Famous people, places & things
People, places and things that make Hampton Roads famous: Presidents, celebrities and more
Hampton Roads is known around the world for its people — as being from here, as a come-here, or for just passing through — as well as places and things.
It's known for its Bacon (as in Nathaniel), its ham (as in Smithfield), its presidents (more than just George slept here), its submarines and aircraft carriers, its battlefields, its warriors, its singers and writers and sportsmen — oh, just read the list!
Nathaniel Bacon led a revolt against Virginia's royal governor in 1676.
Patrick Henry, George Wythe and John Marshall all took part in political debate in Williamsburg, the colonial capital of Virginia.
George Washington's victory at Yorktown cemented him as the man who would go on to become our first president.
William Henry Harrison and John Tyler — you know, "Tippecanoe and Tyler, too!"— became presidents. Both hailed from Charles City County.
Ben Butler, the federal commander at Hampton's Fort Monroe early in the Civil War, declared that runaway slaves could be kept as "contraband of war" (and, presumably, then be freed). His decision led the Union on its way to emancipation.
Confederate President Jefferson Davis was jailed at Fort Monroe after the Civil War.
Edgar Allan Poe served a stint as a soldier at Fort Monroe during his checkered life.
James Daniel Gardner, awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery during the Civil War, was born in Gloucester. He was a member of Co. I, 36th Infantry Regiment, United States Colored Troops.
Robert R. Moton, who followed Booker T. Washington as head of Tuskegee, retired to a home on the banks of the York River in Gloucester, where his wife grew up.
Walter Reed, an Army physician from Gloucester, discovered that yellow fever was transmitted by mosquitoes.
Ella Fitzgerald and Pearl Bailey, both world-renowned entertainers, were born in Newport News in 1918.