March 2, 2004
Colonial Williamsburg Celebrates Women's History Month with
In celebration of Women’s History Month, Colonial Williamsburg invites guests to enjoy the pomp and circumstance surrounding “The Arrival of Lady Dunmore,” the wife of the last Royal Governor of the colony of Virginia, March 12-14.
By 1774 in the midst of apprehension over the recent Boston Tea Party, a major financial crisis in London and a controversy between Virginia and Pennsylvania over the jurisdiction of Fort Pitt, Virginians were desperate for a cause for celebration. They found it in the news that Charlotte, Lady Dunmore and her family were leaving London to be reunited with her husband, John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, Virginia’s royal governor. The Lady’s arrival was marked by illumination of the houses and citizens gathered to escort Her Ladyship and family to their new home—the Governor’s Palace. Cannon salutes, fireworks and a ball were offered as a show of esteem.
Friday, March 12“The Governor’s Palace Prepares,” 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Governor’s Palace. There have been married royal governors, but none with so many children in residence with them. The third floor of the Palace has undergone extensive work to accommodate the children, their nurse and governess. What will Her Ladyship think since she has been entertained in English as well as other European courts?“At the Peyton Randolph House,” 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Randolph House. Virginia’s first family speculates on what the arrival of Lady Dunmore and the children will mean for them. Mr. Speaker, Peyton Randolph, prepares the speech of welcome from the members of the House of Burgesses that he will read on her Ladyship’s arrival. Mr. Attorney, John Randolph, is delighted that Lord Dunmore, who has been a frequent visitor to his home, will be reunited with his family. Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph is very interested in how Lady Dunmore will receive the ladies of Williamsburg. She and her sister-in-law, Ariana Randolph, speculate on the fashions that Lady Dunmore will bring to the city. The slaves of the household believe their workload will increase when the Randolphs entertain Lord and Lady Dunmore, as surely they will considering Mr. Randolph’s political position.“How Ladies Traveled,” 10:30 a.m., Prentis Store Pasture, weather permitting. There are a number of ways ladies made their way around town and country in the 18th century. This program helps guests learn about how they traveled overland when Williamsburg was the capital of Virginia.“Focus on the Ladies at the Governor’s Palace,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Governor’s Palace. During a 30-minute tour, guests learn about the ladies who called the Palace home. Reservations are required.“The Trials and Tribulations of Transatlantic Travel,” 2 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum’s Hennage Auditorium. Ladies did not travel a great deal in the 18th century. Lady Dunmore and her children made the journey from England during the winter months when transatlantic travel was difficult at best. There is no record of that voyage, but in this lecture learn about other sources that tell us what travelers might have endured to reach American shores.“Women of Williamsburg,” 3 p.m., Greenhow Lumber House. On this Historic Area walking tour, guests come to understand the troubles and triumphs that women experienced as they lived their lives in a time of challenge and change. Reservations are required.
Saturday, March 13“The Governor’s Palace Prepares,” 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
“At the Peyton Randolph House,” 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
“Focus on the Ladies at the Governor’s Place,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Reservations are required.
“Parade and Welcome of Lady Dunmore,” 11:45 a.m., Duke of Gloucester Street and Palace Green. The populace, along with the Fifes and Drums, come out to welcome Her Ladyship, Charlotte Murray, Countess of Dunmore. Mounted riders accompany her into the city.“Lord and Lady Dunmore Receive the Populace,” 1:30 – 3:10 p.m. every 20 minutes. Governor’s Palace East Advance Building. Lord and Lady Dunmore are pleased to welcome the populace as they greet and welcome Her Ladyship to her new home.“Women of Williamsburg,” 3 p.m., Greenhow Lumber House. Reservations are required.
Sunday, March 14“The Palace Prepares, 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.“Focus on the Ladies at the Governor’s Palace,” 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Reservations are required. “Welcoming Her Ladyship,” 2 – 3:30 p.m., Governor’s Place East Advance Building. Lady Dunmore has arrived, greeted with much joy and praise. Residents of the city are anxious to make her acquaintance while she is settling into her new home and seeing to her children’s education. Governor’s Palace East Advance Building.“Women of Williamsburg,” 3 p.m., Greenhow Lumber House. Reservations are required.
A Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket is required to attend most of these programs. Reservations are needed where indicated.
Lorraine C. Brooks