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September 27, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part I

Huntington Library. San Marino, California.

Recently, Roger G. Ward (who has published several indispensable reference books about Buckingham County), contacted me about the Buckingham County Virginia Loose Papers housed at the beautiful Huntington Library in San Marino, California.  While the Huntington is a long way from Central Virginia, the collection can be viewed at on a dedicated PC at LDS Family History Centers.

Roger Ward has abstracted images #43-#67, which preserve a sampling of Buckingham County’s surviving “Poorhouse Accounts.” This series of blog posts contains only a fraction of that information. The last post will include a link to a PDF of his complete document.


Image #43 is dated June 15, 1820, when Buckingham County was just completing construction of a new poorhouse, located about three miles east of Maysville (Buckingham Court House), near Troublesome Creek, not far from today’s intersection of Highways 20 and 15. Heading the project was my ancestor George Chambers.

This document names the Overseers present that day: John M. Walker, Augustus Watkins, Powhatan Jones, Garland Brown, William Stegar, Josiah Davidson, Wm H. Puryear, Jeremiah Whitworth, Oglesby Scruggs, James Tapscott, and Jonathan P. Hardwick.  Walker was appointed “president pro tem.”

At the meeting, various citizens were reimbursed for services or items furnished Buckingham County’s needy:

Nathan Ayers moved Samuel A. Childs and family to the poorhouse.

Messrs. Garland and Freeland were reimbursed for supporting Betsey Long.

Overseer Wm H. Puryear was paid for provisions for Samuel A. Childs.

Mary Poor was paid for her services.

During the coming year, Martha Sprouse was to be paid $4 per month for “waiting on” her husband. Perhaps, Mr. Sprouse was destitute or infirm and Martha was able-bodied, directly receiving the charity.

In some instances, poor or disabled individuals were taken into a home rather than sent to the poorhouse. In these cases, the family fostering the indigent was reimbursed.

To learn more about the history of Buckingham County’s poorhouses, see my essay: “Stewards of the Poor: Buckingham County’s Poorhouses” in “At a Place Called Buckingham” Volume Two.

Coming next: Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part II


Leave a Comment
  1. Harry Stuart Holman / Oct 1 2018 11:50 am

    Dear Reader,

    The name of Nathan Ayres mentioned above was Col. Nathan Ayres (ca. 1745-1822). He lived about two miles north-east of Buckingham C. H. on Slate River. He served as Overseer of the Poor in the 1790’s and possibly later years as well. His father-in-law was Capt. John Leake of Leakesville, N.C., whose brother was the ancestor of Sen. John McCain of Arizona. Ayres was the ancestor of both of my grandparents and is also the ancestor of the families of Elijah and Robert Hanes of Buckingham County.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 2 2018 5:33 am

      Dear Harry,

      Thanks, as always, for expanding on this post. Keep those comments coming.


  2. Gregg Kimball / Sep 27 2018 9:22 am

    The Library of Virginia microfilmed the Virginia material in the Robert Alonzo Brock Collection at the Huntington a number of years ago. The Buckingham County Circuit Court Records, 1805-1869, are on miscellaneous reels 4615 and 4616 in our reading room. I’m not sure if this is available via ILL, but I can check.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 27 2018 9:47 am

      Gregg, Thanks for your comment. I have used reels from the Brock Collection via interlibrary loan. So, at least the ones I wanted to view were available. Joanne


  1. Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part V | slate river ramblings . . . .
  2. Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part VI | slate river ramblings . . . .
  3. Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part IV | slate river ramblings . . . .
  4. Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .
  5. Buckingham County’s Poor, 1805-1820: Part II | slate river ramblings . . . .

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