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  • Writer's pictureChris Randolph

A story of a tree and it’s “roots”

Growing up, my grandmother and a good majority of my father side lived on Pipping Tree Ferry Road, a name that always intrigued me. It was a road with a history, and eventually, it became my home after relocating from the Southside of Richmond. I couldn't help but wonder about the origin of the name, and I soon learned that it was named after a ferry that used to dock at the end of the road, right alongside the Pamunkey River.

My 4 years  in Hanover were filled with cherished moments mostly at my grandmother's house, a place that was once a family-owned store. Surrounded by family on both sides of the house and down the road, it felt like a warm constant reminder of history. Between my grandmother's house and the house that was once my great uncle, where my cousins now lived, stood a magnificent tree.  Myself and cousins would make it a routine to gather there and affectionately named it “The Spot”

Every year, around this time, Mechanicsville locals would approach the tree, seeking permission to hunt on our land. The elders in our family typically agreed, and over the years, many familiar faces—classmates, former classmates, hopeful hunters, and friends—would join us at Old Church, Pipping Tree Ferry Road, continuing the tradition of peaceful gatherings.

As I grew older and delved into my research endeavors, I decided to explore the roots of "Pipping Tree Ferry." To my surprise, I stumbled upon a  tradition tied to the name. It was said that the Pamunkey native americans once met with a committee of white settlers at this very place to negotiate treaties. The agreement was sealed in the ancient native fashion of passing a pipe, a symbol of friendship and good faith. The pipe was then carefully placed the tree , marking the beginning of a longstanding tradition.

What struck me the most was the continuity of this tradition. Generations later, people still gathered at our cherished spot, Old Church, Pipping Tree Ferry Road, in a spirit of peace and camaraderie. It was as if the echoes of that historic treaty resonated through time, bringing people together in a shared appreciation for the land and its storied history. Happy Thanksgiving. 

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