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November 11, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

New Store in Buckingham County: Part II

New Store Village Historic Marker.

Need to catch up? Click here: New Store in Buckingham County: Part I


When Buckingham County historian Lulie Patteson wrote about New Store for The Daily Progress in an article entitled “New Store Important In the Events of ’65,” she recalled that Peter Francisco operated a place of business nearby. When she wrote the article in 1959, a stacked chimney still stood at the side of the McKinney home, where Virginia Governor Philip McKinney was born.

(For much more about both Peter Francisco and Gov. McKinney, search the Slate River Ramblings archives.)

Miss Patteson’s article went on to relate a significant event that took place in 1865.

In a little back room of New Store was a post office. In that room in April 1865, Gen. Robert E. Lee is said to have written his first note to Gen. Grant relative to a possible surrender of the Army of Northern Virginia.

Grant, a scant six miles behind Lee’s fading forces, spent the night at the Crute home, “Clifton,” while Lee moved towards Appomattox.

The Jones family shared with the Confederate Army as long as there was food to share—both before and after the surrender. The writer once photographed a camp stool said to have been given to Louis Dribbrill Jones by Gen. Lee. The stool for a long time was preserved by the descendents of Jones.


Search the Slate River Ramblings archives to learn much more about the Jones family at New Store.  Enjoy the results!

Coming Next: New Store in Buckingham County: Part III

November 7, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

New Store in Buckingham County: Part I

Miss Lulie Patteson

(Courtesy Gordon G. Ragland, Jr., Maxey/Patteson Family Collection)

If you aren’t already acquainted with Mary Louise “Lulie” Patteson, click on the link below and search the Slate River Ramblings archive for many posts about her and her writings.

Lulie Patteson: Buckingham County’s First Historian


In 1959, Lulie Patteson wrote an article for The Daily Progress entitled “New Store Important In the Events of ’65.” It begins like this:

New Store seems to be a misnomer for the weather beaten old building near Sheppards in Buckingham County. It is now overgrown with unpruned shrubbery and weeds.

By legend it was the first store in Buckingham and was built by a man named Venerable, who had a store at Hampden Sydney and enlarged his merchandise business by building a “new” store in Buckingham. We haven’t found any proof of this story.

However, the “new,” has clung to the name more than a century. At a later date the store became the property of a prominent Jones family, where it has remained until recently.

The first Jones family built the store as a stagecoach stop on the road from Richmond to Lynchburg, as well as developing the store into a merchandise center.

The first stop in Buckingham County on this road from Richmond was called Lackland’s Well, probably because the horses were watered there.

New Store was the second stop and many a well known personage spent a night there. Aaron Burr was one passenger the time he was taken to Richmond for his trial before Chief Justice John Marshall.

Coming Next: New Store in Buckingham County: Part II

November 6, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: The Virginia Shop


For the entire month of November, The Library of Virginia’s Virginia Shop is offering free shipping.


Browse the shop’s online offerings for lots of gift ideas!

You can purchase both volumes of “At a Place Called Buckingham” and support the Library of Virginia at the same time!

Click here for a direct link to the shop and my titles:

The Virginia Shop.


November 4, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Scottsville on the James

Courtesy Frank Tapscott Collection.

Going through my files, I found a photocopy of this charming post card from M. L. P. to Mr. Thomas E. Patteson in Maryland. The view is from Scottsville, Virginia looking across the Horseshoe Bend of the James River. The land at the tip of Buckingham County was once Snowden, Randolph Jefferson’s plantation.

While I no longer know where I found this or who might have given it to me, I’m confident that it is from Mary Louise “Lulie” Patteson to her brother Thomas Earl Patteson.

If anyone knows the owner of the postcard, please comment below.


For much more about Lulie Patteson and her histories of Buckingham County, search the archives at Slate River Ramblings.

Also, consult my essay, “Miss Lulie Patteson: Early Buckingham Historian,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham.”

October 31, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute: 1845

Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute.

