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MARKER DATABASE
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near New Kent in New Kent County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

French Cannon at Cumberland Landing

 
 
French Cannon at Cumberland Landing Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 20, 2017
1. French Cannon at Cumberland Landing Marker
Inscription. Gilbert Chase, a New England ship captain, recovered a bronze French cannon in the Pamunkey River off Cumberland Town in 1816. Two members of his crew descended in a diving bell patented in 1806, which Chase had acquired the rights to use. The 12-foot-long, 5,240-pound cannon, lost during the Revolutionary War, was decorated with mottoes and coats of arms. Virginia claimed it as state property, but Chase argued that the patent authorized him to keep what he salvaged and that the state had forfeited its rights by abandoning the cannon. In Nicholas v. Chase (1817), Virginia Superior Court of Chancery ruled in favor of Chase. The cannon was likely melted down during the Civil War.
 
Erected 2016 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number WO-22.)
 
Location. 37° 32.171′ N, 76° 58.774′ W. Marker is near New Kent, Virginia, in New Kent County. Marker is on Cumberland Road (County Route 637) 1½ miles north of New Kent Highway (Virginia Route 249), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: New Kent VA 23124, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. McClellan’s Camp at Cumberland Landing (here, next to this marker);
Cumberland Town and French Cannon at Cumberland Landing Markers image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 20, 2017
2. Cumberland Town and French Cannon at Cumberland Landing Markers
Cumberland Town (a few steps from this marker); John Parke Custis (approx. 1.3 miles away); Martha Washington's Birthplace (approx. 1.3 miles away); James Lafayette (approx. 1.3 miles away); New Kent Courthouse (approx. 1.3 miles away); A Tale of Three Structures (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Wilson House: Witness to Three Centuries (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in New Kent.
 
Also see . . .  Nicholas v Chase & the Diving Bell of Richard Tripe. “The case of Nicholas v. Chase was certainly a historic case if not a precedential one. This was one of the first recorded salvage case in the United States outside of the admiralty court. Although the cannon was arrested by a federal marshal, Virginia chose to litigate in their own Superior Court of Chancery.”

“The court ruled that that the cannon was never the property of the state. Evidence had been submitted that the cannon at the State Armory were cannon imported on the French ship and were clearly property o f the state. Apparently the court determined that while the cannon were on board the sloop, they were still property of France. Since the subject cannon was never landed onto Virginia soil, Virginia never took title. The cannon were not delivered according to a contract but were a gift from France. This gift could have been recalled at anytime before delivery. It can easily be inferred now that the cannon on the bottom of the Pamunkey either still belonged to France or was considered abandoned and belonged to no one, even though it lay partially embedded in the submerged lands of the Commonwealth of Virginia for thirty-six years.” (Submitted on August 23, 2017.) 
 
Categories. War, US Revolutionary
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on August 23, 2017. This page originally submitted on August 23, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia. This page has been viewed 65 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on August 23, 2017, by J. J. Prats of Springfield, Virginia.
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