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November 19, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part Four

This Horsley Family Cemetery sits close to the James River.

The Horsleys owned land on both sides of the river and in it!

Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part One

I am always delighted when posts at Slate River Ramblings result in additional information from readers. Replying to “Buckingham Notables: John Horsley,” Karen Lucas Williams wrote that she had compiled information about this Horsley family who were neighbors and associates of her Spiller family, early settlers in Buckingham/Amherst/Nelson counties. Karen wrote:

John (ca 1787-1851) was the son of William Andrew Horsley (ca 1745-1791), of Horsley Island, and wife, Martha Megginson (ca 1747-1793). John was married in 1819 to Mary Mildred Cabell (1802-1880), daughter of Frederick Cabell and Alice Winston. John was also married, apparently first, to Philadelphia Hamilton Dunscombe, ca 1814.

In regards to his mother, Martha Megginson: Her father, Col. William Megginson (1715-ca 1762), purchased 580 ac. of land from Mrs. Elizabeth Cabell in 1739, on the south side of the James river at Greenway Station, to which he afterwards added over 2,000 ac., and called the estate “Clover Plains;” after the year 1761 his lands were in Buckingham Co.

Was “Horsley Island” the island still being worked by John Horsley’s slave Robin in the 1830s?

Coming next: A Jefferson Connection.

November 16, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part Three


Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part One

In the spring of 1836, John Horsley’s vast estate was held in trust by Frederick M Campbell and Horsley’s neighbor, Alexander Mundy, and put up for auction at Elk Mills in Amherst County. Among other things, they were responsible for auctioning his slaves. This list was provided in an advertisement in the Lynchburg Virginian:

Robin (who worked on the Island in the James River), Nancy, Big Robin, Anna, Frank, Sophia, Bob, Nelson, Wilson, Charles, Archey (a yellow boy,) Blada [sic], Sam, Albert, Robert, Henry, Sarah, Amanda, Rachel, Isabella, Haney and her youngest child. Mary, Emela, Brittain, and a girl named Judy, in whom Horsley owned a half interest.*

There were also horses for sale, a mule, and twenty head of cattle, as well as house furniture and farm implements.

Slaves were sold for cash. The other personal property could be sold on credit for six months.

Results of the auction are unknown, though, it seems likely that African-American families were separated when the slaves were sold. Except for Robin, who worked on one of the islands in the James River, the others probably lived on the plantation in Amherst County, since the Buckingham property was mostly timber.

*In 1830, John Horsley of Amherst County was taxed on eighteen slaves.

Coming Next: Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part Four

November 12, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part Two


Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part One

On March 13, 1836, the property of John Horsley was auctioned at Elk Mills in Amherst County, Virginia. Some of his land lay in Buckingham County and was described in the Lynchburg Virginian as follows:

On the Buckingham side, there are three very good dwelling houses — about 150 acres of this Land, including the Islands, is James River Bottom, of great fertility. The high Land is rolling, but most of it is very productive, well watered, and lies on a bed of Limestone. Immense water-power may be had at trifling expense. . . . This tract of Land runs down to the town of Bent Creek, on Buckingham side. . . .

A Lumber House at the mouth of Bent Creek, 26 feet square, first story stone, balance framed.

Another tract of land in Buckingham County, the joining Mrs. Perkins, Mr. F. Cabell and others, contained 1,100 acres. According to the advertisement, there were “too small settlements” on the property, one of them included a new dwelling house. This tract was heavily timbered, with a creek passing through it, large enough for either a saw or gristmill. Located ½ mile from the James River and not more than two miles from two public landings, one of which was opposite Greenway and the other within sight of the Tye River Warehouse.

There were two additional small pieces of land in Buckingham. One contained 100 acres and adjoined Mr. James Patteson. The other, located near Bent Creek, had been purchased from Hail T. Freeland.

Tax records reveal that one man named John Horsley, miller, paid taxes in Buckingham County from 1821-1840, and lived in Amherst County from 1831-1839. There are however, multiple John Horsleys owning property in Buckingham at the same time.

There were also 1,000 acres of land in Greenbrier County, miscellaneous tracks in Nelson and Amherst counties, and four lots in the city of Richmond. It is unknown how much of this sold the day of the auction.

Coming next: John Horsley’s Personal Property

November 8, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: John Horsley, Part One

Courtesy Lynchburg Virginian 

When doing research for families living in Buckingham County, especially prior to 1869 when the courthouse burned, it often pays to search surrounding counties for deeds and wills, even across the James River. Especially the affluent families often held property in multiple counties. Such was the case with the John Horsley estate. On March 13, 1836, a public auction was held at Elk Mills in Amherst County which included extensive property in Buckingham. An advertisement in the Lynchburg Virginian contained this information about his impressive holdings:

One tract or parcel of Land in the counties of Amherst, Nelson and Buckingham, containing between eleven and twelve hundred acres, being the tract on which said Horsley resides, and upon which is a good Stone Mill House,  50 by 40 feet, containing the Machinery common to a Flour Mill, two pair of 5 feet Burrs, one pair of 5 feet country Stones, very heavy, Rubbers, a Corn Crusher, & near the Mill a large Cooper’s Shop, part stone, and balance framed, a Black Smith Shop and a set of  Black Smith’s Tools, a good Dwelling House, Ice House and all necessary out Houses, a new Store House, and a good Garden. The Tobacco Houses below the Creek and in the Islands have most of them shingled roof and are nearly new.

As was the case at many mill sites in Central Virginia, there was a small service center, equipped with a blacksmith and store, which often included a post office. At Elk Mills, it appears that John Horsley owned all the services.

