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

Turkey Island Mansion

ca. 1768

Turkey Island Mansion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 2, 2013
1. Turkey Island Mansion Marker
Inscription. Archeologists uncovered building foundations near this location of a house believed to have been designed by Ryland Randolph in the late 1760s. Ryland Randolph (1738-1784) was the great-grandson of Pocahontas and the grandson of William Randolph and Mary Isham. William and Mary established themselves at Turkey Island in 1670. Built of brick, the central portion of the house was two stories high and capped by a large cupola or dome. The symmetry of the side wings, hipped roof and interior end chimneys are typical building features of Palladian architecture. Palladian architecture, named for Italian architect Andrea Palladio (1508-1580), is characterized by principles of classical antiquity — order and symmetry.

In 1809, the two story center portion of the structure was burned and rebuilt as a one-story structure. Prior to the fire, two insurance policies were taken out on the property, in 1796 and 1806. Sketches submitted with the 1806 policy describe a two-story brick dwelling, 30 by 30 feet covered with wood. The same plan shows two story wings 26 by 14 feet attached to each side of the structure and two additional wings 24 by 24 feet only one story each. The sketch features a front and back porch both with a three arch arcade created with four columns on each portico.

The Pickett family purchased the plantation
Turkey Island Mansion Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 2, 2013
2. Turkey Island Mansion Marker
in 1814. In 1853, Robert Pickett wrote that “in the early days nautical men who passed referred to the dome of the mansion as the bird cage because of the large number of birds that were always seen flying around it.” The house was destroyed during the Civil War when Confederate General George Pickett owned the property.

(Above.) Architectural rendering of what the original dwelling may have looked like by William Rhodes.
(Inset, Top right.) 1853 Smith map of Henrico County, detail of Turkey Island.
Sketch of mansion from Insurance Document (Mutual Assurance Society, 1806.
Ryland Randolph, ca. 1760.
Erected 2013 by County of Henrico.
Location. 37° 24.373′ N, 77° 16.167′ W. Marker is near Richmond, Virginia, in Henrico County. Marker is at the intersection of New Market Road (Virginia Route 5) and Curles Neck Road, on the right when traveling east on New Market Road. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Henrico VA 23231, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Engagement at Malvern Cliffs (here, next to this marker); The Flood of 1771 (here, next to this marker); Turkey Island (here,
New Market Road (facing east) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, December 2, 2013
3. New Market Road (facing east)
next to this marker); Captain Thomas Harris (approx. 0.4 miles away); Curles Neck and Bremo (approx. 0.4 miles away); Nathaniel Bacon (approx. half a mile away); Malvern Cliffs (approx. 0.9 miles away); a different marker also named Malvern Cliffs (approx. one mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Richmond.
Categories. Colonial EraWar, US Civil
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 2, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 678 times since then and 68 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on December 2, 2013, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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