A History of the Town of Port Royal

Port Royal is a neat little town about 15mi outside of Fredericksburg. It has a great history, an from what I have understood it rivaled Fredericksburg in size and importance until a fire swept through the town in the 1770’s. What remains is a collection of 18th, 19th, and 20th century buildings spotted by the occasional trailer. Citizens of the town are very proud of its history, and there is a burgeoning renaissance occuring through private efforts among the citizens to restore some of the old buildings.

What’s remarkable is the Masonic lodge here. Alexandria of course is the first lodge, but did you know that Masonic Lodge #2 was in Port Royal? That’s noteworthy considering that Masonic Lodge #4 is here in Fredericksburg. It should speak volumes about the town’s importance during the latter half of the 18th century, as it very nearly became the capital of the United States.

Settled in 1652 when John Catlett and his half brother, Ralph Rowzee patented 400 acres, Port Royal was once the only chartered town in Caroline County. An important colonial shipper of tobacco to Britain, it later served as a warehouse center and mover of grain, freight, and passengers on 3-masted schooners. Traces of this colorful past can still be found today in the historic section of this old town.

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