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Lycurgus Berkley, Sr.

Elmwood Cemetery
4th Alley West, Lot 19, Space 6

Lycurgus Berkley, Sr. was born in 1827 to John Walker Berkley and Mary Perry Carpenter Berkley at “The Glen” – his family’s plantation in Fairfax, Virginia.  He was the eldest of four children.  At the age of 20 (1847), he moved to Norfolk and became a partner in the wholesale dry goods firm of Berkley, Miller & Company.  In 1852 Berkley married Eliza Ann Middleton of Ferry Point, Norfolk County. 

Mrs. Berkley’s parents owned much of what is now called the Berkley section of Norfolk.  In addition to her holdings, Mr. Berkley purchased more land and became very wealthy.  He developed the town of Berkley – dividing land, naming streets, etc. though it would not be named Berkley until after his death.  The Berkleys also donated land for four churches and helped support them throughout their lives.  When Mr. Berkley died in 1881, Berkley was rated as the most prosperous town in Tidewater.  His son, John M. Berkley, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, sponsored a bill to create the town of Berkley; the act was approved on March 3, 1890.  John M. Berkley was subsequently elected as the town’s first Mayor. 

Upon his death it was said of Lycurgus Berkley, Sr.:

“His life was actuated by noble impulses.  He was large-hearted, genial and courteous and had a host of friends.  He was especially interested in young men and delighted to aid them both financially and by wise advice.  He took but little interest in politics, beyond demanding an honest administration of local and state affairs.  To each of the churches established in the new town he gave $500 in cash and a site upon which to build.  He was a fine businessman having the progressive spirit, a courtly gentleman, and he predicted a great future for his little town.”*

*Chesapeake, VA:  The Making of America Series by Raymond L. Harper, 2002.

Biographical information provided by Norfolk Bureau of Cemeteries.

Visitor Information

Visitor Hours: Sunrise to Sunset

Office hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM

Free parking inside cemetery.

Admission Cost: Free

Address: 238 E. Princess Anne Road , Norfolk, VA 23510

Official web site for more information: www.norfolk.gov/cemeteries

Norfolk Society for Cemetery Conservation Web Site: www.norfolksocietyforcemeteryconservation.org