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March 23, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Millcote

McCraw_Louise Harrison

 Courtesy Richmond Times-Dispatch

In 1936, novelist Louise Harrison McCraw served as an informant for the Virginia Historical Society, sharing her memories about the farm called Millcote and a story about a slave named Stephen Woodson. Louise was the granddaughter of Millcote’s original owner. Field worker for the Virginia Historical Inventory, Elizabeth McCraw, wrote:

Captain Ned Gilliam, the original owner, was a slave owner before the war and was never known to sell one of his negroes. He owned a negro woman whose husband, Stephen Woodson, belonged to another plantation and whose master was going to sell and send south.

Of course that meant separating from his wife. Every night Stephen would see Captain Ned Gilliam and begged him to buy him, in order that he might stay with his wife. Captain Gilliam borrowed $1800, the price of Stephen, from his brother Colonel Dick Gilliam, and bought the negro. This was not long before the war and after all the slaves were freed. Captain Gilliam was unable to pay his brother the money, so he gave him his home, Millcote, in payment of the debt made to keep two slaves together as husband and wife.

In 1870, a Stephen Woodson (age 30) was living in Buckingham County’s Maysville District with his wife, Mandy (age 30), and their children Nancy, Moses, Lizzie, and infant twins, “Woodson Woodson” and Sallie. Is Mandy Woodson the former Gilliam slave? The Woodsons lived not far from John B. Gilliam and Edwin Steger.

That year, Richard “Dick” Gilliam resided in Buckingham’s Francisco District. His real estate was valued at $12,500 and his personal property at $3,500.

Does a Slate River Ramblings reader know more about the Woodsons? If so, please comment.

Captain Edward “Ned” J. Gilliam and his wife, Nancy Talbot, had one child Edmonia “Bettie” who married William Emmett McCraw. They were the parents of Louise Harrison McCraw.

To learn more about Louise Harrison McCraw, see “At a Place Called Buckingham” – Volume Two.


Leave a Comment
  1. Bill Davidson / Mar 25 2015 8:25 am

    Here is a nice overview of the Gilliam family in Buckingham Co., VA:

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 25 2015 10:07 am

      Thanks, Bill!

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