Elizabeth City County

when first created in 1634, Elizabeth City County included land on both sides of the James River
when first created in 1634, Elizabeth City County included land on both sides of the James River
Source: Newberry Library, Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

Elizabeth City County, one of the first eight counties created in 1634, disappeared in 1952 when the county was merged into the city of Hampton.

The county was named after the daughter of James I. Elizabeth's marriage to the head of the German Protestant, Frederick V, Elector of the Palatinate, was arranged by her father as part of the never-ending jockeying for power in Europe. "Electors" were rulers who were entitled to vote for the head of the Holy Roman Empire.

James I also tried to marry his son Charles to the daughter of the Catholic king of Spain, thus appeasing both Catholics and Protestants in England. The King of Spain rejected that offer. The religious tensions within England were exacerbated by these international political maneuvers.

Frederick tried to accept the crown to Bohemia as well as serve as Elector of Palatinate, but his enemies united. He was defeated by a Catholic army within one year after marrying Elizabeth. The daughter of James I was a queen for just one winter.

When the English sailed into the Chesapeake Bay in 1607 and stopped at a place they named Point Comfort, they found a Native American town named Kecoughtan (also spelled Kikotan and Kikowtan). The natives there were recent immigrants themselves, occupying that part of the peninsula after Powhatan had defeated and expelled the previous residents.

Sir Thomas Gates coveted the corn fields of the Native Americans after the "starving time" of the 1609-10 winter, and worried about potential attack by the Spaniards or Dutch. The English seized the native's land at Kecoughtan while the men were hunting, and started a new settlement with a new set of immigrants.

In 1619, the two representative from Kecoughtan attended the first-ever meeting of the General Assembly. They requested that the Virginia Company to replace the "savage" name used by the Native Americans for the site, and the company chose to honor James I's daughter.1

Elizabeth City County was one of the eight the first counties - originally called shires - created by the General Assembly in 1634. Initially it included land on both sides of the James River, from the tip of the Peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean.

Elizabeth City County existed between 1634-1952 on the tip of the Peninsula at Hampton Roads
Elizabeth City County existed between 1634-1952 on the tip of the Peninsula at Hampton Roads
Source: Ray Sterner, Rand-McNally's 1895 Atlas

"Missing" Counties of Virginia

How Counties Got Started in Virginia

Hampton

Elizabeth City County has been incorporated into the City of Hampton, and Warwick County has been incorporated into the City of Newport News
Elizabeth City County has been incorporated into the City of Hampton, and Warwick County has been incorporated into the City of Newport News
Source: Library of Congress, A map of the state of Virginia, constructed in conformity to law from the late surveys authorized by the legislature and other original and authentic documents (1859)

Links

References

1. "Uncovering Traces of Historic Kecoughtan," Center for Archaeological Research, College of William and Mary, http://www.wm.edu/sites/wmcar/research/pentran/index.php (last checked January 9, 2016)

in 1651, John Farrer located a town called Elizabeth City at the site of modern Poquoson
in 1651, John Farrer located a town called Elizabeth City at the site of modern Poquoson
Source: John Carter Brown Library, A mapp of Virginia discouered to ye Falls, and in it's Latt: From 35 deg: & 1/2 neer Florida to 41 deg: bounds of new England (by John Farrer in 1651)


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