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June 4, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part III

Rose Terrace, restored.  Photos by Kenny Sink.

Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki continued her article, offering an exceptionally detailed description of Rose Terrace as she found it in 1958:

“Rose Terrace” is a charming, three-story house built of brick laid in Flemish bond. The entrance is composed of a large, six panel, double-cross door still having its original lock and small brass knob. The classic design of the original fan light over the front door lends beauty to both the inside and outside.

To the right of the front hall is the living room which measures 18 by 20 feet. In this room is a cornice and on the ceiling is a matching diamond-shaped design, giving the room a feeling of beauty and grace. The walls are of wedgewood blue with the ceiling of off-white. All the fireplaces are original — the one in the living room being 78 inches across. Above the inornate mantle hangs an antique beveled mirror with an eight-inch frame of gold-leaf. Its overall dimensions are 55 by 45 inches. The living room ceiling is 11 feet high while ceilings in the other rooms are of varying heights. 

Mrs. Wojnicki went on to describe the winding stairway to the second floor and the three-room basement, with floors of brick, which was accessed by the original closed-string stairway. The original well house still sat in back of the main dwelling. A variety of roses and beautiful trees, including poplar, osage, orange, holly and magnolia, continued to thrive in the back and side yards.

Rose Terrace, restored.  Photo by Kenny Sink.

June 1, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part II


In 1958, Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki wrote an article entitled, “Rose Terrace in Buckingham County served as Hotel, Private School and Residence during 158-Year History,” for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress. She began by identifying the house is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rowlett H. Bruce. They were responsible for changing the name from “Rose Cottage” to “Rose Terrace” so that it would not be confused with the property belonging to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, also named “Rose Cottage,” which was located near Lee Wayside Park.

Noting that the deed history of the property had been destroyed when the Buckingham County courthouse burned, Mrs. Wojnicki dug into tax records at the Virginia State Library (today the Library of Virginia). She discovered that Dr. William Perkins Moseley paid tax on the property in 1820 and added an east wing to the house in 1824 or 1825, using this part of the house for his office. She went on to identify subsequent owners as the Walton, Eldridge, Morris, Luck and Grigg families.

Then, she went on to describe some of its history:

Long ago the place was well-known as a hotel. Governor McKinney of Virginia was among the many distinguished guests who were entertained here. At one period it housed a small private school.

In August of 1940, when Richard Winston visited “Rose Terrace,” he told the present owners that as a young boy he visited there and remember a kitchen in the yard for which meals were brought inside to serve guests who arrived by carriage and on horseback when they came to Buckingham Court House on “Court Day.”

Coming Next: Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part III

May 28, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part I

Rose Terrace. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1933. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Rose Terrace is included in the Buckingham Court House District (Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places). Today, the expansive, inviting veranda and balconies which attracted Frances Benjamin Johnston’s eye are closed in.

Originally called Rose Cottage, in the late 1930s this house was renamed Rose Terrace to distinguish it from the Rose Cottage located just outside Maysville.

Rose Terrace sits at the extreme west end of Buckingham Court House on the north side of Highway 60.

In 1936, Elizabeth McCraw described Rose Terrace’s lovely entry for the Virginia Historical Inventory, writing: “A flagstone walk leads to the entrance door. This heavy six panel door with a fan shaped transom, leads into the front hall, which is more like a room than a hall.”

The interior included a welcoming parlor, with a cornice of plaster and “a matching decoration in the ceiling in the shape of a diamond.” The eight-room house included a “splendid basement of three rooms,” as well as a “unique stairway” from the main floor to the basement.

Mrs. McCraw also described the back of the house, photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston: “A Dutch door opens from the kitchen to the ‘veranda’ which is under the back porch, and floored with brick. A brick walk leads to the office building in the side yard.”

The original section of the house was erected sometime between 1776 and 1800. Dr. William Perkins Moseley (1794–1863) purchased the property in 1820 and elaborated it to accommodate his large family. In 1833, Dr. Moseley became an elder at Maysville Presbyterian Church, where he served until his death.

In 1936, Elizabeth McCraw’s informants included Florence LaSalle (Moseley) Pratt (1855–1951). Her husband, Dr. Whitcomb Eliphalet Pratt (1849–1901), was the grandson of Alexander Trent Moseley (1786–1873), who was born in the house. Mrs. McCraw also interviewed Margaret G. (Mrs. Philip Ashley) Grigg (1869–1960), the owner and resident of Rose Terrace when the photo was made.

