Drewry Landmarks

The Drewrys, during their 350 year history in the United States, have left many wonderful landmarks that can be visited today. When you visit these sites, you will feel a sense of kinship with the Drewrys of the past and can share in the wonderful Drewry family legacy.

Homes in and around Drewryville, Virginia

"Cedar Grove" built circa 1790
home of Major Humphrey Drewry, Drewryville, Virginia

Drewryville, Virginia was originally a farm, a part of a plantation Samuel Drewry left to his son, Major Humphrey Drewry who married Frances Simmons in 1787. It is believed that Major Humphrey built the original Drewry home, Cedar Grove (picture) sometime after his marriage in 1787 and before 1795. The home is still standing and is owned by the Pope family, descendants of Hattie Pauline Drewry Pope, a great-granddaughter of Major Humphrey. Listed as a Virginia Historical Landmark the home was one of 12 buildings featured on the Bicentennial Calendar for Southampton County. When viewed from the front it maintains it's original look, but recent additions to the rear of the house have changed it considerably.

Located immediately behind the home is the Drewry Family Cemetery established in 1825 when Mrs. Frances Simmons Drewry, Major Humphrey's wife, was the first to be buried there. Many of the Drewryville and Southampton County Drewrys are buried within the confines of the cemetery's beautiful brick wall. Many tombstones, dating to the 1800's are interesting to read.

Cedar Grove and its cemetery are a "must see" for anyone interested in the Drewry family history.

"The Thomas Place" built circa 1823
home of Samuel Drewry, Drewryville, Virginia

When Major Humphrey Drewry died in 1844 the large plantation he had amassed during his long life was divided amongst his children. His son, Samuel II, inherited a large tract of land in what is now known as Drewryville, Virginia where he built the first house, ca. 1830. This home, the Thomas Place (picture) takes its name from Person S. Thomas who purchased it in 1875 from the widow of Joseph Drewry, Samuel's son, who died in 1870. The home has been restored and is located near the center of Drewryville. When the home was first built it was referred to by local residents as the "Great House." Samuel Drewry II named his part of the plantation, Drewrysville, in honor of his father, Major Humphrey Drewry. A post office was established there in 1838 and the name remained the same until 1897, when the postmistress requested that the name be changed to Drewryville, removing the "s" from its spelling.

"Magnolia" built circa 1855 and "Oak Hill" built circa 1830
homes of William Humphrey Drewry, Drewryville, Virginia

Located near Cedar Grove these homes (Magnolia and Oak Hill picture) were the homes of of William Humphrey Drewry, father of William Sidney Drewry, noted historian, and John Colin Drewry, mayor of Raleigh, North Carolina, newspaper publisher, and member of the House of Assembly from Wake County.

home of James David Humphrey Drewry, Drewryville, Virginia

Located near Cedar Grove was the home (Westover picture) of James David Humphrey Drewry, son of James Drewry and Mary Ann Myrick, his first wife.

Hattie Drewry Pope Home,
Drewryville, Virginia

Hattie Pauline Drewry, the great-granddaughter of Major Humphrey Drewry, married Francis Pierce Pope and lived in this home (picture) almost directly across from Cedar Grove. Hattie and Francis Pope were the parents of Samuel Eliba Pope, noted representative of the Virginia House for many years. The home remains in the Pope family today. Located on the property is the Pope family cemetery.

Landmarks Near Richmond, Virginia

Drewry's Bluff
National Historic Site and Park

Drewry's Bluff National Historic Site and Park is located several miles south of Richmond, Virginia in Chesterfield County. The property was located on a farm owned by Major Augustus H. Drewry before the outbreak of the Civil War. Major Drewry was instrumental in the construction of a fort, Fort Darling, high on a bluff overlooking the James River. This site would play two pivotal roles during the Civil War. The first battle at Drewry's Bluff occurred when McClellan began the Peninsular Campaign in April, 1862. With a contingent of 11,000 Union troops ashore below Yorktown, Virginia, the city fell leaving Richmond exposed to attack by the Union Navy from the James. The Confederates realizing Richmond's vulnerability began fortifying Ft. Darling. Under the supervision of General G.W.C. Lee, General Robert E. Lee's oldest son, heavy guns were moved into position on the bluff overlooking the point where the James narrowed and weighted hulks were sunk in the channel to block any Union advances on the river. The advancing Union Navy forces, led by the ironclads Monitor and Galena, engaged the Confederates on May 15, 1862. The Union flotilla approached and the deep-draft ironclads, Monitor and Galena, were stopped. Their guns proved ineffective against the batteries on Drewry's Bluff as they could not be elevated to a point where their shells could hit the emplacements located high on the bluff above the James. The battle raged for four hours. The Galena sustained crippling hits and casualties. The battle lost, the Union flotilla retreated, and the first battle of Drewry's Bluff, a significant victory for the Confederates, was credited with saving Richmond from Union attack.

