Chuckatuck gets new sign

Published 7:41 pm Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The village of Chuckatuck will soon get an updated historical marker that includes more information about the history of the area.

“The original sign didn’t say much about Chuckatuck at all,” said Drexel Bradshaw, who was given the task of rewriting it by the Greater Chuckatuck Historical Foundation, which is sponsoring the sign.

The first historical marker says only that a colonial church is located in Chuckatuck and briefly mentions occurrences during the American Revolution and Civil War, using all of 37 words to do so.

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But the new sign increases the verbiage to 99 words. It mentions everything the old sign did and also includes the Nansemond Indians, a Quaker meeting, a gristmill, Chuckatuck’s history as a center of commerce, the fact two-term Virginia Gov. Mills E. Godwin was raised there and that the Chuckatuck Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I think the end result is going to be much more informative about Chuckatuck than what was up there before,” Bradshaw said.

He said the process took about four to five months. Every statement on the sign has to be proved with historical references, and Bradshaw said the justification took two full pages for just 99 words.

“Even the couple of things that were already on there, I still had to justify those again,” he said. “That was the only thing that caught me by surprise.”

The new sign states that the Nansemond Indians lived in Chuckatuck when English colonists began patenting land there in the 1630s. An Anglican parish, Quaker meeting and gristmill were established during the 17th century, the sign states.

In July 1781, British Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton passed through after a raid in Southside Virginia.

Union and Confederate forces skirmished at Chuckatuck on April 22 and May 3, 1863, according to the new sign.

The sign cost the organization $1,600. It will be placed near the intersection of Godwin Boulevard and Kings Highway after the city redesigns the intersection.

“We’re glad to see it done,” Bradshaw said. “It was something we needed to do.”

The state Department of Historic Resources approved the new sign recently, along with updated text for another sign in Russell County and six new ones in Harrisonburg and Lynchburg and the counties of Accomack, Bath and Sussex.