Founders Day

Saturday, August 3rd, 2024

Colonial-style fife and drum musicians and the “town crier” will open the day’s festivities in the heart of Urbanna On Virginia Street at the Women’s Club at 10:15am.

At 11am, eighteenth century historic interpreters portraying Richard Henry Lee and George Mason will engage in a strategic discussion about the War and the New Nation, held at the historic Urbanna Baptist Church, 121 Watling Street, Urbanna, Virginia.

The James Mills Scottish Factor Store and Town Museum will be open from 11am-3pm featuring historian, Barbara Lovelace, sharing the history of the Scottish Factor Store, the last remaining one of its kind in the country. Jim Robusto will guide you through the story of an Urbanna treasure, the Mitchell Map, declared by the Library of Congress to be one of the most important maps in our country’s history. Enjoy a stroll in the colonial time Medicinal Garden in the back lawn of the Museum.

Wander down to the Urbanna Town Dock to view and tour the Luna, a 1768 replica sloop. Guided tours by period costumed guides will offer information on the ship and its purpose in colonial times. The Luna will be docked all weekend.

luna sloop

At the corner of Cross and Virginia Streets, you will find the Explorer. A replica of the Shallop used by John Smith in his explorations of the Chesapeake Bay and tributary rivers. You are invited to visit the encampment of “Anas Todkill,” Director of Living History and Historic Trades at Jamestown alongside the Explorer. Todkill is a well-documented traveler with Smith on his explorations.

In the center of town, The Women’s Club (one of only 11 remaining Colonial Courthouses still standing) will be open for tours from 11-3, and the historic colonial residence Lansdowne will be open for tours from 12:30pm to 3pm.

Come enjoy all the colonial events of the day in the quaint and historic town of Urbanna with its friendly and welcoming people, several excellent restaurants, and multiple unique boutique shops.

Sponsored by Friends of Urbanna, River Counties Community Foundation, the Town of Urbanna, Urbanna Business Association, and private donors.

About the Friends of Urbanna

The Friends of Urbanna, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, is dedicated to preserving, promoting, and educating the local community and visitors on the deep and rich history of Urbanna and the surrounding areas.

Who we are…

Friends of Urbanna grew out of meeting of local patriots in 2014 who wished to tell the story of the founding of the Town of Urbanna, showcase its colonial history, and celebrate the many facets of its growth and progress. In the succeeding years, the organization has grown to not only promote the history of the area but also to sustain and present Urbanna’s 18th century James Mills Scottish Factor Store, the last remaining one of its kind.

What we do…

  • Friends of Urbanna’s education and preservation activities center on interpreting the James Mills Scottish Factor Store, which served as the major economic engine in colonial Urbanna and the surrounding area. In this serene setting, we tell the story about tobacco growers and merchants, and how they worked together, to build the Town of Urbanna and make Virginia the wealthiest of the 13 colonies by the time of the American Revolution.
  • Within the Store is a restored first edition, third impression of the John Mitchell Map, printed in 1755. Docents and historians explain how this 4.5 x 6.5 foot map was used to negotiate the treaties that ended the Revolutionary War, define eastern states boundaries as recently as the 20th century, and was used in the 1980s to settle an international dispute. This significant document was declared by The Library of Congress to be “the most important map in American history.”

In 2020, The Urbanna Town Council appointed the Friends of Urbanna as the primary advisory group to the Town on the continuing development and preservation of this one-of-a-kind 1765 Scottish Factor Store, also serving as Urbanna’s Visitor Center.

  • Friends of Urbanna has sponsored the annual Founders Day program since 2014. Held annually on the first Saturday in August, this event celebrates our colonial history and presents educational programs for all.
    In 2022, we partnered with Colonial Williamsburg to host interpreters “Patrick Henry” and “George Wythe” to debate the “new” Constitution.
    • In 2023, “Thomas Jefferson” and “Patrick Henry” led a debate about the separation of church and state.
    • An additional partnership with the Deltaville Maritime Museum brings the Luna and Explorer to this colonial celebration. These ships are accurate replicas of ships used by the well-known 17th century explorer, John Smith, and 18th century merchants to import and export goods through Urbanna Harbor.
    • In past years, we have highlighted the many historic events and personalities of the early colonial settlers of Urbanna through original plays and presentations. All of the events each year have added deep and personal context to the story of our founding.
  • Many of our organization’s efforts are aimed at introducing young people and children to our valuable colonial history through education and interpretive programs, essay contests, and special events.
    • As part of Founders Day in 2023 we sponsored a colonial storytelling program for elementary school children on the grounds of historic Lansdowne in Urbanna.

Since 2019, Friends of Urbanna has partnered with Midllesex Counties's nearby St. Clare Walker Middle School to conduct an essay contest for 6th graders. In 2023, the essay contest focused on "Leaving a Legacy". The 6th grade students attended onsite presentations to learn about John Mitchell and his map at the Scottish Factor Store and were asked to write an essay on John Mitchell’s legacy. Prior years' essay contests focused on the John Mitchell Map and Dr. Mitchells work in the area.