Located in southwestern King William County, Cherry Grove sits on a 1.25-acre parcel in the rural community of Aylett, close to the border of Hanover County. The frame dwelling, which was constructed in two stages, stands on a cleared section of land surrounded by woods on all sides. The building is situated atop a Flemish-bond basement and flanked on both sides by Flemish-bond exterior-end chimneys. The original house was built in circa 1792 by William Cocke, who purchased the property from Ralph Wormeley, the heir of an aristocratic colonial family. In 1821, the house passed to Cocke’s son Isaac, who constructed a two-story, two-bay, single-pile frame addition onto the western end of the building in ca. 1834-1835. Isaac also hired Boston-born painter Daniel T. Rea to execute interior decorative touches on the first-floor parlor mantel and baseboards, stairs, and doors. Rea, who came from a long line of Massachusetts decorative painters, designed the first-floor mantel and baseboards of the frame addition to resemble marble, and tinted the home’s door panels to look like burled walnut, maple, and mahogany. Cherry Grove is presently the only known example of Rea’s decorative work in Virginia. After Isaac Cocke died in 1835, the estate was divided among his widow, Harriet Timberlake Cocke, and their children. One of Isaac and Harriet’s daughters, Julia F. Cocke, who married Dr. William T. Downer, eventually inherited the house and tract. Descendants of the Downer family owned Cherry Grove until 1982, when it was sold to brothers James Wilson and Timothy Lee Ramsey. The owners at the time of listing in the registers, Lee and Elaine Ramsey, became the sole owners in 1991 and restored the house.
Many properties listed in the registers are private dwellings and are not open to the public, however many are visible from the public right-of-way. Please be respectful of owner privacy.
VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark