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March 27, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mystery: The Norvell House

Buckingham_Unknown House

The Norvel House, Photo by Joanne Yeck

The mystery house described in the January 16, 2013 post has been solved by Coz. Jeremy Winfrey.  This impressive home near Sharps Creek on Spreading Oak Road once belonged to the Thomas Benton Norvell family.

In 1880, Thomas Benton Norvell (d. 22 January 1897) was a merchant, living here with his wife and children.  In 1930, his daughter, Alice (Mrs. Nelson Tindall of Hatton Ferry), ordered a Military Headstone for his grave at “his old home.” During the Civil War, Norvell served as a Sergeant in Company D, 56th Virginia Infantry, a.k.a. The Buckingham Yancey Guards.

In the early 20th century, the home was occupied by Norvell’s widow, Mary, and was eventually left to his son, Hay Booth Norvell (31 January 1880–6 August 1952) who is buried at Sharon Baptist Church.

Does anyone know if the Norvells operated a store at their farm?


Leave a Comment
  1. Bernard F. Norvell / Sep 23 2020 2:34 pm

    My grandfather was Bernard Miller Norvell, Jr. I believe Hay Norvell was an older brother of his. I visited Dillwyn as a child in 1954 and we stayed overnight with relatives (believe it was a Dr. Dyches and his family). I was introduced to a VERY elderly black lady (called Aunt ?) and told she was born a slave in Buckingham Co. She would’ve had to be in her 90s in 1954 which I guess, looking back, was possible.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 23 2020 4:20 pm

      Many thanks for your comment. Later this Fall, I will post a new series about the Norvell House. If you haven’t already followed Slate River Ramblings, please do so you don’t miss this upcoming information about the Novell family.

    • Bernard Norvell / Oct 15 2020 9:20 am

      I meant to say Bernard Miller Norvell was my grandfather. B.M. Norvell, Junior was my father.

      • Joanne Yeck / Oct 15 2020 9:39 am


        Thanks for correcting your earlier comment!


  2. Carole Jensen / Jan 10 2017 10:54 am

    Jeremy Winfrey has further determined that Thomas Norvell’s middle name was Benton, not Benson. Thomas operated a store that sold liquor among other items. We know that he had property along Diana Mill Road. Thomas served throughout the American Civil War in Company D, and he appears in Young’s History of the 56th Infantry Regiment.

    Also appearing in Young’s History are Francis Marion Hacker and F. M. Hackett (apparently the same person). F. M. Hackett only appears in a post war list as serving in Company D. However, Francis Marion Hacker enlisted July 23, 1861, in Company D in Buckingham County. He died in Williamsport, Maryland. His widow Mary F. Hackett (note her surname), filed a a death claim September 23, 1863. She reported that her husband died of sickness. They were married in Buckingham in 1845. There is a possibility that he was KIA at Gettysburg. Mary also applied for a pension May 19, 1908. It seems to me that the correct surname is Hackett. A look at the Hacker/Hackett service records should clarify this.

    Carole Jensen

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 10 2017 10:58 am

      Thanks, Carole (and Jeremy). I’ve made the change in Thomas B. Norvell’s name in the original post. Thanks, too, for addressing Janet Goode’s question. Joanne

  3. Janet Goode / Jan 9 2017 7:41 am

    My name is Janet Goode. I just found this site. I was so excited. This is where my dad’s family came from. My gggrandfather was also in the same unit Co. D Buckingham Yancy Guard. The 56th. I’m trying to find out info on him. His name was Francis Marion Hackett. He was killed in 1861.
    If you know where I can go to get more info on him I would be very great full.
    Janet Goode

    • Joanne Yeck / Jan 9 2017 8:44 am

      Janet, While I don’t recognize Francis Marion Hackett, a Slate River Rambling reader who does may see your comment. Happy hunting! Joanne

  4. JR Mayes / May 5 2014 11:11 am

    Carole, I have located and visited the gravesite of them both. You can contact me for more information.

    • Carole Jensen / May 13 2014 11:34 am

      I would appreciate your sharing more information about the Norvell house and property. The current owner has been quite generous, and I have visited the property.

      Several buildings on the farm were destroyed by a tornado that passed through in 1929. My mother reported that her uncle, Hay Norvell, the owner at that time, was in the summer kitchen when it was swept up by the storm. Hay survived but emerged covered in flour. Neighbors helped Hay rebuild the barn. That and other buildings were removed over the years.


