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May 11, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part I

Thomas Jefferson.

In 1937, Rosa G. Williams surveyed yet another Buckingham County house named Travelers Rest. In the Virginia Historical Inventory it is identified as “Travelers Rest No. 2.” This house, belonging to the Johnson family, was located “2.9 miles southeast of New Canton, on Route #670, thence west .2 mile on private road.”

Mrs. Williams identified the first owner as Robert Hill (1798), who was followed by several generations of the Johnson family including J. R. Johnson (about 1860), Nannine (1896), and Nannine Johnson’s heirs, who were the present owners in 1937.

Mrs. Williams’ informants included: Goode Johnson, heir of Nannie Johnson; Peyton Moss, a descendant of Robert Hill; and Rev. Plummer Jones, an old resident.  She also consulted the old records of Mr. W. H. Bumpus, deceased, who was a grandson of Robert Hill.

The survey claims that many distinguished men were often guests at this Travelers Rest, including Thomas Jefferson, John Marshall, and Henry Clay.

Was this house a public inn? If so, who was the innkeeper a member of the Hill family or of the Johnson family?

Thomas Jefferson listed dozens and dozens of taverns, hotels, and ordinaries in his memorandum books. A Travelers Rest in Buckingham County is not mentioned.

In the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century did the property perhaps go by another name?

Can a Slate River Ramblings reader help solve this mystery? Please comment below.

Coming next, Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part II

3 Comments

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  1. Randy F. McNew Crouse / May 14 2020 10:05 am

    According to the Tax Lists, as transcribed in “Personal Property Tax Lists of Buckingham County, Virginia, vol. 2, 1792-1802,” Randy F. McNew Crouse, 2017, pp. 27, 69, 91, 114, 137, 169, etc.
    Robert Hill first appears in 1793 with 1 white tithable (Jno Anderson), 2 slaves (ages 12-16) and 1horse. He appears annually through 1802, the last year transcribed in Vol. 2. Beginning in 1799 and continuing through 1802, he pays for and Ordinary License Fee, and pays business taxes for a property in New Canton, in addition to his normal tithes. During this period he pays taxes on 8-12 slaves and 8-11 horses. There are also two, or three, white male tithables during these years, who are likely hired staff or overseers for his business. Samuel Wood and D. Moss are sometimes the names tithables.
    In 1802 he pays carriage tax upon a coachee. He also, in 1802, is listed as a partner on the New Canton operation as Hill & Rea. No one by the name of surname Rea appears in the Tax List in 1802, so I surmise this individual is an investor, probably from Lynchburg or Richmond.
    These records indicate the Robert Hill operated a place of business with retail sales, food, drink, and lodging beginning in 1799 and possibly in the latter part of 1798 and continued to do so at least until 1802 and probably beyond. ( vol 3 is in preparation).
    When I transcribed these tax lists, I chose to include every bit of information in them. Unlike most transcribed and published tax lists, the two volumes I’ve published, which are available at http://www.lulu.com/author/rfloydc , contain the endpaper information and summaries which is where ordinary license fees and taxes paid on town lots are found. It is very satisfying for me to see that this decision allowed me to very quickly and easily answer this question.

    • Joanne Yeck / May 14 2020 12:02 pm

      Thanks, Randy. There may be more about Robert Hill in the future!

      Joanne

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