Yorktown in York County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Cole Digges House, circa 1730
—Colonial National Historical Park —
Governor Alexander Spotswood to the Lords Commissioners of Trade and Plantations, February 24, 1718
On September 15, 1720, Cole Digges of Yorktown was sworn in as a member of the royal governor’s council, a powerful and prestigious political position in the colonial government that he held for 24 years. Digges’ wealth, his position as a representative in the colonial legislature and his apparent support of the royal governor, Alexander Spotswood, combined to make him an attractive candidate for the council. Digges’ success came at a time when Yorktown was reaching its zenith, and the colony was still loyal to Great Britain.
Cole Digges was born in 1691, the same year Yorktown was established. His family’s wealth came primarily from producing a well known brand of “sweet scented” tobacco, called “E.Dees.,” named after his grandfather, Edward Digges. As Yorktown slowly grew into a prominent tobacco port, Cole Digges, only in his early 20s, became a merchant, purchasing a town lot in 1713. As the town prospered, so
Cole Digges witnessed the expansion of Yorktown from its early beginnings to a thriving community. His son Dudley Digges, whose home is one block east on Main Street, saw the town decline.
In 1699, ferryman Thomas Pate purchased this town lot and constructed his home here. The house was sold twice before Cole Digges acquired the property in 1713. Originally thought to be Pate’s house, research and the building’s architectural details indicate that the house was constructed around 1720, when Cole Digges owned the property. The interior of the house represents the colonial revival style of 1925.
This broadside from a British merchant advertises some of York’s “sweet scented” tobacco.
Courtesy of Colonial Williamsburg Foundation
Cole Digges’ signature
Courtesy of the British Public Records Office
Erected by National Park Service.
Location. 37° 14.101′ N, 76° 30.465′ W. Marker is in Yorktown, Virginia, in York County. Marker is at the intersection of Main Street and Read 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.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Cole Digges House, circa 1925 (here, next to this marker); Custom House, circa 1720 (a few steps from this marker); Early Colonial Custom House (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.
Categories. • Colonial Era • Industry & Commerce • Man-Made Features •
Credits. This page was last revised on November 30, 2016. This page originally submitted on November 30, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico. This page has been viewed 156 times since then and 25 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on November 30, 2016, by J. Makali Bruton of Querétaro, Mexico.