Read on as a regular state park visitor shares a bit of history with those he loves as they walk along the shoreline at Caledon Natural Area.
On Sunday morning we got to have a "history lesson" with Grandpa. Grandpa volunteers at Caledon. Here is a little about what he taught us . . .
The current Park called Caledon is made up of land that was several farms during colonial times. The names of some of these farms include: Mt Stuart, Boyd's Hole, Belmont, Hickory Hill, Retreat, and Caledon.
In Colonial times, (from about 1659 through 1766) people lived on all these farms and did business at the store and tobacco warehouses that were located at Boyd's Hole. Boyd's Hole was a settlement on the shore line of the Potomac River. Farmers grew tobacco and brought it to the warehouses to have it inspected, and packed in barrels (Hogs Heads) for shipment to England. The inspectors made sure it was good quality tobacco.
The ledgers (record books) for the store at Boyd’s Hole show as many as 287 names of people who had accounts there. These people would buy and sell things as part of their daily lives.
The North boundary of the park has about 3 1/2 miles of shore line on the Potomac River which is also the boundary between the state of Maryland and the state of Virginia. During the Civil War the Union patrolled the river with ships at this point. The Confederate Troops would bring artillery pieces to Boyd's Hole and shoot at the Union ships.
At least two different spies lived and worked in the area of Boyd's Hole. One of them, Fanny Dade, was arrested the day after the Civil War ended and was taken on a ship to Washington DC.
During the late 1800's many of these farms listed above were purchased by Mr. W.A. Smoot and operated by him and his hired hands. His son, Lewis E. Smoot inherited this land from his father and it ceased to be used for farming.
In 1974, Lewis Smoot's widow gifted this land to the state of Virginia to be used as a natural area or state park. This Park is called Caledon Natural Area and is open to the public. It has hiking, nature trails, wild life, sharks teeth hunting and more. There are over 2,500 acres making up Caledon.
We loved learning the history of "Caledon Natural Area" but also enjoyed walking the shoreline looking for shark’s teeth, riding in the van through the woods, and looking for wildlife.
Hannah was sure to keep track of the number of animals we saw while driving through the park today. She counted 13 deer, 8 blue herons, 1 eagle, 1 egret, and 2 hawks.
We had a great time with Grandpa.
More about Caledon Natural Area:
Caledon Natural Area, 11617 Caledon Rd., King George, VA 22485; Phone: (540) 663-3861; email,caledon.
Drive Time:Northern Virginia, 1 hour 45 minutes; Richmond, 1 hour, 30 minutes; Tidewater/Norfolk/Virginia Beach, 3 hours, 30 minutes; Roanoke, 6 hours, 30 minutes.
Click herefor a Google map. Latitude, 38.333999. Longitude, -77.142639.