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July 10, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Migration to Richmond

Richmond_Monroe Park

 Courtesy Rarely Seen Richmond (VCU Libraries Digital Collections)

Towards the end of the 19th century, many families migrated from Buckingham County to Richmond in search of work for themselves and higher education for their children.  In the 1890s, my John T. L. Woodson and family moved from Well Water, where Woodson had been a school teacher, to Richmond, ultimately settling not far from Monroe Park (pictured above). Single women, like the McCraw sisters, Louise and Bessie, moved in the early 20th century. In the city, opportunities were open to them that they would only have dreamed of in Buckingham.  Click here to read about the remarkable career of Louise Harrison McCraw.

Kitty Snow

Earlier this year, The Dietz Press published From a Richmond Streetcar: Life through the lens of Harris Stilson, written by Kitty Snow, Stilson’s great-granddaughter.  Stilson was an accomplished amateur photographer. While he worked as a streetcar motorman, he documented everyday life in Richmond. His camera captures the world our Buckingham County migrants navigated as they adjusted from rural to city life.

Visit Kitty Snow’s website, Richmond In Sight, and learn about her on-going project, in conjunction with Virginia Commonwealth University, to preserve Harris Stilson’s priceless collection.

Click here to watch her discuss her mission to share it with the communities he photographed: Virginia Currents: Harry Stilson; Wounded Wheels; Virginia Aquarium


Leave a Comment
  1. Justsum Stiuff / Jul 14 2013 2:47 pm

    I have seen a few grave stones in Maury Cemetery that are engraved “born in Buckingham Co.” Maury used to be in Manchester, South of the James.

    • Justsum Stiuff / Jul 14 2013 2:50 pm

      I forgot to add that my grandparents, Raikes, LeSueur, left Buckingham about 1936 and moved to Chesterfield, close to Manchester.

      • Joanne Yeck / Jul 14 2013 2:58 pm

        Thanks for mentioning Manchester, “Richmond South.”

  2. Harry Stuart Holman / Jul 10 2013 2:40 pm

    Dear Readers:

    I think this account with the viewing of Virginia Currents included was absolutely delightful. I think seeing the City through the eyes of one who saw the goat carts, the flappers, and all of those dangerously fast-moving Fords was a real revelation. I missed seeing the alligators at Jefferson Hotel.

    For Buckingham folks, I am also thinking of other new faces in Richmond in these days. One was Maggie Virginia Elcan, daughter of Willie Gilliam and granddaughter of Col. R. H. and Virginia Holman Gilliam. She moved to Richmond about 1898 and finished her R.N. degree in 1900. Her son-in-law was Carl C. Rosen who wrote the book on the Elcans. Also, I am thinking of Dr. Joseph Hill Winfrey of Buckingham who graduated from the Medical College of Virginia the same year. He was a younger brother of the notable Dr. E. Willie Winfrey (Baptist minister) and the son of George Hill WInfrey–son of William H. and Sarah Yancey Holman Winfrey.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 10 2013 3:57 pm

      Harry, Thanks for additional examples!

  3. Marion d. George / Jul 10 2013 2:37 pm

    I would like to mention that some women including my mother and Gilliam cousins found addional training past high school by coming to Richmond and entering nurses training. There were several schools such as St. Elizabeth’s plus Stuart circle etc. plus MCV. This would make an interesting story. This was probably stressful for girls who probably hadn’t been out of the county until then.
    Marion George

    • Joanne Yeck / Jul 10 2013 3:55 pm

      Marion, Thanks for commenting. I agree, many young men and women left Buckingham for higher education in Richmond, often boarding with relatives who had already migrated.


  1. Buckingham Migrations: Richmond, Virginia | slate river ramblings . . . .

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