Area History from the Harrower Journal
Following are miscellaneous historical tidbits of the local area as excerpted from the John Harrower Journal and transcribed by Sue Gordon for a WPA report in 1937.
Arriving at Fredericksburg
Mr. Harrower came to Virginia on the Snow Planter. He mentions anchoring at Urbanna, and passing Port Royal, the little hamlet having the distinction of coming within one vote of being the site of the Capitol of the United States at the time Philadelphia was selected. He writes of the river banks, seven miles above Port Royal, being covered with trees and blossoms and gentlemen’s seats and planters’ houses being seen plainly from the ship.
The nearest church to Belvidere was in Fredericksburg and very often Mr. Harrower was unable to attend on account of not having a saddle for his horse.
Growing in the Garden
Green peas were planted in the garden in early March and ready for eating in early June. A second crop was planted in the summer. Cucumbers, watermelons and musk melons were planted in the middle of March. Watermelons grew up to 20 pounds. Wild cherries were ripe in late May or early June. Strawberries were eaten on May 8, 1775. Indian corn was planted in April and May.
Fodder for Feed
In September they began to pull fodder; a colonial practice was to pull the tender leaves from the [corn] plant while still green and wrap them in bundles to be used as feed for livestock during the winter. It was also the practice to cut off the top of the stalk just above the highest ear and store the tops for fodder. At Belvidera about 3 weeks were required to pull fodder from approximately 400 acres.
Letters Back Home
Mr. Harrower wrote his wife that he had every necessity. He speaks of the Colonels fine strawberries, cherries, melons, honey, cider and toddies, he mentions the melons being so near the school-house he could look out at them.