Pleasant Grove, Courtesy Historic Buckingham.
In 1936, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed Pleasant Grove for the Virginia Historical Inventory. Originally owned by the Clay family, the plantation was known as Rose Hill. Later, the Smith family change the name to Pleasant Grove. Located less than a mile west of Shepherd in Buckingham County, the dwelling house dates to about 1824. Mrs. McCraw wrote:
The approach to this house is pleasing, the house being on an elevation from the highway, and the private drive leading to the front porch. There is a one story porch across the entire front of the house, (this is a modern porch which replaced a small semi-colonial porch) having wide steps and built high off the ground. There’s a very large brick chimney at each end of the house, and cornice of decorative brick around the gable ends. There are nine windows across the front with upper and lower sashes of different sizes. Double doors with transom admit one to the hall. From the hall an elaborate two flight stairway leads to the second floor. The stairway is hand carved, with walnut handrail and newels. The wainscoting in the hall has a solid carved border and shows the original paint, in a mottled effect. The interior of the house is very attractive, having recently been freshly painted in the original pastel shades. The wainscoted walls with deep paneled cased windows are different in each room. The woodwork in each room is painted a different color. The parlor is rose, the front hall green, and one room yellow, on the first floor. One of the rooms on the second floor is green and the other cream. There is a beautiful hand carved mantel in each room. The wide six panel doors and large iron locks with small brass knobs are noticeable. Everything is in splendid condition.
The house at Pleasant Grove is a notable exception in Depression-era Buckingham County. “Splendid condition” was an expression rarely used in the WPA surveys. Clearly, Mrs. McCraw was delighted with the beautiful state of the house.
Coming next: Buckingham Notables: The Clay Family