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April 17, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Josephine Lomax

The Lomax Family, Courtesy Renée Ingram and Charles W. White Sr.

In the autumn of 1904, Buckingham County correspondent “Quoit” sent the following news to the Appomattox and Buckingham Times:

Published October 19th:

I have heretofore omitted, unintentionally, to mention the severe illness of Josephine Lomax, the teacher for many years of, the colored school at this place [Buckingham Court House]. She is extremely ill, and has the sympathy of the entire community.  She is a colored woman who has the respect of the community. Her life is almost despaired of.


Published October 26th:

We record with sincere sadness the death of the colored woman, Mrs. Josephine Lomax, of whom I wrote in the last issue of your paper. Yielding to the irrepressible attack of that terrible enemy of human life, consumption, she departed this life on Wednesday, October 19, and was buried on Friday, October 21, by the side of her mother, well known in this community, as “Aunt Lizzie Jones.” Quite a large crowd attended her burial. Having been a public school teacher in this county for a number of years, she was well known, and she was well thought of, both as a teacher and as a woman of exceptionally good reputation. She leaves a husband and twelve children.

Click here for the obituary for Josephine’s husband, Edmund S. Lomax.

Click for more about “Colored Schools” in Buckingham County.


April 13, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Happy Birthday, T. J.

Happy Birthday, Thomas Jefferson.

Born 13 April 1743. Shadwell, Albemarle, Virginia.

When I began work on a book about Randolph Jefferson and his Buckingham County plantation, Snowden, it was inevitable that Thomas Jefferson would play a big role in the story.  And, he did!

The Jefferson Brothers provides an unusual, in depth, look at President Jefferson as a big brother, enough older than his only brother to assume (in a limited way) the role of surrogate father.

What to learn more about Thomas Jefferson, family man? Visit the Thomas Jefferson Encyclopedia.  There you will find seventy-eight results for “Personal Life.”

The Jefferson Brothers is available online at Braughler Books.


April 13, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Wedding at Mount Pleasant

Rev. William H. Taylor. Courtesy George Cauble.

Sometimes, lost marriage records for Buckingham County can be found in the Richmond newspapers.  This one, published in the Richmond Enquirer on April 15, 1845, took place at Mount Pleasant, shortly following the death of Mrs. Judith Patteson but prior to the death of Major David Patteson.

On Thursday, April 3d, at Mount Pleasant, the residence of Mr. Henry Miles, by Rev. William Taylor, Mr. Felix Gibson, to Miss Mary F., second daughter of Mr. Henry Miles, all of Buckingham County.

Click here for much more about Rev. William H. Taylor.


April 10, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Mrs. David Patteson

Mount Pleasant. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.


Mrs. David Patteson of Mount Pleasant, Buckingham County, proceeded her husband, dying in late 1844. An unusually lengthy obituary, particularly for a woman, ran in the December 17, 1844 issue of Richmond’s Whig & Public Advertiser.

Another has gone to her rest!

On Tuesday, 26th November, Mrs. JUDITH PATTESON, (consort of Maj. David Patteson, of Buckingham,) in the 84th year of her age, changed her state of mortality for one, we are assured, of immortal glory. Her deep-toned piety, her constant humility, her almost unequaled meekness, her long-tried patience, her becoming fortitude under the heavy bereavements which she had frequently to sustain, her love of virtue in others, her antipathy to all immorality, and her strong attachment to the Word of God, have made a deep and lasting impression upon the memory of her family and all who knew her, that their irreparable loss is her eternal gain! Her last illness, though severe, was short: her decision upon her own case was, perhaps, as correct as that of her attending physician: When she was taken sick, she told the family that “her time had come, and the Lord had sent for her, and she was willing to go.” The grim monster, Death, threw open his icy arms to receive his victim, but could produce no terror in the bosom of one who had put her house in order, and had patiently waited for many years for the coming of her Lord! It was her inestimable privilege to occupy the condition of St. Paul when he exclaimed, in the state of holy enthusiasm, “Oh, death! where is thy sting? oh, grave! where is thy glory? Thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” The antagonist of vitality may triumph for the short time over the victory which he has won – the insatiable grave may have swallowed this victim – and her insatiable appetite may still cry “more, more!” Why should there be this shout of victory among the tombs? When the immortal spirit has gone to its home in the skies, there to remain in a separate state only till the morning of the Resurrection, and then it will return and be reunited to the body, and in that state of reunion enjoy the bliss of Heaven forever.