In response to the recent series of posts about the Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute, Slate River Ramblings follower Ted Kinker shared an article from the July 1845 issue of The Southern Planter which reveals that the Institute might have closed and been transformed into a Collegiate and Agricultural Institute.  The author of the article, J. F. Schermerhorn, had made a “provisional contract to take the premises” but decided not to exercise his option. For the benefit of subscribers to The Southern Planter, Schermerhorn laid out his proposed curriculum and use of the property in a letter to the Editor. After all, his ideas might have been useful to someone else. You can read his letter here: The Southern Planter (July 1845).

His description of the property and its setting reflects many written before and after 1845:

The Female Collegiate Institute which is now proposed to convert into a Collegiate and Agricultural Institute, is a substantial brick building one hundred and eighty feet long, thirty-six wide, and has fifty-two rooms, cost within ten years past between twenty-eight and thirty thousand dollars. It can now be purchased for six thousand dollars and one hundred and twenty acres of land attached to it. — It is situated in one of the most healthy regions of Virginia — of easy access, only twelve miles from New Canton on the James River and Kanawha Canal, and eighty miles from Richmond. A daily line of stages passes the Institute to meet the canal packets. It is in a fine, respectable neighborhood of country gentlemen; removed from the haunts of vice and dissipation; and where, if anywhere, the morals of the youth can be guarded.

Without fail, old Buckingham is described as healthy and free from vice!


In case you missed the recent series about the Institute, click here:

For Sale: Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute

For much more about Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute, consult my essay, “A Noble Idea: Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham.”


October 28, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

 Historic Buckingham Inc.

This month’s Buckingham Beacon contains an article by Martha Louis, President of the Board of Directors of Historic Buckingham Inc.

In “WHO and WHAT is Historic Buckingham?,” Martha shares the history of the organization and describes some of what is available for researchers at The Housewright Museum and new Adams Museum at Buckingham Court House, as well as listing the society’s events that take place at Historic Village at Lee Wayside.

The museums are open for research and exploration on Wednesday and Saturdays 1:00 – 4:00 pm, April through December.

If you are one of the many Slate River Ramblings followers who live outside of Buckingham County where it is easy to pick up a copy of the Beacon, you can always download a PDF from Fluvanna Review.  Here is a link to the October-November issue of the Buckingham Beacon containing Martha’s article. You’ll also find my monthly column, “Slate River Ramblings.”

If you aren’t already a member of Historic Buckingham, I encourage you to join. Benefits include a quarterly newsletter.

Click here to investigate the society’s website: Historic Buckingham Inc. You’ll be glad you did!

October 24, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

A Jefferson Mystery

Bleak Hill, “Peter Jefferson Farm.”

Photo by Francis Benjamin Johnston. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Earlier this year, Scottsville Museum received a request to help solve the mystery concerning a series of four photographs taken c. 1933 by Francis Benjamin Johnston (1864-1952) and labeled “’Peter Jefferson Farm.”  The images captured a dwelling house and out buildings in significant disrepair, located in Albemarle County.

During the 1930s, Frances Benjamin Johnston traveled the American South documenting historic structures, many of which were on the verge of collapse. Some of her photographs can be viewed online at the Library of Congress: Johnston (Frances Benjamin) Collection.

Initially, the researcher thought the structures might be located at Shadwell, the plantation owned and developed by Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter Jefferson. This was not the case. Could they have been owned by Randolph Jefferson’s son, Peter Field Jefferson? They did not match his home at Mount Walla, which was occupied by his descendants through the 1930s. Could they be another Peter Field Jefferson property?

Connie Geary, webmaster for Scottsville Museum, went to work on the mystery, consulting my book, Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons. Fortunately, in 1937, R. E. Hannum documented Bleak Hill, a property Peter Field Jefferson purchased in 1857, providing a residence for his son, also named Peter Field Jefferson. Hannum’s survey for the Virginia Historical Inventory, included a photograph and can be viewed online at the Library of Virginia.

Bingo!  Hannum’s photograph matched the images of “Peter Jefferson Farm.” Connie had solved the mystery.

