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Patrician and Plebeian

by Thomas Jefferson Wertenbaker

The old belief that the Virginia aristocracy had its origin in a migration of Cavaliers after the defeat of the royalists in the British Civil War has been relegated to the sphere of myths. It is widely recognized that the leading Virginia families--the Carters, the Ludwells, the Burwells, the Custises, the Lees, the Washingtons--were shaped chiefly by conditions within the colony and by renewed contact with Great Britain.

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