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The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach
Historical Society
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     In 1931, after researching records and interviewing current residents of the surviving 17th and 18th century structures within the county, Hope and Sadie Kellam published Old Houses in Princess Anne , Virginia.

    In the late 1950s, several county women launched a project to create color slides of those structures, and discovered that in  less than the three decades intervening, half of those structures had collapsed or been demolished.  That awareness was a contributing factor behind the call for a meeting at Princess Anne High School on Washington's birthday in 1961, at which the 125 attendees voted to establish the Princess Anne County Historical Society.


     By the time of the Society’s first regular meeting that September, efforts were already in progress by the county, and Virginia Beach officials were anticipating a merger of the two which would lead to the larger City of Virginia Beach. When the merger became official on January 1, 1963, the County of Princess Anne ceased to exist and the Historical Society mission seemed all the more timely.

     Although the Society has never received public funding, it began modeling its commitment to historical preservation by acquiring and raising contributions to stabilize and partially restore Pembroke Manor house and Upper Wolfsnare house. In support of a broadening mission to familiarize residents of the community with its almost four centuries of history, the Society has offered three informative programs annually, sponsored bus tours, and provided support for several publications.  The programs by design are held in a variety of schools, churches, and other community spaces, and have ranged from a series of seven borough meetings attracting 200 persons each time to a 2006 centennial celebration of Virginia Beach town/city government attended by seven of the city's mayors.  On its 25th anniversary in 1986 Society members voted to expand the name to the Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society, thereby providing a clearer historical linkage for the many new residents as Virginia Beach became the commonwealth's most populous city.

                                                        2021 marked our 60th anniversary!

The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society has three primary aims:

Education: To increase public awareness and stimulate interest in the history of our City through an active public programming initiative. Programs and events are regularly scheduled throughout the City and at Upper Wolfsnare.

Interpretation: To develop programs that interpret our community’s heritage and the stewardship of historic resources and to find new ways of making the past more interesting to younger generations.

Preservation: To involve the citizens of Virginia Beach in the preservation and restoration of historic properties.



Current Officers

President: Al Chewning

Vice President:

Secretary: (acting) Virginia Hawley

Treasurer: Amanda Brooks

Historian: Stephen Mansfield

               Current Board Members

Drummond Ball                  Virginia Hawley 

John Bayer                           Allison Hedrick                    June Cooper                         Debbie Lou Hague              Kelsi Dunman                      Stacey Shiftlet     

Lillie Gilbert                          Sarah Shiplet        


                    Anne Henry (Emeritus)


Leon J. Maneess 1961-1962

J. Davis Reed, Jr. 1962-1964

M. F. Fogler 1964-1967

Edmund S. Ruffin, Jr. 1967-1969

William B. Copeland 1969-1971

Harold Page Smith 1971-1974

Martin P. Hottel 1974-1979

John M. Hodgson 1979-1983

Robert R. Beasley 1983-1985

Stephen S. Mansfield 1985-1987

J. David Reed III 1987-1990

Derris Raper 1990-1991

James G. Vermillion 1991-1992

Barbara M. Henley 1992-1994

Stephen S. Mansfield 1994-1997

Glenda H. Knowles 1997-2000

E. Sidney Vaughn III 2000-2002

Barbara Henley 2002 - 2006

John Baillio 2006 - 2016

Barbara Henley 2016 - 2022

Past Presidents

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Upper Wolfsnare House

The Historical Society provides the sole support for maintenance and restoration
of the Upper Wolfsnare house.  Donations to the Society are always welcome!

Wolfsnare 1939.jpg

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Library of Congress


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PAC/VB Historical Society


Thomas Walke received a land grant in 1612 and Thomas Walke III built his home on the property in 1759. His son, Thomas Walke IV, a colonel in the Colonial Militia, later inherited the land and the house. He, along with his cousin, Reverand Anthony Walke, served as Princess Anne County's two representatives at the convention of 1788, which is where Virginia voted to ratify the new United States Constitution.

The original Georgian style of the house reflects the gentry class life style of the builder. The structure was designed with two rooms on either side of a central hall, a pattern that was repeated on the second floor. A stairway extended through the two floors to an attic, helping with air circulation in summer, and a basement was accessible through an outside door.

Additional features included corner fireplaces, distinctive wood paneling, and walls as thick as sixteen inches.


The house was known as the Brick House Farm until the Malbon family purchased it in 1939 and changed the name to Upper Wolfsnare. The name was derived from Wolfsnare Creek, which flowed nearby until it was obliterated by the Virginia Beach Expressway (Route 44). The house was painted white in 1954. It has been in the custodianship of the Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society since 1966.

The house was added to the National Registry of Historic Places on March 26, 1975.


Wolfsnare 1939.jpg
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