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March 28, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: The Austin Family, Part VI

Derby_SRR

Courtesy Historic Buckingham

Richmond Hill, a.k.a. Derby

Originally known as “Richmond Hill,” John W. Haskins renamed the former Austin family property Derby. That name stuck and, in 1937, when Rosa G. Williams surveyed the dwelling house for the Virginia Historical Inventory, the place was known as Derby. Mrs. Williams described the location as 0.4 miles east of Buckingham Court House, on US Route 60, thence 1.6 miles north on Route #631, thence northwest on a private road about 75 yards.

Tradition states that Benjamin Moseley, a prosperous planter, built the house for his daughter, Lucy, when she married Dr. James M. Austin in 1833. It was, at that time, according to Rosa G. Williams, “one of the better types of homes in the county.” By 1933, however, it was in “a very poor state of preservation.” Mrs. Williams continued:

The house was built of the very best material by the best workmen. The timbers were all hands sawed, the weatherboarding is beaded, and the very large chimneys are of stone with brick stems. The small front porch leads into a very wide hallway. The steps leading to the second floor are in this hallway. Two very large rooms open into this hallway also. The rooms are all plastered and have wide wainscoting. The mantels are very high and hand-carved.

There are still several old locks in use, but most of them have been replaced by modern ones. The floors are all of hand-sawed, heart-pine, tongue-and-grooved boards.

An old office that was Dr. Austin’s Office still stands. That too is in good condition. Many of the original oaks still stand in the yard.

Coming Next: Dr. James M. Austin

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