Our History

In early 1837 a fire ravaged dozens of homes and outbuildings at the north end of Main Street in Suffolk. Out of the ashes of that fire Mr. Mills Riddick built the home that is known today as Riddick's Folly.

Mills Riddick was a member of a large and prominent family in Suffolk and Nansemond County. He was the grandson of Revolutionary War hero Col. Willis S. Riddick and was a captain of cavalry during the War of 1812. In 1819 and 1829 he served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, representing Suffolk and Nansemond County.

After the death of Mills Riddick, his son Nathaniel became head of the household and lived here with his wife and five children until the Civil War. During the Union occupation of Suffolk the house served as headquarters of Major General John J. Peck and his staff of Union Army officers. Penciled messages left on the walls by Union soldiers are still legible today. When the family returned after the war, they found their home stripped of most of their possessions.

Riddick descendents continued to live in the home until 1967 when the house and grounds were sold to Nansemond County for use as offices. In 1977 Riddick's Folly was established as a house museum and facility for cultural events in Suffolk. In the 1980's the home underwent extensive privately funded restoration and even today is continually being enhanced by the acquisition of period furnishings, ongoing research, and further restoration.