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November 19, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County’s Norvell House Revisited, Part VI

Emma (Blackwell) and Hay Norvell. Courtesy Carole Jensen.

Need to catch up, click here: Buckingham County’s Norvell House Revisited, Part I

 

Slate River Ramblings follower Carole Jensen sent the following information regarding the next and last generation of Norvells to live in the house, Hay and Emma (Blackwell) Norvell:

This photo, dated April 1952, is of Hay Norvell (1880-1952) and his wife, born Emma Blackwell (1910-1997), standing in front of the “Norvell” home. Hay inherited the house and farm in 1911, after the death of his mother, Mary Evelina Miller Norvell. Hay and Emma were married in 1935. She was much-loved among the Norvell and Baber families. Hay Norvell died about three months after this photo was taken. Widow Emma moved to Richmond and later married Allen Hall Rice.

As an adult, Hay Norvell eschewed full-time farming, employed as a lumberman at a sawmill and as a carpenter. On the 1940 census, possibly retired from woodworking, Hay Norvell’s occupation was listed as farmer.

Hay was one of two children in the Norvell family who experienced a name change, presenting a genealogical challenge.  Carol Jensen shared these details, “Hay’s mother, Mary, changed the names of two of her children. On the 1880 census, Hay first appears as Robert H. Norvell.  Thereafter, he was Hay Booth Norvell.  Bernard Miller Norvell (1892-1981) first appeared on a census as Vincent B. Norvell.”

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Since 1963, this Novell property has belonged to the Pruden family. Mrs. Pruden named it Breezy Hill Farm. Their original purchase included 107 acres and the house.

 

Outbuildings at Breezy Hill Farm. Courtesy Joe Pruden.

This photo, taken about 1965, shows the barn and the corn crib, complete with a classic Buckingham County slate roof. Mr. and Mrs. Pruden are standing on the right and in the center. A friend of Mrs. Pruden is pictured on the left. Years of snow accumulation eventually led to the collapse of both the barn and the corn crib. The remains of the barn was burned about 1999.

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Many thanks go to Jeremy Winfrey, Carole Jensen, and Joe Pruden for continuing to investigate and preserve the history of the Norvell house and for sharing their collective knowledge about the Sharps Creek neighborhood to create these posts.

Coming Next: Buckingham County: Norvell Family Cemetery

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