Rocketts, or Rocketts Landing, is the river frontage of the community, named for Robert Rockett who operated a ferry across the James River beginning in the 1730s. Tenant laborers and merchants filled the floodplain with clusters of small houses and commercial establishments. Free black residents, Jews, and immigrants from Germany, Scotland, and Ireland worked to make Rocketts a prosperous world seaport between 1790 and 1830. Shipping lines connected Rocketts to Philadelphia, New York, Charleston, and various South American and European ports. Tobacco and flour were the main exports. Between 1830 and 1861 Rocketts became more of a manufacturing center for tobacco products than a bulk shipping center.