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January 23, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Baptist Church, Part I

 Buckingham Baptist Church. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

In 1959, Buckingham County historian Lulie Patteson chronicled the history of Buckingham Baptist Church for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress in an article entitled “Old Church in Buckingham Still Stands as Lighthouse of Gospel.” Her evocative style was present in the opening paragraph:

Watched over by the sacred dust of those who have worshiped within its walls through the more than 180 years of its service as a lighthouse of the gospel, old Buckingham church still stands, staunch and beloved; still serving the community as actively as ever.

It was back in the years before the colonies had been forced into protest against the unfair domination of the English that Christopher Clarke, in 1780, came to this section of Buckingham County and preached. Buckingham had been cut from Albemarle County in 1760 (sic) and the whisper — ever-growing — louder of the coming conflict no doubt cast an anxious shadow over the land.

Miss Patteson goes on to relate what happened next. In May of the following year, Rev. Renee Chastain served a Baptist congregation. According to Miss Patteson, Rev. Chastain had just turned twenty-nine years old and was married. She continues:

The brave little band met for a while in an arbor but in 1772, a small “meeting house” was built which, with an addition built years later stands today is the oldest church of any faith in Buckingham County.

It has been said that this had once been the site of the Episcopal church but if so, it had been abandoned before Christopher Clarke held his meeting. The established Church of England preached loyalty to the crown too strongly at that time to be accepted by the man who had lived under its tyranny and who now, were like young eagles beginning to feel the stretch of their wings.

Coming next: Buckingham Baptist Church, Part II

January 21, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Publication News: “Buckingham County Goes Dry!”

I am delighted to report that, in celebration of the 100th anniversary of Prohibition, my article, “Buckingham County Goes Dry!”, appears in this month’s issue of the Buckingham Beacon.

If you live in Buckingham County, you can pick up a copy of the Beacon at a variety of locations. If not, click here to download a PDF of the January 2020 issue at Fluvanna Review:

http://fluvannareview.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/BB-Jan-17-2020-Low-res-for-Website.pdf

January 20, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: View Mountain

View Mountain. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

On April 29, 1937, Rosa G. Williams surveyed the Buckingham County house View Mountain for the Virginia Historical Inventory. She described the location as “5 miles east of Spouses Corner on Route #60; thence south .1 mile on Route #623; thence 1.5 miles east on Route #634; thence south .3 mile on private road to the house.”

Dating the house to the late 1700s, the owners included the Bolling family (about 1775), a Mr. Martin (about 1804), William Guthria (about 1835), Poindexter Sheppard (1849), and Henry Wise Sheppard (1909). Due to the lack of deeds preserved in the county courthouse, Mrs. Williams had to estimate the dates of the owners.

She went on to describe the house:

“View Mountain” is located at the foot of Willis Mountain, the view being very lovely from the backyard. There is an old board fence surrounding the yard which contains thirteen very large boxwood and several original oak trees.

The original house consisted of only two rooms that about 1852 more rooms were added later. Now the house consists of eight rooms; the original being constructed of heart pine put together with wooden pegs and shop made nails. The rooms are all plastered with very wide baseboard.

Mrs. Williams went on to note the houses historical significance:

This property was part of the grant originally given the famous Bolling Family of Virginia. An old road once passed through this place and the present owner says he is often heard his father speak of seeing slaves go by with hogsheads of their masters tobacco drawn by oxen on the way to market.

If anyone knows more about View Mountain, please comment below.

January 16, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: John Woodson House

John T. L. Woodson House, 2005. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

Early in my ramblings in Buckingham County, I learned that frequently the directions to a historic site recorded in the Virginia Historical Inventory are incorrect. Such was the case with my ancestor’s house near Slate River. Surveyed by Elizabeth McCraw, on June 15, 1937, she located it north of Ranson instead of south.

She believed the house was built by Charles Saunders, Woodson’s father-in-law, as early as 1840. John T. L. Woodson and Mary Elizabeth Saunders were married on October 23, 1867 in Buckingham County. The house may have been a wedding present. Mrs. McCraw noted that it had always been known as the John Woodson house and that B. F. Dawson was the current owner.

Mrs. McCraw goes on to describe the modest dwelling.

