The Harwood History
The Harwood name is one that is intertwined with the development of Warwick County where family members provided the county with political leadership for over 200 years. The land on which Endview now stands was held by the family nearly 250 years and is one of the last colonial structures still in existence in Newport News.
Thomas was the first of the Warwick Harwoods to arrive in Virginia. He landed at Jamestown shortly after the 1622 Indian Massacre joining his uncle, Sir Edward Harwood, a Virginia Company stockholder, and his brother William. Thomas, who moved in the colony's circle of influential persons, initially settled near Jamestown where he was joined by his wife Grace. In 1624, they moved to Mulberry Island tenanting Captain William Pierce's house.
In 1626, Harwood received a patent of 100 acres between two creeks at Blunt Point near Deep Creek and the Warwick River called Harwood Neck. This land proved to be poor for farming and he moved back to Mulberry Island. During this time he helped lead militia raids against the Indians which earned him the rank of captain. In 1629, he was elected to the House of Burgesses. Harwood's success led him to become part of the Kiskiak settlement further inland and to begin acquiring land along Skiffes Creek. Harwood added to his land holdings throughout the decade, naming his plantation Queen's Hith, an Old English term meaning "river landing."
Thomas Harwood was very active in the colony's government serving as a burgess for over 20 years and becoming Speaker of the House of Burgesses in 1644. He continued to serve the colony in several posts, including tobacco inspector and councilor until his death. Thomas' grandson, Humphrey (1642-1697), inherited his father's property and continued to expand the holdings, amassing 3,644 acres east of Skiffes Creek by 1680. Like his father, Humphrey was very active in the militia and in local politics, serving Warwick County as a county justice, sheriff, and burgess from 1685 until his death.
Major William Harwood inherited his father's estate and political position within the county. He served Warwick as a burgess, magistrate, sheriff, and tobacco inspector. When he died in 1737 in a riding accident, the land pased to his son Humphrey. In 1769, William, grandson of Major William Harwood, built the home now known today as Endview.
William died in 1795 leaving Endview to his son, "Big Humphrey," while Mulberry Island land went to another son, William III. Humphrey maintained the farm and a description of him suggests a simple lifestyle among the gentry as the land in Warwick County became infertile in the early nineteenth century. Endview passed to Humphrey's nephew, also named Humphrey, in 1824. The declining agricultural output of his farm may have been an important factor in the property's sale to his kinsman, Dr. Humphrey Harwood Curtis in 1858. Dr. Curtis purchased the estate for $1,000, using money left to him by his father, Daniel Prentis Curtis, who had married William Harwood's granddaughter.
When the Civil War erupted in 1861, Dr. Curtis helped recruit a local infantry company, the Warwick Beauregards, which included nine members of his family. He became the company's first commander when the unit was mustered into the 32nd Virginia Volunteer Infantry Regiment at Williamsburg on May 27, 1861. In addition, Dr. Curtis became a supplier to the Confederate government, selling corn, fodder, wheat, and mules.
Endview was used as a Confederate hospital during the siege with Dr. Curtis' wife Maria ministering to the sick soldiers. Her charm and caring prompted members of the Mecklenburg Grays to present her with a silver cup as a tribute to her kindness. After the Confederates retreated on May 3, 1862, the Union army occupied Endview and the Harwoods removed to Danville for the rest of the war.
The family returned in May 1865, and recovered the farm from the Freedmen's Bureau, which had seized it during the occupation. Maria's piano, taken by Union soldiers, never was returned. Dr. Curtis resumed his medical practice while continuing to farm the land. The family eventually included eleven children, eight of whom lived to adulthood. The devastation of the war contributed to bankruptcy in 1873, but the farm remained in Curtis hands. Following Dr. Curtis' death in 1881, Maria inherited the property. Her lost piano having been replaced, Maria gave lessons to soldiers stationed at Fort Eustis during the First Word War. When she died in 1919, Endview passed to her six surviving children and their heirs who held the land until selling it to a real estate company in 1985.