Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Custom House, circa 1720
In 1691, Virginia's colonial legislature passed "An Act for Ports," in an effort to better regulate trade for the collection of import and export fees and duties. The act called for the creation of several ports, including Yorktown, and the appointment of Collectors of Ports by the royal governor. During Yorktown's peak as a commercial port in the mid-1700s, Richard Ambler, and later his son, Jacquelin, served as a collector of ports.
In 1721, Richard Ambler built this large, brick storehouse and from here he and his son handled their collector duties. Ship captains recently arriving and merchants arranging for transport of goods would convene at Ambler's storehouse
The outbreak of the American Revolution brought an end to many port activities, including the collection of customs. In 1776, Virginia militia troops were using the Custom House for barracks and two years later, Jacquelin Ambler sold the property.
In 1924, the Compte de Grasse Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution purchased the Custom House and restored it five years later. Today the Custom House still continues in use as a Chapter House and Museum.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Colonial Era • War, US Revolutionary.
Location. 37° 14.096′ N, 76° 30.469′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Read Street, on the left when traveling west on Main Street. Some blocks of Main Street, including this location, are generally closed to motor vehicle traffic. 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. Early Colonial Custom House (here, next to this marker); Cole Digges House, circa 1730 (a few steps from this marker); Cole Digges House, circa 1925 (a few steps from this marker); Charles Cox House (within shouting distance of this marker); Somerwell House (within shouting distance of this marker); East Along Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); West Along Main Street (within shouting distance of this marker); Nelson House, circa 1730 (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Yorktown.
Regarding Custom House, circa 1720. The marker includes the following images:
Portrait of Elizabeth Jacquelin Ambler, wife of Richard Ambler Image courtesy of the Virginia Historical Society
Pictures of a label ("EDWARD's best York Tobacco ...BRISTOL"), a fan, a pewter teapot, and persons (slaves?) moving along a road — with the caption "While tobacco was a primary export, imports consisted of such items as British manufactured products and slaves. Images courtesy of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation"
Credits. This page was last revised on October 24, 2016. It was originally submitted on February 23, 2015, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. This page has been viewed 305 times since then and 3 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on February 23, 2015, by David Graff of Halifax, Nova Scotia. 3. submitted on February 24, 2015. 4, 5. submitted on October 24, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.