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December 18, 2012 / Joanne Yeck

Rural Living c. 1850

Humanity Hall Fieldsphoto by Joanne Yeck

More about Buckingham County from Thomas Baldwin’s Gazetteer of the United States (1854):

“The soil is not naturally rich, excepting in the vicinity of the rivers. Tobacco, Indian corn wheat, oats, and livestock are the staples. In 1850 this county produced 304,711 bushels of corn; 133,819 of wheat; 117,091 of oats; 2,342,987 pounds of tobacco, and 83,480 of butter.”

Those were the facts. From the pen of Buckingham’s native son, Dr. George W. Bagby, a different image emerged, revealing the bucolic “paradise” hiding behind the statistics:

“Wide, very wide fields of waving grain, billowy seas of green or gold, as the season chance to be, over which the scudding shadows chased and played, gladdened the heart with wealth far spread. Upon lowlands level as the floor, the plumed and tasseled corn stood tall and dense, rank behind rank in military alignment – a serried army, lush and strong. The rich, dark soil of the gently swelling knolls could scarcely be seen under the broad, lapping leaves of the mottled tobacco. The hills were carpeted with clover. In the midst of this plenty, half hidden in foliage over which the graceful shafts of the Lombard poplar towered, with its bounteous garden and its orchards heavy with fruit near at hand, peered the old mansion, white, or dusky red or mellow gray by the storm and shine of years.”

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