaration of Independence and three-time
Governor of Virginia.

William Henry Harrison, Benjamin's third son, born

at Berkeley, was the famous Indian fighter known as
"Tippecanoe," who later became the ninth President
of the United States, in 1841. His grandson, Benjamin
Harrison, was the 23rd President.

On December 4, 1619, the first official Thanks-

giving in America was observed when early settlers
from England came ashore at Berkeley.


The early Georgian mansion is said to be the oldest

3-story brick house in Virginia that can prove its
date. The estate figured prominently in colonial and
early American politics.

The original mansion, built in 1726 of brick fired
on the plantation, occupies a beautifully landscaped
hilltop site overlooking the historic James River.

The handsome Adam woodwork and double arches

of the "Great Rooms" in the mansion were installed
by Benjamin Harrison VI in 1790 at the direction
of Thomas Jefferson.

The rooms in Berkeley are furnished with a magnifi-

cent collection of eighteenth century antiques.


Berkeley's ten acres of formal terraced boxwood

gardens and lawn extend a quarter-mile from the
front door to the James River.




In the basement, original hand-hewn floor joists are
visible. The basement also displays models of early
plantation buildings.

George Washington, and later the succeeding nine

Presidents of the United States, all enjoyed the
famous hospitality of Berkeley in this dining room
with its view of the James River.

It was at Berkeley that William Henry Harrison
received private tutoring, which gave him the skill
and knowledge to pass entrance requirements to
attend Hampden-Sydney College.



Visit Hampden-Sydney College



Graphic Intensive