Eastville

Home of the Oldest Continuous Court Records. 

 

Eastville

Historic Court Green Eastville 
The Historic Court Green in Eastville. The 1899 Courthouse is in the center of the photo with the 1731 Courthouse to the right. The Old Clerk's office is just behind the 1731 Courthouse and the debtors prison is behind both buildings but out of sight. Lawyers row is to the left of the 1899 Courthouse. The County Administration Building is housed in part of the 1899 Courthouse and beyond.  Home of the Oldest Continuous Court records: "Although one of the earliest records is dated 1628, the Court Records for Northampton County are continuous from 1632 to the present." Exploring the Oldest Continuous Court Records in America.  Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn 

Visit our Historic Court Green page to learn more about the old Courthouse. 

 


History 

The Town of Eastville is located in Northampton County, on the Virginia Eastern Shore. The new corporate limits of Eastville encompass approximately 409 acres.

The town is divided by U. S. Route 13, which splits the town into two sections. The eastern section of Town is known as Eastville Station and formerly had its own post office. The western section contains Northampton County administrative offices, the Eastville Post Office, the historic Eastville Inn and Courthouse Green, and various other offices and commercial enterprises. 

Local government began on the Eastern Shore in 1632 when "commissioners" meeting as a court in homes of individual members or other places such as taverns or ordinaries. The early court records dating from 1632 were actually kept by the clerks in their homes. In 1667 a new colonial courthouse site was selected in the community known as "the Hornes," (referring to its location between two branches of a bayside creek) was the site for colonial court. A deed in 1780 mentioned "the Hornes" as Peachburg Town, by which  it was known until about 1800 when it became Eastville. While the significance of the name Eastville is not known, it is thought to have  been in coordination with the naming of Westville in Mathews County on the Western Shore across the Bay.

Eastville was incorporated in 1896 and remains today the Northampton County seat. An 1835 article about Accomack and Northampton Counties included the following description of Eastville:

Eastville P. V. (Postal Village) and seat of justice is in about the middle of the county and two miles from the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Eastville has two principal streets running at right angles to each other. Besides the usual county buildings it contains 21 dwelling houses, 4 mercantile stores, 2 taverns, 1 new and handsome Episcopal Church, 1 common school and 1 Bible society. The mechanical pursuits are: 1 coach factory, which completes about $6,000 worth of work annually; 1 harness maker, 1 cabinet maker, 2 blacksmiths, 2 boot and shoe manufacturers, 3 tailors, 1 house and sign painter and 1 hatter ... The population is 217 persons, of whom 2 are attorneys and 3 are regular physicians. The inhabitants are not to be surpassed for their morality and hospitality to strangers. (Truman, The Eastern Shore of Virginia 1603-1964, p. 168. 

In 1922, most of the eastern downtown section was lost to fire.  

From the Eastville Comprehensive Plan 2018

Take a Self-Guided Walking Tour of Eastville History: 
A Walk Through Eastville. A Walk Through History.




The County Seat 

County Administration panoramic
The County administration building's west entrance. Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn
"Eastville has been the Seat of Northampton County since 1680. The Old Courthouse was constructed about 1731 and the oldest continuous court records in the nation (dating from 1632) are preserved here and can be viewed by the visitor. The Declaration of Independence was publicly read from the steps of the courthouse on August 13, 1776. "
(Source: http://www.easternshorevisitor.com/eastville-virginia.html)

"The city, town, or populated place that houses county government is known as the seat of its respective county. Generally, the county legislature, county courthouse, sheriff's department headquarters, hall of records, jail and correctional facility are located in the county seat, though some functions (such as highway maintenance, which usually requires a large garage for vehicles, along with asphalt and salt storage facilities) may also be located or conducted in other parts of the county, especially if it is geographically large." 
(Wikipedia) 

The County Seat of Northampton is also known as  " 'the Hornes', so named because of its location between the curving, prong-like branches of another Bayside creek. "The Hornes" later became Peachburg Town and finally Eastville. It has been the county seat of Northampton County for over three hundred years."  (Source: Frances Bibbins Latimer)
This complex is located at 16404 Courthouse Road, Eastville, Virginia 23347.  

The Hornes The new courthouse, regional jail, sheriff's office and social services building were constructed in 2006 and are located behind the administration building and Historic Court Green at 5229 The Hornes, Eastville, Virginia 23347. 

