orth Bend and it’s people have quite a heritage in the history of Charles City County and many of the furnishings are original to the house and it’s descendants. North Bend, a Federal Period Greek Revival style home, was built in 1801 by John Minge, a wealthy land owner, for his wife, Sarah Harrison, the sister of William Henry Harrison the ninth president of the United States. Mr. and Mrs. George Forbes Copland II are the current owners.
Mr. Copland is the great nephew of Sarah and William Henry Harrison. Mr. Copland’s mother was Mary Harrison Ruffin Copland of Evelynton Plantation and maternal grandmother was Jane Cary Harrison of Berkeley. He is the great, great, grandson of Edmund Ruffin who fired the first shot in the Civil War for the South and who was known as the father of agriculture in America. It is through Harrison, Ruffin and Copland family wills, plus written and oral history that we know the story of North Bend and it’s furnishings. In and 1830 census there were 16 free whites and 80 slaves listed at North Bend. The crops were tobacco most likely. Today North Bend’s 1200 acres remain under cultivation by the Copland family and the are corn, wheat and soybeans. North Bend remained in the Harrison family until 1843 when it was purchased by Thomas Wilcox.
It was remodeled and completely doubled in size in 1853 using designs of noted builder/architect Asher Benjamin.
In 1864 there were 30,000 Union troops in this area, commanded by General Phillip Sheridan and General Ulyses S. Grant. Mr. Wilcox was frightened and left. The Union troops dug trenches from neighboring Kittewan, across North Bend, to Weyanoke and the James River. General Sheridan head quartered at North Bend while his corps built the pontoon bridge to cross the James River and proceed to the battles at Petersburg. The plantation desk used by General Sheridan remains here.
Mr. Wilcox never again lived at North Bend, and it was purchased by a Mr. Hewitt in 1865. Mr. Hewitt kept the plantation until 1916 when it was purchased by George Forbes Copland of Kentucky and Aberdeen Scotland. George and Ridgely Copland began restoring North Bend in 1982. North Bend is a Virginia Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Since 1984, North Bend has been available for bed and breakfast, group tours by appointment, special events, and daily for self guided grounds tours.