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Endview Plantation

The Harwoods and Curtis' of Endview


    The Harwood name is one that is intertwined with the development of Warwick County where family members provided the county with political leadership for over 200 years. The land on which Endview now stands was held by the family nearly 250 years and is one of the last colonial structures still in existence in Newport News.

    Thomas was the first of the Warwick Harwoods to arrive in Virginia. He landed at Jamestown shortly after the 1622 Indian Massacre joining his uncle, Sir Edward Harwood, a Virginia Company stockholder, and his brother William. Thomas, who obviously moved in the colony’s circle of influential persons, initially settled near Jamestown where he was joined by his wife Grace, but they moved to Mulberry Island in 1624 tenanting Captain William Peirce’s house.

    In 1626 Harwood received a patent of 100 acres between two creeks at Blunt Point near Deep Creek and the Warwick River called Harwood’s Neck. This land proved to be poor for farming and he moved back to Mulberry Island. During this time he helped lead militia raids against the Indians which earned him the rank of captain. In 1629 he was elected to the House of Burgesses. Hardwood’s success led him to become part of the Kiskiake Settlement further inland and to begin acquiring land along Skiffes Creek. Harwood continued to add to his land holdings throughout the decade, naming his plantation Queen’s Hith, an Old English term meaning river landing.

    Thomas Harwood became very active in the colony’s government, serving as Burgess for over 20 years and becoming Speaker of the House in 1629. He continued to serve the colony in several posts, including tobacco inspector and councilor until his death in 1652.

    Thomas’ son, Humphrey (1642-1698), inherited his father’s property and continued to expand the holdings, amassing 2,644 acres east of Skiffes Creek by 1680. Like his father, Humphrey Harwood was very active in the militia and in local politics, serving Warwick County as a county justice, sheriff, and as a burgess from 1685 until his death.

    William Harwood inherited his father Humphrey’s estate and political position within the county. He served Warwick as a burgess, magistrate, sheriff, and tobacco inspector. When he died in 1737 in a riding accident, the land passed to his son, William, Jr. who likewise took up the political leadership. In 1769 William, Jr. built the home that is now known as Endview. William became a strong supporter of the patriotic cause and was a delegate at several Virginia Conventions. He served on the committee that produced the 1774 Virginia Resolves and became a militia colonel during the Revolutionary War..

    Following the war, Col. Harwood sold off part of his acreage. When he died in 1795, he left the Endview farm to his son, “Big” Humphrey, while the Mulberry Island land went to another son, William III. Humphrey maintained the farm and served as Warwick County’s delegate to the General Assembly. A description of him suggests a fairly simple lifestyle among the gentry as the land in Warwick County played out in the early nineteenth century.

    Endview passed to Humphrey’s eldest child, also named Humphrey, in 1824. The declining agricultural output of his farm may have been an important factor in the property’s sale to his kinsman, Humphrey Harwood Curtis in 1858. Dr. Curtis purchased the estate for $1,000, using money left to him by his father, Daniel Prentiss Curtis, who had married Col. Harwood’s granddaughter.

    Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis supported the Confederacy when the Civil War erupted in 1861. He helped recruit the local volunteer company, the Warwick Beauregards, which included nine members of his family. Dr. Curtis became the company’s first commander and the unit was mustered into the 32nd Virginia Volunteer Regiment by Lt. Col. Benjamin S. Ewell at Williamsburg on May 27, 1861. In addition, Dr. Curtis became a supplier to the Confederate government, selling corn, fodder, wheat, and even mules.

    Endview was used as a Confederate hospital during the siege with Dr. Curtis’’ wife Maria administering to the sick soldiers. Her charm and caring prompted members of the Mecklenburg Grays to present her with a silver cup as a tribute to her kindness. After the Confederates retreated during the evening of May 3, 1862, the Union army occupied Endview and the Harwoods removed to Danville for the rest of the war.

    The family returned in May, 1865, and recovered the farm from the Freedmen’s Bureau which had seized it during the occupation. Maria’s piano, taken by Union soldiers, never was returned. Dr. Curtis resumed his medical practice while continuing to farm the land. The family eventually included 11 children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. The devastation of the war contributed to bankruptcy in 1873, but the farm remained in Curtis hands. Following the early death of Dr. Curtis in 1881, his wife Maria inherited the property. Her lost piano having been replaced, Maria gave lessons to soldiers stationed at Fort Eustis during the First World War. When she died in 1919, Endview passed on to her six surviving children and their heirs who held the land until selling it to a real estate company in 1985.
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