 



Town Hall 

 

Eastville Town Hall and Community Center 17202 Courthouse Rd 


Town of Eastville
17202 Courthouse Rd.
P.O. Box 747
Eastville, VA 23347
Phone: 757-678-7523 


TOWN OF EASTVILLE Elected Officials

 

MAYOR (2 Year Term)(Beginning Jan 1, 2023)

James C. Sturgis

PO Box 126
Eastville, Virginia 23347
757-678-5174

MEMBER OF TOWN COUNCIL (2 YEAR TERM)

Mary Beth Briggs
PO Box 252
Eastville, Virginia 23347

Douglas J. Coburn, Jr.
PO Box 185
Eastville, Virginia 23347

D. Allen Philpot III  
PO Box 35
Eastville, VA 23347

Eleanor C. Gordon
PO Box 1076
Eastville, Virginia 23347-1076

Anne G. Sayers
PO B 842
EASTVILLE, VA 23347

Barbara M. Thomas
PO Box 596
Eastville, Virginia 23347



Public Safety 

 

Eastville Police Department 

5248 Willow Oak Road
PO Box 747
Eastville, Virginia 23347

Phone: (757)678-6627
Fax: (757)678-5047
24 Hour Phone: (757)678-5240
911 Dispatch: (757)678-0458 


Eastville Volunteer Fire Company 

Eastville Volunteer Fire Co. Station and appartus

Station 17 Eastville Vol Fire Co
16453 Courthouse RD
Eastville, VA
757-678-7503
http://www.eastvillevolunteerfirecompany.com/
Eastville VFC Facebook page



Northampton County Sheriff's Office 

Technically, the Northampton County Sheriff's office serves all of Northampton County but is located in Eastville.  

Northampton County Sheriff's Office Staff Photo 2020

David L. Doughty, Jr.
Northampton County Sheriff

Northampton County Sheriff
5211 The Hornes
Eastville, VA 23347

Office 757-678-0460
Dispatch 757-678-0458
Fax 757-678-0494



Businesses 

County Administration office west entranceIn addition to the Northampton County administration complex, courthouse and jail,  Eastville has two automotive stores, a thrift shop, a building supply store, an interior design consultant, massage therapy, restaurants, bank, gas station, gift and fireworks shop,  grain silos, a laundromat, a real estate company, a hair salon, bail bonds, law offices and post office.  

The County administration building. Photo by Jean E. Flynn

Yuk-Yuk's
Yuk-Yuk's and Joe's is located at 15617 Courthouse Rd, Eastville, VA 23347. This dive bar is a favorite gathering place for pool, drinks with friends and wing night. They serve lunch, too! 

Yuk-Yuk's & Joe's Restaurant and Bar. Photo by Jean E. Flynn


Courthouse Rd. and Willow Oak Rd.

Buidlings at the corner of Willow Oak and Courthouse Rd.

At the corner of Courthouse Road and Willow Oak Road you'll find some older buildings that have been rehabilitated for new purposes. An old gas station is now the home of interior design consultant, Jeannette Coulter of Design Philosophy. The very old mercantile store houses various offices and services.  The old bank is in the process of being renovated into offices. 

Incidentally, Willow Oak Road is named after the National Big Tree Champion willow oak tree located at the home of Ralph W. Dodd, owner of the real estate firm Ralph W. Dodd and Associates located on Courthouse Road.  The willow oak stands at 105 feet and has a circumference of  328 inches. The Virginia Big Trees website states: "This tree has traded national champion status back and forth with one in Chesapeake. Recognized in 2018 as three-way national co-champion with trees in Chesapeake and Mathews, VA. Both trees were measured in 2013, and this tree was found to be larger. Appears to be in excellent health. It is not endangered by building projects or highway changes. Located within walking distance to the historic Eastville Courthouse, which is home of the oldest continuous court records in the nation."  Northampton County is also home to a Champion Loblolly Pine tree which stands at 134 feet and has a circumference of 184 inches and a National Champion Hercules Club located on Fisherman's Island National Wildlife Refuge. 
 
Willow OakThe Willow Oak with some damage to one of it's enormous limbs after a storm.
Photos by Jean E. Flynn



NAPA Elliott Automotive

NAPA Elliott Automotive known for their friendly service has been a staple in the community for many years.
Photo by Jean E. Flynn 


Lawyers row

Lawyers Row located on the Historic Court Green is  a convenient location for those who need law services in order to appear in court. Photo by Jean E. Flynn  




Northampton County Cooperative Extension 

Cooperative Extension

Northampton County Cooperative Extension
16392 Courthouse Road
Eastville, VA 23347

"The Northampton County office of Virginia Cooperative Extension is your local connection to Virginia's land grant universities, Virginia Tech and Virginia State University.

