Place:Northbank, King and Queen, Virginia, United States

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NameNorthbank
TypeInhabited place
Coordinates37.76537°N 77.074623°W
Located inKing and Queen, Virginia, United States     (1722 - )

Northbank Plantation, on the Mattiponi River, is located in King and Queen County, approximately 3 miles northwest of Walkerton, Virginia. Google Map

Historical Background

The following information is from the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form for Northbank.

John Camm, the first known owner of Northbank, came to King and Queen County from Yorkshire, England. John was a gentleman justice of King and Queen and its high sheriff. He married Mary Bullock on May 22, 1722. Mary was the daughter of Allice and Richard Bullock (Alice Bullock was born in 1663 and died in 1759). Richard Bullock, Mary’s brother, is buried in Northbank’s family cemetery, and his table tombstone dates his birth in 1701 and his death in 1727. We believe this tombstone is the 3rd oldest marked grave in King and Queen County. John and Mary Camm had nine children, of which four children died before the age of four, and only three lived to adulthood. In 1934, John Camm’s will, dated 1766, was found in the attic of Northbank. In his will, Mr. Camm gave and devised his lands and plantations, with the water grist mill, land, and all appurtenances in King and Queen County to his daughter, Ann Booker for and during her natural life and after her death he gave and devised the same land and premises unto his grandson, Benjamin Cluverius, and to his heirs forever. Additionally in his will, he devised to his nephew, his only namesake, Rev. John Camm, President of The College of William and Mary a mourning ring. The nephew was a well-known author during the later part of the 1700’s and had written several books/pamphlets relating to the 2 penny act and critical remarks on letters “afcribed” to Common Sense. His actual documents are housed at the Library of Virginia. At this time, Northbank consisted of approximately 450 acres. According to King and Queen County tax books, around 1790, this property consisted of 2 dwellings, 12 outbuildings, and kept 24 slaves. Mr. Camm died between 1767-1775; however, his wife, Mary, passed away in 1753. When Ann Booker inherited Northbank, she was 43 years old, and had sons by 2 previous marriages. After Ann Booker’s death, her eldest son, Benjamin Cluverious inherited Northbank in 1775. Mr. Cluverius is listed in the tax books as a bachelor, and during the Revoluntary War, he provided the colonial troops with corn, brandy, “breeves”, and “huntin shirts and leggings”. In the 1804 King and Queen County Land Tax Book, Mr. Cluverius is listed as having 2 dwellings, 12 outbuilding, and 4 colts. Additionally, during this timeframe, Northbank is listed as owning 20-24 slaves. When Benjamin Cluverius died in 1811, Northbank fell to his half-brother, Robert Pollard. Robert was also a son of Ann Camm Booker, daughter of John Camm. At that time, Robert was a man of 61 years, living in King William County. According to family tradition, Robert Pollard, after plowing his King William County home, Zoar, would swim his horses across the Mattaponi River to Northbank. Pilings, visible during low tide on Northbank’s property, suggest river traffic to be regular. There also remains evidence of an old path/road leading down to the pilings. In Robert Pollard’s indentured will, dated March 5, 1817, he passed to his son, Benjamin Pollard, the right, title, interest, claims and demain a certain track of parcel of land lying situated and being in the parish of St Stephens and county of King and Queen, containing 419 acres. For this right, Benjamin paid $1000.00. A copy of Robert Pollard’s will is at the Library of Virginia and it is witnessed via personal signature of Carter Braxton, a signer of the Declaration of Independence. It is said that Carter Braxton was a frequent visitor to Northbank. In the King and Queen County Land Tax Book for the year 1827, Benjamin Pollard added the southern addition to the dwelling at a cost of $500.00. At that time, Northbank consisted of 419 acres of property. It is believed that Benjamin had probably lived at Northbank for many years prior to inheriting the property from his father. According to the King and Queen County Historial Home book, prior to his father’s death, Benjamin was probably his father’s farm manager at Northbank, and was age 25 when his uncle, Benjamin Cluverius, passed away. During his ownership, Benjamin was made sheriff of King and Queen County, and held the post until 1821. He also represented the county in the General Assembly from 1823-1830, and again in 1834 until his death the next year. Northbank was then inherited by Benjamin Pollard’s only child – Mary Ann. Mary Ann married Albert Gallatin Sale, a young man who came to the county from Baltimore and acquired a store in Walkerton and also an additional track of land in the vicinity. It was under their ownership that the ell was added to the dwelling in 1863. The ell date of 1863 cannot be confirmed in King and Queen County Tax books; however, this construction date has been passed down by the generations as the official addition date. Perhaps with is due to the impact of the war with counties not capturing and duly noting all property changes. The value of the land, dwelling house and outbuildings was $8,012.50 as noted in the Land Tax books for King and Queen County in the mid 1860’s. During this time, Northbank harvested corn, oats, tobacco, and potatoes. Animals consisted of horses, cattle, cows, oxen, sheep, and swine. And in the 1860 Tax Book, Northbank is listed as having five slave houses that housed 24 slaves ranging in age from 2 to 55 years old. During the Civil War, Northbank was plundered by enemy raiders on several occassions. In particular, it is said that General Sheridan was one of the highest ranking Union officers to occupy this area of King and Queen County, to include Northbank, during the times the property was ransacked. It has also been passed down by generations, that there are yankee soldiers buried on Northbank’s property, but the graveyard location, at present, remains unknown. In 1864, a letter from then owner, Albert Sale, to his sons (who fought at Gettysburg and Seven Pines) was written. His letter is now on display at the King and Queen Historical Museum (letter outlined below). On July 11, 1864, towards the end of the war, Albert Gallatin Sale wrote the following in a letter from Northbank to his three sons in the Confederate Army. My Dear Boys, Your Mother and William write so often that I am at a loss what news to write you…My Negroes stood firm, but I suffered the loss of other property considerably when the Yankees passed here going and coming. They took all my bacon except what I hid. I had a good dinner for the Michigan boys, as a Union Soldier called them, but they behaved so badly there was no pleasure in it…They said they would break the things if my wife did not behave but they got all my bacon, butter, buttermilk, cream, and everything. They returned here Sunday evening in larger force. O boys, how much I want this war to stop. It is a great time down here for mean people, but hard for honest ones. Your father, A.G. Sale