                The subject of this obituary lived 67 years with her husband in the marriage union: during all that time she sustained, emphatically speaking, all the characteristics of a wife: To her husband she was entirely submissive – his will was always her pleasure; – she was obedient, attentive, kind and affectionate; nor did these traits of her character depreciate, with her physical powers, under the influence of age, but shown brilliantly to the last moments of her existence. In the death of Mrs. Patteson a great loss has been sustained: her aged husband (to whom the present generation are indebted, in part for their patriotic government and liberties as a nation) has lost the best of wives; her neighbors have lost the kindest of neighbors; the traveler will never forget the hospitality which he has so bountifully shared within her open doors, nor will the poor man’s wife and the needy orphan ever forget the supplies which they have so frequently received from her charitable hands; the servant has lost a mistress whose humility has always extended to them the best of treatment; – in conclusion, we have lost a friend whose example, if followed, will lead us to the Cross of Christ, and to the rest that remains for the people of God. After living at peace with all men, till she had received in her withered arms several of her fourth generation, this devoted Christian has fallen asleep in Christ, with the hope of seeing the face of God and righteousness, and of waking in his likeness.

T. N. J.

P.S. The Enquirer will please copy.


It is my belief that the author of this glowing obituary is Rev. Thomas Nicholas Johnson. Click here for more about him:

Buckingham Notables: Rev. Thomas Nicholas Johnson, Part I

Buckingham Notables: Rev. Thomas Nicholas Johnson, Part II

Buckingham Schools: Rev. Thomas N. Johnson

Click here for more about Major David Patteson.

April 6, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

An Ode to Major David Patteson


Following the obituary of Major David Patteson, which was printed in the Richmond Whig & Public Advertiser on October 30, 1846, the newspaper ran a poem written by one of Patteson’s grandsons who signed with his initials, P. R. P.


To the Memory of my Grandfather.

Where art thou gone, my aged sire?

Thy home to me is lonely now!

Thy spirit tunes the Heavenly lyre,

While thoughts of sorrow dim my brow.


When first thou trod life’s early ways,

Hope winged life’s fleeting span,

‘Till you have numbered years and days

Allotted not to man.


Three score and ten upon this earth

But very few can date;

Yet onward, onward from thy birth

Hath made thee eighty-eight.


And now thy course on earth is run,

And death has brought by setting sun,

Yet may thy rising morning see

Thy soul in blest eternity.


And while we view thy moldering heap,

Thy children, scarce and few,

Can see where brothers, sisters, sleep,

While shedding tears for you.


My aged sire! fare thee well –

My father’s gone before thee;

And now from earth thou hence shall dwell,

Though fatherless I be!


And may thy good examples guide

Me through the path thou trod;

And when my works by death are tried,

May that will prove them, O my God!


It pains my soul to say farewell!

Yet trembling I address thee –

Such struggling thoughts my bosom swell,

That words I scarce can find to bless thee.


P. R. P.


Click here for Major David Patteson’s obituary: Buckingham Notables: David Patteson

Coming Next: Mrs. David Patteson

April 3, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: David Patteson



In the early 19th century, Mount Pleasant in Buckingham County was the home of Major David Patterson and family.  According to Garnett Williams’ survey for the Virginia Historical Inventory, the brick house was built in 1758. Major. Patterson died, at his residence on October 22, 1846, in his 89th year. and was buried cemetery at Mount Pleasant: Major David Patteson (15 August 1758–22 October 1846).

His obituary in the Richmond Whig & Public Advertiser was exceptionally long, saluting one of the last of his generation:


                Another Patriot and Soldier of the Revolution is gone! While but few remain to drop a tear of sympathy for the departed, or to bear the tidings of our Revolutionary struggles to later and succeeding generations.

