Friday, February 11, 2022

Book review: "Powhatan: A Bicentennial History" by Richard T. Couture

Just finished reading "Powhatan: A Bicentennial History" by Richard T. Couture.


This 527 page tome has the distinction, for me anyway, of being both dry and dull, and fascinating/interesting at the same time. The dull comes from the authors delving into much of the minutiae of the county records. Who bought how many acres in which location, the pay of county officials, etc. Knowledge that can be helpful, but certainly not as interesting as the people and their stories.

The interesting parts were the stories of the founding, the first communities, the dealings with the Indians, the personalities of the settlers, the Huguenots, and much more. For example, did you know that the current Powhatan Courthouse used to be named Scottville? Philip St. George Cocke, a Brigadier General in the Confederate Army, and Powhatan resident, helped organize Virginia's defenses along the Potomac River early in the war. He would later commit suicide at his mansion, Belmead, in Powhatan County. And who knew that the University of Richmond began as Dunlora Academy in 1830, in Powhatan. It would move to Henrico County in 1832 and eventually become the University of Richmond.

There are many more such interesting stories about Powhatan and its citizens. If you can plod through the excessive minutiae you will be rewarded with the fascinating stories of the growth and stories of the county and its people.