Carter’s Grove is on the James River in the lower end of James City County, about five miles from Williamsburg. It was built by Carter Burwell in 1751. Carter Burwell was the son of Nathaniel Burwell, who married Elizabeth Carter, “King” Carter’s daughter, and he, Carter, married Lucy, daughter of John Grymes. The place had many owners after Carter Burwell sold it and moved to Clarke County. Dr. Edwin Booth owned it for many years, and the place was famed for its hospitality.
Carter Burwell employed an architect to build his house who was trained in the school of the Georgian type and influenced by the master Wren, though he diverged when he wanted to from the true colonial precedent. There is no interior wood-work in America superior to that at Carter’s Grove, either in design, workmanship, or beauty of natural color of Virginia’s finest pine, which is used throughout the house for panelling and stairway. The unusual stairway has richly carved balustrades, and the marks of the sabres of Tarleton’s men can still be seen on the stair rail.
Mr. and Mrs. Archibald McCrea bought the place in 1927, and have spent the past three years completely. restoring every portion of the house to its former glory. The central portion of the two main floors has not been changed in any way, and the wings heretofore detached have been joined to the main house in order to meet the conditions required for comfort in this day. The entire length of the house as it stands is two hundred feet. The restoration of the grounds and garden has been started, but it will be some years before they are completed. There are several magnificent specimens of box planted in front of the entrance, which is approached through a long, double row of ancient cedars. There are terraces on the river side of the mansion. These lead to fertile fields beyond.