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February 4, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Apple Hill


View from Humanity Hall, photo by Joanne Yeck

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?

Among the properties for sale was Apple Hill, nestled in the neighborhood of Chambers Mills.  The proprietor, Selah Holbrook, lived adjacent Humanity Hall Academy, where he farmed and worked as a carriage maker.  His advertisement in the Richmond newspaper succinctly describes this pleasant area of Buckingham County.

APPLE HILL FOR SALE. – The subscriber offers for sale his Farm in Buckingham county, containing 318 Acres, about one half in original Timber of superior quality for building purposes, adapted to the culture of tobacco, a healthy location and near the Slate River Navigation, and adjoining Col. Hanes’ Acadamy (sic), having the advantage of taking boarders for the same and a good location for a Physician.  The improvements are a new Two Story Dwelling house, large and well finished, with all other necessary out houses, an office in the yard, a superior Apple Orchard and first rate Spring of excellent water.  The price and terms of payment will be accommodating.  For further particulars address,

                                                                                                                SELAH HOLBROOK

Chamber’s Mills, Buckingham County, Va.

The farm with its sweet water and superior apples did not sell in 1856.  In 1860, Selah Holbrook and his growing family still lived on Slate River.

If you know how Selah Holbrook came to settle in Buckingham County, please comment.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Feb 5 2014 11:45 am

    Thank you, Harry!

  2. Harry Stuart Holman / Feb 5 2014 11:43 am

    Dear Reader,

    I think this is a lovely pastoral scene. This spot is off U. S. 20 (James Madison Highway) turning east on to Copper Mine Road (617) and driving toward Hanes’ Chapel.

    Before 1848, this view was a part of the Holman plantation from their home which was soon to be named Humanity Hall. The name was taken from the boys school Col. Hanes operated at the house from about 1848 to 1870. The family of William Holman sold the house and about 745 acres to Hanes. The back part of the house and half of the land had originally belonged to William Holman’s father, Capt. Tandy Holman. He purchased 1,800 acres from David Ross in 1789 and built his house which burned about 1971. It was recently occupied by the family of Elijah Hanes. This plantation was known as “Whitehall.” This property included 318 acres inherited by Susannah Thompson Holman, wife of Capt. William Moseley, who sold it after her death to Garland Price. The Widow Price became Mrs. Selah Holbrook, whose second husband was offering it for sale in this sale article for “Apple Hill.”

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Wayne Diehl / Jun 11 2014 9:23 am

      Joanne and Harry,

      My gr. gr. gr. uncle, Peter Sipe (1820-1894), was the owner of Apple Hill in the 1870’s and 80’s. He married Susan Bolling Eldridge in 1855. I have copies of several letters written by his family to relatives in Rockingham County during that era. The heading for one of the letters actually says, “Apple Hill” and one of them mentions the death of neighbor, Garland Hanes.

      Just yesterday, I drove out to Buckingham in hopes of finding Apple Hill Farm. I have been able to find Humanity Hall farm which bordered Apple Hill. I have not, however, been able to determine the actual location of the Apple Hill farm house. Do you know exactly where it was/is? Thank you. Your posts have been very helpful and interesting.

      Wayne Diehl

      • Joanne Yeck / Jun 11 2014 9:40 am

        Wayne, Many thanks for this information about your Sipe family and Apple Hill. I found him and his family on the 1880 census right next to Mary Hanes and family. I do not know the exact location except that it was adjacent Humanity Hall. I would be very interesting in learning more about the letter mentioning the death of Garland Hanes. Please write to me at: Joanne

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