Select Page Miscellany

Here are some Page stories and accounts over the years:

Sir Hugo de Pagham and the Page Line

The first known mention of the name de Pagham was John de Pagham, the bishop of Worcester in the 1150’s.  He was probably a native of the township of Pagham on the Sussex coast.  But the main de Pagham line of interest seems to have been a family that had established itself as barons at York in the north of England. 

The story goes that Hugo de Pagham of this family
was entrusted by King Henry III in 1257 with an important mission to the King of Spain.   It was considered a mark of great distinction that Hugo should have been chosen for this mission as in those feudal times great discretion and care were required on the part of messengers and ambassadors.  King Henry was so much pleased with his diplomacy and faithful performance of this service, his mission having proven quite successful, that he was made a knight in 1260. 

In addition a proclamation was issued, giving notice that he was thereafter to be known as Sir Hugo Page.  From that time on, Page was adopted as the family name.  

William de
Pagham, brother of Hugo, was granted letters by Henry III to enable him to become a commander of the Crusaders in 1270.  He accordingly went to Palestine in command of a portion of the forces which engaged in the Holy Wars.  He was one of the survivors of that expedition.  After enduring four years of peril and suffering, he returned and settled in Sussex in the southern part of England.  This de Pagham may have been the progenitor of some Pages in this part of England.

The Page Estate in Middlesex

The Page estate in Middlesex began at the time of the dissolution of the monasteries when Henry VIII made available to Page families in and around the town of Harrow.  At that time this was a rather rough country, part of it being covered by forests.  It was not supposed to be of that much value. 

The first part of these lands made available were those held by the Knights of St. John surrounding Kilburn Priory.  Here the nuns first had to be ejected.  A local legend has it that the evicted nuns foretold that those who succeeded them in the property would reach the climax of ambition and then disappear.   Sir Richard Page added the parish of Wembley in 1542. 

The Page family held title to these lands through the centuries.  Litigants later claimed that the Page estate had expanded to include such historic sites as Harrow School, Sudbury Rectory, Wembley Park, and Twyford Abbey, as well as some rich agricultural districts towards the Berkshire and Hertfordshire borders.  However, others maintained that the Page estate had been much diminished over the years. 

By the early 19th century the Page estate was in the hands of four brothers who died in turn, the last being Henry Page in 1829, leaving no heirs. 

But claimants to what was seen as the Page fortunes did appear.  The most persistent was from the descendants of a Henry Page from Hillingdon whose sons had emigrated to Australia in 1850.  In 1912 this family claim reached the high courts in London.  However, the claim was dismissed by the judge, primarily
due to the fact that Henry Page having died over eighty years ago and that no legal case could now be proved.

Samuel Page of Lunenburg, Massachusetts

Samuel Page had been born in Groton, Massachusetts in 1672 and at an early age departed for South Carolina.  His first wife died there and he met his second wife there.  However, he did not remain there.  He returned to Massachusetts in 1718 and to Lunenburg, then called Turkey Hills and some eight miles west of Groton. 

It was still a wilderness there.Samuel Page was its first settler.  The township developed and he was usually called “Governor Page” since he was presumed to be running the place.

He married his third wife in July 1747.  But he died two months later.  The inscription on his gravestone, executed in rude capitals, read as follows:

“Here lies buried the body of Mr. Samuel Page.
He was the first that settled in this town,
Who departed this life Sept. 7, 1747  
In the 76th year of his age.

The Page Family's Rosewell Estate

Mann Page was the grandson of immigrant John Page and, at an early age, the sole heir of his grandfather’s vast estates in Gloucester county, Virginia.  In 1725 he constructed the family home, Rosewell House, at the junction of Carter creek and the York river, supposedly on the site where Pocahontas had saved the life of Captain John Smith. It was the largest and finest residence in Virginia at that time and was built of brick, marble and carved mahogany.

Rosewell was to be the ancestral home of the Page family for more than 100 years - until its eventual sale in 1838.  John Page, grandson of the builder, was the best friend and cousin of Thomas Jefferson.  Tradition has it that the Declaration of Independence was drafted in this house by Jefferson before he went to Philadelphia.

