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March 30, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1901: White Hall Advertisement

Appomattox and Buckingham Times. Courtesy Library of Virginia.

During 1899, the town of White Hall in Buckingham County underwent significant financial upheaval on its way to becoming Dillwyn. In 1901, as this advertisement suggests, locals still called the town White Hall although the post office was now named Dillwyn.

The above ad appeared in a February, 1901 issue of the Appomattox and Buckingham Times and was designed to encourage customers of all kinds to visit White Hall. Addressed to the people of Appomattox, Buckingham, and adjoining counties, the copy indicates that businesses in White Hall were plentiful and friendly. In addition to meeting everyday needs such as groceries and dry goods, merchants in the town welcomed a variety of lumber products. Businessmen J. A. Clark and Emmet D. Gregory were mentioned by name, as well as the advertiser, A. W. Moore — all eager to serve their customers!


Learn more about Emmet D. Gregory here: Buckingham Notables: Emmet D. Gregory

Click on these links for more about White Hall:

Buckingham News: White Hall, 1899

Auction: White Hall (Dillwyn)

March 26, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part IV

Buckingham County Postal Map, 1896.


Need to catch up? Click here: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part I


In 1901, the Glenmore section of Buckingham County still contained large forested areas. In his first letter to the Appomattox and Buckingham Times, “Observer” noted that merchants in the neighborhood faced difficulty shipping railroad ties to Richmond:

The large timber trade of this section has been of immense benefit to our merchants, and now that Spanish oak railroad ties are being used the trade is likely to increase. And in this connection, I will state that there is a just and proper complaint of the timber owners and the men who cut the ties, of the excessive freight charged by the railroad company on railroad ties. It can only be characterized as a cruel and onerous and unjust monopoly absolutely incapable of being justified by any principle of law, morality or justice. It has enriched many people at the cost of others. To show its baneful effect I will state that prior to the existence of the railroad about 650,000 railroad ties were carried from Buckingham County alone to Richmond and an average cost of eight cents a tie. The cost to now is and has been for many years about double this amount and in many instances the railroad refused to ship the ties at any price.

How much better and wiser on the subject are the laws of Massachusetts. Our people are by no means unfriendly to the railroad company or railroads, for the Buckingham branch of the Chesapeake & Ohio, it is admitted, has been of immense value to the county; all we want is a fair living freight charge, and this we can never obtain until the waterworks dam is taken out above Richmond and the way opened for a free navigation of James river by small steamers. The New York Central & Hudson River railroad with its four parallel tracks does not do away with the necessity for the Erie Canal. . . .


For more about railroads in Buckingham County, especially the Buckingham Branch, search the archives at Slate River Ramblings and enjoy the results!

March 23, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part III

Grace Episcopal. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.


Need to catch up? Click here: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part I


In 1901, correspondent “Observer,” wrote to the Appomattox and Buckingham Times concerning religion in Glenmore.

Our people are especially blessed in having for their minister the Rev. T. Hugo Lacey whom we consider to be one of the best all-around preachers in Virginia; he not only preaches well but goes among the poor and the lowly and tells them of the estimable [?] blessings of the holy gospel; if any are sick and in need he does not rest until their wants are attended to; no work is too hard or no sacrifice is too great for him to make. He has a warm place in the hearts of our people and is rapidly building up the Episcopal Church all three of the churches — Emmanuel, Grace and St. Andrew; for him to go to another section would be a real calamity to this neighborhood. Mr. Coons and Rev. E. C. Trevilian are most worthy an excellent men. The recent Methodist minister Mr. Banks, was by many greatly admired and is much missed in this section. Not only does a great good feeling exist specially between the Episcopalian and Methodist churches; it finds action in a generous rivalry as to which church shall be the most forbearing.


By 1903, the citizens of Glenmore was enjoying a new Methodist church.

