Built in 1769 by William Harwood, the ‘T'- frame Georgian-style house renamed Endview in the 1850s, served as a Confederate hospital during the 1862 Peninsula Campaign. Surrounded by prime farmland, Harwood situated his home atop a little knoll with a spring at the base. The inviting location, with its abundance of game and fresh water had attracted bands of Native Americans as early as 1,200 BC. Archaeological evidence has shown that the later Woodland-Riverine tribes, popularly known as the Powhatan Confederation, seasonally occupied the area up to the time of the English settlement at Jamestown in 1607.
As the English colonists spread inland, the native population was pushed north and west. By 1635, Captain Thomas Harwood, the grand ancestor of William Harwood, added the Endview lands to his holdings. Captain Harwood had emigrated from England in 1622 and eventually served as the Speaker of the House of Burgesses. During the next hundred years, the Harwoods continued to acquire land in what would eventually become Warwick County, passing the estate from father to son through subsequent generations. The area was continually occupied during that period as evidenced by archaeological excavations which have uncovered remains of a post building, a root cellar, as well as numerous domestic artifacts.
Harwood's 1769 structure became the center of what he styled "Harwood Plantation." When he died in 1795, the large estate was divided with the Endview portion going to son Humphrey. Waterview on Mulberry Island was left to son William, III. For 90 years, the farm served as the home of the politically and economically influential Harwood family. Abandoning tobacco as the staple crop, the Harwood's shifted to grains, other mixed crops, and cattle.
Between the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, African-Americans made up over half of the population of Warwick County. Archaeological data, family stories, census information, tax records, and period maps provide evidence of the African-American presence at Endview. Records show that the Harwood Plantation was home to 15 to 25 slaves during those years. Slave quarters were scattered around the vicinity of the house and there are anecdotal references to a slave graveyard near the spring.
By the outbreak of the Civil War, Endview had passed out of direct ownership of the Harwood family and was purchased by William's great-grandson Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis. The young doctor established his medical practice at the plantation in 1856 and married Maria Whitaker in 1858. The 1860 census shows that Curtis owned $8,000 worth of real estate, $21,000 worth of personal property and 12 slaves. About this time, Dr. Curtis changed the name of his property to Endview. The family had only a relatively brief period to enjoy their home before war came to the Peninsula. President Abraham Lincoln's call for 75,000 volunteers to put down the rebellion caused Virginia to secede from the Union on April 17, 1861. Dr. Curtis left his medical practice and helped organize a volunteer company, the Warwick Beauregards, of which he was elected captain. The Beauregards soon became Company H of the 32nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment and participated in the defense of the Peninsula before retreating with General Joseph Johnston's army May 3-4, 1862. As disease and fighting took their toll, the Confederates used Endview briefly as a hospital.
As the Confederate army withdrew toward Richmond in early May 1862, the Curtis family left their home and moved to Danville, Virginia. Federal troops occupied the Endview property and remained in and around the area until the end of the war. In early 1864, the Federal government confiscated the plantation and relocated seven African-American families there to farm. The Curtis family returned after the war and within a few months regained possession of their property. Humphrey Curtis died in 1881 and the farm remained in the family's possession for another century. Sold by Curtis heirs in 1985, Endview was acquired by the City of Newport News in 1995. Shortly thereafter, the restoration of this historic plantation began to take Endview back to its original configuration.
The Name "Endview"
Endview acquired its distinctive name in the mid-19th century when the farm lane, which originally led to the north (back) side of the house, was moved so that the dwelling was approached from the west end. Thus, visitors were greeted with an "end view." The house retains this approach and has been restored to its 1862 appearance.
The Natural Spring
The "small, old-fashioned house" that is Endview perches comfortably atop a little knoll with a spring flowing at the foot of the hill and prime farmland stretching out in all directions along gentle slopes. This inviting location that drew the Harwoods in the mid-eighteenth century to build a family home has attracted hunters, farmers, and soldiers for over 3,000 years.