Harwood Plantation is located on Route 238 in the Lee Hall community of Newport News.
William Harwood emigrated from England in 1622. His great-great-great grandfather Captain Thomas Harwood owned a 1,500-acre plantation dubbed Queen’s Hith, an Old English term meaning “river landing”. The admirable captain served as a militia officer, tobacco inspector, and later the Speaker of the House of Burgesses. In 1769, William Harwood completed the Georgian-style house located on the expansive property of the Great Warwick Road – this long road linked the colonial capital of Williamsburg with the harbor town of Hampton. The twenty-four-acre property contains three secondary buildings, two cemeteries, two road traces, and a newly constructed earthen fortification.
The 247-year-old house and grounds were used by military forces during the Revolutionary War. General Thomas Nelson’s Virginia Militia used it as a shelter shortly before the surrender of the British. During the War of 1812, the military utilized the property. During the Civil War, Confederate generals occupied the property, where the plantation residence served as a military hospital during Peninsula Campaign.
“I’ve had some experiences, but don’t think I’ve seen anything appear. I’m sure there are realms of the paranormal, alternative realities that we don’t understand. But I’m not someone who’s seen anything, nor do I want to.” ~ Endview Curator, 2012
Endview survived both the destruction of the American Revolution and Civil War. An inscription on one of the mantles in the upstairs of the home is a visual reminder of the occupation by both the Confederate and Union forces. The City acquired Endview in 1995 and slated it for restoration. After a two-year rehabilitation project, Endview was opened to the public as a historic house museum in 2000. The property has been used for military reenactments including events related to the 225th anniversary of the Siege of Yorktown which was held in 2006.
Over the years, varying accounts tell tales of haunting and strange phenomena on the plantation. Southeast Virginia Investigations explored the property in 2012 and gathered evidence of possible paranormal activity, such as strange noises and voices on digital recordings. There lies a collection of cabins located in the woods behind the home – the cabins are very small, with built in bunk-beds. Evidently, the cabins were built by the city to accommodate war reenactors on the property during plantation events.
A structure is more than the bricks and mortar used to construct it. Buildings, ancient or new, become lodges for both physical and nonphysical dwelling. Surviving memorials of the past invite sensations that are nearly impossible to articulate. Such holds true for the plantation at Endview.
It is within reason to believe that surviving memorials of the past invite strange sensations. However, is it within the realm of possibility that the events of the past exist as ethereal entities – lingering among the living?
Some things are never what they seem.