Click here to learn more: Buckingham Churches: Glenmore Methodist Church

Coming next: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part IV

March 19, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part II


Need to catch up? Click here: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part I


In 1901, Virginia’s newspapers were filled with discussions about the creation of a new state constitution. Correspondent “Observer,” whose lengthy letter was published in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times, represented the opinion of at least some citizens in Buckingham County concerning the need for the white population to secure control of the government. He wrote:

Our people, like all Virginians, or politicians in a mild way. The new constitution is much discussed, and all the white people want white supremacy insured by a proper and constitutional elimination of the ignorant Negro vote which can readily and easily be done by both property and educational qualification, which will not apply to include Confederate soldiers. With practical unanimity are people demand this property and educational qualification — that is to let every man vote who pays taxes on $200 with the property of any kind, real, personal or mixed, or who can read and write the English language. The Constitution must be submitted to the people for their ratification. The solemn pledge of the Norfolk Democrat Convention to this effect must be carried out in good faith.

On a less controversial note, Observer moved on to discuss land values in the Glenmore neighborhood:

Our land is slowly rising in value and tracts can now be sold it is true at a low price but the same places have hitherto for many years been unmarketable. Our detractors state that our land is peculiarly well adapted to the use of fertilizers. This is a slander for we have some of the very best land in Virginia. One of our largest farmers having made some time since by actual weight slightly over a million of pounds of excellent hey, mainly timothy. What farm in Virginia is there that can beat this? Our highland under proper cultivation produces remarkably well; clover is easily raised and there are few better sections for fruit to be found anywhere.


For much more about Virginia’s revised constitution, visit the Encyclopedia Virginia:

“Virginia Constitutional Convention (1901–1902)”

Coming next: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part III

March 18, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: Central Virginia Heritage, Spring 2020


I’m delighted to announce that the current issue of Central Virginia Heritage (v.36, no.1), published by the Central Virginia Genealogical Association, contains my article, “No Stone Left Unturned: The Papers of Walter Lloyd Fontaine,” which discusses the surprising information I learned about two of my Buckingham County ancestors hiding in W. L. Fontaine’s papers.

You’ll also find my review of Randy F. McNew Crouse’s new volume, The Freshest Advices; Buckingham County, Virginia, Genealogical Records from Newspapers, 1736-1850.

Other articles include: “Life In 1940s Earlysville, Virginia”; “Marriage Announcements in the Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA) February 1895”; “The Jouett Family in Central Virginia”; “A Review of Charles Wesley Lusk, Jr. (1914-2005)”; and “Settlement of the Estate of Samuel Griffin of Bedford County, VA,, died 1812.”

Many thanks to Editor Jean L. Cooper for another engaging and informative issue!

Click here for details at Amazon: Central Virginia Heritage, Spring 2020


March 16, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part I

Glenmore Methodist Church. Photo by Jeremy Winfrey.


In February of 1901, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times featured a new correspondent from Buckingham County. Signing his lengthy letter “Observer,” he covered a wide range of topics, from lumber to politics. It began:



About 42 years since I moved to this neighborhood; by Glenmore I did not mean the little village only but the neighborhood for fully five miles around it, including the James river people. It has occurred to me that a letter from this locality might not be without interest. The neighborhood includes three classes — the rich, the middle class and the poor. It is one of the most quiet, most intelligent and among the very best neighborhoods in Virginia. Crime of any kind, even among the colored people, is very rare; indeed, it is so rare that it excites unusual comment when it occurs.

Recently we have had a great deal of sickness which is very unusual, as the health of our people generally speaking is phenomenally good. Mr. J. Bryant, commonly styled “Boss Bryant,” is getting well from a very serious attack of blood poisoning caused by an accidental cut of his foot by an ax. He lingered for weeks on the very eve, it seemed, passing away, and was saved only by the heroic remedies of his physician, Dr. H. A. Nash, who has become a permanent resident of this neighborhood, having bought the former home of Mrs. Ellen Goolsby, where he now resides.

Another very ill man is young Mr. Beazley, the son of the plasterer, Mr. Richard Beazley, whose condition is extremely unfavorable from erysipelas. Captain Camm Patteson, who has the friendship, the respect, and the good will of the entire community, those something better than he has been, is still an invalid.

Coming next: 1901: Letter From Glenmore, Part II

March 12, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part IV

Three generations of Boatwrights.

Courtesy Boatwright Family Genealogy in America.


