When Elizabeth McCraw surveyed Mt. Rush for the Virginia Historical Inventory in 1938, she included a lengthy statement under “Historical Significance,” writing:
This house, “Mt. Rush”, was built in 1804 and was remodeled in 1904. The architectural lines of the front of the house were changed somewhat, when the wings were raised a half story, thus making the entire house two stories. The double front porch is the original and a great deal of the original beaded weatherboarding was saved and is in perfect condition. The original stairways, one in each wing, (the wings were not communicative) were taken down and made into one stairway in the front hall.
The original owner and builder, a Mr. John Morris, name the place “Mt. Rush,” Rush for a very close friend by that name, and Mt. because of the elevation or hill on which the house was built.
After the death or removal of the Morris family, “Mt. Rush” was a bone of contention for years, in a suit, “Vawter vs Morris.” The house was occupied by negroes for years and was abused and neglected in repair. In 1899, A. S. Hall was appointed Special Commissioner to settle up the estate and in 1902 the place was sold at public auction to R. S. Ellis, the highest bidder, for sixteen hundred and seventy dollars. The land was sold in gross and not by the acre, though the track was supposed to contain about 500 acres.
R. S. Ellis restored the house where it could be restored and remodeled for convenience at the same time. The house is now beautifully kept and is an outstanding home in Buckingham.
Of course, due to the burning of Buckingham County’s courthouse records, Elizabeth McCraw had to reconstruct the history of Mt. Rush without benefit of a complete deed history. Today, it is believed that Dr. James Walker built the house, which was bequeathed to his half-brother, Richard “Dick” Holland, Jr., before it was purchased by John Morris.
History is always a work in progress and, though there were errors (and perhaps hearsay) in Mrs. McCraw’s survey, it was a valuable step on the way to preserving what was known about Mt. Rush in the 1930s.
For much more about Mt. Rush and its families, consult Along the Willis River: Descendants of Nathaniel & Nancy (Jeffries) Morris by Steven Craig. It is available at Historic Buckingham.