From the Richmond Dispatch, 3/18/1881, p. 1, c. 3

TIME-HONORED TITLE. – Some time since the fact was mentioned in these columns of a piece of property which had remained in the same family, descending from father to son, for a period of more than 200 years; it being held continuously during that time, and is still held, in the same name in which the original grant was made.

We have recently heard of a case similar in most respects, only that the present owner holds by an inheritance which has come from the female branch of the family. It is the farm called “Springfield,” in Hanover county, owned by Mr. George Watt. Records tracing it back to the grant made by James the II., of England, to John Austin reveal the fact that it has remained in some descendant of his family to the present day. We were recently shown a plat of a survey of it made by Benjamin Bates, surveyor of Hanover county in 1800, which is still in good preservation. Mr. Bates was the father of Mr. Micajah Bates, for many years surveyor of this city. This farm is on the Chickahominy about eight miles from Richmond, near Cold Harbor, and is one of the most valuable in that section of the State, and is only a small portion of the original grant. On its soil was fought the battle of Cold Harbor, one of the bloodiest of the war. Grapevine Bridge is just below it on the Chickahominy, and after McClellan had been dislodged farther up the stream he withdrew towards this crossing so as to reach the shelter of his gunboats on James river. The whole right wing of Lee’s army converged towards this point in the effort to intercept the Federals. They met here, and the shock was terrific. Eighteen Federal cannon were captured within fifty yards of the dwelling-house. Besides the prestige of antiquity which hovers around and over the old settlement, it has also the additional historical attraction mentioned in the annals of the late war. Its associations in this respect will render it famous for long years to come.


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