Just in the distance of the front yard from the public road is this 1 ½ story house, plain but attractive, containing eight rooms and Hall. In the hall is a cased-in one flight stairway. The floors have uniform white planks. The wainscoting in each room is chair rail high. There is a fireplace and only one window in each room. The windows are small, each containing 12 panes of glass 10×12 inches in size. The upstairs rooms are “old-fashioned”, built up in the eaves of the roof, having small gable end windows. The house has two chimneys, each one part rock and part brick. The one time outside kitchen has been pulled up and added to the house as a storeroom. In addition three rooms have been added to the original house. All are well kept in good repair.

The survey makes it clear that the house has no historic significance, however, I was personally grateful that Elizabeth McCraw chose to survey it, leaving clues for me to find in the 21st century.

The house was demolished in late 2019.  Slate from the roof and bricks from the chimney were salvaged.  Here’s hoping they help restore another Buckingham County home.

January 13, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part III

The George H. Winfrey family, c. 1895. Courtesy of the Winfrey family.

 

Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part I

~

Tributes written at the death of Egbert Bolling Winfrey make it clear that he was a remarkable young man. His brother, Rev. E. W. Winfrey wrote the following letter to the Editor of the Herald [probably The Religious Herald]:

 

FROM REV. E. W. WINFREY

Editors Herald, — We cannot so much as acknowledge, severally, the letters and other tokens of sympathy and condolences we are now receiving. With crushed and aching hearts we gratefully appreciate every evidence of tender interest. My brother’s character and life were truly noble richly worthy [of] all the tears and praises that have now followed him to the grave. He who took him is He who gave. Last Sunday morning, my own congregation were as tearful and solemn as if his lifeless form had been lying in the coffin before them. Oh, that we may learn to be still in the hand of God, our loving, All wise, faithful Father.

E. W. Winfrey.

Culpepper, Va., May 21, 1891

And this exuberant lament was written by J. C. Willis:

E. B. Winfrey

A brilliant meteor shot through the heavens illuminating the path of life, which many saw and were induced to walk there in and is gone. How sad to have so bright a luminary thus suddenly disappear! The mind goes back and reviews with pleasure its career though limited. How suddenly he bursted forth as though springing out of the ground! That thoughtful brow, veiled under a benignant countenance! Those burning words; the eruption of a heart convulsed by the love of Christ! That imperious zeal that failed to recognize the frailty of the physical frame! That confiding manner, even more than willing to have its defects pointed out! That inquiring mind ever seeking to find out more of Jesus and his word. That whole man a fire with the gospel! Brother, thy work is done, and doubtless when the veterans, with their sheaves, shall pass in review before the judge, a crown of glory will be pressed upon thy brow, and every jewel will reflect the image and glory of Jesus. How the hearts of those who heard his sweet gospel sermons at Waller’s, Zoar, Wilderness, Flat Run, Bethany, and other places are saddened at the thought that we shall see and hear him no more in the flesh! Mysterious providence: that the young, bright, promising and efficient soldier should be retired from service, while the old, worn-out, enfeebled and to human eyes, inefficient are retained! It is the Lord’s doing, and we should bow with submission to the will of Him who cannot err. He had invited this writer to be present and assist in his ordination next summer; but the Lord has ordained him to a higher sphere, in that land where no pulsation of the heart marks the steps of life or the ravages of disease, but the throbbings of love mark the duration of eternal life, where the Saints will vie in casting their crowns at Jesus’s feet. Parents, brothers, sisters; yea, all of us, the pleasures of that occasion will more than compensate for all the sorrow and loss we sustain in bidding adieu to a faithful servant of God.

J. C. Willis.

Indiantown, May 20, 1891

January 9, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part II

Egbert Bolling Winfrey.  Courtesy Winfrey family.

Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part I

~

Because Egbert Bolling Winfrey did not die suddenly, his parents and his brother, Rev. E. W. Winfrey, were able to join him in Richmond as he lay dying. In this vivid obituary we learn the effect across the campus at Richmond College where E. B. Winfrey was an exemplary student.

DEATH OF E. B. WINFREY.

The fifteenth instant was a sad day at Richmond College. No classes met, no studying could be done, all spoke with baited breath of the fatal struggle going on in one of the upper rooms until it reached its crisis soon after noon. Then a stricken father, a brokenhearted mother, and a crushed brother [came] slowly down the long stairway and left their dead to be by kindly hands prepared for burial at the old homestead in Buckingham.

Egbert Bolling Winfrey was in his twenty-third year, had been, during two sessions of college, a faithful and successful student, and had won great acceptance as a simple, earnest, sympathetic preacher of the gospel. His pleasing, modest address, his excellent native gifts, his [studious] habits, his devoted spirit, gave promise of abundant usefulness in the ministry. The services of such a man were in great demand, too great perhaps for his good.

