Skip to content
December 5, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Saratoga, Part II

Saratoga. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

Need to catch up, click here: Buckingham County Houses: Saratoga, Part I


As is often the case with country houses, Saratoga was built in parts, possibly expanded over many years. Elizabeth McGraw goes on to describe its eclectic design for the Virginia Historical Inventory:

The house is built in three parts or sections. The front part contains eight rooms and is of brick covered with stucco. The middle and back parts are framed. The middle part is two and a half stories, while the back part is only one story. The interesting features of the frame part are the large iron locks and strap hinges on the heavy six panel doors. There are three one flight winding stairways in the frame part of the house. The cellar or basement has four large rooms and several small rooms or halls. Large wooden locks and shop-made hinges are on several of the cellar doors. Large fireplaces and old brick wood fired furnace of Ante-Bellum days are still to be seen in the cellar. The windows in the front part of the house are large and extend from the floor to the ceiling, while those in the older, or frame part are small windows with panes 8×10 inches in size. The upper and lower sashes upstairs are different in size.

Under historical significance, Mrs. McCraw added:

Colonel Hubbard had the front part of the original house at “Saratoga” torn down and the present eight room addition built about 1850. (From a family record). It is said that “Saratoga” was one of the three country homes in Virginia lighted by gas prior to the War Between the States. This gas was manufactured on the estate. The house too was heated by a wood fired furnace. This brick oven like affair is still to be seen in the cellar. It is said to have burned a cord or more of wood a day.

Colonel Hubard’s trained slaves built the newer part of “Saratoga”. Nelson and Jim Trent were the main carpenters. Colonel Hubard had the walls rebuilt nine times before they met his requirements of exactness.

Coming next: Buckingham County Houses: Saratoga, Part III

December 2, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Saratoga, Part I

Saratoga. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In 1938, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed Saratoga for the Virginia Historical Inventory.

Located 4.3 miles south of Sprouses Corner, she located the house off Route #15 on a private road. Believed to be built about 1805, owners included Dr. James T. Hubard, Col. Edmund Wilcox Hubard, Edmund W. Hubard, Jr., Mrs. Tellie E. Sutton, and A. F. Bullock, who was the owner in 1938.

Mrs. McCraw described the property as follows:

The approach to this house is very pleasing, as the house can be seen about .2 mile from the highway. The private road from the highway winds around the edge of the woods and fields. Along this road is Scotch Broom, especially beautiful in the spring. The trees about the house are also very noticeable. Two large holly trees, several yews, magnolias, hemlock, shade mulberry and many very large oaks. Small shrubs are here.

The round handsome columns with ornamental tops on the small front porch a rather unusual, and the decorated cornice of wood around the front part of the house shows beauty and completeness of architecture. A heavy four panel door with transom and side lights leads to the spacious hall. A broad two flight stairway leads to the second floor from near the rear of the hall. There are two large rooms with sliding doors between on each side of the hall. Each room is about twenty feet square, having an interior cornice of plaster about fourteen inches wide, the plain rolled type, but with an elaborate decoration in the center of the ceiling from which hangs a handsome Chandelier. The two rooms on the left side of the hall still have the original wall paper in splendid condition. And other walls are plain white plastering. There are eight white marble mantels in the house.

Coming next: Buckingham County Houses: Saratoga, Part II

November 30, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Holiday Gift Ideas

Slate River Press

In need of a gift idea this holiday season? Give the gift of local history!

Here’s where you can purchase these books (and many others) about Buckingham County and Virginia:

In Virginia

Buckingham: Adams Museum (13016 W. James Anderson Hwy)

Buckingham: Housewright Museum (U.S. Route 60, in the village of Buckingham)

Buckingham: Nancy’s Gift Shop (U.S. Route 60, in the village of Buckingham)

Scottsville: Baine’s Books and Coffee (485 Valley Street)

Monticello: Monticello’s Gift Shop [The Jefferson Brothers]

Appomattox: Baine’s Books and Coffee (205 Main Street)

Richmond: The Library of Virginia: The Virginia Shop (800 East Broad Street)

Not in Virginia?  Shop online at:

Braughler Books

Historic Buckingham Inc.

Library of Virginia: The Virginia Shop

Monticello’s Book Shop

November 28, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

 Buckingham County Post Offices, Part IV

Jefferson Davis Stamp, 1862.

