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September 10, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mills: Virginia Mills

Buckingham_Nicholas-Mill

Virginia  Mills Ruins, Photo by Joanne Yeck

Grist mills are among the most popular posts at Slate River Ramblings. Readers often regret that so few mills remain standing in Buckingham County. Time and flood waters have washed the majority of mills away, including this one reported in Richmond’s The Times-Dispatch on August 8, 1903:

CENTURY-OLD MILL
DAMAGED BY FLOOD

ARVONIA, VA., August 7. – The heavy rains cause one side of the valuable mill property of Mr. Hampden Nicholas to fall thereby causing great loss of property and time.

This mill is over one hundred years old and was regarded as the strongest building in the county. It is seven stories high, the first three being solid rock, while the remaining portion is brick and frame. During the progress of its erection, its height and situation, being on the edge of Slate River, caused the workmen to become dizzy, and thus negro women on the plantation were forced to supply mortar and thus relieve those unable to work.

A force of hands has been secured and the debris is being removed, preparatory to the necessary repair.

This is Virginia Mills built by the Nicholas family. Situated near where the Slate River empties into the James River in northern Buckingham County, it served the neighborhood for generations.

According to Richard Nicholas, the story about the dizzy workmen is likely folklore. By 1903, Hampton Bigelow Nicholas had deeded the property to his wife, Willie Sue Nicholas. Hampden Nicholas died in 1909; however, the mills remained in the family until 1914 when Willie Sue deeded the property to E.W. Hubard in trust to secure debts.

Edmund W. Hubard was the Commonweath’s Attorney for Buckingham County.

Click here to learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s visit to Virginia Mills.

2 Comments

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  1. Karen Williams / Sep 10 2015 8:58 am

    I’m interested in learning more about the Nicholas family of Buckingham Co.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 10 2015 9:02 am

      Karen, Richard L. Nicholas has written about the Nicholas family of Buckingham County. His manuscripts are on deposit at the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Historical Society. Joanne

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