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March 9, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Colonization of Buckingham County



On March 5, 1874, The Farmville Mercury, printed the following essay concerning the attractions and bounty of Buckingham County. Following the Civil War, many young men (and women) of intelligence and strength were leaving Buckingham County, looking elsewhere for their futures. Promoting the county’s riches was never more necessary, although, the hoped-for, east-west railroad would not become one of its assets.

Colonization in Buckingham.

The following report was read before the “Southside Virginia Board of Settlers,” at its meeting held in Chase City, on 2nd inst:

We, the undersigned, members of the Buckingham County Standing Committee of the Southside Board of Settlers, offer the following account of this county, and the multitudinous inducements it possesses to intending settlers to locate here:

                The county has bounded on the north by Jas. River, (having a frontage 70 miles long on the canal running parallel with this river,) on the south by the Appomattox River, on the east by the county of Cumberland.

                It is for the most part a rolling country, was almost all varieties of soil – deep red Clay, Sandy and chocolate loams, and in the neighborhood of the Court House, and north of it and almost black soil, which is considered inexhaustible, the soft hornblende rocks becoming disintegrated by the action of the frost, adds new life to the soil annually. The valley of the James River is considered second to no land in this country in richness and in productiveness.

                The Willis River, a tributary of the James, runs through the county, and on this stream will be found lands of first-rate quality. No portion of the world can be found more uniformly supplied with the natural advantages than this county. Minerals of all classes abound in large quantities. – Before the war several gold mines were in operation here, paying extremely well; also copper and Slate mines, the latter beating the world at the Paris Exhibition of 1867. Iron and coal predominate as minerals, and are found in profuse abundance here.

                Charters for two railroads through the county have been granted, and are expected to be put under contract speedily. One will be a continuation of the greatest of Virginia’s (or America’s should we say,) commercial arteries, “Chesapeake & Ohio,” running from west to east through the center of the county. The other, the Farmville & Charlottesville Road, running due north and south, so that very few portions of the county can be far removed from railway communications.

                This is a par excellance clover and grass region. An English settler asserts that he has grown larger crops here than he ever saw in England, where the land he is to farm their cost £4 sterling rental per annum.

                Heavy dark shipping tobacco is our staple crop. Wheat pays well for growing, if properly manured and cultivated. The soil is favorable to its growth. Maysville, our county town, has a population of 400 – in color about equally divided.

                In conclusion, we, as settlers, are pleased with the county and people and can recommend old Buckingham strongly to industrious and enterprising immigrants. Men of large capital would find very mines of wealth here, while the sturdy yeoman can get enough and to spare.

(Signed) J.W. HEBDITCH;

Eng. Chairman of Committee.



Leave a Comment
  1. Bob Flippen / Mar 9 2017 7:52 am

    I think his name was J.W. Hebditch probably one of the English settlers who came here in a wave of migration starting in 1868. Most would return to England by 1883. Hebditch was one of the few who succeeded in farming and remained in Buckingham. I think he is the H of B pen name used in the Farmville Herald.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 9 2017 8:09 am

      Thanks, Bob, for the close read of today’s post. Old eyes and dark microfilm are not always an accurate combination! Also, I will now be alert to the new wave of English settlers to central Virginia. Do you know what initally attracted them? Joanne

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