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Berkeley Plantation

First Thanksgiving celebrated;
Birthplace of William Henry Harrison;
"Taps" composed

Berkeley Plantation House
Berkeley Plantation House
Click to enlarge. 2009

Information plaque
Information plaque
Click to enlarge. 2009

Information plaque
Information plaque
Click to enlarge. 2009

Wayside marker
Wayside marker
Click to enlarge. 2009

12602 Harrison Landing Road
Charles City, Virginia 23030
United States

On This Very Spot on December 4, 1619, English settlers arriving on the ship Margaret celebrated America's first Thanksgiving, two years before the Pilgrims celebrated Thanksgiving at Plymouth Colony. It continues to be the site of an annual Thanksgiving celebration to this day, and a letter on display from President John F. Kennedy confirms that this plantation was indeed the site of the first Thanksgiving.

On This Very Spot from 1621 to 1622, the first Bourbon Whiskey was distilled at the plantation.

On This Very Spot on April 5, 1726, Benjamin Harrison V was born. As a Virginia delegate to the Continental Congress, he signed the Declaration of Independence. He then served as Governor of Virginia from 1781-1784. He was the father of one U.S. president and the great-grandfather of another.

On This Very Spot in 1773, William Henry Harrison was born, the last American president to be born a British subject prior to the American Revolution. After being elected the ninth president of the United States in 1841, he came home to Berkeley to write his inaugural address in the very bedroom he occupied as a child. He caught pneumonia and died one month after taking office--the shawl that warmed him during that sickness is displayed over one of the couches in the living area. His grandson Benjamin Harrison would become the 23rd president.

On This Very Spot in July of 1862, Union soldiers General Butterfield and Oliver Wilcox Norton composed "Taps." For more information, visit

On This Very Spot following the Seven Days Battles, 140,000 Union soldiers under General George McClellan camped here and was visited by Abraham Lincoln. A Civil War cannonball remains lodged in the wall of the kitchen.

See also Colonial Virginia and Historic Homes Museums.

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This spot is a historical site open to the public. For complete visitor's information, including hours of operation, admission fees, and map & directions, visit the official website at

Parking: Close proximity to premises.

Amenities: Public restrooms.

Location: James River Historic Plantations along Historic Route 5.

Nearest Major Airport: Richmond

Directions: Located Halfway Between Richmond and Williamsburg Off Scenic Route 5 in Charles City, Virginia From Norfolk/Virginia Beach I-64 West To Exit #211 (Rt. 106 South). Travel 14 Miles to Flashing Red Light Rt. 5. Take a Left and Travel Rt. 5 East approximately 3 miles. Berkeley Entrance is on the right. From Williamsburg Take Rt. 5 West (John Tyler Memorial Hwy). Travel approximately 30 miles. Berkeley Entrance is on the left. From Washington D.C. I-95 South to I-295 South to Exit #22A (Rt. 5 East, Charles City). Travel Rt. 5 East approximately 13 miles. Berkeley Entrance is on the right. From Downtown Richmond Follow Main Street East Rt. 5 East. Travel Rt. 5 East approximately 25 miles. Berkeley Entrance is on the right.

Hours: Open daily 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day

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