Coming Next: Rose Terrace, Part II

May 25, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Weddings: Layne-Steger


On December 24, 1896, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times reported the marriage of Miss Maggie Steger to Mr. John W. Layne. The announcement read as follows:

The home of Mr. Charles Steger, near Well Water, in Buckingham county, on Tuesday last was the scene of a beautiful marriage, the contracting parties being Mr. John W. Layne, the worthy and honored son of Mr. P. Layne, and Miss Maggie Steger, the accomplished daughter of Mr. Charles Steger, of the same county.

At 2 o’clock the friends and guests in attendance were invited to repair to a room in which stood an altar beautifully decorated with evergreens and white chrysanthemums, and in the centre of which stood a dimly burning lamp. A few minutes later the bridal party appeared, and the ceremony was performed by Rev. W. E. Wright, of Appomattox, Va.

After receiving many useful and valuable presents and hearty congratulations from the host of friends present, the newly married couple left for their new home near Wingina.

In the nineteenth century December weddings were very popular.

In the mood to read about more happy couples? Put “wedding” in the search box at Slate River Ramblings and enjoy the results!

May 21, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: “Hon. Thomas S. Bocock Dead”

Thomas S. Bocock.

On August 7, 1891, Buckingham born Thomas S. Bocock died at his home in Appomattox County. The Daily Virginian, published in Lynchburg, ran the following obituary:

Hon. Thomas S. Bocock Dead

His Peaceful End At His Old Appomattox Home.

A special telegram to the VIRGINIAN from Appomattox, received yesterday morning, announced the death of Hon. Thos. S. Bocock, ex-Speaker of the lower house of the Confederate Congress, at his home in that county at 8 o’clock Wednesday evening. His death had been expected daily for two weeks or more, owing to his prostrated and enfeebled condition remitting from the wearing out of life’s forces, and his end was peaceful and painless. He was stricken with paralysis some years ago and has been an invalid ever since.

Mr. Bocock was born in Buckingham county, which then included Appomattox county, in May, 1815, and was therefore over seventy-six years of age. His long life was passed in the place of his nativity except when absent at Washington or Richmond in the discharge of his public duties.

Five children survive him, namely; Miss Belle Bocock, Mrs. James M. Booker, Jr., Mrs. C. D. Price, Miss Sallie P. Bocock, and Mr. Willis P. Bocock. His funeral will take place at 4 o’clock this afternoon from his residence and will be attended by a large concourse of friends from far and near.

An excellent sketch of Mr. Bocock as a citizen and statesman, by Mr. C. W. Button, of this city, who was for years, his intimate friend, will be found on the editorial page.

Unfortunately, I have only a transcription of the obituary.  We will have to imagine the “excellent sketch” of Thomas S. Bocock.


For more about Thomas S. Bocock, click on these links:

Buckingham Notables: Thomas S. Bocock

Buckingham Notables: Thomas S. Bocock (Fire at the Virginia State Capitol)



May 20, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Snowden: A Bird’s Eye View

Take a trip to Peter Jefferson’s Snowdon and the Horseshoe Bend in the James River courtesy of Chase Richards.

You can learn more about the origins of the plantation in my newest book, Peter Jefferson’s Snowden: A History of Settlement at the Horseshoe Bend. 


May 18, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

A Bridge to Scottsville

Bird’s-Eye View of Scottsville, VA (James River).  Courtesy Raymon Thacker.

In 1901, the building of a bridge was proposed from Buckingham County across the James River to Scottsville. The March 20, 1901 issue of the Appomattox and Buckingham Times ran an article entitled “Progressive Old Buckingham,” describing the plans.

Last winter Senator Flood and Delegate Hubard secured the passage of the bill allowing the people of Slate River District to vote upon the question of issuing bonds for $2000 for the purpose of constructing an iron bridge over James River at Scottsville. The requisite number of signers having been secured, the position was presented to Judge Moss of the county court, at the last term, and his Honor has ordered an election to be held at Slate River District on April 16th next. If we are correctly informed about this bridge matter, the citizens of Buckingham generally are very much interested in its completion, or should be. The bridge at Scottsville is estimated to cost when completed between $12,000 and $15,000; the bridge Bremo, which has been a source of annoyance in the way of extorting toll, will become at the same time a free bridge. We do not know the value of the structure of Bremo, but it is certain that the C. & O. is anxious about the completion of the Scottsville bridge, for the Company has contributed liberally and also proposes to make the Bremo bridge free. These two magnificent and expensive structures are to be dedicated to the service of the people of Buckingham for the sum of $4000, $2000 of which sum is given by the county at large and $2000 by the taxpayers of Slate River District. If the election on 16thof April fails to vote the $2000, the county’s subscription will not be binding.