      • Joanne Yeck / May 13 2014 11:52 am

        Carole, I’ll collect some Norvell house trivia from the comments and make a new post. Perhaps we’ll attract some interest. Joanne

  5. jenorv / Sep 7 2013 7:10 pm

    Thanks for all your efforts to document and preserve the Norvell family’s presence in Buckingham County. John Norvell

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 7 2013 7:31 pm

      My pleasure.

  6. Joanne Yeck / Jul 19 2013 8:21 pm

    Carole, Thanks for adding these details here. Future posts about the Norvell family will link back here.

  7. Bill Davidson / Mar 28 2013 10:19 am

    My Davidson family also married into another “branch” of this same overall Norvell family on two occasions. That “branch” was headed by John Guerrant Norvell and his wife Jane Lee Snoddy. Their son named Thomas Henry Norvell married Sallie Virginia Davidson (a sister of my great-grandfather Thomas Archer Davidson “I”), and a daughter of John G. and Jane Lee (Snoddy) Norvell named Maria Louise Norvell became the second wife of Sallie Virginia Davidson and Thomas Archer Davidson’s brother Eli Banton Davidson. Eli and Maria had a son who was named Dr. E. Norvell Davidson, who married Clara Bingham, and they are all buried at Buckingham Baptist Church.

  8. Mary Roy Dawson Edwards / Mar 27 2013 1:06 pm

    Here is quite a lengthy bio of him in the 56th Va. Regimental Register: “enl. 7/6/61 Co. D in Buckingham, pvt./sgt; reenlisted 8/11/62; admitted Scottsville hosp. 2/7/63 – still there 6/30/63; present 9-12/63, and 5-6/64; POW Hatcher’s Run 3/3/65 – took oath and released from Pt. Lookout 6/15/65; b. 8/13/40; resident of Buckingham; light complexion, dark brown hair,grey eyes, 5’4 1/2″; committed suicide at homw 1/22/97; widow Mary E. Norvell applied for pension 4/12/1907 -m. near Glenmore, Buckingham Co.3/1/66 – $25 approved.”

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 27 2013 1:22 pm

      Mary Roy, thank you for this brief biography. It is a shock to see that T.B. Norvell committed suicide; however, I feel that this was not uncommon among survivors of the war, many of whom carried painful wounds (both emotional and physical) the rest of their life. It is good to know that his widow received a pension and that his daughter ordered a military marker for his grave at the homeplace.

  9. Ruth Toots Klippstein / Mar 27 2013 12:00 pm

    Dear Joann, I’ve just been asked by Kenneth Bryant of Bryant’s Grocery in New Canton, about a photo portrait he has from W. Burgess; he’s hoping for information that will show it’s Frances Cornelia Norvell, later Stinson–his great grandmother. Can you help me (or him–I’ll send his phone number if you want)? Thanks, Toots

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 27 2013 12:07 pm

      Toots, I’m new to the Norvell family. However, Carole Jenson who commented below might be able to help. I will forward your request to her. Your question reminds me, it’s about time for a post about New Canton, one of my favorite Buckingham towns!

  10. Carole Jensen / Mar 27 2013 11:04 am

    This is my great-grandparents’ home. I am told by family that he operated a mill. I have a photo of his wife taken after his death. She is in mourning attire. This is a fabulous site. I am heartened to know that the history of Buckingham County is being so lovingly preserved.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 27 2013 11:09 am

      Thank you Carole! My Harris family lived very close to the Norvell house. Did Thomas Benson Norvell by any chance operate what was formerly Jefferson Mills? Or Diana Mills? There were often stores at mills. I’ll do a little research. There are many of us devoted to Buckingham’s history. Thanks for joining us.

      • Carole Jensen / Jul 19 2013 6:05 pm

        HI Joanne,

        Just got back from several days in Buckingham County. Part of the fun was visiting this home. Mollie and Thomas are buried on the property, but we are told we would never by able to find the gravesite. There was no evidence of a store that we could see. I have a photograph of Mollie and her children taken in front of this house just after her husband’s death in 1897 and would be glad to share it.

        A special thank you to Ms. Edwards for providing the marriage date of Thomas B. and Mollie Miller Norvell.



  1. Buckingham County’s Norvell House Revisited, Part I | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. Buckingham Mysteries: The Norvell House | slate river ramblings . . . .

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