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December 11, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

 Reconstruction in Buckingham County, Part X

Courtesy The Times and Library of Virginia

To catch up, follow this link: Reconstruction in Buckingham County, Part I

While little more is known about Solomon Brown, he and his wife, Harriet, had a son, Solomon Brown, Jr., born about 1868.  Shockingly, in 1898, he was murdered by Brown family neighbor and friend Allen Eppes.  Richmond’s The Times reported:


The Insane Slayer of Solomon Brown Placed in Jail.

Tries to Commit Suicide.

Buckingham C. H., VA., Dec. 22. — Special. — Allen Eppes, a well-to-do and respected colored man, on yesterday shot and killed Solomon Brown, also colored. For some time past Eppes has shown signs of insanity, and the killing of Brown is regarded as the act of a crazy man. It appears that Brown worked a part of Eppes’ farm, and the two were upon terms of intimate friendship. Yesterday Brown went to Eppes’ house and they had a talk in a perfectly friendly way. When Brown got up to leave and passed into the hall, Eppes grabbed a shot gun and fired both barrels at Brown, inflicting such injuries that he died in a short time.


Eppes was promptly arrested, and on his way to jail stated to Mr. Joe Cox, the special constable, that Brown was the best friend he had, and that the devil made him kill Brown. When Eppes arrived at jail and was given a cell he tried to kill himself with a stick of wood. The scene of the shooting was near Curdsville, twelve miles distant from here.

The general impression is that Eppes is crazy. Previous to this he has borne good character and has been very popular with the whites.

While the murder of Solomon Brown, Jr. tells us nothing about his father’s involvement in Buckingham County politics, intriguing questions remain. How was Allen Eppes connected to John W. Eppes, son of John Wayles Eppes (1773–1823) of Millbrook, Buckingham County and Eppes’ second wife, Martha Burke Jones, originally of Halifax County, North Carolina, and kin to Francis Eppes, grandson of President Thomas Jefferson?  Watch for much more about the Eppes family, coming to Slate River Ramblings in 2018.

Coming next: The sixth African American, “Cesar” Perkins, named by Lt. Col. Jordan proved to be a man “acceptable to both classes,” and left a sterling legacy in state-wide politics.


Leave a Comment
  1. Page Nichols / Dec 11 2017 12:13 pm

    Correction: John Wayles Eppes (called Wayles by the family) of Millbrook was my 3rd g grandfather. Francis Eppes was his son by his first wife, Maria Jefferson, therefore, not his half brother. I descend from his second wife, Martha Burke Jones, via their youngest daughter (Sarah Ann) who married, Edmund Wilcox Hubard. This makes Jefferson, my 3rd g step grandfather and my 3rd g uncle. John Wayles Eppes and Maria Jefferson were 1st cousins. Wayles father, Francis Eppes was married to Elizabeth Wayles, half sister to Martha Wayles Jefferson, TJ’s wife. I’m also related to TJ through the Moseley family (1st cousin several times removed). My grandfather, another Edmund Wilcox Hubard, was born at Saratoga in Buckingham.

    I’ve not heard this story about Allen Eppes, but will check some of the slaves lists at Millbrook to see if he is listed. It more likely that he was given the Eppes last name. I know that we match DNA with the Hemmings family, (on two different markers) but to date – there have been no matches to any multi-racial Eppes.

    I enjoy your blog and your wonderful work in your books.


    Page Nichols

    • Joanne Yeck / Dec 11 2017 12:51 pm

      Page, Many thanks for your kind words, for the correction, and for the additional information. If you find Allen Eppes any of the slave lists or have anything more to share about Millbrook (especially DNA results), please write to me at Thanks! Joanne

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