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April 2, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County: The Coming of the Canal

Courtesy Harpers Weekly.

While many persons on the north bank of the James River celebrated the extension of the James River and Kanawha Canal to Scottsville, Albemarle County, Virginia, citizens of Buckingham County may have had their reservations about this improvement. In 1841, the following letter was sent to Richmond’s Whig and to the Enquirer signed by six of Buckingham’s leading citizens, expressing their opinion about the coming of the canal:

Having been informed that the efforts now making [before] the General Assembly of the State, by the Stockholders of the James River & Kanawha Company, to procure such a modification of their Charter, as to substitute Bridges for the accommodation of the trade on the South side of the James River, in the place of water communication with the Canal by Locks and Dams; and that in order more readily to be relieved from the obligations which we believe said Company have come under to the South side, public papers have been industriously circulated [in] this county by persons personally interested, or mistaken in [their] views, under such circumstances as are calculated to mislead the General Assembly as to what is the Southside interest; and knowing that if this object is accomplished, its effect will be most disastrous to us as individuals and the county at large, we would respectfully request the people of the County of Buckingham who feel an interest in this subject, to meet us at our next Court, to [—] with us in considering and taking such action as in [our] opinion may be best calculated to preserve our rights and benefit the county.

We would also, respectfully request that the legislature (and if it would have more effect, we would implore the body,) not to act hastily upon the subject. We can [—] better, we believe, with the present arrangement and the use of Small Boats, than to adopt Bridges. Let the people have time for reflection, that they may act understandingly upon the subject, and place their views before their representatives.

R. Eldridge, Reuben B, Patteson, Benj. C. Walker, Wm. Patterson, J. T. Bocock, Wm. Leitch.

Learn much more about the canal’s impact on Scottsville in my new book:

Peter Field Jefferson, Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons



Leave a Comment
  1. Ilene McFadden Penland / Apr 2 2018 2:34 pm

    My 2x Great-Grandfather Edward McFadden was a lock keeper for the canal at New Canton in the 1840’s. I would be interested in learning more about the canal.

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 2 2018 3:26 pm

      Ilene, Thanks for your comment. Did Edward McFadden live in Fluvanna? If you aren’t already familiar with the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society, here is a link to their website: Joanne

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