Legends and lore associated with the estate have abounded.  Supposedly Mann Page had expired in the grand front hall of the mansion and the Bishop of Virginia proclaimed that God had struck him down for his excesses.  Another rumor was that Mann had died because he was cursed by the spirit of Powhatan for building the mansion on the site of Werewocomoco, the chief’s village.

In 1916 a fire swept through the mansion, gutting it and leaving only a shell which remained as a haunting testament to 18th century craftsmanship and dreams.  These ruins are haunted.  Tales of hauntings on the Rosewell grounds have covered a broad spectrum, from full-body apparitions to moans.  Vintage automobiles have even been sighted.

Thomas Nelson Page and the Myth of the Old South

When Thomas Nelson Page wrote about the antebellum South, he recalled his youth on a slaveholding Virginia Tidewater plantation.  The descendant of generals, governors, and plantation owners, he had come to believe that the true South was populated by noble gentlemen, pure ladies, and devoted servants.

Page was only eleven years old when the Civil War ended.  Accustomed to aristocratic superiority over blacks and non-elite whites, he found the postbellum struggle of his people jarring.  He also believed that Northerners had presented a distorted view of the South’s history and people - meaning the people of his own class.

He subscribed to the “Lost Cause” image of the Civil War, extolling the virtues of Southern heroes’ brave fight despite inevitable doom at the hands of an industrial machine.  As the honorable Confederate
 soldiers returned home, they faced further challenges from Northern politicians and reformers who made policies based on ignorance of the true relationship between master and slave.  He praised the South’s better people for courageously counteracting Reconstruction’s abuses to restore their values.  He supported organizations such as the Ku Klux Klan for their attempts to restore the proper social order.

Through an impressive bibliography of short stories, poems, novels, and essays, Page set about to correct this tarnished image.  His sentimental idealizations of the Old South’s plantation culture contributed to the development of a “moonlight and magnolias” myth that other writers at the turn of the century would perpetuate

Frank Page of Cary, North Carolina

His great grandfather Edward Page had come to a wild and hitherto untamed region of North Carolina, seeking more freedom and an escape from the controlled life of the Virginia colony. 

Allison Francis Page, born in Wake county in 1824, had the same independent pioneering streak.  This led him into the virgin forests of North Carolina in order to harvest naval stores and to operate lumbering outfits.  He realized much wealth from his logging operations, rafting the timbers down the Cape Fear river to Fayetteville, his headquarters, and to Wilmington, an important port of the Carolinas.

Of tremendous physique, Frank possessed the immense strength and endurance that was typical of his rugged Page breed.  He was an energetic builder and developer with an adventuresome nature.  Of a keen intellect, intensely religious, and a staunch prohibitionist, he was admired for his candid, just, and uncompromising opinions rendered freely in situations where others might not dare to speak up.

He became the first mayor and postmaster of Cary, a small village about twelve miles west of Raleigh.  His home there was known as Pages and was distinguished in its architecture.  The lumber used to build the two-story frame structure of the Cary school was also prepared at his mill.  And in 1868 he built a Second-Empire hotel in the town, later known as the Page-Walker Hotel.

Because he was such a great benefactor of the town, many of the citizens wished to name it Page's Station.  But he insisted that it be called Cary in honor of a prohibitionist that he greatly admired.

Frank and his wife Catherine raised seven sons who all went onto distinguish themselves:
  • Walter Hines Page was a brilliant scholar, noted editor, and respected U.S. ambassador to Britain in the Woodrow Wilson administration
  • Robert Newton Page was an eminent legislator, congressman, and banker 
  • Henry Allison Page was the U.S. food commissioner under Herbert Hoover during World War One  
  • Junius (Chris) Raboteau Page became a prominent businessman and benefactor of the nearby town of Aberdeen
  • John W. Page was a distinguished physician
  • Jesse Page became a prominent clergyman of the Methodist Episcopal Church 
  • and Frank Page was the founder and executive vice-president of Wachovia Bank in Raleigh and later chairman of the North Carolina Highway Commission.

Return to Top of Page
Return to Page Main Page