One of A. G. Sale's sons, Irving C. Sale was assigned to: Co. H, 53rd Va. Regiment Armistead Brigade, Picketts Division Longsteet’s Corps A.N.V. Irving Sale was held at Union Prison Camp at Johnson’s Island, Ohio. During the war, one son was wounded at Seven Pines, and another son was captured at Gettsburg and imprisoned until war’s end. Mrs. Sale passed away in 1875, and her heirs mutually held Northbank until 1898 when the whole became the property of her youngest daughter Mary Lewis Sale. Mary Lewis married James Burke of Essex, and they made Northbank their home. Northbank was inherited by their children in 1931, Malcolm Burke and Nannie Burke. Malcolm Burke, King and Queen Commissioner for 43 years, occupied the home and later became sole owner. He worked on his books in the same office used by Benjamin Pollard when county sheriff. Malcolm Burke’s only child, Elizabeth Burke, inherited Northbank from her parents, and in 1990, under Ms. Burke’s ownership, Northbank was sold for the first time in 268 years.

Major Bibliographical References:

  1. Old Houses of King & Queen County, Virginia, by Virginia Cox and Willie Weathers, published 1973
  2. Interview with Caroline Jones, owner of Canterbury in King and Queen County. Ms. Jones is the 87 year old niece of Malcom Burke of Northbank (Sept, 13, 2004).
  3. King and Queen County Courthouse, Deed Books
  4. Library of Virginia, King and Queen County Tax Books
  5. Library of Virginia, King and Queen County Census Data Books
  6. Library of Virginia, Wills of John Camm, Ann Booker Camm, Robert Pollard
  7. Virginia Department of Historic Resources, Archives - NorthBank - 1968
  8. Virginia Historial Society, Camm Bible Records