During the whole of last summer’s vacation, except a week or two, he was engaged in protracted meetings. All through the current session, besides full work in four classes and one regular monthly appointment, he has been very often called on for extra labors. If it be that the wear of incessant toil and the burden of anxiety for souls made his body an easy prey to disease, there is this consolation, that he laid his life a willing sacrifice on the altar of what he conceived to be his duty to God and his fellow man and we have the express promise of Him who said, “Whoever shall lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.” We mourn his death as untimely; he who orders all things saw that his work was done, his character ripe, his mansion prepared.

We offer heartfelt sympathy to the sorrowing household in their country home, to the bereaved brother at Culpepper, to hundreds of loving hearts to whom he had endeared himself by his simplicity of soul and his unselfish devotion.

H. H. Hart [?]

The burial took place on Saturday, and on Sunday at Sharon, the church of which the dear, devoted young man was a member, a memorial service was held. Brethren Loving, Hoover, Ryland and Hickson, from the College, were present and spoke in warm place of the dead. The venerable and beloved W. C. Hall, himself a member of Sharon, also made an address and Bro. Thornhill, of Manchester, closed the service by calling the comrades and friends of the young man to the Savior whom he had trusted. Ten responded to the invitation and the scene was memorable in its tender impressiveness.

We send the stricken ones assurance of our sympathy and affection. Nor can we withhold our sincere congratulations that God gave them a son, so simple-hearted so devoted, so consecrated. — [Eds]

Coming Next: Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part III

January 6, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part I

Richmond College. Courtesy Richmond University.

The shocking death of Egbert Bolling Winfrey resulted in several lengthy obituaries. Clippings shared with me had been preserved in a Winfrey family Bible and were not sourced. A promising young scholar, E. B. Winfrey’s death was mourned by many. It is very rare to have multiple, diverse, surviving obituaries for a young man just beginning his career. I will share four of them.

A YOUNG PREACHER DEAD.

Mr. Winfrey closes his eyes to the world. Action of students.

Mr. Egbert Bolling Winfrey, of Buckingham, died yesterday at Richmond College after an illness of three weeks.

Mr. Winfrey was born in Buckingham County, Va., March 21, 1868, and was subsequently just twenty-three years of age. His parents are still living in the same county. His oldest brother, Rev. E. W. Winfrey, is the honored pastor of the Baptist church at Culpeper, Va. He had several other brothers and sisters, all of whom are living. At an early age Mr. Winfrey made a profession of religion and became a member of Sharon Baptist Church, near the home of his childhood.

When less than twenty years of age he began to preach and give promise of extensive usefulness in the ministry.

At the time of his death he was pastor at Bethany, Caroline County, and had formally supplied as pastor of Waller’s church, in Spotsylvania, and Little River, in Louisa. He was exceedingly popular wherever he went.

After some preparation in primary schools he spent one session at Homestead Academy, Chesterfield county, and entered Richmond College in September, 1889. Few students in that institution have ever been more universally esteemed or regarded as more promising. At the close of his first session at college he was awarded a medal in the Philologian Society for improvement in debate.

At a meeting of students held in the College chapel yesterday afternoon suitable resolutions touching the death of Mr. Winfrey were presented by a committee consisting of Messrs. W. Owen Carver, C. T. Taylor and T. S. Dunaway, and tender and appropriate remarks were made by Rev. Dr. C. H. Ryland, Prof. H. H. Harris and Messrs. Taylor, Loving, Carver, Britt and Allison.

The remains will be taken to Buckingham for burial to-day, accompanied by Messrs. M. J. Hoover, J. E. Hixson, W. C. Blair, J. S. Ryland and W. B. Loving.

~

Click here for the obituary of E. B. Winfrey’s mother, Judith Winfrey.

Coming next: Egbert Bolling Winfrey, Part I

 

January 2, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Judith Winfrey

Judith Catherine Winfrey. Courtesy Winfrey family.

Judith Winfrey of Buckingham County, died on December 5, 1915. Her obituary, written by T. W. Hart, was published in The Religious Herald. It extolls her contribution to her family and her community. Oddly, the obituary failed to state that she and her family were members of Sharon Baptist Church.

Mrs. George H. Winfrey

We are so accustomed to death that it far too seldom produces any deep and lasting impression on our minds. To the hearse, the coffin, the grave we give a hurried glance, a swift sad thought then rush on along our busy way so soon forgetting. But the death we mourn today has occasioned particular gloom. Seldom is it that one is taken from the paths of private life whose loss is more deeply or more generally felt.

