May 19, 2013 Belle Grove Plantation The Belle Grove Collection has been established to commemorate the extraordinary history that is Belle Grove Plantation in Port Conway, Virginia. Belle Grove Plantation is the birthplace of our 4th President and "Father of the Constitution", James Madison. As well as being the ancestral home of his mother, Nelly Conway Madison, who returned home to her parents Belle Grove Plantation to give birth to her first child, Founding Father and future President: James Madison, Belle Grove history is intertwined with that of Virginia from its colonial beginnings in 1668, through the Civil War where the Port Royal/Port Conway area saw constant movement of Union and Confederate Troops. Although its Civil War history is just now being researched in detail, it is known that on morning of April 24, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth and David Harold used the ferry at Belle Grove to cross the Rappahannock River to Port Royal where they stopped at Garrett’s Farm just 3 miles away. That afternoon, the detachment pursuing Booth and Harold, arrived at Belle Grove Plantation, where they rested in the front yard and were offered a meal. One of the officers, Lt. Everton Congar, was even allowed to sleep in the front hallway of Belle Grove. A short time later, the detachment crossed on the same ferry as Booth and Harold, and on April 26, 1865, the detachment caught up with Booth and Harold at Garrett’s Farm, capturing Harold and killing Booth. The Belle Grove Collection will include several fine writing instruments and other items produced from recently removed trees and other materials that are being removed due to disease, maintenance, restoration and preservation. The first several items will be produced from a centerpiece Mulberry Tree that sat on the Bowling Green directly in front of the main entrance. After years of attempts to save the this enormous beauty, she finally succumbed to disease and infestation and it was necessary to take "her" down in April 2013 to prevent damage to the main house.