Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
— Colonial National Historical Park —
“On the Peticon of Mungo Somervell to this court for his keeping the ferry in York Town of Same is accordingly granted…” York County Court, September 24,1702
Prior to the American Revolution, the community of Yorktown consisted of individuals whose diverse jobs and skills contributed to the success of the port. Little information exists on many of Yorktown’s early citizens, though court records help reveal the identity and livelihoods of some residents.
Such is the case of Mungo Somerwell. The first reference to Somerwell is from 1702 Court papers that reveal he requested a license for operating a ferry. His surname in these records is spelled Somervell. Later county records also show that Somerwell, in addition to operating a ferry, simultaneously held several jobs, including that of merchant, keeper of an ordinary and town constable. At his death, around 1706/7, his widow was ordered by the court to have this estate “appraised at his late dwelling house.” Somerwell’s assets included the house, “gardens, stables, warehouses and appurtenances whatsoever.”
The house for many years was referred to as the Lightfoot House, after Philip Lightfoot, who purchased the property in 1716 as a rental investment. It is possible that he, and not Mungo Somerwell, built the current building, though many changes to the property may have destroyed evidence that would help determine the building’s age. By the time the National Park Service acquired the property, the house had an extensive back wing, which was initially constructed during the Civil War for hospital use. After the war, the wing was enlarged, and house served as a hotel.
Philip Lightfoot's signature Courtesy of Special Collections, Swan Library, The College of William & Mary
In 1935-1936, the National Park Service restored the house to its colonial appearance and utilized it for park headquarters and a visitor center.
Erected by National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial EraSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical date for this entry is September 24, 1800.
Location. 37° 14.119′ N, 76° 30.49′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Church Street, on the right when traveling west on Main Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Yorktown VA 23690, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. East Along Main Street (a few steps from this marker); West Along Main Street (a few steps from this marker); Medical Shop (Reconstructed) (within shouting distance of this marker); Two Mercenary Units (within shouting distance of this marker); Cole Digges House, circa 1925 (within shouting distance of this marker); Cole Digges House, circa 1730 (within shouting distance of this marker); Custom House, circa 1720 (within shouting distance of this marker); Grace Church - circa 1697 (within shouting distance of this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
Credits. This page was last revised on March 1, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 5, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. This page has been viewed 711 times since then and 105 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on December 5, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. 3. submitted on March 1, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. 4. submitted on November 30, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Accra, Ghana. 5. submitted on December 5, 2012, by Don Morfe of Baltimore, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.