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November 19, 2015 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Elm Cottage

Elm Cottage_2

Elm Cottage-on-James

In the late 19th century, Elm Cottage-on-James was the home of the McClelland family, which included the celebrated authoress, M. G. (Mary Greenway) McClelland. The cottage, “long, low, and rambling,” was dwarfed by an enormous elm tree.

An article in the monthly magazine, The Home-maker, described the cottage which was built by Colonel John Cabell, son of Colonel William Cabell, a pioneer settler of the James River Valley. It sat directly across the James River from Norwood, former site of the Cabell-founded school.

The cottage was located for the view, “limited but lovely,” of the river and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. It was not so well situated for “convenience in housekeeping, accessibility to water and the outside world.”

Isolation from close neighbors, however, provided the kind of peaceful life many writers require. The article went on to say that “Miss McClelland leads an every-day life, ideally quiet and without interruption.”

Once, McClelland’s publisher, Henry Holt, paid an unexpected visit to Elm Cottage. According to the sketch in The Home-maker:

Unaware of his approach, Miss McClelland was on the point of leaving for Lynchburg. Publisher and author met on the river-banks on a dreary, drizzly November day. His first sight of her was perched on her Saratoga trunk watching the improvised baggage-wagon . . . and mule struggle out of the mud.

A classic Buckingham County scene if ever there was one!

Click here for more about M.G. McClelland

Coming Next: A New Buckingham County Serial – “The Buckingham Outlaws”


Leave a Comment
  1. Mary D. Edwards / Nov 19 2015 5:33 pm

    Have your read any of her novels? I see that has copies of “Princess”, “Jean Montieth”, and “Oblivion” for sale.

    • Joanne Yeck / Nov 19 2015 5:54 pm

      Mary, I have not read more than a few sample chapters. If you read one, please post again! Joanne


  1. Buckingham Notables: The Death of M. G. McClelland | slate river ramblings . . . .

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