In 1836, the James River Canal was under construction and, presumably, would increase the value of Horsley’s property once finished. The canal would eventually run within 180 yards of the Mill House.

Coming next: John Horsley’s property in Buckingham County.

November 7, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

BOOK NEWS: Library of Virginia’s The Virginia Shop – Free Shipping During November


During the month of November, The Virginia Shop at the Library Virginia is offering free shipping for all online orders.

That means you can order both volumes of “At a Place Called Buckingham,” The Jefferson Brothers, and many other fine books and gifts at no additional cost.

Here’s your chance to support the great work done at the Library of Virginia and maybe do a little early holiday shopping.

This link will take you to the page featuring my books:  The Virginia Shop


November 5, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: J. Richard Edmonds Hubbard

Chellow. Courtesy Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

In August 1892, a special telegram was sent to Richmond’s Daily Dispatch announcing the death of J. Richard Edmonds Hubbard. It read:

Young Mr. Hubbard Passes Away.

Farmville, Va., August 19. — J. Richard Edmonds Hubbard died today at 12:05 o’clock P. M. at his home, [Chellowe], Buckingham county, in the 18th year of his age. He was the promising son of Col. Robert T Hubbard. He had been ill but a short time from typrhoid-fever and died professing earnest faith in Christ.

For much more about Chellow/Chellowe and the Hubbard family, search the archives at Slate River Ramblings. Enjoy the results!

November 3, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: A Library Near You

Jefferson Library.  Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies.

I recently heard from a Slate River Ramblings reader that her local library in Syracuse, New York did not own one of my books.  While I wasn’t surprised, patrons (as well as librarians) can remedy this.

Did you know that many public libraries feature “Suggest a Purchase” forms on their websites? Here is a typical form for the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library.

Why not introduce your community to the extended Jefferson family?

Consider suggesting that your local library purchase a copy of Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons (ISBN-13: 978-0983989899).

Libraries and archives in and around Virginia that already have copies include:

Central Virginia Regional Library: Buckingham County Branch

Fairfax County Public Library

Library of Congress

Library of Virginia

Jefferson Library (Monticello)

Lynchburg Public Library

Washington & Lee University

November 1, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Benjamin Bartley, Free By Birth

Benjamin Bartley. Free Negro Registration. Courtesy Library of Virginia.

The Fall 2018 issue of Central Virginia Heritage included Jean L. Cooper’s transcription of the 1808 description of Benjamin Bartley in the Free Negro Registration. This rare document was found in Prince Edward County records and can be viewed at Lost Records Localities Digital Collection, Library of Virginia.  Dated November 16, 1808, it reads:

Benjamin Bartley a free mulatto is duly registered & numbered 17 in a book kept by me for registering free negroes & mulattos, aged twenty two years, of a yellowish complexion, five feet eight inches high, has a small scar on each arm and no other apparent mark or scar on face head or hand, a free man by birth.
Rolfe Eldridge jr. DC Buckingham County,

The foregoing register upon a comparison of the same with the person therein described being found by the Court to be correct the same was ordered to be so certified by the Clerk of Court.
a Copy Teste R. Eldridge jr DC

A search of the 1810 census for Benjamin Bartley produced a Ben Bartley (FN) in Charlotte County.
The list, “Other Free” Heads of Household in the 1810 Virginia Census,” includes the free African-American Beverly family in Buckingham County. They had been paying taxes in the county since  1782.

Beverly, Betty
Beverly, Charles
Beverly, Jenney
Beverly, Jonathan
Beverly, Priscilla
Beverly, William
Beverly, Jonathan

If a Slate River Ramblings reader recognizes Ben Bartley or the Beverly family, please comment.

October 29, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Post Office: Bolling’s Landing

James River. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

In 1870, Richmond’s Whig announced a new post office in Buckingham County at “Bolling’s Landing.” According to the article, John N. Brown was appointed postmaster. Other sources give him as John “M.” Brown

The post office was likely near or at “Bolling’s Ferry” on Robert Bolling’s plantation, on James River.

Over the years, postmasters at Bolling’s Landing included Thomas D. Kidd, Frank N. Maxey, Jr., and Samuel L. Burks. On February 4, 1880, mail delivery to Bolling’s Landing was discontinued and moved to Payne’s Post Office.

Other postal changes, in nearby counties during 1870, were also mentioned in the Whig. Buckner Station (Louisa County) was newly established. And at Seven Islands (Fluvanna County), Marion L. Tutwiler was appointed postmaster and Martin F. Tutwiler resigned.

For more about the post office at Bolling’s Landing, click on the following:

Buckingham County: Bolling’s Landing

Postmaster Samuel L. Burks, Jr.

To learn even more about nineteenth century post offices and postmasters in Buckingham County, enter those terms in the Slate River Ramblings search box and enjoy the results.

October 25, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Runaway Apprentices

New Store Historic Marker.

In 1836, an unusual advertisement for runaway indentured apprentices was printed in the Lynchburg Virginian. It read as follows:


RAN AWAY from the subscriber, sometime in July, two indented apprentices, to wit: Littleberry Farmer, Jr., & Robert Farmer, two brothers who have about three more years to serve. They were bound to me to learn the Tailor’s trade. I hereby forewarn all persons from employing the said apprentices in any manner, as they left me without any cause, and I will give up one cent [sic] reward for each of them, to any person who will deliver them to me at this place.


New Store, Buckingham, Sept. 5

Who would bother to return the boys in for a one cent reward?

For much more about New Store in Buckingham County, search the archives at Slate River Ramblings.