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January 1, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County 1856: Chambers’ Mills

Slate River Ramblings_Chambers Mills_Winfrey

Ruins of Chambers’ Mills (2011), Photo by Jeremy Winfrey

In 1856, something was stirring in Buckingham County.

A significant number of valuable Buckingham farms and other businesses were advertised for sale in the Richmond newspapers.  Did sellers attempt to take advantage of a strong market?  Did they anticipate a dip? Was the climate in Buckingham shifting towards increasing industry, making those properties more valuable? Did the political battles over the Kansas Territory concern Buckingham County slaveholders?  Was it just coincidental?

One hopeful seller, George Chambers (1826-1882), had inherited the property from his father, George Chambers (1783-1846). George, Jr. had recently married his cousin, Sallie Chambers, on December 4, 1855.  Perhaps, his reasons for selling were personal.  In years to come, he served the county as Deputy Sheriff. Here is his advertisement as it ran, in the summer of 1856, in the Richmond Whig.

Note: The property and the Post Office were written as “Chamber’s Mills.”


I will sell privately my Farm (known as Chamber’s Mills,) containing 600 acres of land, with a good Dwelling and Store House, and all necessary outhouses, a large Manufacturing Mills and Saw Mill, situated in the county of Buckingham, on Slate River, (a navigable stream) 8 miles east of the C.H., and 12 miles from James River – 350 acres are cleared and the balance in woodland, well timbered.

It is a fine stand for Merchandizing, and the Mills, with the Store and Dwelling, can be sold separately from the farm, if purchasers desire it.

Terms accommodating.  Address the subscriber at “Chamber’s Mills” P.O., Buckingham Co., Va.


Interestingly, the property did not sell immediately.  In 1860, George Chambers still owned the mills and reported his profits on the Buckingham County Industrial Census.

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