Colonel William Byrd II


Colonel William Byrd II (1674-1744)


Raised and educated in Essex by his uncle, Rev. Daniel Horsmanden, the Rector of Purleigh, and his grandfather Colonel Warham Horsmanden. William went to Virginia in 1705 where he founded the City of Richmond and became President of the Colonial Council. In 1736 he completed the building of a fine house on his Westover estate beside the James river. Traveller, scholar, writer, wit and genial host, he had influence on both sides of the Atlantic. This portrait was said to have been painted in 1704 by Sir Godfrey Kneller, but is now attributed to Hans Hyssing. It hangs in the collection of the Virginia Historical Society to whom the Byrd family donated it in 1973.


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