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March 20, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: Cow-Pox


In 1801, a Dr. Walker of Buckingham County advertised in the Virginia Argus alerting the citizens of Buckingham County that he was ready to inoculate with cow-pox:

Doct. Walker
Will commence inoculation at his Hospital in the county of Buckingham, on the 1st May, with the
Vaccine or Cow-Pox,

a disease that is so very slight, that it has caused many to doubt whether it is an antidote to the small-pox or not – the testimony from Europe in its favor has caused it to be adopted in many parts of America, and where its power has been put to the test by experiments, it has been found sufficient to prevent the body from smallpox, but to remove all doubt, sufficient trials will be made at the hospital before 1st May, for the purpose of giving– demonstration to the skeptical.
April 9, 1801.

It is quite probable that this Dr. Walker is the same physician who treated Randolph Jefferson at Snowden when he suffered from kidney stones. On August 18, 1801, Randolph Jefferson’s daughter, Nancy, was among the family members inoculated against small pox at Monticello. That day, her little cousins, Ellen and Cornelia Randolph were also treated. Former Snowden slaves, Ben and Cary, were inoculated as well, along with several members of the Hemings family.

For more about Randolph Jefferson, his family, and the lives of his slaves: The Jefferson Brothers.


Leave a Comment
  1. Steve Craig / Mar 24 2017 8:58 am

    John – I’d love to know more about that insurance policy. How interesting! Those chancery records can be a gold mine for Buckingham researchers. Hope you’ll follow my new blog at

  2. Steve Craig / Mar 22 2017 10:42 am

    Dr. Walker was indeed Dr. James Walker, son of Maj. Henry Walker and Martha Jones. Her second husband was Capt. Dick Holland. Dr. Walker never married and appears to have died about 1814 (last year he paid tax on his 400 acre tract in Buckingham – 4 miles west of the CH. The following year the tax was paid by Richard “Dick” Holland, Jr. who was Dr. Walker’s half brother who received the land from Dr. Walker in his will along with two other tracts of 70 11 miles SW of the CH nest to Wm. Moseley) and 23 acres (adjacent to the 70 acre tract). In 1819, Richard Holland died (also never married) and John Morris, who married Nancy Holland (1/2 sister to Dr. Walker and full sister to Richard Holland) bought the 400 acre tract. Morris lived on a tract on the Appomattox River (Cutbanks Plantation) until he moved to Dr. Walker’s former residence in the late 1820s – probably because it was nearer to the CH as he was a Buckingham JOP. Described in tax records as “Dr. Walker’s former residence” through 1830. Morris bought adjacent tracts and by 1840 owned 1136 adjacent acres there. In 1846, the tract was described in land tax record as Mt. Rush. The house, now owned by the Ellis family, is believed to have been built in 1804, and appears to have originally been Dr. Walker’s home. There is a Prince Edward County Chancery Suit (1835-010) brought by a niece of Dr. Walker’s named Elizabeth Jones (dau. of Anthony Jones) that describes the land transfer from Walker to Holland to Morris.

    John and Nancy (Holland) Morris are my 4x great grandparents and I cover the above in my recently published book – Along the Willis River: Descendants of Nathaniel & Nancy (Jeffries) Morris. The book is available through Historic Buckingham (I donated copies for them to sell).

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 22 2017 5:14 pm

      Steve, Many thanks for your full report on Dr. Walker. Thanks, too, for supporting Historic Buckingham. Joanne

    • John Jones / Mar 22 2017 11:16 pm

      Steve, I will need to get a copy of your book! When I have time, I will also look up the Chancery suit. I am interested in several of the points you make. I do not remember the the date, but James Walker (who was probably Dr. James’ grandfather) took out an insurance policy on Mt. Rush. That James died in 1804, so the house may be older than that.

  3. John Jones / Mar 20 2017 11:28 pm

    This Dr. Walker may well have been Dr. James Walker (b. ca 1777) of Buckingham/Pr. Edward Co. He was the son of Capt. Henry Walker & Martha Jones. Henry Walker was killed at the battle of Stono, SC in 1779. After Henry’s death, Martha married Dick Holland. Dr. James had a sister, Lucy (b. ca 1779). I do not know if Dr. Walker married and I do not have a death date for him. Would appreciate any info.

    Walker’s medical practice was apparently centered near Walker’s Church, which is now in Appomattox Co. I believe he did advertise smallpox vaccinations.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 21 2017 6:37 am

      John, Many thanks for your comment. I was hoping a reader would recognize Dr. Walker. Of course, in 1801, we are imagining a much larger Buckingham County. Let’s hope another reader knows more about this Dr. Walker. Joanne

    • Louise Garrett / Mar 21 2017 10:22 am

      RE: Dr Walker

      If this is Dr James Walker with sister Lucy. It is possible that he never married or there were no direct survivors. Based on tax records showing his mother Martha and Dick Holland had that land.Have lost date of tax record!!

      Advise if interested in this line. L G.


  1.  Buckingham County: Fight Against Smallpox | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. Buckingham Notables: Dr. James Walker | slate river ramblings . . . .

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