Smith’s Fort Plantation is the site of Captain John Smith’s proposed “New Fort” and is located directly across the James River from Jamestown. The site still has earthworks that mark the spot of the unfinished fort site partially completed in 1609 before being abandoned. The current house is situated on land given by Chief Wahunsenacawh (Powhatan) as a dowry for his daughter Pocahontas’ marriage to John Rolfe in 1614.

The manor house on the property was built for Jacob Faulcon circa 1761 and retains much of its original pine woodwork.

In 1886 Smith’s Fort was purchased by a collective group of Black families including Bolling Morris, John and Carter Hardy and Robertson Simmons.

Smith’s Fort was acquired by Preservation Virginia in 1933 after it was restored by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

Address

217 Smith Fort Lane
Surry, Virginia 23883

Hours

March 1 through December 29

Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Memorial Day – Labor Day: Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

PLAN YOUR VISIT

Smith's Fort Site MapOur new Exterior Cell Phone Tour is the perfect way to enjoy history in autumn, 2020!

Plan your visit

Ways to enjoy your visit 

Self-Guided Cell Phone Tour- Receive an informative site map and explore the grounds following a numbered path. Use your personal cell phone to hear about the site’s history and architecture. Admission to the grounds will be $5 per person or $10 per car.

Guided Exterior Walking Tour- 45 minute guided tour of the history and architecture of the site. This is a public, mixed-group outdoor only tour and will require guests to be socially distant from individuals outside of their closed group. Masks are encouraged. $10 for adults, $9 discounted admission (AAA), $8 for children and students.

Guided Interior/Exterior Tours, 

  • In a 45-minute private tour guided by one of our trained interpreters, you’ll learn about the lives and legacies of Captain John Smith, John Rolfe, Pocahontas and Chief Wahunsenacawh.
    • At this time, all interior tours will be private
    • Masks are required. 
    • Closed group size limits of 6 apply. 
    • $10 for adults, $9 discounted admission (AAA), $8 for children and students.

You can hop on the Jamestown-Scotland Ferry for free to visit Preservation Virginia’s Historic Jamestowne or take a short car ride to Bacon’s Castle.

 

VISITOR INFO

Hours & Directions

Smith’s Fort is typically open March through December

Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Memorial Day – Labor Day: Monday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

African American History at Smith's Fort

We value Smith’s Fort’s African American community’s history and would love for you to be a part of the process of gathering more information about the Black presence at Smith’s Fort. If you are a descendant of Smith’s Fort or a member of the community and would like to share your family’s history or your knowledge of the African American history at Smith’s Fort, please contact us at smithsfort@preservationvirginia.org or 757.294.3872

 

Smith’s Fort: An American Story

Admission

Pricing

Preservation Virginia MembersFree (Become a member)
General Admission$10
AAA, Senior (60+), Military Discount$9
Students$8
Children Under 6Free

Contact

For information on pricing and availability:

Inquire about SMITH’S FORT

Tom Forehand, Site Coordinator
smithsfortplantation@preservationvirginia.org
757-294-3872

Key Visitor Info

Rules & Regulations

 

For the health and safety of our guests, we’re taking the following precautions as part of re-opening:

Our pledge to you–

  • We will continuously clean bathroom fixtures, doorknobs and other highly touched surfaces multiple times throughout the day with a deep clean at the close of business.

  • All of our staff will wear masks and will be trained on appropriate cleaning, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette.

  • All of our staff will maintain physical distancing (6 feet) while conducting tours and collecting admissions. Where possible, we have placed reminders to help you maintain that distance.

  • Each day, all Preservation Virginia staff members will be required to pass a wellness check. Anyone that is sick or exhibiting systems will not be allowed to work that day.

  • Hand sanitizer will be located throughout the building for guest and staff use.

  • We will limit the size of groups to maintain physical distancing on interior tours.  Tour limits are as follows:

    • Groups are limited to six (6) people

  • Wherever possible doors will remain open to alleviate the necessity of touching.

  • Our guidelines do not supersede any directives issued by government entities and will be continuously evaluated and amended as we receive further guidance from the CDC and other agencies.

Your pledge to us–

  • You will practice the Virginia mandated physical distancing guidelines that have been put into place to protect you, our staff and other guests.  This includes maintaining 6 feet of distance and wearing masks are required for interior access, including the museum shop, shuttles and restroom facilities and are recommended outdoors.

  • If you have underlying health concerns and are not able to wear a mask, please contact our sites to learn of special visiting hours specifically for you and your family.

  • You will register for tours online and in advance and use “no touch payment” when possible.

  • You will refrain from bringing food, water or other items on to the site. If you do, please “leave no trace” and take your trash with you to help protect others from possible exposure to infection.

  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19, feel sick or have a fever, please stay home, and we look forward to seeing you when you are well.

African American History at Smith's Fort

The rich story of African Americans at Smith’s Fort includes Black land ownership in the Reconstruction era South. In 1886 Smith’s Fort was purchased by four African American farmers, Bolling Morris, John and Carter Hardy and Robertson Simmons. This 521-acre farm on Grey’s Creek sold for $2,500.

While emancipation abolished the American system of race-based slavery in 1863, most plantations in Surry turned to some form of a share-cropping system. In this system, the mostly African American laborers gave ¼ to ½ of harvested crops back to the land owner. It was from this system that the Morris, Hardy and Simmons’ families were able to purchase Smith’s Fort Plantation from Stith and Maime Spratley.

In 1928, Bolling Morris sold Smith’s Fort to the Williamsburg Holding Company (Colonial Williamsburg) for the sum of $9,000. The Morris family moved to Richmond, VA and in the 1930 census, Bolling Morris Jr. is listed as proprietor of a tobacco store, along with his household, located in Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward, on the same block as Maggie L. Walker’s home, which is now a National Park site.

We have only begun to study the history of the Black presence here. Our goal is to build strong relationships with the descendants of this place, collect oral histories, and present the individual stories that truly highlight the African American experience at Smith’s Fort.

To read more about Smith’s Fort’s African American history, Click Here(Link to the Morris blog). And for more in-depth information, and primary source material please send us an email at smithsfort@preservationvirginia.org

We value Smith’s Fort’s African American community’s history and would love for you to be a part of the process of gathering more information about the Black presence at Smith’s Fort. If you are a descendant of Smith’s Fort or a member of the community and would like to share your family’s history or your knowledge of the African American history at Smith’s Fort, please contact us at smithsfort@preservationvirginia.org or 757.294.3872