                Died, at his residence, Mount Pleasant, in the county of Buckingham, on 22d October, 1846, at 12 o’clock, Major DAVID PATTESON, in the 89th year of his age. And to mourn their great and irreparable loss, he left only an aged brother and an extensive line of family descent to the fourth generation. In all the relations which man sustains to his fellow beings through life, he has been one who had but few equals, perhaps no superiors. As a husband, he was constant, kind, affable and indulgent. As a father, he was strict, persuasive, affectionate and instructive. As a brother, he cherished those fond of affections which grew close around the heart, and are ever nourished by its warmest current. As a son, he was reared in that golden age which knew no other than honor and obedience to parental injunctions. As a neighbor, his door was ever unlocked, his purse strings untied, to administer with a lavish hand and an open heart to the alleviation of the suffering and destitute widow and the orphaned babe. And as a kind and provident master, he was ever vigilant in those things which made the comfort of those under his control; while at the same time he strove to keep them within the pale of that discipline which was their good, his comfort, and the public safety. In the early years of his age, he was called to the defense of his country against the hostile invasions of a foreign foe. Into that service he carried with him a heart burning with consummate love and patriotic zeal for the welfare of his country – with an arm nerved for the conflict of battle – with a spirit and courage as illimitable as that cause of freedom was just; and it was in that cause that he had enlisted to stem the iron storms of battle, and to roll back its devastating tide ragged and broken to its native atmosphere – and in this service he continued until his most earnest wishes and sanguine expectations were made delightful realities, when called to witness the surrender of Lord Cornwallis at York Town. The subject of this obituary was the member of the Court of his county from early life to the period of his death. He was called by his countrymen to serve them in the Legislature of his native State, which he did for several years, with the firmness and fidelity worthy of his charge. He was also acting Sheriff of his county for a number of years; in all relations to his county and his fellowmen, he acted as became a true, faithful, brave and honest man, – thereby fully satisfying every demand and duty of his earthly station: and now that his fleshy tabernacle has been consigned to the cold gloom of the grave, his immortal and deathless spirit has flown, as on angels’ wings, and has soared aloft to meet the Heaven-born spirit of his faithful, constant, and earthly companion – who but a short time since was called to give an account of her stewardship – and with that spirit of hers, united by angels and the spirits of just men made perfect, to shout the triumphs of redeeming love around the throne of a Just, Holy, and Eternal God. The writer of this tribute of respect for the memory of the deceased, is one who has known him long, has known him well, and known him intimately.

Click here for more about Mount Pleasant.

Coming next: “An Ode to David Patteson”

March 30, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Tavern For Sale


In the early summer of 1845, John Bland offered his Buckingham County tavern for sale in the Richmond Enquirer:



IN MY own right, as agent for John Bland, I shall on August 11, 1845, offer for sale, at public auction, on a credit of one, two and three years, the Tavern, Stables, &c., at Buckingham Court House, heretofore in the possession of E. L. Scruggs; the purchaser giving bonds with approved security; and a deed of trust on the property. Possession will be given immediately after the sale. If a sale cannot be made, it will be rented out from that time until the 1stday of January, 1847. At the same time will be sold fifty acres of forest land, about five miles from the Court House, on the New Canton Road.


Does a Slate River Ramblings reader know who else owned this tavern or who the purchaser was c. 1845.  If so, please comment.

Speaking of Taverns, if you are interesting in Prohibition in Virginia, visit the new exhibit at the Library of Virginia: “Teetotalers and Moonshiners: Virginia’s Prohibition Experiment” — opening April 3, 2017.

March 27, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Festival at Buckingham Court House: Part II

Courtesy Wikipedia.

In 1840, when Mr. Rives was fêted at Buckingham Courthouse after a long absence, Buckingham County’s Whigs were enthralled.  The letter to the Richmond Whig continued:

Mr. Rives proceeded, after dinner, in the most masterly and splendid effort of his life. He triumphantly vindicated himself from the imputations of treason and apostasy. He arraigned the Administration at the bar of the country, reviewed its policy, and, with a mighty and unsparing hand, unveiled its corruptions. It was the spear of Ithuriel disclosing the naked deformity of a fiend. He then reviewed the military and civic character of General Harrison (Martin Van Buren’s opposition), and hurled back, with indignant eloquence, the foul slanders and false charges which the minions of power had heaped upon his head. He fortified his position from the records of his country’s history – the testimony of Shelby and Perry, of Richard M. Johnson and Thomas Ritchie. It would be idle to attempt to give an outline of this admirable speech, the delivery of which enchained the unfaltering attention of nearly one thousand people for the space of five hours. After Mr. Rives had concluded, amid thunders of applause, Colo. Edmund W. Hubard, (the Democrat candidate for Congress against Mr. Hill,) who was an attentive listener, and stood close by, as if with the design to reply, arose for that purpose. . . .

