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August 7, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Fallsburg Mills: Part V

When Miss Lulie Patteson wrote her article about Fallsburg Mills for the Daily Progress, she did not name any individuals or families living there. Who made up this combination of industrious manufacturers and store keepers who, rumor had it, encouraged degeneracy? [See Fallsburg Mills: Part III & Part IV]

We do know that . . .  in 1831, Col. Thomas M. Bondurant purchased the mills from trustees for a man named George Woodson and, three years later, Bondurant purchased the tan yard (mentioned by Miss Patteson) from Thomas Miller. Beginning in 1846, Bondurant offered the property for sale, however, in 1859, William Lewis and Thomas M. Bondurant still owned the mills when they approached the Virginia General Assembly for rights to build a dam across the northern arm of the James River at Goolsby’s Falls.

Following the Civil War, on January 29, 1874, Richmond’s Daily Dispatch made a brief mention of iron deposits on the land of a man named William A. Wilkerson, who lived at Fallsburg Mills, near Warren. It is currently unknown if any mining was done at the spot.

Indeed, the 1870 census identifies William A. Wilkerson, age 45, as a miller and farmer, whose real estate was valued at $10,000.  A handsome sum to survive the war years.

Living near him were several individuals who likely conducted business at Fallsburg Mills.

Davis Chusman [?], age 55, huckster

George W. Patteson, age 27, merchant

Adam Kent, age 56, blacksmith

Joseph Scruggs, age 39, merchant

Tarleton Kidd, age 50, ferryman

Of course, 1870 was long before Lulie Patteson’s day.  Was her interest concerning Fallsburg Mills piqued because a kinsman had lived there long ago? Did the Patteson family continue to have an involvement in or around the village? Most importantly, were George W. Patteson and Joseph Scruggs the competing merchants of Lulie Patteson’s recollections?

If any Slate River Ramblings readers know of individuals who might have worked at Fallsburg Mills or owned the notorious grocery stores, please comment below.

For much more about Lulie Patteson’s love of local history see: “Miss Lulie Patteson: Early Buckingham Historian,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham.”

Many thanks to Phil James for unearthing Lulie Patteson’s memories of Fallsburg Mills. Her article added greatly to our knowledge of this once thriving industrial complex.

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