Indians occupied the Northern Neck for some 10,000 years before Capt. John Smith sailed up the Rappahannock River in 1608. The Powhatan Confederate was represented here by the Moraughtacunds and the Cuttatawomen tribes. A short 43 years later, Lancaster County was established from neighboring Northumberland.
Families of notable influence in the social, political and economic climate of the colonies built magnificent “empires” here, and family names like Carter and Ball still are prevalent today.
Robert “King” Carter (1663–1732) of Corrotoman Plantation (in Weems) was the son of immigrant John Carter. He acquired over 300,000 acres with some 1,000 slaves working his various properties.
Married twice, “King” Carter fathered 15 children. Among his descendants were eight governors of Virginia, three signers of the Declaration of Independence, two presidents, leader of the confederate armies Gen. Robert E. Lee, and a Supreme Court Justice.
Carter is buried alongside his wives at the church he built near Irvington, Historic Christ Church.
The Ball family, meanwhile, established themselves at Millenbeck and Epping Forest. Mary Ball, the mother of George Washington, was born about 1708. The Mary Ball Washington Museum is located in Lancaster Courthouse and offers an extensive genealogy library.
A courthouse was established in 1698 at Queenstown on the Corrotoman River but in 1742 was relocated to a central area were the militia gathered, now known as historic Lancaster Courthouse.
Today Lancaster County, with a population of some 11,400, has one of the largest communities of retirees in the state thanks to its picturesque shoreline and temperate climate.
The world class Steamboat Era Museum on the Commons in Irvington and the Kilmarnock Museum on North Main Street in Kilmarnock offer visitors a nostalgic trip back in time.
Lancaster County offices are headquartered at 8311 Mary Ball Road in Lancaster Courthouse. 462-5129. There are three incorporated towns in Lancaster County: Kilmarnock, White Stone and Irvington. The sheriff’s office can be reached at 462-5111.
Lancaster Community Library, Kilmarnock, 435-1729.
Information Center in the Lancaster by the Bay Chamber, 129 S. Main St. in Kilmarnock, 435-6092 (weekdays) or Kilmarnock Antique Mall at 144 School St.
May 25: Memorial Day Service, Christ Church, Weems.
May 29: Parade Of Homes by the Bay, Lancaster by the Bay Chamber of Commerce, Kilmarnock.