With the above facts before us, it would seem the part of wisdom for our people to extend the welcome hand to the developers and accept the bridges especially so since the cost is not made a factor of the problem. Good roads and free bridges increase the value of land, and invite home-seekerstoll bridges and bad roads retard progress and keep out settlers.

Finally, in 1907, a steel-girdered bridge from Buckingham County to Scottsville was completed.  How it was financed is currently unknown.

May 14, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part II

Virginia Historical Inventory.  Courtesy Library of Virginia.

Identified as “Travelers Rest No. 2” on the Virginia Historical Inventory, Rosa G. Williams described the house as follows:

This old English type mansion is in bad condition and is at present used as a barn. The yard has grown up in brambles and briars and some of the trees in the yard have blown down. The porch has been torn down. A large 4-panel, double door opens into a very large hall; to the right of this hall is an unusually large room with beautiful panel wainscoting about two feet high and plastered walls, although most of the plastering has fallen. To the left of the hall is a room similar to the one on the right, but not so large. Both have beautifully carved mantles and panel wainscoting. In the rear of this room is a very small room. A lovely winding staircase leads from the hall to the second floor; the baluster and hand-rail are beautifully carved.

There are five small rooms on the second floor, each plastered and with panel wainscoting and beautifully carved mantles. There are three large basement rooms. The house was built of heart pine, and shop-made nails and wooden pegs were used it its construction. The original flooring is in all the rooms. Wide, hand-sawed, tongue-and-groove boards were used.

The old kitchen still stands a short distance from the dwelling.

Do the five small rooms on the second floor indicate that the house was used as an inn?

For more about this question, see Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part I

May 13, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: Peter Jefferson’s Snowdon

I am delighted to announce my newest publication, Peter Jefferson’s Snowdon: A History of Settlement at the Horseshoe Bend, published by the Central Virginia Genealogical Association. It provides an informative companion to my previous books, The Jefferson Brothers and Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

This volume tells the story of settlement on the south side of the James River and the development of the plantation Peter Jefferson would call Snowdon, a very valuable farm with a complex history.

Beginning in the 1720s, a small group of men based in Goochland County, Virginia began to migrate west, along the James River, settling the frontier which lay at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A few stopped at what is known as the Horseshoe Bend, a particularly beautiful and fertile spot in the river. Today, the modern counties of Albemarle, Buckingham, and Fluvanna, converge there at the village of Scottsville.

In the early 1740s, President Thomas Jefferson’s father, Peter, already a successful surveyor and land speculator, was quick to realize the commercial value of the spot when the newly formed Albemarle County located its seat at the Horseshoe Bend and set about acquiring land by purchase and patent, creating a plantation which would enrich the family for decades to come.

You can purchase the book at Amazon. Just follow this link: Peter Jefferson’s Snowdon

May 11, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part I

Thomas Jefferson.

In 1937, Rosa G. Williams surveyed yet another Buckingham County house named Travelers Rest. In the Virginia Historical Inventory it is identified as “Travelers Rest No. 2.” This house, belonging to the Johnson family, was located “2.9 miles southeast of New Canton, on Route #670, thence west .2 mile on private road.”

Mrs. Williams identified the first owner as Robert Hill (1798), who was followed by several generations of the Johnson family including J. R. Johnson (about 1860), Nannine (1896), and Nannine Johnson’s heirs, who were the present owners in 1937.

Mrs. Williams’ informants included: Goode Johnson, heir of Nannie Johnson; Peyton Moss, a descendant of Robert Hill; and Rev. Plummer Jones, an old resident.  She also consulted the old records of Mr. W. H. Bumpus, deceased, who was a grandson of Robert Hill.

The survey claims that many distinguished men were often guests at this Travelers Rest, including Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Henry Clay.

Was this house a public inn? If so, who was the innkeeper a member of the Hill family or of the Johnson family?

Thomas Jefferson listed dozens and dozens of taverns, hotels, and ordinaries in his memorandum books. A Travelers Rest in Buckingham County is not mentioned.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century did the property perhaps go by another name?

Can a Slate River Ramblings reader help solve this mystery? Please comment below.

Coming next, Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part II