“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Heathsville in Northumberland County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

John Heath

John Heath Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 30, 2009
1. John Heath Marker
Inscription.  John Heath was born on 8 May 1758 in Northumberland County. He attended William & Mary College and on 5 Dec. 1776, he and four of his classmates founded Phi Beta Kappa, a prestigious undergraduate honors organization. He became its first president. Heath served in the Revolutionary War and practiced law here and in Richmond. He was Northumberland County’s commonwealth’s attorney (1781–1784, 1787–1793) and a member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1793–1797). Heath also served on the Council of State, that advised the governor, from 1803 to his death on 13 Oct. 1810 in Richmond.
Erected 2002 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number O-65.)
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationFraternal or Sororal OrganizationsWar, US Revolutionary. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Department of Historic Resources series list. A significant historical date for this entry is May 8, 1758.
Location. 37° 55.257′ N, 76° 28.776′ W. Marker is in Heathsville, Virginia, in
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Northumberland County. Marker is on Northumberland Highway (U.S. 360) just west of Rowes Landing Road (County Route 601), on the left when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1828 Northumberland Hwy, Heathsville VA 22473, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. St. Stephen’s Parish (approx. 0.3 miles away); Northumberland County Jail (approx. 0.4 miles away); Rice’s Hotel / Hughlett’s Tavern (approx. 0.4 miles away); World War I Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Freedom for Slaves of Robert Carter III (approx. half a mile away); Korean and Vietnam Wars Memorial (approx. half a mile away); Northumberland Courthouse Square (approx. half a mile away); World War II Memorial (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Heathsville.
Also see . . .  Phi Beta Kappa Society. Wikipedia entry. “The new society was intended to be ‘purely of domestic manufacture, without any connexion whatever with anything European, either English or German.’ The founders of Phi Beta Kappa declared that the society was formed for congeniality and to promote good fellowship, with ‘friendship as its basis and benevolence and literature as its pillars.’ Like these older, Latin-letter fraternities, the Phi Beta Kappa was a secret society. To protect its members and to instill a sense of solidarity, each had the essential attributes of most modern fraternities: an oath of secrecy, a badge (or token) and a diploma
John Heath Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By J. J. Prats, August 30, 2009
2. John Heath Marker
(or certificate) of membership, mottoes (in the case of the Phi Beta Kappa, in Greek rather than in Latin), a ritual of initiation, a handclasp of recognition; to these, the Phi Beta Kappa would soon add another attribute, branches or ‘chapters’ at other colleges. The society was given the motto, Φιλοσοφία Βίου Κυβερνήτης or ‘Philosophy is the guide of life’. Greek was chosen as the language for the motto because Heath ‘was the best Greek scholar in college’.” (Submitted on September 18, 2009.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on December 26, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 18, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 2,815 times since then and 156 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 18, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.

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Jun. 6, 2023