Virginia Timeline

Portsmouth, VA Timeline

                 Date                                                                                                                Event

1608 September-Capt. John Smith and 12 men sailed 6-7 miles up the Elizabeth River through Hampton Roads and discovered Indian habitation and "the greatest pine and firre trees wee ever saw in the country."
1620 Capt. William Tucker wrote a land grant for 650 acres at Seawell's Point, which started the movement of settlers south from the Peninsula to the Elizabeth River. The settlement soon spread towards the Lynnhaven and Nansemond Rivers.
1634 The Colony of Virginia was divided into eight shires, which later became known as counties.
1637 Elizabeth City County was divided into two counties; the western portion was Upper Norfolk County (later changed to Nansemond) and the eastern portion was Lower Norfolk County (later evolving into Norfolk County and Princess Anne County, eventually becoming the cities of Chesapeake and Va. Beach, respectively).
1659 Master mariner and ship owner, Capt. William Carver, settled in the area currently known as Portsmouth, He was later convicted of treason and hung. Carver's land was granted to Lt. Col. William Crawford, a wealthy merchant and ship owner.
1664 William Carver patented 890 acres of land bringing to a total of 1,129 acres with additional lands.
1676 Captain William Carver hanged by Governor William Berkeley for his role in Bacon's Rebellion.
1691 Lower Norfolk became extinct, when from it's area were formed the counties of Norfolk and Princess Anne.
1693 Norfolk County Courthouse at the corner of High St. and Court St. established (later became part of Norfolk City) Burned by Dunmore. Rebuilt between 1784 and 1788 (first courthouse.)
1716 Part of lands Carver had patented granted to Lt. Col. William Crawford, frequently spelled "Craford" or "Crafford." Crawford was a wealthy merchant and ship owner, and at various held high offices.
1752 Portsmouth founded by Col. William Crawford Feb.27.
1761  Portsmouth Parish now Trinity Church formed at the corner of High St. and Court St.
1762 Colonel Crawford died, left major portion of his land to George and Thomas Veale.
1763 First annexation by Town of Portsmouth.
1767 Gosport Shipyard established.
1775 Royal government ended.
1776 Norfolk burned by Lord Dunmore.
1779 Fort Nelson and Gosport Shipyard burned by the British troops under Gen. Matthews.
1780 British troops invaded and fortified Portsmouth.
1781 Benedict Arnold and troops occupied and fortified Portsmouth.
1784 Second annexation (Gosport) by Town of Portsmouth.
1799 Frigate Chesapeake, first ship built by the Federal Government, completed.
1800's late Lincolnsville, in Portsmouth established (area for free blacks.)
1801 Portsmouth authorized as seat of Norfolk County.
1801-1803 Portsmouth courthouse built on 3rd site.
1812 City of Hampton burned.
1812 Dismal Swamp Canal opened.
1812 British landed 2600 men at Port Norfolk (now part of Portsmouth). Guns of Fort Nelson and Fort Norfolk stopped invasion.
1815 First steamboat entered Portsmouth harbor.
1820 First lightship in the U.S. was stationed off Craney Island.
1820 U.S.S. Delaware launched at Gosport Navy Yard (the first battleship built in a government owned yard) Third ship to carry this name.
1826  Fort Nelson demolished, Naval Hospital begun.
1827 First Portsmouth newspaper established.
1830 Portsmouth Naval Hospital opened.
1834 First Railroad chartered.
1832 First steam ferry between Portsmouth and Norfolk.
1833 U.S.S. Delaware entered Drydock No. 1 at the Gosport Navy Yard. Fist ship to be drydocked in America.
1839 Ferry landing changed from foot of North St. to High St.
1844-1846 Another Portsmouth courthouse erected in Portsmouth.
1845 Portsmouth public schools authorized by law; opened in 1847.
1855 Yellow fever epidemic killed 1089 people.
1856 Ocean House, later named Hotel Monroe.
1858 Portsmouth became a city.
1861 Confederates burned Gosport Navy Yard and sunk the U.S.S. Delaware.
1862 CSS Virginia, built from the burned U.S.S. Merrimac at Navy Yard.
1862 Gosport Shipyard renamed Norfolk Naval Shipyard.
1894 Third annexation (Park View) by Portsmouth.
1907 Main building of Naval Hospital demolished, except for portico, new one erected.
1909 Fourth annexation (Scottsville and Prentis Place.)
1919 Cradock (whites) and Truxton (blacks) formed.
1919 Fifth annexation (Port Norfolk and Prentis Park.)
1942 Radio broadcasting began in Portsmouth with station WSAP, which was succeeded in 1953 by WAVY.
1943 Sixth annexation (Westhaven and Waterview.)
1949 Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum founded in the Shipyard. Moved to Portsmouth waterfront in 1963.
1952 Elizabeth City County became extinct.
1952 Elizabeth River Tunel opened for operation (between Portsmouth and Norfolk.)
1955 Portsmouth-Norfolk ferries made last crossing.
1957 First Portsmouth television station (WAVY TV 10.)
1960's Lincolnsville, in Portsmouth demolished.
1960 Seventh annexation (Cradock, Alexander Park, Simonsdale, Elizabeth Manor and other developments.)
1967 Portsmouth Marine Terminal began operation.
1968 Eighth annexation (West Norfolk, Craney Island, parts of Churchland and Western Branch district of old Norfolk County.)
The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, February 22, 2002, Portsmouth Living Section
The Virginian-Pilot, Friday, March 1, 2002, Portsmouth Living Section
The Virginian-Pilot, Sunday, March 3, 2002, The Daily Break Section