The second battle of Drewry's Bluff, almost two years to the day after the first battle, began May 16, 1864. On May 5, 1864, Union troops landed at Bermuda Hundred, seriously threatening Richmond and Petersburg. Major General Butler's Union forces were far superior with 39,000 troops to the 20,000 Confederates under General Beauregard. Butler, lacking ability and initiative, proved an ineffective leader for his superior troops. For five days Butler's army criss-crossed the peninsula between the James and Appomattox Rivers and were repulsed at Swift's Creek on May 9th. Butler withdrew his army to a defensive position across Bermuda Neck. Beauregard, hoping to lure Butler's army from its safe-haven at Bermuda Neck, sent 7 divisions of men, under the command of Major Hoke to Drewry's Bluff, and on May 12th Butler began an advance against Hoke's army at Drewry's Bluff. By the morning of the 13th the approaching Union troops had effectively caused the outlying Confederate troops to fall back to the fortified main line at Drewry's Bluff. An overly cautious Butler planned an attack for the 15th but later canceled it preferring to hold his troops for a strong defense. By the 15th, Beauregard's armies were fortified by troops from Richmond and North Carolina. At 4:45 on the morning of the 16th, 4 brigades of Confederate soldiers, under the leadership of Major General Ransom, attacked Butler's right flank. Although slowed by heavy fog, the Confederates captured several hundred Union soldiers, 5 flags and a brigade commander. With his ammunition dangerously low and his organization dismantled Ransom halted the advance. Major Holk's command, also slowed by the heavy fog, attacked Butler's left flank and the Union troops stubbornly withdrew. In the heavy fog the Confederate troops became disorganized and disoriented. Taking advantage of their disorganization the Union troops mounted an attack between the two Confederate armies, thus halting the Confederate's advance. By mid-morning, with Beauregard's command exhausted, Butler began withdrawing back across the peninsula. The Confederates continued to pursue Butler's army and on the morning of 17th, opposite their position, Beauregard sealed off Bermuda Hundred, isolating Butler's troops on the Peninsula. Again a serious threat to Richmond and Petersburg had been averted at Drewry's Bluff. The victory, temporary as it was, came at a high cost to both the Confederate and Union troops. 2,506 Confederate and 4,160 Union soldiers died in the second battle of Drewry's Bluff.

Westover Plantation
Charles City County, Virginia

Westover, one of the most famous plantation estates and the ancestral home of the renown Byrd family of Virginia, was owned by Major Augustus H. Drewry. Westover, originally established in 1619 by Lord Delaware, was home to the Byrd family for almost a century. The plantation mansion was built by William Byrd, II, around 1737, and was impressive. However the mansion deteriorated under William's son and was purchased by John Seldon 1829. Mr. Seldon restored it to its stately position and returned Westover to prosperity. With the Civil War things would again change for Westover. Fearing the approach of the Union soldiers Seldon fled with part of his family to North Carolina leaving his wife behind in charge of the plantation believing the Union troops would disregard a plantation headed by a woman. However, recognizing the strategic importance of Westover the Union troops established a campground and constructed an observation tower on the mansion roof. When the war ended Westover was again in ruin. Seldon sold the plantation immediately thereafter. Under Major Drewry's watchful eye and caring hands Westover Plantation again became a flourishing plantation, famed far and wide for it's success. Major Drewry remained at his beloved Westover Plantation until his death in 1899. Major Drewry is buried not far away in the Westover Church cemetery.

Other Landmarks Around the Country

Hugh Moss Comer Home
Savannah, Georgia

Anne and I recently took a short vacation to visit Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, South Carolina. Savannah and Charleston are both wonderful cities rich in the history of our country and, as it turns out, Savannah has some history for the Drewry family. Savannah is the kind of city where you walk and walk and walk some more. We were walking down the main street, Bull Street, that first day, stopping and looking at the magnificent buildings and architecture from a time past. At the end of each block there is a small park or plaza with monuments and historical markers. We had just crossed Taylor Street and began to enter the park when I noticed a historical marker at the entrance to the park. I stopped to read the marker and had to smile. The title of the marker stated: "Comer House - Jefferson Davis." I smiled because I knew immediately that the Comer House (picture) they spoke of belonged to Hugh Moss Comer, son of Lucinda Drewry and John Fletcher Comer and brother to Braxton Bragg Comer, Governor of Alabama. The marker read as follows:

Comer House - Jefferson Davis
Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederate States of America, was a guest in 1886 in the house on the northeast corner of Bull and Taylor Streets. The residence (built about 1880) was at that time the home of Hugh M. Comer, President of the Central of Georgia Railway.
Accompanied by his daughter, Winnie Davis, "the Daughter of the Confederacy." Mr. Davis arrived in Savannah, May 3, 1886. He was escorted from Atlanta by a committee of Savannahians consisting of Hugh M. Comer, J. H. Estill, J. K. Garnett, George A. Merceer, J. R. Saussy, and Gen. G. Moxley Sorrel. The trip to Savannah has been described as a "continous ovation."
The occasion of the visit of Jefferson Davis was the celebration of the centennial of the Chatham Artillery, one of the oldest and most distinguished military units in the United States. During his stay in Savannah the former President of the Confederacy received tributes of respect and affection from the local citizenry , visiting military organizations as well as from the thousands of visitors who attended the centennial festivities.

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Drewry Family History in America
Harry Moss, 1886-1970, & Eunice Adna (Edwards) Drewry
The Drewrys in Charles Parish, Virginia, 1649 - 1789
John and Deborah (Collins) Drewry, circa 1649 - 1735
The Drewrys in England
Drewry Artifacts in England Today
The Drewry Coat of Arms
Drewrys in Southampton County, Virginia
Drewrys in Georgia
Drewrys in Mississippi
Drewrys in Tennessee
Drewry Landmarks
Notable Drewrys and Descendants
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Last updated: November, 1999