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March 25, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Oakland

Oakland, WPA Survey. Courtesy Library of Virginia.

In 1937, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed the Holman dwelling house at “Oakland” for the Virginia Historical Inventory. She described its location as “.8 mile west of Andersonville, Va., on Route #640; thence north on Route #642 2.9 miles. East side of the highway.” She went on to note that Tandy Holman was the owner in 1832, followed by Mrs. Mary L. Jones (1877), and M. T. Jones (1899, present owner in 1937).

Mrs. McGraw’s description of the house emphasized features:

The yard of this home with its large oak trees, extends to the highway. The house with heart pine beaded weatherboarding which has never been painted, is built in three parts—one part a story, one part a story and a half, and the other part two stories high. It was all built about the same time. One part was built new, another part was moved about one-quarter of a mile just as it is, and added, and the other was originally Tandy Holman’s father’s house. It was torn down and rebuilt into this house. The heavy timbers with mortised ends, shop-made nails and wooden pegs are noticeable here. A one story porch leads into the front hall.

A winding, partly cased-in stairway leads from the hall to the second floor. Under this stairway another one-flight stairway leads to the basement. The basement is really a ground floor, but is walled up with brick and has a brick floor. These brick walls are whitewashed. A few of the original locks are still on some of the doors. On one of the basement doors is a large wooden lock. Several inside doors are fashioned with hand-made wooden buttons, and one is still fastened with the peg attached to a leather strap. One room has a wide wainscoting made of three very wide planks, all fitted together without a nail. The other rooms have a baseboard and chair-rail. There are nine rooms, each with a fireplace, there being three large brick chimneys to the house. The floors are on different levels, uneven, with one or two steps between each room.

Significantly, Elizabeth McCraw added the house had always remained in the family: “members of the third, fourth, and fifth generation from the original owner are living here at present.”

Now that’s Buckingham County continuity!


Leave a Comment
  1. Harry Stuart Holman / Mar 25 2019 12:20 pm

    Holman Addendum

    I failed to correct the error made above in the original WPA account of “Oakland.” The portion of the house which was thought to have been Tandy Holman’s father’s house is certainly not a part of this home because that house is still standing in its entirety on the original foundation. Tandy Holman’s father was William Holman of “Humanity Hall,” Buckingham County. He died in 1823, leaving the property to his children. They sold it to Col. Elijah Hanes in 1848. The children involved in the sale were Tandy Holman of “Oakland,” the heirs of Elizabeth Hales Holman Ford, William Holman, who was preparing to move to Cumberland County, and Mrs. Virginia (Col. Richard H.) Gilliam of Buckingham. I descend from both of William’s sons.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 25 2019 2:42 pm


      Thanks, too, for this correction. The WPA accounts are a treasure, despite their often undocumented details. Now, I wonder about the true origin of the section that Mrs. McCraw believed to be “Tandy Holman’s father’s house,”


  2. Harry Stuart Holman / Mar 25 2019 12:01 pm

    Dear Reader:

    This was a very unique-appearing home with its three different levels of roof. Two massive oaks stood in the front when I was a child. Grandmother’s sister, Mrs. H. C. Culbreth of Dillwyn, went with me to see this house on one occasion and recalled having to take two steps descending from the hall to the parlor. Dr. George Bagby of Buckingham County noted that it was a constant step up or down in these old Virgniia homes. The door at the end of the hall led to outside. With having taken three steps down, one stepped on to a porch which was flanked by the outside to the left and right but straight forward one went into another room. This was originally the sewing room–which was high up over another basement room. It was here that my Great-grandmother spent much of her day instructing the servants in sewing.

    It was at this old Virginia home that a weary General Lee went after the surrender. My family invited him to dinner, but he requested only a glass of cream. The importance of education was strongly emphasized. The older girls attended college and most of them taught school. This was the case of Great-grandmother’s two sisters who lived at “Oakland” after my great-grandmother moved to “Hooper’s Mt.” These two sisters were Martha E. Holman, who taught the servants, and Mary Lou Holman Jones Wood, widow of Capt. Wood, who taught public school. She died in the early twenties, and her son continued to live at “Oakland.” He was Tandy Jones–father of Mrs. Connie Morgan, my father’s second cousin whom I remember well. She was the mother of John Morgan, who recently died in Buckingham, and Mrs. Ernestine Holloman of Buckingham. Her daughter presently owns this property. She is the seventh generation owner from the original ancestor who owned this place. He was Moses Spencer–an old Revolutionary War vet, who died about 1829. He married Judith Ayres, eldest child of Col. Nathan and Mary Leake Ayres of Buckingham. Their youngest child, Judith Hales Spencer, married Tandy Holman in about 1834, and thus brought the Holmans into this picture.

    Harry Stuart Holman

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 25 2019 2:37 pm

      Dear Coz. Harry,

      Many, many thanks for this wonderful memory of your family’s home.


  3. Paula Meadows / Mar 25 2019 11:02 am

    Awsome. ..thanks. Paula Meadows

  4. Celie McGurk / Mar 25 2019 9:06 am

    I’m really enjoying your ” Ramblings”, thank you! This description of Oakland is so clear, you can just picture it.

    • Joanne Yeck / Mar 25 2019 10:58 am

      Thank you, Celie. Good to know you are enjoying the posts. Another Buckingham County house coming on Thursday.


  1. Buckingham County Houses: Oakland & The Holman Family | slate river ramblings . . . .

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