This envelope addressed to William C. Agee at Gravel Hill in Buckingham County is of interest not for its postmark but for its stamps. Issued in 1862, the face on this five cent, Confederate States stamp is CSA President Jefferson Davis. According to Mystic Stamp Company:

When the Civil War erupted, the U.S. demonetized (made worthless) its postage stamps and issued new ones to prevent the South from using U.S. stockpiles. The Confederate Post Office was organized in February 1861 and took over postal operations on June 1, 1861. Some Confederate post offices used the old system of paying cash for postage, others used their own provisional issues.

The addressee, William C. Agee, born in 1822, was the son of Frances Crutchfield Snoody and Thomas Bransford Agee and was first cousin to my ancestor, Mary Elizabeth Agee, who married his brother, Thomas Meredith Agee, in 1857.

November 27, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2019


The Winter 2019 issue of Central Virginia Heritage is now available at Amazon.

Articles include: Robert Watkins of Campbell County, VA; Susan J. Diuguid Spiller, born in Virginia and died in Texas; Marriage Announcements in the Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA) for January 1895; Forty-Two-Year Family Search in the Age of DNA; a list of Sheriffs of Amelia County, VA; and more.

Click here for details at Amazon:

Central Virginia Heritage, Winter 2019


November 25, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Post Offices, Part III

Tucker store and post office, 2019. Photo by Jeremy Winfrey.

In the 19th century, rural post offices were typically located at stores and mills, which often provided mini service centers for a “neighborhood” of farms.

Tucker store and post office was located near Sharps Creek close to the house known as Millbrook which was built by Randolph Jefferson’s son, Robert Lewis Jefferson, and later owned by his son, Elbridge G. Jefferson.

The post office at Tucker appears to be comparatively short-lived. Beginning in June 1890, Ida M. Baber was postmistress. In June 1919, Addie Baber failed to qualify for the job and the mail was rerouted to Diana Mills, effective 31 December 1919.

Today, the remains of the store are slowly disintegrating, leaving an evocative ghost of a once bustling business.

How Tucker got its name is currently a mystery. Does a Slate River Ramblings reader know anything about the Tucker behind the store’s name? If so, please comment below.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Post Offices, Part IV

November 21, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Post Offices, Part II

Courtesy Gene Lightfoot Collection.

This beautiful envelope was mailed from Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute at Gravel Hill. The handwritten cancelation reads November 8, 1860.  An example of intra-Buckingham mail, the letter was only going as far as Diana Mills to Henry St. George Harris.  The sender is unknown.

Postmasters at Gravel Hill included: Beverly A. Brown (1839), John B. [last name and date illegible], Beverly A. Brown (1853), Mrs. Sarah West (1866), Mattie J. West (1875), and Laura W. Claiborne (1901).   The mail delivery moved to Dillwyn, effective June 26, 1905.

Beverly A. Brown was also an initial trustee of The Institute.

It’s easy to imagine the lovely young ladies of The Institute coming and going to the post office, visiting West’s country store, eager to send and receive news via the US mails.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Post Offices, Part III

November 18, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Post Offices, Part I


It’s remarkable how evocative a simple postmark can be like this one from Slate River Mills post office.

Mailed in 1892, this postcard found its way to eBay in the 21st century.

The Slate River Mills post office saw a long series of postmasters: John M. Sheppard (1876), Pattie W. Pryor (1881), William W. Pryor (1887), Eliza J. Cobb (1897), Ethelbert D. Loving (1901), Francis E. Fitzgerald (1907), John A. LeSueur (1915), James B. LeSueur (1921), and William J. Charlton (1926). On September 29, 1928, mail delivery moved to Dillwyn.

There are several posts about Slate River Mills (a. k. a. Hocker’s Mill) in the Slate River Ramblings archive.  Search and enjoy the results!

Coming Next: Buckingham County Post Offices, Part II

November 14, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

New Store in Buckingham County: Part III

Plunkett-Meeks Store, restored.

Courtesy Appomattox Court House National Historical Park


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


In her article entitled “New Store Important In the Events of ’65” written for The Daily Progress in 1959, historian Lulie Patteson shared a little known bit of history about New Store:

There is an interesting sequel to the New Store story. In the restoration plans at old Appomattox, the Meeks store across from the McLean house was still standing, but long ignored and emptied of its furnishings of more than 100 years ago. As the restoration progressed, a search was made for an old store had its furnishings intact such a counters.

New Store was found and provided a rich contribution and furnishings typical of the 1865 period. These furnishings are now housed in the Meeks store and the store will be on display in the near future.

Buckingham has thus made another contribution to the state’s history on the display that vividly pictures the events of April 1865.

Many thanks to Phil James who shared this article with Slate River Ramblings.


For those of you who missed the post about the restoration of the Pluckett-Meeks Store, click here:

Pluckett-Meeks Store at Clover Hill, Appomattox County


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