Mulberry Island Project
1607 - 2007

A Genealogical Project in celebration of 400 Years of Virginia History

Mulberry Island is a small peninsula located between the James and Warwick Rivers.  Its name is believed to be derived from the native Virginia mulberry tree (morus rubra) that once grew in abundance.

 Here, the course of American history changed.  In June of 1610 when the starving colonists abandoned Jamestown, it was at Mulberry Island that they encountered Lord DeLaWarr's longboats.  Receiving news of the arrival of supplies and reinforcements, they turned back to Jamestown and the Virginia Colony was saved.

Probably inhabited in the first decade of English colonization, the "island" suffered severe losses in the Indian massacre of 1622 and its few survivors were forced to return to Jamestown.  By 1624, however, there were 30 residents in the area.

Early experiments with silk culture were unsuccessful but the land proved ideal for the planting of John Rolfe's sweet scented tobacco.  Rolfe, Secretary and Recorder General of the Virginia Colony when he married Pocahontas in 1614, was a joint owner of 1.700 acres on the island.

A defensive site throughout its history, Mulberry Island was purchased by the Federal Government during World War I.  Today, it is the home of Fort Eustis and the United States Army Transportation Corps.

Due to changing boundaries and names, Mulberry Island was included in other early governmental districts before becoming a part of Warwick in 1634.  No records remain for these earliest districts nor for the ancient Mulberry Island Parish.  Only fragments of Warwick County's records survived the Civil War.

Early land grant records, housed in the Library of Virginia, first mention Mulberry Island in 1614.  These documents give owners names, dates and locations, often naming neighbors and relatives.

The 1624 muster of inhabitants of Mulberry Island provides name and age, and often adds the year of arrival and ship on which an immigrant sailed.

The Warwick tax lists of 1704 and 1710 have survived and name early residents of the county.  Surrounding county courthouses for Elizabeth City (now Hampton), York, Isle of Wight, Surry, Accomack and also the counties around the Rappahannock River afford wills, deeds, marriages, and references to these Warwick families.

A few surnames of the earliest Mulberry Island families are Peirce, Smith, Barham, Richardson, Bullock, Wood, Atkins, Gaither, Gill, Lathom, Nowell, Harwood, Read, Baker and Aston.  Histories for the families of Cary, Mathews, Jones, Griffin, Rolfe, Bolling, Wilson, Claiborne, Digges, Wills, Pierce, Curtis, Haynes and Powell are among major existing works.

To be successful, this project will require the help of many interested and willing participants.  Extant records from manuscripts, diaries, obituaries, Bibles, legal documents, Revolutionary and Civil War papers and maps must be searched for all available facts and documentation.

The project welcomes copies of previously prepared histories and individual documents pertaining to all families with Mulberry Island roots.  Many To assure that all possible Mulberry Island residents and their descendants will be included, your assistance is needed.

This website is being initially established with research collected by a number of people.   FT. Eustis Historical Archaeological Association's president, John Curry, generously shared the files collected over the years by members of that group which are housed on Mulberry Island at the Matthew Jones house.  Virginia Rollings, Newport News Family History Center, who served as chairman of a committee formed to collect genealogy of Mulberry Island families, also readily shared the records collected by her committee member: Joe Atkins, Brenda Barbian, Frederick Boelt, Gloria and Nick Rogers, Walt Troy and Sherry Tyler.  Among the data collected by this committee were the files compiled by Arthur H. and Dorothy F. Vollerstsen.  A Special thank you goes to Sherry Tyler for her invaluable advice and assistance in getting this project started.

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Last updated Monday, 15 October 2001