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April 25, 2016 / Joanne Yeck

For Sale: John Anderson’s Tavern

New Canton_Anderson's Travern


There was a time when New Canton, in Buckingham County, was a bustling town on the James River. In December of 1843, an advertisement ran in the Richmond Whig which suggested changes were a foot in the little town. In 1850, Louisa Daniel, who offered the following property for sale, lived in Cumberland County with her husband, Robert, and numerous children. She was presumably the heir (daughter?) to at least this part of John Anderson’s estate.


Will be offered for sale in the town of New Canton, on Saturday the 23rd of December next, all the Real Estate belonging to the late John Anderson, deceased, viz: a large and commodious Tavern House, well constructed, two Stores, two spacious rooms below, a passage, a flight of stairs running up in the passage, four rooms above, two fireplaces, a passage, porches above and below, on both sides of the house, a dining room in the cellar, with a fireplace, lock room, &c., a good Stone Kitchen, Smoke House, dairy, office &c., a large Stable and Carriage House, entirely new, has very spacious gardens, rich, three or four acres of land attached. This is the most splendid situation in the town, commanding a view up and down the river and canal for several miles. Also a Store house with a half acre lot, corner east of the street leading to the ferry. All will be offered for sale on the following terms: One fourth of the purchase money in hand paid, the balance in three equal annual payments, bonds with approved security, with a deed on the property to secure the payments. Time of delivering the property will be made known on the day of sale, can do so at any time by application to Mr. James Wren, who will take pleasure in showing the property – if the above named today should prove a unfair, then the next Monday following.

JAMES M. FORD, agent for Louisa B. Daniel

Due to the loss of Buckingham County land deeds from this period, we must rely on implied deeds based on land tax records to follow land transfers. What happened to John Anderson’s property? A successful sale does not appear to happen in the 1840s. Was the tavern rented, making it a source of income for the Daniels?

Anderson had only recently purchased (in 1841) one half of New Canton’s ferry from Edward W. Sims. That land was not sold out of Anderson’s estate until 1868 when it was transferred to John Davis.

In 1861, Robert Daniel and his wife sold some of the estate’s property to R. M. Stone.

If a Slate River Rambling reader knows more about Anderson’s Tavern, please comment.

Click here for more about Edward W. Sims.


Leave a Comment
  1. Louise Davis Hume / Apr 25 2016 4:55 pm

    “Anderson had only recently purchased (in 1841) one half of New Canton’s ferry from Edward W. Sims. That land was not sold out of Anderson’s estate until 1868 when it was transferred to John Davis”

    The John Davis who bought the New Canton Ferry from John Anderson’s estate was the brother of my great grandfather, Joshua Davis, who had the post office in his store in Dillwyn,. They were born in Releath, Crowan Parrish, Helston District, Cornwall, England. They emigrated to the US in 1848 and worked in the Gold Hill, NC mines until fall of 1850 when they moved to Morrow Gold Mines in Buckingham, VA

    John Davis (1827-1900) married Margaret Mitchell (1835-1881) and settled in New Canton, Virginia, near the James River about 15 miles east of Dillwyn on Rt. 15. Margaret’s father was John Mitchell (1803-1867) a blacksmith in the town of New Canton. Her mother was Martha. John Davis was a farmer, merchant, postmaster, and ferry master. Their son, John, managed the ferry across the James River. They raised nine children:

    John was enlisted in 6 June 1861 and was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in Company C, Virginia 44th Infantry. He was mustered out on 20 July 1861 in order to accept appointment as CSA Postmaster of New Canton, Virginia Post Office which was in his store.

    Regards, Louise Davis Hume

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 25 2016 5:29 pm

      Many thanks for your lengthy comment. It paints a wonderful, extended picture of life in New Canton! Joanne

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