Charles M. Barnett (1869 – 1940) and his wife Stella purchased Ferry Plantation in the 1890s. He also owned a home in New York and the Charles M. Barnett House at 521 Fairfax Avenue in Norfolk (listed on the Historical and Cultural Inventory of the City of Norfolk). Charles was a prominent business man in Hampton Roads, working in the shipping and oyster business. He shipped the famous Lynnhaven Oysters all over, including to New York’s Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Grand Central Station. Lynnhaven Oysters were also the main hors d’oeuvre served at the famous O’Keefs Casino in Virginia Beach, which President Taft was known to frequent. He and his wife Stella Barnett held oyster roasts throughout the year for church members at Ferry Plantation next to the Lynnhaven River. In October 1912 Stella pasted away from toadstool poisoning. Charles later married Stella’s young sister Cora and he lived on in the house until his death; adding modern conveniences such as plumbing and electricity in the 1930s. Cora lived on the property into the 1950s.
George and Elizabeth Mason (Walke) Macintosh built the center section of Ferry Plantation from the brick remains of the Manor House in 1830. The house was built for 17 year old Charles Fleming Macintosh (1813-1862). Charles and his wife Isabella lived on the property and had 6 children.
At the beginning of the Civil War in 1860, he and his family were against secession. However, as many young Virginians did, when Virginia seceded, Charles resigned his USN commission and was commissioned by the Confederate Navy to be Captain of the CSS Louisiana. The South’s new state of the art ironclad was still undergoing construction when his vessel was summoned for duty to defend New Orleans against Union occupation on April 23, 1862. Charles fought in the “Battle of Forts Jackson and St. Philip” (aka, Battle for New Orleans). This battle occurred on the heels of the famous Monitor- Merrimac engagement, which just so happened in March of 1862 here in Hampton Roads.
Charles met up against his friend, now foe, Admiral David Farragut. Farragut is best known for the quote, “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead”. Which is actually a misinterpretation. Farragut, warned of mines (called torpedoes), in the water ahead, said, “Damn the torpedoes! Captain Drayton, go ahead! Jouett, full speed!”
During the battle the CSS Louisiana was hit by return fire, possibly from the USS Brooklyn. The broadside bounced harmlessly off the ships’ armor. However, three men were killed on Louisiana, all of them in exposed positions. One of them was her captain, Commander McIntosh. In irony, the USS Brooklyn was sold by public auction at the Norfolk Navy Yard on March 25, 1891.
For decades descendants of George Macintosh believed he was buried at Cedar Grove Cemetery in Norfolk, Virginia. However, his remains were discover in New Orleans in the late 1960’s on the ground where the New Orleans Superdome now stands.