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July 18, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

 Virginia Mills: A Brief History


Virginia Mills For Sale, 1847. Richmond Enquirer. Courtesy Virginia Chronicle. 

In 1828, a law suit brought by Asbury Crenshaw and Thomas B. Crenshaw against The Slate River Company was heard in the Court of Appeals of Virginia. The record includes a series of Virginia Mill owners, beginning with patentee James Skelton and ending with the plaintiffs, Asbury and Thomas B. Crenshaw.  An abstract of the appeal reads in part:

They trace back their title to the said land and bed of the river, to a patent issued on 10th January, 1726, granting 1600 acres of land to James Skelton, including the land on which the mill and the dam are situated, and the bed of the river. In October, 1727, Skelton sold and conveyed the said land to George Nicholas, and from him it passed to his son John Nicholas, who obtained from the County Court of Buckingham, on the 18th of May, 1765, an order authorizing him to build and erect a dam across the said river on the said land; and in pursuance thereof, the said John Nicholas did build a mill and erect a dam on the site now occupied by the dam of the Plaintiffs. John Nicholas, in 1795, devised the land on which the mill and dam were erected, to his son Robert Nicholas, who in 1802, petitioned the County Court for leave to erect a water gristmill on his own land on Slate River, where John Nicholas formally had a mill.… On 21 September, 1802, he sold and conveyed to Charles A. Scott, who proceeded to erect the mill and dam at the site aforesaid at very great expense. Scott sold and conveyed 1807, to John Cunningham, from whom it was passed to his daughter Leticia Taylor, who, with her husband Archibald Taylor, conveyed on the 28th July, 1842 to the Plaintiffs.


For much more about this very valuable mill site, enter Virginia Mills into the search box at the right and enjoy the results.

Many thanks to Greg Gilliam for these valuable details of Buckingham County history.


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Aug 11 2022 6:02 am

    Liz, I don’t know any more about John Cunningham. Perhaps another Slate River Ramblings reader will see this and comment. Joanne

  2. Liz D. / Aug 10 2022 6:06 pm

    John Cunningham is an ancestor of mine and it’s very difficult to find anything on him, so I appreciate this bit of information.

  3. Joanne Yeck / Jul 23 2019 9:24 am

    Randy, Many thanks for adding this to the history of Virginia Mills. Be sure to let us know when and where your forthcoming book will be available. Joanne

  4. Randy C / Jul 23 2019 9:22 am

    P.S. This is one of 11 articles in the book regarding Virginia Mills.

  5. Randy C / Jul 23 2019 9:21 am

    Found this article in my new book, “The Freshest Advices, Buckingham County, Virginia Genealogical Records from Newspapers, 1736-1850,” which I am still working on. It’s getting closer to being finished, maybe another month. The Virginia Mills were burned in 1837, this was reported in the Lynchburg Virginian.

    Lynchburg Virginian, Thursday, August 10, 1837, vol. 16, No. 2, p. 2, btm, col. 3.
    RICHMOND, Aug. 5.
    We understand the Virginia Mills in Buckingham, the property of Mr. E. W. Simms, were burnt on Tuesday night last. The loss is estimated at about $13,000 – of which, about $9,000 were insured.
    The loss is greatly to be regretted, not only for the detriment, to the worthy and enterprising proprietor, but for the inconvenience it will occasion to the surrounding country. The Mill was one of long standing, and one of the best in the upper country.

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