One wonders why Frances Benjamin Johnston chose to photograph Bleak Hill.  It may have been the connection to the Jefferson family, despite its obscurity compared to Monticello or even Mount Walla. Perhaps, she was drawn to its vernacular style.  Its relative humbleness made it representative of many 19th century dwellings that had already vanished and were quickly fading from the Virginia landscape.

Whatever Johnston’s motivation, we’re glad that she took time to document Bleak Hill and that Connie Geary shared her findings with Slate River Ramblings.


In my book, “At a Place Called Buckingham, Volume Two,” I included a gallery of Johnston’s striking Buckingham County images.

To learn more about life at Bleak Hill, consult Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Scottsville Museum’s website is packed with wonderful local history and images.

Click here to explore: Scottsville Museum.


October 21, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: Nicholas Maynard, Part II

Swem Library, William & Mary.  Photo by Joel Pattison.

Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notable: Nicholas Maynard, Part I

Nicholas Maynard, formerly of Buckingham County, died in Mecklenberg County circa 1785. His last will survives and Slate River Ramblings follower Karen Williams shared the following transcription based on a copy found in the Austin-Twyman Papers — a treasure trove of Buckingham County records housed at William & Mary. Click here to learn more: Austin-Twyman Papers.

Here is Nicholas Maynard’s last will:

In the name of God Amen I Nicholas Maynard of Saint James’s Parish and Mecklenburg County being of perfect sence and memory praise be to God for the same and do dispose of all my worldly Goods and estate in the manner and form as followeth (to wit)

Imprimis  I lend to my beloved wife Elizabeth Maynard two hundred Acres  of land with the plantation I now live on with half my Stock and Household Goods and Chattels during her natural life. 

Imprimis  I give to my son Wagstaff Maynard three hundred and ninety eight acres Land more or less lying on the east side of Island Creek to him and his Heirs forever.

Imprimis  I give and bequeath to my son John Maynard the land and plantation whereon I now live containing three hundred and fifty six acres more or less to him and his Heirs forever.

Imprimis  I give to my daughter Mary Maynard one negro Girl named Philis to her and her Heirs forever

Imprimis  I give to my daughter Judah Maynard one negro girl named Amu to her and her Heirs forever.

Imprimis  I give to my daughter Frances Maynard one negro Girl named Lucy to her & her Heirs forever.

Imprimis  I give to my daughter Ann Maynard one negro Girl named Creasy to her and her Heirs forever

Imprimis  I give to my daughter Prudence Maynard forty pounds specie to be paid to her at age or marriage by my Executors.

I also lend to my wife Elizabeth six negros, Viz, Ben, James, Sarah, Fann, Milly and Nann provided she lends a grown negro to each of my sons or daughters when they marry or go for themselves during their life.  I also give to my wife Elizabeth Maynard the remainder half of my Stock and Household goods and Chattels to be at her own disposal for reason I have so made this my will and Testament is that my wife has sixteen negros left her during her life by her father Francis Wagstaff deced., and the same reason for not giving any Land to my son William Maynard as he has a Tract of land given him by his Grandfather the sd. Francis Wagstaff deced.  It is my will & desire is for my Executor to pay all my Just debts with the debts due me and the Crop of Tobacco and if there is any balance still due for my executor to sell any part of the lent estate and after the death of my wife Elizabeth Maynard it is my desire for all my said lent estate to be equally divided between my eight children, Viz, William Maynard, Wagstaff Maynard, John Maynard, Mary

Maynard, Judah Maynard, Frances Maynard, Ann Maynard & Prudence Maynard to them and their Heirs forever.  And I do appoint my wife Elizabeth Maynard executrix and William & Wagstaff Maynard executors to this my last Will and Testament  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Twenty second day of October one thousand seven hundred and eighty three

Sig’d & acknowledged to be his last will & Testament in presence of us . . . . . . . . .    

