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The Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society

Preserving the history and traditions of "the Athens of America," cradle of our nation's democracy

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Founded in 1951

Virginia's Northern Neck, early home to many of America's Founding Fathers and birthplace of three of the nation's first five presidents, has been called the cradle of American democracy. The mission of the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society (NNVHS) is to collect, preserve, and disseminate information and material of every nature relating to the history, antiquities, and literature of the Counties of Northumberland, Lancaster, Westmoreland, Stafford, Richmond, and King George.
Online Community: Facebook and Twitter
Members and web visitors can participate in the Society's activities online with social media for sharing news, photos, genealogical discussions, historical research (questions or answers), and upcoming events in an active online calendar. Come online and share the story of this special part of the world! See the NNVHS page on Facebook, NN blog and follow us on Twitter!
NNVHS holds two membership meetings each year with a business session, a luncheon so members can socialize and meet other members, and a speaker who focuses on some interesting aspect of the history of the Northern Neck. Other special events include commemorations of the Leedstown Resolves on February 27 and Independence Day at Burnt House Field on July 4, and the Deed of Manumission celebration on the third Saturday in September.
Our annual magazine is a member benefit and has been published since 1951. It contains original articles written by a variety of authors - local historians, college professors, curators, and students. Many libraries throughout the nation have complete sets. Three indexes cover the magazines through 2008. These indexes include names, places, and events as well as 116 major cross-reference topics of interest. Magazines and indexes are available from the Society's library.
Research Library
The Society's library collection includes print and non-print materials on the history of the Northern Neck. They include vital records, family histories, church and cemetery guides, histories of Virginia and Northern Neck towns and counties, immigration lists, census records, microfilm of the Northern Neck News, 1879-1939, and microfilm of the Virginia Citizen of Irvington, 1891-1917. The Library is located in the Society's headquarters at 15482 Kings Hwy, Montross, Virginia. Contact our Executive Director (see below) to schedule an appointment to use our library.
The Hanbury Award 
NNVHS launched in 2012 the John Paul Hanbury Award, recognizing outstanding restoration, rehabilitation or renovation (within the past five years) of a property of architectural and/or historical interest in the six counties of Virginia’s historic Northern Neck. The Award recipient is chosen by a distinguished panel; nomination details here.
Volunteer Activities
Volunteers can find a variety of interesting activities, from event planning to research projects in genealogy and historic preservation. We look forward to incorporating your talents in our mission and programs. Help us preserve the heritage of this area. We invite you to become a member today, or to enrich your current membership with volunteer activity - click here!
The Northern Neck: Birthplace of the Nation
On the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, there are three peninsulas or necks carved out by the tidal rivers. The northernmost lies between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers and became known in the 17th Century as "the Northern Neck." Only 15-20 miles wide, it runs inland between the rivers for about 100 miles - until it narrows so that the rivers almost join.
Formation of the Northern Neck counties occurred in these years: Northumberland 1648, Lancaster 1651, Westmoreland 1653, Stafford 1664, Richmond 1692, King George 1721.
  • Birthplace of three of the nation's first five Presidents: George Washington, James Madison, and James Monroe.
  • Birthplace of Richard Henry Lee and Francis Lightfoot Lee, the only brothers to sign the Declaration of Independence, Revolutionary War hero Henry "Lighhorse Harry" Lee, and Confederate General Robert E. Lee.
  • Site of 1766 Leedstown Resolves, the first recorded act of resistance to the British Stamp Act: "We bind the risk of our lives and fortunes."


"Spring Grove," Mt. Holly, Virginia, c. 1834
One of the historic homes of the Northern Neck
Contact Information
Kathy G. Schuder
Executive Director
Post Office Box 716
Montross, Virginia 22520
(804) 493-1862