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December 2, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mystery: Mrs. Cabell’s Library

Cabell_Liberty Hall

Liberty Hall, Nelson County, Courtesy Small Special Collections, University of Virginia

Recently, a cousin sent an intriguing fragment of Buckingham County history, a brief mention in the Appomattox and Buckingham Times, printed on May 1, 1901.  It said simply this:

About three years ago Mrs. Hartley Cabell (nee Logan) presented the village of Buckingham with a magnificent library of several thousand volumes – and the Library Association continues to add new books from time to time.  Next Friday Night Polk Miller will give an entertainment in the Courthouse for the benefit of this library.

A little research and help from Coz. Harry Holman revealed that the generous donor was probably Mrs. Joseph Hartwell Cabell, nee Margaret “Meta” Polk Logan.  In 1900, the couple lived in Cincinnati, Ohio where Mr. Cabell worked as an attorney.

Many questions raised by this notice are yet to be answered.

Which Cabell family had amassed this impressive collection?

Did the volumes come from Joseph Hartwell Cabell’s homeplace in Nelson County, Liberty Hall?

Why were the books given away c. 1898?

Where was this magnificent library to be housed in the village of Buckingham?

Can any Slate River Ramblings reader offer more clues?

Many thanks to Coz. Mary Eleanor for sending the clipping from the Appomattox and Buckingham Times.

Coming next: Polk Miller and His Negro Quartette


Leave a Comment
  1. Sarah Donnelly / Dec 3 2013 11:24 am

    I have consulted my cousins and we believe that the books were from the library of Axtell Academy. Axtell was founded at the behest of Meta Logan, by her father, General T. M. Logan. Meta married in 1896 and gave the school and its 3000+ book library to Buckingham County. The books were likely given to the school by General Logan. ref. Charlottesville Daily Progress, Sept. 1, 1960 “Axtell Academy once showplace of early education in Buckingham” Also, Richmond Times Dispatch Dec 18 [no year given] “Weathering Axtel [sic] ignored.

    Great granddaughter and great nieces of Meta Logan Cabell

    • Joanne Yeck / Dec 3 2013 12:52 pm

      Sarah, Many thanks for this. I’ll will do some digging and attempt to learn more about Axtell Academy. Watch for a future post. Joanne


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