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June 7, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

The Claiborne Home

Virginia Currents_Boatwright House 2Courtesy Virginia Currents

In 1937, Rosa “Garnet” Williams wrote about “The Claiborne Home” for the Virginia Historical Survey. Her description located the dwelling 5.1 miles south of Arvonia, on Highway 15, “thence .2 mile on private road.”

In the 1840s, the house was owned by John T. “Jack” Claiborne and was the site of Claiborne’s school, Oak Grove Academy.  In the 1860s, “Parson” Tom Hall owned the house, to be followed by Dr. Fredric Boatwright, President of Richmond College.  In 1937, Mrs. Williams described the structure:

The house is beautifully located in a very large field about 100 yards from the highway. The building consists of six rooms, and a full size basement, two long halls, and a small two story front porch…. The corner posts were all hewn out of large trees and the floors are of the wide type, original timbers.  There are very large brick chimneys on either end of the house, the bricks being thought to have been made on the place. 

As with so many antebellum dwellings in Buckingham County, these bricks were likely made by enslaved African Americans.


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  1. claibachmann41 / Jun 7 2013 6:37 pm

    It was nice to learn that John T. Claiborne’s school was called Oak Grove Accademy. I had information that also suggested that he taught and did some administrative work at the Buckingham Female Accademy. This was from a book called Taproots. I seem to have misplaced my information from that. His two daughters, Eliza Frances and Laura Virginia also attended the school and, I believe, graduated from there. Eliza was my great grandmother and probably graduated in 1851 or 52. Apparently she and Laura Virignia taught at Oak Grove after that. The entire family emigrated to Nashville, TN in 1859 on the eve of the Civil War. John’s wife Sarah Ann Bransford had relatives in Nashville that I presume helped them to start the boarding house business that they began there.

    Her daughter, my grandmother, said that during the Civil War Eliza carried a message to Richmond for Jefferson Davis containing information on the military situation in and around Nashville. Eliza stayed in Richmond and married John W. Otley there in 1870. They then moved back to Nashville but later settled in Richmond. Eventually Eliza and John Otley settled in Farmville close to Eliza’s cousins, the children of T.O. Claiborne in Budkingham.

    • Joanne Yeck / Jun 7 2013 7:51 pm

      Great details about the extended Claiborne family. Thanks!


  1. Buckingham County Schools: Oak Grove Academy Incorporated | slate river ramblings . . . .

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