New Va. historical highway markers honor Hampton Roads history

Hidden History

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) — Thirteen new historical highway signs have been approved in Virginia, two of which honor Hampton Roads history.

The first highway marker will be dedicated to St. John’s Episcopal Church.

According to the Department of Historical Resources, James Chisholm was the first pastor of St. John’s Church founded in 1848. By 1855, the DHR says the Portsmouth community faced a yellow fever epidemic.

Pastor Chisholm continued to minister to those yellow fever victims during that time. He contracted the disease himself and passed away later that same year.

The Episcopal Church later added Chisholm to its calendar of saints.

The marker created in honor of the history found in St. John’s Episcopal will be located at 424 Washington St. in Portsmouth.

The second highway marker in Hampton Roads will reflect Virginia Beach history.

According to the Department of Historical Resources, the marker “Skirmish at James’s Plantation” will be placed at the corner of Princess Anne Road and Elson Green Avenue.

In February of 1781, historians say Capt. Johann Ewald, commander of Hessian cavalry and riflemen, launched a surprise attack on Capt. Amos Weeks at James’s Plantation.

At the time, Capt. Weeks was leading 520 men to disrupt British operations in the area; Capt. Ewald and his men killed 120 of them, historians say.

It will take up to three months or more for before the 13 highway markers are ready for their sponsors to dedicate them.

The other 11 new historical highway markers are in areas such as Amherst, Bath, Bedford, Hanover, Nottoway, Rockingham, Smyth, Danville, Petersburg, Roanoke and Winchester.

Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927, is considered the oldest program of its kind in the nation.

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