Need to catchup? Click here: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part I


Rev. Boatwright’s impact on both churches and colleges was surprisingly widespread, yet author George Braxton Taylor felt his simple, local contributions would be longest remembered, writing:

Mr. Boatwright will be remembered as a country and village preacher, and his college and seminary friend, Dr. Charles H. Ryland, whose friendship ran out through sixty years, thinks that the following lines of Goldsmith well described his character and career: “Remote from towns he ran his godly race, Nor e’er had changed, nor wished to change, his place; Unpracticed he to fawn, or seek for power, By doctrines fashioned to the varying hour; Far other aims his heart had learned to prize, More bent to raise the wretched than to rise.”

No less important was the fact that Rev. Boatwright reared a son whose career continued his own dedication to higher education. Relying on an article in the Religious Herald (8 February 1906), Taylor concluded:

This article expressed the opinion that perhaps the best service he had rendered was the giving of his son, Dr. F. W. Boatwright, to Richmond College and to the world, and closed with these words: “His life has been a benediction, and I trust he may yet be spared for years to the hundreds and thousands who know and love him.” It was in the same year that Mr. Boatwright sent a brief letter to the Herald pleading for more “spiritual uplift” in its columns for the old men and women, declaring that it is “highly necessary to keep the fires burning on the altars of our hearts.” Mr. Boatwright had known Mr. Sands, the first editor of the Herald, and had paid $4 a year subscription for the paper.


For more about Dr. F. W. Boatwright (1868-1951), click here: Frederic W. Boatwright

March 9, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part III

R. B. Boatwright grave. Courtesy Boatwright Family Genealogy in America.


Need to catchup? Click here: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part I


In 1915, George Braxton Taylor published Virginia Baptist Ministers: 5th Series, 1902-1914, with Supplement which includes an especially lengthy biography of Rev. R. B. Boatwright. Information about his family and his various accomplishments are sprinkled with personal stories, such as this amusing one:

It was while he lived in Southwest Virginia that once at a meeting of the New River Association, in company with Hon. J. Taylor Ellyson and Dr. W. R. L. Smith, the following incident occurred. At the home to which the trio went to spend the night there were not less than thirty or forty guests. After a long trip of a score and a half miles over the mountains they were very tired, and so no little interested as to where they were to sleep. About ten o’clock their host led them to a large room furnished with two good beds. There was a fire burning on the hearth, but, much to the dismay of the trio, before the fire there sat two women wearing long-eared bonnets and busy cooking. The women looked neither to the right nor to the left, and were silent. It was evident that they were going to stay until the victuals were cooked, no matter how long that took. After much hesitation Mr. Boatwright, feeling that the long-eared bonnets gave him a large degree of protection from observation, undressed and got into bed. His companions after a season left the room, but finally returned, when the women, seeing that they were “uncommonly modest young men,” gathered up the next day’s dinner and departed.

After leaving Marion the last time, and before his active work as a pastor ceased, Mr. Boatwright served the following churches, all of them in that general section of Eastern Virginia of which Buckingham forms a part: Peterville and Fine Creek (Middle District Association); Lyles (Albemarle Association); Cartersville, Enon, Cedar, Buckingham, Cumberland (James River Association); Mt. Hermon, Big Spring, Ivey Chapel, Morgan’s, Diamond Hill, Flint Hill (Strawberry Association). Before this he had been pastor for a year at the First Church, Bristol.

During the closing years of his life he was an invalid, and at times a great sufferer. When the end came, April 19, 1913, his wife and five children were with him, and there was peace. On a bright Sunday afternoon his body was laid to rest under the old oaks in the Buckingham churchyard, the funeral being conducted by Rev. R. W. Bagwell, who was assisted in the services by Rev. W. H. Street and Rev. C. H. Ryland.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part IV


March 5, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part II

Enon Baptist Church. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.


Need to catch up? Click here: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part I


George Braxton Taylor’s collected biographies of Virginia Baptist Ministers is a marvelous resource and some editions can be found at Google Books. According to his obituary in Fincastle Herald (12 March 1942), Taylor was born in Staunton, Virginia and spent his boyhood in Rome with his missionary parents. He received his B. A. from Richmond College (1881), graduated from Southern Baptist Seminary (1886), and received his D. D. degree from Mercer University (1894).

