“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Varina in Henrico County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

The Dorey Family

Dairy Farmers in Henrico

The Dorey Family Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 30, 2018
1. The Dorey Family Marker
Dairy farming became the new agricultural industry in Henrico County during the period following the Civil War. As early as 1880, there were 2,181 milk cows in the county. By the early 20th century, agriculturists boasted Henrico as the “Dairy County of Virginia.”

In the early 1900s, Francis Frederick Dorey and Sarah Ellen Rose Dorey moved with their eight children from Barron County, Wisconsin to Henrico County, Virginia. Considered one of the most progressive farmers in Barron County, Francis Dorey transported all of his dairy cattle to his property in Varina in search of a milder climate.

Henrico County proclaimed in 1919 that “nearly everyone had some registered dairy cattle and all farms were sanitary and had up-to-date barns.” The number of dairy cattle continued to rise with over 5,000 head of dairy cattle documented in 1929, the height of milk production in the county.

Fred Orwin Dorey, youngest son of Francis and Ellen, married Belle Ferguson in 1923. Together they raised six children on the Dorey homestead site in Varina. The 400-acre property consisted of a farmhouse, dairy
Dorey Recreation Center image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, March 30, 2018
2. Dorey Recreation Center
barn, bunkhouse, tenant farmer house, chicken house, springhouse, silos and a small barn. Although dairy operations like Dorey and Curles Neck survived into the 1960s, by 1950 there were less than 3,000 milk cows in the entire county. Fred continued the dairy operation begun by his father in the late 19th century through 1966.

Fred Orwin Dorey died in 1973. His widow, Belle Ferguson Dorey, sold the property to Henrico County in 1979 and it was opened as a park in 1984. The Henrico Division of Recreation and Parks renovated the dairy barn and opened it to the public in 1992 as the Dorey Recreation Center.

Dorey Farm, ca. 1930
Sarah Ellen Rose Dorey and her granddaughter Phyllis Beasley at Dorey Farm, ca. 1925. The driver of the dairy cart is unidentified.
Erected by County of Henrico.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureParks & Recreational Areas.
Location. 37° 28.16′ N, 77° 20.175′ W. Marker is in Varina, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker can be reached from Dorey Park Drive 0.3 miles south of Darbytown Road, on the left when traveling south. Located in front of the Dorey Recreation Center. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 7200 Dorey Park Drive, Henrico VA 23231, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least
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8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Darbytown Road / Pioneer Baptist Church (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battle of Darbytown Road (approx. ¼ mile away); Second Battle of Fair Oaks (approx. ¼ mile away); Richmond Defences (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Richmond Defences (approx. 1.2 miles away); Defenses of Richmond (approx. 1.4 miles away); 1862 Peninsula Campaign (approx. 1.4 miles away); Lee vs. Grant (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Varina.
Also see . . .  Dorey Park and Recreation Center. Henrico County Recreation & Parks (Submitted on March 30, 2018.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on March 30, 2018. It was originally submitted on March 30, 2018, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 116 times since then and 17 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 30, 2018, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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May. 28, 2020