Mrs. Winfrey [nee Judith C. Robertson,] a daughter of Elisha Robertson and his wife, Mary Maxey, was born in Buckingham county, Va., on July 14, 1838. She was baptized by the Rev. Joseph H. Fox October 1, 1854; was married to Mr. George Hill Winfrey December 23, 1856, and on December 5, 1915, she went away from us into the spirit world. Two sons and one daughter, all of whom were full-grown, preceded her. Her honored husband, more than three years her senior, with five sons and three daughters, fifty-three grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren, survive her.

Although for many years a sufferer, she not only performed well and faithfully the duties of wife and mother, but also held herself ready in times of sickness or distress to comfort and assist, soothe and sustain to the utmost of her power, throughout a large community. Her mission in life, as she conceived it, was to contribute to the life and well-being of others. With a heart sensitive and responsive to the lightest touch, in a manner which, like warm sunshine, dispelled darkness and gloom — she was a devoted wife, a tender and loving mother, a kind and sympathetic friend. Of marked and unusual force of character, of earnest piety, of unanswering loyalty to the Scriptures as the word of God, she strove to keep her heart and eyes on the Lord and to walking in His statutes. Her piety was intelligent, active, steadfast, its flames never flashed forth as if to burn and bewilder, and then die away; it was calm, uniform, perpetual.

By four of her sons and two of her grandsons her body was borne to its last resting place to await the bright and glorious resurrection, when “this mortal must put on immortality.

T. W. Hart

Well Water, VA

[From The Religious Herald of December 23rd 1915.]

~

Click here for more about Rev. Joseph H. Fox

December 30, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Rev. Joseph H. Fox

Rev. Joseph H. Fox, Scottsville Baptist Church Cemetery. Photo by Jack Moon.

On December 18, 1901, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times printed an obituary for Rev. Joseph H. Fox, a well-respected minister who long served Sharon Baptist Church in Buckingham County.

Death of an Aged Minister.

Rev. Joseph H. Fox passed peacefully away at his home in Fluvanna county, near Scottsville, on November 27, 1901, at the age of 88 years.

Elder Fox was a good and a great man. He was a profound scholar, mighty in the Scriptures; an earnest, faithful and instructive preacher; a sound theologian and an able expounder of the Word. He was pastor of Sharon Church, in Buckingham county about twenty-five years, during which time the church prospered and hundreds were added to its membership. At that time he was recognized as the leader in the James River Association. When too old and feeble to travel and go to church he preached at his home — preached the unsearchable riches of Christ to his neighbors and others who assembled to hear him. And when too feeble to stand, he would sit in his chair and proclaim the gospel message. He was a valiant soldier of the cross; he fought a good fight, kept the faith, and is gone to receive the crown of glory that fadeth not away.

This feeble tribute is from one who knew him fifty years, was intimately acquainted and with him frequently.

E. C. Trevillian.

~

Rev. Fox also preached at Scottsville Baptist Church.  Learn more at Scottsville Museum’s website:

Scottsville Baptist Church

December 26, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Incident At Sharon Baptist Church

Buckingham County: Sharon Baptist Church

Sharon Baptist Church.

 

In August of 1899, “Artificer” reported an unsettling incident at Sharon Baptist Church in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times:

The protracted meeting which began at Sharon Baptist Church on Sunday, the 13th instant, closed on Friday afternoon. There was such a large crowd present on Sunday — the first day — that not more than half could get seats, although the church is one of the largest in the county. A lot of young man came up from Arvonia with a good supply of whiskey, beer, etc., which they kept in a wagon near the church, and they proceeded to have a “big time,” as they called it. Several fist-fights occurred in the evening, and there came near being a general row. One of the young man from Arvonia drew a pistol, which was at once taken from him by a constable. Three of the party were arrested, and had a hearing on Saturday before Justice R. J. Nuckolls at Diana Mills. They were fined $5, $20, and $25, respectively. They were represented by Mr. Henry D. Flood, who took an appeal to the county court.

It seems that even some men who display good sense in other respects have not yet learned that the church is no place to drink liquor. It is a sin and shame that young man are often seen at church under the influence of liquor; nevertheless, it is true.

It was an interesting decision to withhold the names of the young men, perhaps protecting the reputation of their families, who might have been members of Sharon Baptist Church.