It has been said that if Williamsburg is the physical re creation of Colonial Virginia, then Gloucester is its spirit. When the age of photography dawned, it captured glimpses of this character in pictures both merry and melancholy, of old homes and newcomers, of stubbornly provincial clans yet generous and hospitable people. Soon after landing at Jamestown, land-hungry 17th-century settlers discovered Gloucester's fertile soils and abundant waters. Within a century, wealthy families and a vibrant port brought fame to the young county—preferred by Colonials as it had been by the indigenous people of the principal Powhatan chiefdom they replaced. Gloucester's Colonial and antebellum prosperity declined, though, as the American Revolution and Civil War sapped resources and left society changed. Photographs from the next hundred years until the modern age reveal the genteel, proud, and rural spirit that prevailed.