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April 25, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: Interview with the Author

Interested in learning more about my new book?

Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons


Pick up a copy of this month’s Scottsville Monthly!

Don’t live near Scottsville?

Download a PDF at Fluvanna Review:

Already wondering, what’s coming next?

My interview reveals the subject of my next book. . . .



April 23, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Jefferson Tidbits: Anna Scott Jefferson

Rev. Martin Dawson, Minister’s Return, Albemarle County, Virginia, 1803.

Anne (Lewis) and Randolph Jefferson had only one daughter, named after his twin sister: Anna Scott Jefferson. The family called her Nancy.

Nothing is known about her youth until she was about to marry her double first cousin, Charles Lewis, Jr. The family culture encouraged close cousin marriage and their engagement may have been long assumed. Sometime before late 1802, the engagement was broken and Nancy married a man old enough to be her father, Zachariah Nevil of Nelson County, Virginia.

They spent the early years of their marriage at her home, Snowden in Buckingham County. Her first two children, James Lilburne and Louisa Nevil, were probably born there.

When Randolph Jefferson married for a second time in about 1810, a business called “Nevil and Jefferson,” which had been operating at Snowden, dissolved and the Nevils moved to Zachariah’s homeplace in Nelson County.

Read about Anna Scott Jefferson’s broken engagement in my newest book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Coming next: The Nevils at Bonaire

April 19, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Peter V. Foland, Part V

Pension Index Card. Courtesy Library of Virginia.

Need to catch up? Click here: Peter V. Foland: Part I

For many Confederate veterans, physical, psychological, and emotional wounds persisted long beyond the war. On March 19, 1883, Peter V. Foland applied for a pension as an invalid.

Despite any suffering from long-term wounds, Foland led a long and productive life in Scottsville, Virginia. There he owned and operated the ferry, which ran across the James River to Buckingham County on the south side; enjoyed a pleasant home at Mount Walla, which had once been his grandfather’s domicile; and served the community as postmaster, on the City Council, and, eventually, as Mayor.

He died on July 27, 1915 of uremic poisoning, a complication of chronic nephritis. He was seventy years old. Interestingly, his great-grandfather, Randolph Jefferson, had suffered from kidney stones, though the cause of his death is unknown. Two of his cousins, brothers Elbridge G. Jefferson, Jr. and Linnaeus Bolling Jefferson, both died of nephritis.

On August 12, 1915, Peter Foland’s widow Bettie, born Elizabeth Clarke Straton, applied for a widow’s pension. She lived with her daughters at Mount Walla until her death in 1921.

For more information, visit the Library of Virginia: About the Confederate Pension Rolls, Veterans and Widows Database

Read more about the Foland family at Mount Walla in my newest book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

April 16, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Peter V. Foland, Part IV

Camp Chase. Columbus OH.

Need to catch up? Click here: Peter V. Foland: Part I

Writing history often feels like solving a giant jigsaw puzzle, one in which many pieces are missing and other pieces compete for a single spot with conflicting information. Such is the case with the war record for Peter V. Foland.

Despite a charge of desertion (see Part III) at the new year, Foland was clearly with his Regiment in Knoxville. There, on February 5, 1864, he was captured by the Union Army. That same day he was released and returned to his company, possibly exchanged for a Union prisoner.

During March–June 1864, he was once again present on his company’s muster roll. Then, on November 14, 1864, he was captured again at Morristown (or possibly Mossy Creek, located southwest of Morristown), Tennessee. This time he was taken to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio. According to one record he was held there until March 12, 1865 and was among a detachment of paroled prisoners on March 14, 1865.

Contradicting this information, a “Memorandum from prisoner of war records,” states that Foland was transferred to and confined in Danville, Virginia (13 February 1865), paroled at James River, Virginia (22 February 1865), reported at Camp Parole, Maryland (no date). He was furloughed on March 5, 1865 for thirty days.

Today, the historic marker at Camp Parole reads: “Located in this vicinity, one of three camps established during the Civil War to accept paroled Union prisoners of war for Confederate prisoners similarly confined in the south. Over the course of the war, thousands of soldiers were held here until they were returned to their regiments or sent home. Many who did not survive are buried in Annapolis National Cemetery.”