If a five-hour speech was not enough, the correspondent from Buckingham County went on and on, praising the day’s worthy host, N. H. Thorton. Many toasts were drunk by Col. Thomas M. Bondurant presiding, assisted by Col. Reuben B. Patteson, George H. Matthews, Esq. and Col. Thomas H. Flood, who were the Vice Presidents of the Committee.

After rapturous applause with which one toast was received, Mr. Rives rose and offer the following sentiment:

The People of Buckingham: Republican by nature, Republican by tradition – They will prove their continuing Republicanism by voting, in November next, for the Republican candidate for presidency, William H. Harrison.

For more about Edmund W. Hubard, a frequent subject at Slate River Ramblings click here:

Buckingham Notables: Edmund Wilcox Hubard.

For part one of this letter, click here: Festival at Buckingham Court House: Part I

March 23, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Festival at Buckingham Court House: Part I

Courtesy Wikipedia.



On July 11, 1840, Richmond’s The Whig printed special correspondence from Buckingham County describing a festival held in honor of Mr. Rives. It is a reminder of the fact that Administrations in Washington, D.C. can be “mentally agitating.” Nothing is new.







Pursuant an invitation tendered to Mr. Rives by the opponents of the present administration in this country (Martin Van Buren), to accept of a Public Dinner, and address them on those great political questions which are now agitating the minds of the whole People, that distinguished gentleman arrived here on the evening of the 12th instant. He was immediately waited upon by the Committee, and many others, who are desirous of an introduction. The 13th being Court day was the day appointed for the festival. Upwards of twenty years had elapsed since he had been permitted to mingle with his fellow citizens in this County, and great eagerness was manifested by all parties to see and hear one whose name was so widely extended, and whose political independence has rendered him the object of such unsparing and malignant persecution.

                The Court House being thought insufficient to hold the assemblage who were expected to be present on the occasion, a spacious awning was erected in the public square. At an early hour in the morning, crowds of people from all parts of the county, and numbers from distant and adjoining counties, began to pour into the village and by 11 o’clock, the concourse was swelled to one thousand or fifteen hundred anxious and excited expectants. The signs of the morning promised an unfavorable day – the sky being covered with clouds, and the air being oppressive and sultry. At the hour of eleven, Mr. Reeves was accompanied to the stand by the Committee, and commenced his remarks in a beautiful and feeling manner, to an attentive and breathless audience. He had not spoken long, before a violent storm rendered farther (sic) speaking under the awning impracticable, and the crowd rushed into the Court House to hear the conclusion of his address. It was quite insufficient, however, to contain the audience, and when the rain had ceased, the people were again invited to the awning. After having spoken on for some time, the ringing of the bells announced that dinner was ready – and a proposition was made and acceded to for postponing further discussion until the dinner was over. Notwithstanding these embarrassing and successive interruptions, so well calculated to confuse the mind and damp the ardor of the speaker, Mr. Reeves seem to redouble his exertions, and rise higher and higher at each succeeding struggle of his genius. All sympathized with the situation of the speaker, but all admired the increasing energy with which he met and conquered all these obstacles – which, to say the truth, were by far the most serious he met with during the day.

Visit Encyclopedia Virginia to learn more about Judge Alexander Rives.

Coming Next: Festival at Buckingham Court House: Part II

March 21, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Virginia Women in History: Louise Harrison McCraw

Library of Virginia. Photo by Joanne L. Yeck.  Slate Floor by Buckingham County.

If you are in the Richmond area on March 30th, I encourage you to attend this year’s celebration of Virginia Women in History. Buckingham County’s own Louise Harrison McCraw (1893–1975) will be one of the honorees.

The author of a dozen inspirational novels and co-founder of Richmond’s Braille Circulating Library, Louise’s work touched thousands, inspiring the blind and the sighted alike.

You can read more about Louise and her work in this month’s Buckingham Beacon.  If you aren’t able to pick up a copy, you can download a PDF at Fluvanna Review.

The award ceremony and reception will take place on Thursday evening, March 30th, at the Library of Virginia, 800 East Broad Street, Richmond.  There is no charge for the event.  Visit the Library’s website for detailed information:  Virginia Women in History.

For more about Louise Harrison McCraw at Slate River Ramblings:

Buckingham Notables: Louise Harrison McCraw (includes a list of her novels)

You can also learn much more about Louise Harrison McCraw and her “Life of Service” in my book, “At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two (Slate River Press, 2015).