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December 4, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County 1856: Harris Farm For Sale

Slate River Ramblings_Harris Farm

John M. Harris Farm (2011), 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?

This advertisement ran during September of 1856 in the Richmond Whig.

A VALUABLE FARM FOR SALE. – The subscriber offers for sale privately the place on which he resides, situated in Buckingham county, about two and a half miles from James River Canal, (At Bolling’s Landing,) and the same distance from Slate river navigation. The tract contains nine hundred acres, of which five hundred have been cleared by the subscriber, and cultivated in tobacco. The balance of the land, yet to clear, is equally as good, embracing some valuable pine timber, and large proportion of plant land. There are some thirty acres of branch and creek bottoms on the place. The high land lies so gently undulating that most of it can be ploughed both ways. The soil is similar to that of the Green Spring lands of Louisa, and those of the Hickory Level in this county. It is unexcelled for tobacco, and unequalled for wheat; also good for other grain crops, as well as grass. The improvements are sufficient for the comfortable use of a large family, and for the preservation of the crops. It lies in a good neighborhood, convenient to churches, mills and stores, &c., about twelve miles from the Courthouse.

Terms easy.  The attention of purchasers respectfully invited.   JOHN M. HARRIS

Within a couple of years, Harris sold most of the farm to his nephew, Henry St. George Harris, and removed to Appomattox County.

Harris’s reference to Hickory Level indicates it was well-known. About 750 acres of Hickory Level was owned by Col. Henry Gantt of Albemarle County. Later, this property was known as “Wells Farm.” Eventually, Col. Gantt’s widow, Pattie B. Gantt, sold it to the county and it served as Buckingham’s second Poorhouse. To learn more about the Poorhouses of Buckingham County, consult “Stewards of the Poor” in “At a Place Called Buckingham” ~ Volume Two.

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