Photograph of Pleasant Point, early 20th century
Research will explore and analyze terraced landforms along the shoreline of James River in Surry County. This comparative study will focus on three sites with historic “falling gardens”:
Four Mile Tree
Located on a bluff high above the James across from Jamestown Island, Four Mile Tree ranks as one of the oldest and most prominent properties in Surry County, with a history that can be traced to the first years of English settlement. The grounds include the oldest legible tombstone in Virginia (1650), the mid-18th century house (altered) and remains of a unique 19th century slave quarters built with pisé (rammed earth/clay).
Although altered to its present appearance, Pleasant Point remains an example of a simple, early 18th century plantation house retaining its early lines, structural system, outbuildings and landscape features.
Cedar Fields Farm
An important colonial site with terraces consistent with Pleasant Point and Four Mile Tree, and possibly others in the vicinity.
Aerial view of Mount Pleasant – click here for more information
Mount Pleasant was first settled by the English in 1620 as a plantation called Pace’s Paines. Continuously inhabited, in the 17th century the property was controlled by the Swann family and throughout most of the 18th century it belonged to the Cocke family, notably John Hartwell Cocke, the builder of Bremo. The present-day property consists of 400 acres that have been restored to its appearance in Cocke’s era ca. 1800. Extensive archaeological work has been ongoing since 2001. Archival research has been done at the University of Virginia, the Library of Virginia and through collections of personal papers and county records to focus on the sequence of development that occurred on the Mount Pleasant-Swann’s Point tract from the early 17th century on. The preceding work shows a rich architectural history that can be further explored.