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

Dorothy Roy

One of America's Earliest Business Women

Dorothy Roy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 11, 2012
1. Dorothy Roy Marker
Inscription. The daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Buckner and the widow of Charles Smith, Dorothy Smith married John Roy in 1719. John Roy was the owner of a tobacco warehouse at Port Royal, Virginia - a facility to which local planters brought their tobacco to be shipped abroad on vessels that sailed from Port Royal's harbor on the Rappahannock. In 1731, Dorothy Roy used her influence with the Virginia Court to have a 20-mile-long rolling road constructed over which planters could haul 900-pound hogsheads of tobacco to the warehouse. This rolling road later became U.S. Route 301.

After John Roy's death in 1734, Dorothy Roy became the first woman in Virginia to own a chartered tobacco warehouse. She also obtained a license to operate a ferry across the Rappahannock—another first for a Virginia woman—and she even became the owner of a tavern.

Dorothy Roy was soon recognized as the doyenne of the thriving commercial hub of Port Royal and was widely sought for business advice. She died in 1746, two years after the town of Port Royal, which had grown up around the Roy tobacco warehouse, was chartered. The two large chimneys on the west side of Route 301 are all that remain of Dorothy Roy's residence.
Erected by Historic Port Royal with funding made possible through the sponsorship
Dorothy Roy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 11, 2012
2. Dorothy Roy Marker
and the two large chimneys across US 301
of the Washington-Lewis Chapter, National Society Daughters of the American Revolution.
Location. 38° 10.311′ N, 77° 11.443′ W. Marker is in Port Royal, Virginia, in Caroline County. Marker is at the intersection of Water Street and Main Street (U.S. 301), on the left when traveling west on Water Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Port Royal VA 22535, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Port Royal (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Fox Tavern: A Colonial Landmark (about 400 feet away); a different marker also named Port Royal (about 500 feet away); Port Royal Harbor (about 600 feet away); The Earliest Inhabitants: Native Americans (about 700 feet away); The Sacred Lot (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Port Royal (approx. 0.2 miles away); This monument, until 1983 located on the Belle Grove Lawn (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Port Royal.
Categories. Colonial EraSettlements & SettlersWomen
Dorothy Roy Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 11, 2012
3. Dorothy Roy Marker
Marker at Roy Chimneys image. Click for full size.
By Kevin W., July 11, 2012
4. Marker at Roy Chimneys
Port Royal was first settled in 1652 and was chartered in 1744.
Tradition says that Port Royal was named after the Roy Family.
John and Dorothy Roy owned a warehouse chartered by the crown, a ferry service and a tavern.
Dorothy Roy was the first woman entrepreneur in the colonies.
These chimneys are all that remain of the Roy home.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on July 15, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 832 times since then and 100 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 15, 2012, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.
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