Through educational programs based on research and developed with input from local stakeholders, we help the people of Northampton County improve their lives.

We provide education through programs in Agriculture and Natural Resources, Family and Consumer Sciences, 4-H Youth Development and Community Viability." 

Please visit our Bountiful Northampton pages to learn more about agriculture in Northampton County. 


Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting 


Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting sign

The Eastern Shore abounds with entrepreneurs following their bliss and ESCR owners Kristin and Jamie Willis are no exception. They have been roasting coffee beans since 2006.  The website offers a taste of their brand, "ESCR takes uncompromising pride in producing superior, custom-blended & roasted-to-order coffee for our wholesale, web & mail-order customers. Committed to sustainability, we bring you (& endorse) only the best ethically grown products."
If you drive through Eastville and smell an overwhelming scent of coffee beans well now you know, it's all kinds of delicious coffee being created right here in Eastville.  

Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting
Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting (ESCR) where the magic happens!  The wisp of smoke over the building is the wafting smell of coffee beans being roasted.  Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn 




 



Schools 

For a complete list of k-12 schools in Northampton, please see
Northampton County Public Schools.   

Northampton High School 

Northampton High School front entrance

Home of the Yellow Jackets 

16041 Courthouse Rd.
Eastville, VA 23347
757-678-5151  
https://www.ncpsk12.com/page/northampton-high-school


Northampton Middle School 

Home of the Bulls 

16041 Courthouse Rd.
Eastville, VA 23347
757-678-5151
https://www.ncpsk12.com/page/nms 

Located within the High School, the Northampton Middle School has it's own section for 7th and 8th grade students. Sixth grade students are considered part of the middle school but remain in the elementary schools. Northampton County is working to renovate the High School building and plans to build the Middle School it's own separate building on the High School campus. Sixth grade students will be  re-united with the rest of the middle school in the near future. To learn more about the school renovation visit the School Construction Project page on this website. 
The former Northampton Middle School in Machipongo which closed in 2009 and is now used as offices and facilities for the Parks and Recreation Department. 



Community 

 

Historic Court Green 

Old Courthouse Historical Marker WY 10

Historic Court Green Exhibit Hours

Located at 16040 Courthouse Road, Eastville, VA. 23347
Admission is free. 

The Court Green Historic Buildings are open to visitors April through October during regular business hours Monday - Friday, 9 AM - 5 PM. This includes the Old Courthouse, Clerk's Office, Debtors Prison and the exhibits in the 1899 Courthouse/ County Administration Building. If you should be visiting between November through March and wish to see inside the buildings, please inquire with the County Administration Office on the 2nd floor to open the buildings. 

Eastville also has an Historic Walking Tour of the varied architectural buildings and homes from different eras. Stop in the Town Clerk's office for a brochure and map of the self-guided tour. 


WBOC's Charles Paparella visits the historic court house in Northampton County, Virginia, to see how the past and the founding of this country are being maintained.



Churches 

Bethel AME Church
Bethel AME Church 15676 Courthouse Rd
Phone: (757) 678-7866

Eastville Baptist Church
Eastville Baptist Church 5413 Willow Oak Rd

Christ Church
Christ Episcopal Church  16304 Courthouse Rd
Phone: (757) 678-7837 


 

Little Free Library

Little Free Library in Eastville

Eastville Town Park has a Little Free Library. Take a book/ Share a book. Sit in the park and read a book! Free books can also be  found on the book exchange shelves are located at the Eastville Post Office and in the County Administration Building. 

For more information on the Little Free Library Project, please visit our Free Education page. 

 



Recreation

 

Eastville Town Park

Eastville Town Park

Park in Eastville 
Photos by Jean E. Flynn

Eastville has a large, well-maintained park-like lot in the center of town. A picnic spot is located next to the county “time capsule” monument, and the property has been the site of community events and fund raisers. 

Time Capsule in Eastville Town Park

The Time Capsule in Eastville Town Park with the inscription: 
"Eastville Court Records Time Capsule Commemorating 365 years Oldest 
Continuous Courts Records in the United States. Dedicated September 20, 1997. To Be Opened Every 25 Years." 

