Why do we call it Portsmouth, Virginia ?

What would one day be Portsmouth was first sighted by Capt. John Smith in 1608 when he explored the Elizabeth River.

Fifty years later, the land was granted to Captain William Carver for settlement. Carver made a monumental political blunder when he supported Nathaniel Bacon’s bloody rebellion against the tyrannical Governor Berkeley in 1676, by leading a tiny naval squadron in an attempt to blockade Governor Berkeley and his supporters on the eastern shore -to whence they had retreated when Bacon’s motley army over-ran Williamsburg.

Bacon died shortly thereafter, and the rebellion disintegrated. Governor Berkeley was not in a forgiving mood and hanged Capt. Carver for his role in the thing. Upon his death title to his lands reverted to the crown.

In 1716, the lands formerly owned by Carver were granted to Col. William Crawford, a prominent local citizen and politician.

In 1752, Crawford platted 65 acres of his holdings into 122 building lots and petitioned the General Assembly for authority to establish the “Town of Portsmouth.”

He undoubtedly copied the name from that great seaport, Portsmouth, England, probably in hopes his town would become a prosperous seaport.

Crawford built his home on the main street of the new town, which became known, and remains known, as Crawford Street.


  1. Danny Cole says:

    Someone should drag this to history class with them. I enjoy the blogs about the area info. I’m not in the market to buy a home, but I keep up with your site so I can read the blogs and stories that you post.

  2. Juanita Balford says:

    Been down Crawford St many-a-time. Nice to know a lil bit of history, so next time Im down that way, I will probably see it in a whole different light.

  3. Avis English says:

    Always neat to learn something new

  4. Paeton says:

    Cool. Have to agree with Avis, learning something new everytime I read one of your posts. I’m not in the market for real estate at the moment, but I like to read the other articles you post too.

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