In 1676, John Custis II was recognized as a wealthy and powerful man, not only on the Eastern Shore, but also in Jamestown. When Nathaniel Bacon assembled a militia to overthrow the royal government at Jamestown, Governor William Berkeley fled to the safety of "Arlington" on Old Plantation Creek near the southern tip of the Eastern Shore. While living here at the home of John Custis, he established "Arlington" as the temporary capitol of the colony, conducting the day-to-day activities of the government, as well as raising financial support for an army to fight against Bacon.
When Bacon sent four ships across the Chesapeake Bay towards Old Plantation Creek in an effort to capture Gov. Berkeley and John Custis, local residents set out in their own boats to aid the government's supporters. Berkeley's forces won the day and he eventually returned to Jamestown to find it burned to the ground. With the unexpected death of Nathaniel Bacon in October, 1676, the rebellion was over and Berkeley returned to Jamestown, grateful to John Custis and the residents of the Eastern Shore who had supported him and the royal government.
Gov. Berkeley did not have to sail far to get to Arlington for safety, but then neither did Bacon's forces in their efforts to capture him.