Foland’s final release from duty came on May 18, 1865. He was promoted to Corporal and given two months pay in US currency. He was also entitled to pay for thirty days “rations on furlough.”

Assuming that Peter Foland was sent to Camp Parole, Maryland, where did he go when he was released? Had he already been contacted by his grandfather’s executors in Scottsville, Virginia, informing him of his inheritance? Did he return to Tennessee or did he head straight for Scottsville?

Learn more about Peter Foland’s contributions to life in Scottsville in my newest book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Coming next: Peter V. Foland, Part V

April 13, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Happy Birthday Thomas Jefferson

Spring is here! Time to wish Thomas Jefferson a Happy Birthday!

Born on April 13, 1743, at Shadwell in Albemarle, Virginia, Jefferson’s contributions to American politics and culture continue to stimulate all manner of conversation and study.

At Monticello, interpretation of his life at home is continually expanding. Visit Monticello online and take a virtual tour of Jefferson’s mountaintop home.

Click here: Virtual Tour.

While studying the life of his younger brother, Randolph, I was delighted to learn more about the private Thomas Jefferson—the surrogate father, the big brother, the uncle. In the end, Thomas was such an important part of Randolph Jefferson’s story that he shaped the title of my book: The Jefferson Brothers.

You can purchase a copy at Monticello’s shop online and support the good work being done by the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

Click here for more information: The Jefferson Brothers.



April 12, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Peter V. Foland, Part III

Need to catch up? Click here: Peter V. Foland: Part I

From the fall of 1862 until the fall of 1863, Peter Foland apparently took a break from defending the Confederacy.  In January of 1863, he turned eighteen and was soon subject to the Conscript Act, passed on March 3, 1863.

So, on September 15, 1863, at a place called Panther Springs, Tennessee, northwest of Morristown, Peter reenlisted for a term of three years. He now was described as 5’6”, indicating that his long-awaited growth spurt was behind him. This time his eyes were described as blue. Contrary to his previous discharge papers and his obituary published in 1915, this enlistment record stated that he was born in Scott County, Virginia. Again, his occupation was given as farmer.

He joined Company F of the 9th Regiment of the Tennessee Cavalry and, a month later, appeared on the October 15, 1863 muster at Knoxville. By November, something was amiss. On November 15, the record shows that Peter Foland had deserted his company, which remained in Knoxville. No other details were given. Apparently, either this was erroneous or something unstated in the record had affected Peter’s presence in his company.  Over twenty years later, on July 8, 1885, this charge was removed from his war record, documented in a notation from the War Department: “The charge of desertion of November 5 (or 15) 1863 against this man is removed.” Again, no further details were given.

Did a mature Peter Foland apply to have his record cleared? Was the charge of desertion standing in the way of a potential pension? If a Slate River Ramblings reader knows more about actions like this one, please comment.

Learn more about Peter V. Foland’s postwar life in Scottsville in my new book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Coming next: Peter V. Foland, IV

April 11, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

More Book News

Attention kith, kin, and friends in Richmond, VA!

The Library of Virginia’s The Virginia Shop now has copies of Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons, signed by the author.

Stop in at the Library for a little Buckingham County research or shop online at the THE VIRGINIA SHOP.

Currently, copies are also for sale at the venues listed below.

Nancy’s Gifts, 13126 W James Anderson, Buckingham, VA. Phone: (434) 969-2162.

Scottsville Museum, 290 Main Street, Scottsville, VA. Phone: (434) 286-2247.

Online: Braughler Books Store



April 9, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Peter V. Foland, Part II


Need to catch up? Click here: Peter V. Foland: Part I.

Thanks to Civil War records maintained by the National Archives, we have a glimpse into Peter V. Foland’s war experience, his loyalty to the Confederacy, and his deep Virginia roots.

