Posted by on Nov 18, 2013 in |

The Roy Chimneys

These chimneys were once attached to the Roy Tavern and are all that remain of the estate of Dorothy Buckner Smith Roy. Dorothy Roy was significant because she was 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. In addition, she owned this tavern where business and politics were discussed.

Thomas Roy, Dorothy Roy’s son, was in line to take over the Tobacco Warehouse operations. But he had a reputation for underhanded business practices. He 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 [inspection].”

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. The chimneys were saved and stabilized with funding from David Storke of Caroline County, VA.

–Compiled from “Hidden Village: Port Royal, Virginia 1744 – 1981” by Ralph Emmett Fall