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August 31, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Frank N. Maxey’s Well Water: Part I

Well Water School. Courtesy Carole Jensen

Buckingham County historian Lulie Patteson was devoted to Well Water and its past. She taught at Well Water School and, several times, wrote about the village and its founder, Frank N. Maxey.

In 1932, The Farmville Herald printed her article, “When the War Was Over: Or, the Story of Old Well Water.” In the 1950s, the same newspaper published her story, “Ruins at Well Water Are Reminders of ‘Maxey Idea,’ Which Worked, in ‘65, as Marshall Plan Forerunner.” Ever eager to introduce Well Water to new readers, in 1957, Charlottesville’s Daily Progress printed Miss Patteson’s lengthy observations under the headline: “Buckingham County Humanitarian Contributed to Post Civil War Economic Rise.”

This version of Well Water’s history contains some of Patteson’s most evocative writing. Clearly, she felt deeply about the man and the place. Her article in The Daily Progress begins:

The recent discussion of eminent historians in the conference at Gettysburg as to the effect of the War Between the States on our national progress, both North and South, seems to have brought out a wide divergence of opinion. As, for instance, one authority thought the southern man a good fighter, but co-operated poorly as a soldier; while another challenged this statement with the assertion that Gettysburg had proven his soldiering ability, also.

However, relative to the failure of the South and its long-delayed return to prosperity, one observation was strikingly true: That the economic ravages of the war and the social upheaval cut far deeper in the South than in the North. Hence, the South had cause for remembering it longer and had a harder struggle to recover.

The story of Old Well Water in Buckingham County vividly pictures conditions throughout the southland at the close of the strife and the heroic efforts of its people to survive. It is a story of a plantation that grew up—contrary to the usual origins of plantations—AFTER the war and grew OUT of the needs of the war aftermath.

The gray, old farmhouse that still sets with a lonely, brooding air on the crest of the sloping fields of wooded hills of the remnant of that plantation seems dreaming of the days long gone when at the evening hour, workers from the fields, mill, foundry and shop, and the many other projects, gathered in either for the evening meal and night’s rest under the hospitable roof of the old “Manor House,” or to their own homes many of which were not far away.

To be continued…


Leave a Comment
  1. Judy Kiilehua / Sep 1 2017 3:17 pm

    Frank is a second cousin, 4 x removed, but I believe I’m probably related to a wife as well. Her name was Patti B. Ford (Faure’). Her parents were Walter and Sally Ford on death record, who I take to be Walter A. Ford and Sarah Price. This would mean she was about the same relation to my family, through the Fords, however, it’s a little murky, since the child of this couple, born about that time, was named Martha A., not Patti B??? Ha! I know there were nicknames, but? Anyhow, I’m looking forward to more on this, hopefully to help to sort it out. Thanks for this one!

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 2 2017 6:29 am

      Judy, Many thanks for your comment. It’s always good to hear from the Maxey clan! Much more to come about F. N. Maxey and our beloved Well Water. Joanne

  2. missbizzid / Aug 31 2017 10:11 pm

    Very interesting.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 1 2017 6:27 am

      Thanks. Lots more of Miss Lulie’s recollections of Frank N. Maxey and Well Water to come. Joanne


  1. Frank N. Maxey’s Well Water: Part IV | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2.  Frank N. Maxey’s Well Water: Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .
  3. Frank N. Maxey’s Well Water: Part II | slate river ramblings . . . .

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