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August 1, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Oakland & The Holman Family

Tandy Holman of Oakland. Courtesy Harry Stuart Holman.

A post earlier this year about the Buckingham County’s “Oakland” prompted these comments from Slate River Ramblings reader Harry Stuart Holman:

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. Author Dr. George Bagby of Buckingham County noted that it was a constant step up or down in these old Virginia 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 in the Holman family. 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.” 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, Tandy Jones, continued to live at “Oakland.”

Today, the seventh generation down from the original Holman owner still owns this place.

Harry also commented on an error 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.

Click here to learn more: Buckingham County Houses: Oakland

For much more about Humanity Hall, consult my essay, “Elijah G. Hanes and Humanity Hall Academy,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two.

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