The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach
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.
The year 2021 will mark the 60th year of the Historical Society. Through the use of electronic media, the Society is now hosting Webinars to continue reaching out to the public. When the COVID-19 restrictions are no longer needed there will be an appropriate Anniversary celebration.
Our Mission Statement: To foster public awareness and stimulate interest in the history of Princess Anne County and Virginia Beach; to encourage the citizens of the community in the preservation of historic properties within the city; an to develop programs for the interpretation of the community's heritage and the stewardship of historical resources.
The Princess Anne County/Virginia Beach Historical Society has three primary aims:
Education: to increase public awareness and stimulates 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.
Preservation: to involve the citizens of Virginia Beach in the preservation and restoration of historic properties.
Interpretation: The Society develops programs that interpret our community’s heritage and the stewardship of historic resources.
President: Barbara Henley
Vice President: Lillie Gilbert
Secretary: Lillie Gilbert (Temporary)
Treasurer: Pati Terry
Historian: Stephen Mansfield
Current Board Members
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 - Present
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!
Library of Congress
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 in in 1939 and changed the name to Upper Wolfsnare House. 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.