Taylor’s biography of Rev. Boatwright continues:

Before the War he was pastor of Enon and Brown’s, in the James River Association, and Scottsville, in the Albemarle, and, having been married on September 5, 1865, in Cumberland County, to Miss Maria Elizabeth Woodruff, Rev. Wm. H. Taylor performing the ceremony, in 1866 he took charge of Lewisburg and other churches in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. The children of this union were F. W., Martha Susan (now Mrs. A. Clark), Mary Elizabeth (now Mrs. R. M. Booth), Sarah Look (now Mrs. Sands Gayle), and John B. During his pastorate of some three years there he completed the repairs on the Lewisburg Meeting-House and “secured a deed of gift to the house of worship at the Sweet Springs.”

Rev. Boatwright’s influence reached far beyond Central Virginia, including many years spent in Marion in Smyth County, Virginia where he increasingly participated in higher education. Taylor continues:

Marion, in the Lebanon Association, was Mr. Boatwright’s next field of labor. Here was his home and his church for three different pastorates, and, all told, for seventeen years, a longer period than he spent as pastor anywhere else. While at Marion he also preached, during his first pastorate, for the South Fork, Chatham Hill: and Sugar Grove Churches, and during his second term for Friendship and Greenfield Churches. Mr. Boatwright always retained “the impress of his alma mater,” was ever interested in education, and while at Marion taught in the Marion Academy and the Marion Female College. He was one of the first trustees of the Southwest Virginia Institute (now Intermont College), and later of the Jeter Female Institute, Bedford City. In writing once for the Herald on the question of ordination, he said, referring to the Marion period of his life, that he had had “some bitter experience in trying, as one of a presbytery, to keep out men whom I thought unqualified for the ministry.” Dr. Ryland is doubtless right when he says: “At this place the best work of his life was done. He not only built up the Marion Church but strengthened other churches in Smyth and Washington Counties.”


For more about Enon, click here: Buckingham Churches: Enon Baptist Church

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part III

March 2, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part I

Buckingham County: Mt. Zion Baptist

Mt. Zion Baptist Church. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

George Braxton Taylor wrote extensively about Baptist ministers preaching in Virginia during the 19th and early 20th centuries. His volume, Virginia Baptist Ministers: 5th Series, 19021914, with Supplement, includes an impressive biography of Buckingham County-born Reuben Baker Boatwright (1831–1913). Taylor describes the Boatwright family’s arrival in Buckingham:

Rev. R. B. Boatwright. Courtesy Boatwright Family Genealogy in America.

Buckingham County, where he spent much of his life, and beneath whose sod his ashes rest, gave him birth. Near Mt. Zion Church, January 23, 1831, he first saw the light, his parents being Reuben Boatwright and Mary Bryant. His grandfather, Reuben Boatwright, a soldier of the Revolution, coming from Prince Edward County to Buckingham County in 1788, had built his home, “Travelers’ Rest,” near Mt. Zion Church. The son of this Revolutionary soldier and the father of Reuben Baker Boatwright was an ordained minister, but he declined calls from Mt. Zion and other churches, choosing rather to look after his farm and to preach as occasion invited. The other children of the family were two daughters, who died when young, and two brothers, Charles P. and Thomas Frederick, and three half-sisters and one half-brother, P. P. Boatwright, offspring of the father’s second marriage. In 1847, when sixteen years old, he made a profession of religion and was baptized, near Mt. Zion and into her fellowship, by Rev. Wm. H. Taylor.

After having begun his education at Berryman’s Academy he entered Richmond College in the fall of 1856, Charles H. Ryland being one of his fellow students. Before his course of two years at the college was over he was licensed by his mother church to preach, and before he became a student at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary at Greenville, S. C., he did some preaching and was ordained at Mt. Zion, Rev. P. S. Henson and Rev. W. H. Taylor forming the presbytery. His year at Greenville was the first in the history of the Seminary, and he was one of the ten Virginia sent that session. His fellow-student, Charles H. Ryland, says that he was “the best theologian of his class.” From the Seminary it was not long before he took his place in the army, becoming chaplain of the 46th Virginia Regiment.


For more about Mt. Zion, click here: Buckingham Churches: Mt. Zion Baptist

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: Rev. Reuben Baker Boatwright, Part II