This capsule will be opened in 2022. 

Gazebo and hydrangeasThe picturesque gazebo offers cool shade to take in the beauty of the park. 

Visit our Parks page for a complete list of parks in Northampton County.

 



Savage Neck Dunes Natural Area Preserve

Savage Neck Dunes
Savage Neck Dunes beach Photo credit: William Dyas

"The preserve is open daily to the public, but has no restroom facilities, trash receptacles, access to drinking water or on-site staff. Be aware that the Savage Neck Dunes parking lot is small, with space for only eight (8) vehicles. 

Savage Neck Dunes Parking lot signIf you arrive and the lot is full, please return later. Do not park illegally on adjacent private property, along the access road, within a public road right-of-way or in any other non-designated location.

There are three (3) marked hiking trails with interpretive signage. Please practice "leave no trace" by packing out all trash. Take only photographs and leave only footprints.

Part or all of the preserve may be periodically closed for resource protection or resource management activities. Please call before visiting, especially during deer season when managed hunts may be underway."
For more information visit the DCR website (below) or Find Your Chesapeake. 

Source: https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/natural-heritage/natural-area-preserves/savage

Dunes
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn
Visitors can see some of the highest and best developed
sand dunes in Virginia. 

Custis Pond signage Custis Pond
"Look for post oaks, water oaks, sassafras, blueberries and pink lady’s-slipper orchids. Listen for spring peepers, green tree frogs and cricket frogs. Notice painted turtles sunning on logs and dragonflies feeding around the ponds. Follow the 0.75-mile Beach Trail
through the forest and dunes to the Chesapeake Bay. "
-From the Natural Area Preserve Visitation Guide 

 





Healthy Walks

Eastville fitness course and picnic area

A .5 mile casual walk takes you around the Northampton County Complex. There is also a free fitness course which takes you through 10 stations of different exercise routines. A picnic area is provided in the nearby shade. 

Eastville Northampton County Complex Walking Trail

Fitness course and picnic area
Course 1


 

Eastville Master Garden

 Master Garden at Eastville County Admin building
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

Purple Perilla Bluebells
Plants are labeled with the Latin and common name.

Eastville Gardens is located in the historic town of Eastville on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, in a complex of county government and administration buildings both old and new. The county courthouse is the repository for the oldest continuous court records in the United States dating from the early 1700s to the present.

A plan for the Gardens, situated between the 1789 Eastville Inn and the Courthouse and Administration buildings, was conceived and begun in 2002. This undeveloped ‘plain space'  was designed by two Eastern Shore ladies in 2002, and executed by a young boy scout working for his Eagle badge. 

Pebble walkways dissect the garden square
Photo credit: Jean E. Flynn

The garden’s design is based on a 60-foot square plot divided into quarters with pebble walkways dissecting the square diagonally. A bench, located in the center where the paths meet, invites the visitor to sit and enjoy this cool, breezy spot.

Four crepe myrtles were planted at the center of each quadrant in 2002, and the garden at that time was sunny all day. 

In 2007, kitchen herbs were planted in the Gardens, for the use of the restaurant then occupying the Inn. Today, the lovely blue rosemary hedge along the southern border is all that remains of that herb bed. Although the ensuing ten years brought neglect to the Gardens, the Master Gardeners have restored and developed its beauty since that time. 

Today, with the growth of the crepe myrtles, the once sunny garden is now quite shady. Efforts are made annually to trim back the four trees to allow more sun to come through. Shade loving plants have been introduced, with an effort to include as many native plants to the garden as possible. The map of the Eastville Gardens, developed in 2018, will identify and locate all these plants for the visitor. The Master Gardeners who maintain this garden weekly hope you will enjoy your visit and come back soon!

Learn more about Master Gardens in Northampton County. 



 

Did you know Northampton County, Virginia has a sister County?

Eastern Shore Post February 12, 2016 front page photo

Queen Anne's County in Maryland is our sister County and it all came about in February of 2016 when the indomitable Ms. Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin, Queen Anne's County, Maryland Historian and a small contention of "minutemen" marched from Queen Anne's County Maryland to the Historic Court Green in Eastville, Virginia to commemorate the minutemen march in 1776 to warn our citizens that the British were on the move. It was a six-day, 140 mile re-enactment of the journey to help defend the Northampton Courthouse from the British.

