Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in |

About the Roy Chimneys


These chimneys are all that remain of the estate of Dorothy Roy. Roy was significant because she was the only woman to hold a franchise to operate a tobacco warehouse in the American Colonies. Her franchise was chartered by John Buckner in 1673 and then passed to John Roy, and upon his death the franchise passed to Dorothy Roy. It was said that ships would dock at Port Royal, and the Port was the center of commerce, with Dorothy Roy at the center of it. In addition to the tobacco franchise, she owned a license to operate a tavern. It was said that Roy’s tavern was the primary spot in town where business happened.


Thomas Roy, Dorothy Roy’s son, had a reputation for underhanded business practices; and got in trouble with Crown authorities for a whole host of infractions: from illegal campaigning in elections to misdealings as Tobacco Inspector for Caroline County. The Crown Attorney in 1738 stated that he had “greatly neglected his duty, taking little care of the Tobacco before or after it is passed…” He ordered that a Magistrate investigate the matter and report his findings to the Council.


The scandal had repercussions that affected the Roy family and the Town of Port Royal. Upon Dorothy Roy’s death, the son that mired the family in scandal, Thomas Roy, inherited his mother’s tavern. He then sold it to Benjamin Long. Her grandson sold the tobacco warehouse to James Miller, Port Royal merchant and Caroline County Magistrate. Today the chimneys to Roy’s estate are all that remain.


–About Courtesy of “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744 – 1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall