The site was originally known as Middle Plantation. Several prominent families built homes there. In particular, John Page (1628-1692) the immigrant built a substantial house and owned a lot of property in the town. The College of William & Mary, founded in 1693, was built there. Williamsburg became the capitol of Virginia from 1699 to 1779. The artist William Dering worked mostly in Williamsburg. Other artists also painted in Williamsburg, including Charles Bridges. John Wollaston, Charles Willson Peale, John Durand, and Matthew Pratt.