History

VIRGINIA'S NORTHERN NECK is the northernmost of three peninsulas extending to the Chesapeake Bay. It is bordered by the Potomac River on the north and the Rappahannock River on the south. The Northern Neck is an area rich in history and includes the birthplaces of three of the country's first five presidents: Washington, Madison, and Monroe. Nearby historical and cultural museums and many other points of interest make learning about our country's formative years tangible and fun.

The Rappahannock River is named for the tribe that fished, hunted, and lived in this area prior to the expanding settlements of the colonists. Fones Cliffs was home to three Rappahannock Indian villages, and the scene of an attack on Captain John Smith and his crew in 1608 as Smith explored the area. The Captain John Smith Chesapeake National Historic Trail is the first and only National Water Trail in the United States.



 History marker and old courthouse.

The next morning we went up the shore, and our friend Moscoe, followed us along the shore, and at last desired to goe with us on our Boat. But as we passed by Pisacack, Matchopeak, and Mecoppum, three Townes situated high upon white clay clifts: the other side all a low playne marish, and the river there but narrow. Thirtie or fortie Rapahannocks, had so accomodated themselves with branches, as we tooke them for little bushes growing among the sedge, still seeing their arrowes strike the Targets, and dropped in the river: wherat Moscoe fell flat in the boat on his face, crying the Rapahanocks, which presently we espied to be the bushes, which at our first volley fell downe on the sledge, when wee neare a halfe myile from them, they shewed themselves dauncing and singing very merrily. - Captain John Smith's Diary - August 18, 1608