Eastville Town Clerk, Jonny Stevenson who was the Chair of the 1776 event, entered this letter in our Board records:

"On, Tuesday, February 9, 2016 the Queen Anne’s County 1776 March for Independence was celebrated on our Historic Court Green. Our community, the Board of Supervisors, and the Eastville Town Council welcomed five Queen Anne’s County citizens, namely: Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin, Commissioner Jack Wilson, Chris Whitesell, Mike Kessler and Mike Bilek. These modern day Minutemen marched in remembrance of the 80 heroic men who embarked 240 years ago on a long mission to defend Northampton County from British attacks.

The event was a joyous, educational, and patriotic celebration for our community. Groups of students from several schools attended the ceremonies to pay homage to our local history and experience this memorable day. Several of our historic groups (D.A.R., COLONIAL DAMES, and N.H.P.S.) participated monetarily and by volunteering their time in full support. Additionally, local businesses contributed to help make the day a success. The United States Coast Guard presented our country’s colors and the American Legion represented our Veterans. Historian Dennis R. Custis delighted in sharing a wealth of Shore local history concerning the original march and how it had impacted us to a standing room only audience.

The 1776 Event Committee worked hard to make this day special for both those who marched here and those who live here. Were it not for all the volunteers, donations, and sponsors this special occasion would not have been possible. We are most grateful the County allowed the event to be held in Chambers so all could enjoy the talks and presentations comfortably…Clearly, it has taken a community.
Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin, QAC Historian and marcher, plans March 8, 2016 Board of Supervisors that they are to attend the meeting. It is my understanding that she will be presenting two resolutions for consideration; first that Queen Anne’s and Northampton Counties become Sister Counties and second, that Centreville and Eastville become Sister Cities. This 1776 March for Independence has brought positive attention to our county and town and our people…

We hope that you agree that this celebration was something to be proud of and something you endeavor to support. It is always important for communities to celebrate their history. This event highlighted the 240th anniversary of both the historic march and the Declaration of Independence, which was adopted shortly thereafter. We were pleased that everyone contributed so willingly to help keep the cost of the event to a minimum. On behalf of the Eastville Town Council, we are appreciative of our partnership in hosting this memorable event.

Respectfully,
Jonny Stevenson Town Clerk and 1776 Event Chair

1776 Event Committee: Eleanor Gordon, Traci Johnson, Wendy Martin, Mary Beth Briggs, Diane Partin and Gwyn Coghill."


Ms. Mary Margaret Revell Goodwin, the Historian for Queen Anne's County, Maryland, read the following proclamation in reference to the recent 240th Anniversary of the February 3, 1776 March to Northampton County:

Proclamation 16-22
This Proclamation hangs near the Board Chambers on the 2nd floor of the 1899 Courthouse.

 
Proclamation 16-22

WHEREAS, on February 3, 1776, the Queen Anne's County Minutemen left Chester Mill, now Centreville, in Maryland and marched overland through Snow Hill to Northampton County; and
WHEREAS, their orders from the Annapolis Council of Safety were to march to Northampton County to defend the court house there against possible attacks by Lord Dunmore and his troops;
and American Revolutionary War.
WHEREAS, the march was done in cold winter weather and snow; and
WHEREAS, many of the men were without shoes and thus marched barefoot; and
WHEREAS, the Court House was defended by the Maryland Minutemen on several occasions;
and
WHEREAS, the people of Northampton County were generous in their welcome of the Queen Anne's County Minutemen, to such an extent, that they extended their stay in Northampton
County beyond the time they had signed and agreed to; and
WHEREAS, in the intervening 240 years, the bonds of friendship formed amongst fellow Eastern Shore people, have lapsed to the point that this act of defense was long forgotten in both
Queen Anne's County and Northampton County; and
WHEREAS, this year 2016, is the 204th Anniversary of 1776, the year of the first march, which ultimately was the first action by the State of Maryland that year, moving towards the
Declaration of Independence later in the year; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioners of Queen Anne's County have determined to commemorate the 240th Anniversary of 1776; and
WHEREAS, the Commissioners of Queen Anne's County agreed to a second march to commemorate the 240th Anniversary of the march itself;
Be it now known that with the completion of the march on Monday, February 8, 2016, the County of Queen Anne's and the County of Northampton again renew their ties of friendship
established 240 years ago and proclaim this bond a tie that will remain unbroken and proclaim that Queen Anne's County and Northampton County are now sister counties, bound in the
friendship established by defense during the American Revolutionary War.

What a remarkable gesture of unity!