On October 19, 1861, Peter claimed he was seventeen years old when he enlisted for twelve months of service in Company G of the 43rd Tennessee Volunteers. In fact, it is likely he was only sixteen. His death record gives his birth date as January 22, 1845.

Described as having gray eyes and light hair, with a fair complexion, at 5’3” he was a small young man, likely still anticipating a growth spurt. His discharge papers from this company state that he was born in Richmond County, Virginia. A fact that will be later contradicted.

He signed up at Mossy Creek, Tennessee, located in Jefferson County, where he lived with his father, Valentine Foland, a skilled cabinetmaker. Peter’s occupation, however, was recorded as farmer. He was enlisted by James W. Gillespie.

These volunteers would subsequently become Company G, 23rd Regiment Tennessee Mounted Infantry. To confuse matters further, they were also known as the 5th Regiment East Tennessee Volunteers and Gillespie’s Regiment Tennessee Volunteers. Later, in about December of 1863 when a consolidation of troops took place, the Regiment served as mounted infantry until they were paroled in Washington, Georgia in May of 1865. Peter Foland, however, would not be with them at the end of the war.

Significantly, in January of 1862, Peter was appointed fifer for the company. His great-grandfather, Randolph Jefferson, played the violin as did his great, great uncle, Thomas Jefferson. Perhaps, Peter’s musical talents came down through the Jefferson line.

His discharge papers, dated November 17, 1862, indicated that he owed no funds to the Confederate States and that he had served his full year. Peter headed home with $6.80 in back pay.

Learn more about Peter V. Foland’s parents in my new book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Coming next: Peter V. Foland, Part III

April 5, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Peter V. Foland: Part I

Mount Walla c. 2000. Home of Peter V. Foland and family.

Courtesy Virginia Department of Historic Resources

When researching a life story as complex as Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville, there is inevitably material, often fascinating, that does not end up in the final draft. This was the case of the life story of Jefferson’s grandson, Peter Valentine Foland, who upon his grandfather’s death inherited a significant fortune and eventually became Mayor of Scottsville, Virginia.

It is highly probable that the two men never met, however, Jefferson was determined to provide for his deceased daughter’s only child and did so in his last will written in 1854. At that time Peter was not yet ten years old. He would not come into his inheritance until he was twenty-one.

Peter Foland was born away from Scottsville and grew to manhood in Jefferson County, Tennessee. It is not known precisely when his mother, born Frances Ann Jefferson, died, though Peter was likely quite young. In 1860, he was living with his father, Valentine Foland; his stepmother; and three half-brothers. Sixteen years old, he was bound to serve in the coming Civil War. His father was a Virginia-born cabinetmaker, who had likely never been a slaveholder. Whether or not Valentine Foland sided with the Union or the Confederacy is unknown.

When Peter Field Jefferson died in 1861, his executors in Scottsville, Virginia were obligated to locate Peter Foland and inform him of his inheritance. How and when they finally found him remains a mystery.  It seems likely that was either prior to 1863 or after the end of the war. By 1866, Peter had turned twenty-one, claimed his inheritance, was residing in Scottsville, and had married a local girl.

Learn more about Peter Foland’s inheritance in my newest book: Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville & Lost Jeffersons.

Coming next: Peter V. Foland, Part II

April 4, 2018 / Joanne Yeck

Scottsville Tribute

Joanne Yeck and Raymon Thacker, 2010.  Photo by Connie Geary.

Those of you who had the opportunity to meet Raymon Thacker know what a treasure he was.

The photograph above documents a splendid conversation we had in July of 2010, while I was in residence for my Jefferson Fellowship.  Raymon shared numerous Scottsville stories and photos with me, several of which are included in my newest book, Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons.

On Sunday, April 8, at 2 PM, Scottsville Museum will open for the 2018 season with a tribute to Raymon Thacker’s long and illustrious life.  The ceremony at the Museum will be followed by the ribbon-cutting for the newly reconstructed canal packet boat at Canal Basin Square.  This event will be followed by live music.

For full details, click here: “Honoring Raymon Thacker at Spring Opening, 8 April 2018.”

Beginning April 8, Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons will be for sale at Scottsville Museum.