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January 16, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mystery

Buckingham_Unknown House

Anyone who has conducted research in Buckingham County knows all about “brick walls” and apparently unsolvable mysteries.  From time to time, I will post a photo of a house or an individual or a family in the hopes that someone can make a positive identification of the image.  Here’s my first mystery image.

Driving in the general vicinity of Sharps Creek or Diana Mills (I don’t know precisely where I was), I saw this substantial dwelling, complete with requisite Buckingham slate roof.  This is my Harris family’s old stomping ground.

Can anyone identify it?  If you can identify a family who owned the house at one time (or now), please let me know approximately the decade and century as well as the family surname. Thanks!


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  1. buckctyva / Sep 20 2016 10:51 am

    An update for future readers. This was the home of Thomas Benton Norvell and family and inherited by son Hay Booth Norvell in the 20th century. Bought by Pruden family in 1960s and is still owned by son Joe Pruden of Richmond, Va. Research and clues in the old dwelling show the main portion of this home was built in the 1830s.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 20 2016 11:30 am

      Thanks for the update! Joanne

  2. J Winfrey / Jan 16 2013 9:59 pm

    This is on the north side of Spreading Oak Rd (SR 671) , between Sharps Creek (SR 721) and Sharon Church (SR 622) roads.

  3. Harry Stuart Holman / Jan 16 2013 6:38 pm

    My Watkins line connects with the Harris line. My ancestor was Thomas Watkins of Swift Creek, Powhatan County. His niece, Susannah Watkins Clay was the grandmother of U. S. Sen. Henry Clay of Kentucky. Thomas Watkins died (testate) on Swift Creek in 1760. He left a large family and a considereable amount of property. Amongst his children was Susannah Watkins Woodson, wife of Joseph Woodson. They left numerous descendants, including a grandson Daniel Mosby, who married Sally Harris.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 16 2013 7:38 pm

      Yes indeed. Sarah “Sally” H. Harris is an older sister of my Benjamin Harris.

      • Patt / Feb 4 2013 11:32 pm

        I am interested in Mr. Holman’s Watkins line from Powhatan Co. My GGGrandfather (Robert Markham Bolling) married Mary Watkins (1811-1840) from Powhatan Co. Would there be a connection here? Also R.M. Bolling’s son (Dr. Lenas Bolling) married Amanda Harris, daughter of John (Jack) Harris.

  4. Patrick Murray / Jan 16 2013 3:56 pm

    Has 10 HARRIS listed in the index. I note you have HARRIS as your family.
    Which Harris is yours.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 16 2013 4:08 pm

      My Harris line in Buckingham begins with John M. Harris who settles in the area of Sharps Creek. His brothers Benjamin, Bushrod, and James also own land in northern Buckingham. In the 1850s, John M. Harris sells most of his farm to his nephew, Henry St. George Harris. They all descend from Benjamin Harris of Mountain Grove, Green Mountain, Albemarle County. Thanks for asking!

  5. Bill Davidson / Jan 16 2013 3:22 pm

    Did your Harris family include the Lula Estelle Harris who married Leonard Meredith Thornhill and/or the William Branch Harris who married Pearl Alma Thornhill? All were born around the 1890s or so. Those Thornhills were descendants of the David Davidson in my overall Davidson family who was on the tithe list in Buckingham Co., VA in 1764 (one of David Davidson’s female descendants was an ancestor of the above Thornhills).

    Note: There was also an Alexander Davidson who was on that same 1764 Buckingham tithe list, but he was almost certainly NOT a member of my overall Davidson family (there appears to have been three or four unrelated Davidson/Davison families in Buckingham over the years, and on-going DNA testing continues to support this). I mention that Alexander Davidson here, only because he had a son who was named Samuel Davidson, and Samuel (died around 1848 in Appomattox Co., VA, as I recall) married an Elizabeth Thornhill. That Elizabeth Thornhill (who died by the1830s) was almost certainly a member of the same overall Thornhill family as the above-mentioned Thornhills who married into the Harris family.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 16 2013 3:28 pm

      My Harris family does not include Lula Estelle Harris. As you probably know, it is a common name in the area. Good luck with the Davidson DNA project. The Harris DNA project has gone a long way towards untangling Harrises.

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