Nicholas Maynard (seal)

David Royster

(blank) Royster

Martha (her x mark) Royster

Baxter Davis

At a Court held for Mecklenburg County the 8th day of August 1785 This Will was proved by the Oaths of Davis Royster (blank) Royster and Baxter Davis Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded, And on the motion of Elizabeth Maynard, William Maynard, and Wagstaff Maynard the executors therein named who made oath thereto and together with Henry Walker and George Tarry Gent their securities entered into & acknowledged trier Bond in the penalty of five thousand pounds conditioned as the Law directs certificate was granted them for obtaining a probat [sic] of the said Will in due form.

Teste, John Brown, Ct. Clerk


Many thanks to Karen Williams for illuminating the life and relations of Nicholas Maynard, the mystery man behind Maynards Church in Tillotson Parish, Buckingham County.

October 17, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Nicholas Maynard, Part I

Deed Maps for Nicholas Maynard’s Land. Courtesy Les Campbell.

In August of 2019, a post about Maynards Church (one of Buckingham County’s original four parish churches) and the location of John Patteson’s land resulted in a lively and fruitful exchange among Slate River Ramblings readers.  Follow these links to learn more:

Buckingham Mysteries: Maynards Church

Buckingham Mysteries: Maynards Church, Part II

Buckingham Mysteries: Maynards Church, Part III


Karen Williams also shared information about Nicholas Maynard, almost assuredly the man behind the church’s name.  The church may have sat at a spot called Maynard’s Corner, possibly indicating a crossroads. Did he donate land for the building of the Anglican Church in the newly established Tillotson Parish in Colonial Buckingham County?

Karen sent the following land records for Nicholas Maynard.  The acres in Albemarle County lay in what would become Buckingham County in 1761.

12 May 1759   400 acres Albemarle/ bs Davids Creek

27 Aug 1770   177 acres Buckingham/ on Kings Branch

According to Karen’s research, Nicholas Maynard (b. circa 1732) emigrated from Cornwall, England to Virginia, living in Charles City County, Albemarle County (later Buckingham), and left a will in Mecklenburg County.  Sometime before 1758, he married Elizabeth Wagstaff, possibly in Lunenburg County, Virginia.

What brought the Maynards west to Albemarle County? Karen offers a clue. In 1754, James Freeland’s will was recorded in Albemarle County, stating: “My wife and my son James FREELAND to be the executors, and they are to make a good deed to Francis WAGSTAFF for certain lands on David’s Creek.” Francis Wagstaff was the father of Elizabeth (Wagstaff) Maynard.  Nicholas Maynard’s will offers another clue, which will be revealed in the next post.

During the Revolutionary War, Nicholas Maynard was a patriot, contributing 650 lbs of beef, 61 lbs bacon, 100 lbs of fodder, 2 bushels of corn, 14 lbs of fodder, and 2 head of cattle to the cause. By 1782, the Maynard had removed to Mecklenberg County, where he was taxed on 11 whites and 25 blacks. He died there and his will was recorded in Mecklenberg in 1785.

Coming next: Buckingham Notable: Nicholas Maynard, Part II

October 14, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: White Sulphur Springs

Buckingham Springs. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In the 1840s, the “White Sulphur Springs” of Buckingham County was a well-known, popular spa destination in Central Virginia. In November of 1850, founder Samuel Morris died, dividing his land equally among his ten children. A decade later, the main hotel was destroyed by fire and, following the Civil War, it was never rebuilt.

In the summer of 1876, Mrs. John G. Morris of Curdsville, ran this advertisement, letting the readers of the Richmond Dispatch know that she was open for business.


This celebrated watering place and resort for health (after having been closed for about twenty years) will be re-opened for the redemption of invalids on the 1st of July next under the supervision of the undersigned. These springs are situated in the county of Buckingham, twelve miles from the court-house, three miles from Willis’s mountain, and twelve miles from the town of Farmville, of easy access from the latter place by good country roads, where comfortable conveyances can always be procured upon reasonable terms.

TERMS: Board and lodging per month of four weeks, $25; board and lodging per week, $7; board and lodging per day, $1.50.


Curdsville, Va.

Business was revived and visitors continued to visit Buckingham’s White Sulphur Springs for many years to come.

For much more about healing waters in Buckingham County, consult my essay “’Going to the Springs’ in Buckingham County,” At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two.