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January 8, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Mt. Rush, Part One

Sketch by Margaret Pennington. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In 1938, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed “Mt. Rush Homestead” for the Virginia Historical Inventory. Located 3.6 miles west of Buckingham Court House, she dated the house’s construction in 1804, taking the ownership back to John Morris and noting that the estate was contested in court for many years in a suit “Vawter vs Morris.” She described the impressive and well-maintained house and grounds as follows:

The approach to this “large white house” is very pleasing. A driveway from Route #60 leads across the yard and makes a semi-circle in front of the house. The yard is rolling and contains shade trees and much shrubbery. A double porch with four columns and railing is noticeable even from the highway. Through plain double doors, one enters a large reception hall. From this hall a two flight stairway leads to the second floor. There are three large rooms back of this hall, and one large room on each side of the said hall. The mantles in the house are very high, narrow and plain, except for the “Wall of Troy” design just below the shelf part. Around the fireplace the mantle is curved or has the half moon effect, not square as is often found.

Wainscoting made of two very wide planks are put together so well as to give the appearance of one solid board, is down stairs, while the chair rail is in the rooms on the second floor. The door frames are made in one piece, but beveled down to three thicknesses. The rooms on the first floor are high-pitched while those upstairs are rather low. Some of the original plastering is still on the walls, but to a great extent the walls have been replastered. There are ten rooms in the house.

Coming next: Buckingham Houses: Mt. Rush, Part Two


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  1. Joanne Yeck / Jan 8 2018 10:24 am

    Steve, Thanks for sharing all these details. You anticipated this coming Thursday’s post (1/11/2018) which attempts to correct Elizabeth McCraw’s inventory while appreciating the work she accomplished, lacking courthouse records. In that post, I mention your book and where to find it. Thanks, again, for all of your hard work to improve Buckingham County history. Joanne

  2. Steve Craig / Jan 8 2018 9:52 am

    While I have the greatest respect for Elizabeth McCraw’s significant work; in the case of the history of Mt. Rush she appears to have gotten it wrong. I am descendant of this John Morris whose wife was Nancy Holland. In 1804, John Morris was living on the Willis River on a 300 acre tract called Green Springs given to him by his father Nathaniel Morris. This tract and a subsequent 360 acre tract John purchased from Anthony Walton in 1812 would eventually be purchased by John’s brother Samuel Morris and become the famous Buckingham Springs resort. In 1819 John Morris purchased 284 acres on the Appomattox River from Joseph Fuqua. He owned other tracts in both Buckingham and Prince Edward that when combined with this tract became known as Cutbanks Plantation where John lived from about 1819 until the 1830s. Also in 1819, John acquired the 496 acre tract and house that became known as Mt. Rush from his brother-in-law Richard Holland, Jr. who had inherited the property from his elder bachelor half brother Dr. James Walker who resided there for many years. John Morris appears to have moved to the Walker property during the 1830s. The name Mt. Rush first appears in an 1846 Buckingham County land tax list. I cover this history and much else about the this Morris family in my book Along the Willis River: Descendants of Nathaniel & Nancy (Jeffries) Morris. Donated copies are available through Historic Buckingham.

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