PHOTOGRAPHS FROM TURKEY ISLAND

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Rough sketch of the plan view of the partially excavated foundations of the Turkey Island mansion. The dimensions for the dwelling are almost identical to the diagram of the dwelling house in the 1806 fire insurance document on file at the Library of Virginia.

Rough sketch of the plan view of the partially excavated foundations of the Turkey Island mansion

The two walls of the center section of the house run perpendicular to the front wall but do not intersect with it. Structurally, this configuration is an enigma because several stories of masonry that do not terminate at an intersection or corner are considered to be unstable.

The 30-foot by 30-foot center hall on the first floor was a very generous size in comparison to the smaller rooms that flank it.

Piles of broken bricks recently unearthed from the site of the 18th century mansion at Turkey Island

Looking eastward at piles of broken bricks recently unearthed from the site of the 18th century mansion at Turkey Island. In the background is a 21st century home under construction. The James River is on the other side of the tree line.

Surviving structure from the War Between the States -- a granary

This structure -- one of the Turkey Island granaries -- survived the War Between the States. It held grain in storage and was also the place where the grain was processed with grain fans, which separated the chaff from the wheat.

Portion of the Randolph Family Cemetery

A portion of the Randolph Family Cemetery, which is completely walled in and located between the former front of the mansion and the James River. The oldest grave is that of William Randolph who died April 11, 1711, on Turkey Island. Two young Pickett brothers, George Edward and Charles Frances, spent some time here, no doubt.

Society Board members viewing a unit of the Randolph/Pickett mansion foundation excavated by the College of William and Mary

Society Board members viewing a unit of the Randolph/Pickett mansion foundation excavated by the College of William and Mary during spring 2001.

Society Board members viewing a unit of the Randolph/Pickett mansion foundation excavated by the College of William and Mary

This portion of the mansion, which is adjacent to the rear wall of the structure where the back porch wall terminates, has yet to be identified. Conjectures include an outdoor oven, an entrance to the basement, or a type of drainage system. This area awaits more scholarly research

Face brick with a piece of mortar still adhering to it from the Randolph/Pickett mansion

Face brick with a piece of mortar still adhering to it from the Randolph/Pickett mansion. This brick was one of thousands manufactured on site and laid in the Flemish bond pattern with painstakingly "ruled" (finished) 3/8-inch-thick mortar joints. This brickwork represented the finest quality masonry seen anywhere in the colonies. The walls themselves were a substantial 21/2 feet thick.

Carved sandstone step and window lintels made from nonnative sandstone

Carved sandstone step and window lintels were made of a variety of sandstone not native to the area, indicating that is was imported (probably from England.) The sandstone must have arrived in large chunks because the pieces unearthed by the archaeologists suggest that it was carved on site.

Broken stone window lintel from the mansion, not the commonplace type used in the colonies

This broken stone window lintel is from the mansion but was not the common type used in the colonies. Such "window dressing" was a costly architectectural extravagance. During 1806, when Bowler Cocke owned Turkey Island, the insured value of the mansion was $10,000 or at least twice the value of most dwellings of that time. The plantation next to Turkey Island, Curles Neck, boasted a mansion 96 feet in length; the insurance value of it and all of its dependencies was $9,550.

Intact section of 30

This is an intact section of 30-inch-thick (front) exterior wall. The highly decorative two-element water table brickwork can be seen at the bottom of this chunk of masonry. Single-element water table brickwork was used only on expensive buildings; two-element water tables were seen only in the most lavish construction.

The same two-element water table used at Turkey Island was also used at Wilton, which was built by a descendant of Turkey Island's builder in 1753 seven miles east of Richmond on the north bank of the James River. By the early 1900s, the mansion had fallen into disrepair and was moved piece by numbered piece by the Colonial Dames of Virginia to its present location in 1932. Turkey Island shared the same large central hall and four fireplaces (not counting the ones in the basement) and was also fully paneled. Although the Randolph/Pickett mansion is no longer extant, one can get an idea of its grandeur by visiting Wilton.

Section of the original basement wall of the mansion with whitewash still intact.  The unusual offset termination of this wall is still unexplained.

This is a section of the original basement wall of the mansion with whitewash still intact. The unusual offset termination of this wall is still unexplained.

Obelisk erected in 1771 by the son of Richard and Jane Randolph to commemmorate his parents

Here atop the highest crest on the old Turkey Island plantation stands a solitary sentinel to an almost forgotten past. The 13-foot obelisk of imported sandstone is seen now only by an occasional hunter hiking through the dense woods surrounding it. Erected in 1771 by a grateful son in memory of his parents, Richard and Jane Randolph, it also bears an inscription commemorating the "Calamitous Flood of 1771." Both General Pickett and his wife mentioned the monument in their post-war correspondence.

Turkey Island cottage circa 1869 is where Gen. Pickett and his family lived after the War Between the States.  Modern additions to the original structure include the wings on either side of the main house

This Turkey Island cottage (built circa 1869) is where General Pickett and his family lived after the War Between the States. Although it has been modernized, the main structure (located between the wings on either side) is original. This photograph shows the south view, which faces the James River.

Ancient oak tree that has survived from the 18th century

This ancient oak tree still provides shade on the east side of the Pickett cottage. It is one of the few remaining trees on the property that date from the 18th century.

Wilton is a smaller version (and without wings) of the Randolph-Pickett mansion that stood on Turkey Island

Wilton is a smaller, "wingless" version of the Randolph-Pickett mansion that stood on Turkey Island. The grandson and namesake of William Randolph of Turkey Island built Wilton circa 1750.

 Though built on a smaller scale, the central hall of Wilton reflects some of the features of the Randolph-Pickett mansion.  Both structures were paneled floor to ceiling throughout.

Though built on a smaller scale, the central hall of Wilton reflects some of the features that would have been seen in the Randolph-Pickett mansion. Both structures were paneled floor to ceiling throughout.

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Created: 07-20-01
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