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April 18, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part IV

John Bell Henneman, Jr.  Courtesy Charlie Henneman.

John Bell Henneman, Jr., pictured here, was a Medieval historian and, following the death of his father in 1992, continued the work of curating the Hubard papers his family inherited. Today, his son, Charlie Henneman is preparing the collection for donation to the University of Virginia.


Need to catch up, click here: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part I


Robert T. Hubard prefaced his essay, “Family Notices,” writing: “For the gratification of my children I now write such details as I have been able to obtain, concerning my ancestors and also those of my wife.”

Hubard was about fifty years old when he made his notes, an age when many of us begin to consider leaving a legacy of family history for future generations.

Hubard’s recollections are part of a large collection of Bolling-Hubard papers now being prepared by Bolling-Hubard descendant Charlie Henneman for donation to the University of Virginia’s archives. This “new” cache of Buckingham County gold includes farm ledgers from Chellowe, Rosney, and Whispering; a slave register from 1856; and more than 2,000 letters, dating from the 1890s to the 1950s.

This gift will complement the University of Virginia’s existing collection: “THE HUBARD FAMILY PAPERS 1749-1950.”

The current finding aid describes its contents, in part, as follows:

This ancestry is represented in the collection by ca. 50 pages of genealogical material. Of interest in the correspondence are letters to Hubard from his brothers William Bolling Hubard and Edmund Wilcox Hubard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1841-1847, touching on political issues of the period, and ca. 30 letters, 1851-1857, from Hubard’s son, James L., relating his experiences as a cadet at Virginia Military Institute. Also included are a letter from Philip St. George Cocke concerning James Linneaus Hubard’s appointment to VMI, an extensive 1840 letter from Buchner Thruston re: Hubard family history and numerous letters concerning plantation business. Other Robert Thruston Hubard I material of note are his plantation journals, 1847-1871, and his lecture notes for Professor Tucker’s economics class at the University of Virginia in 1828. 

April 15, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part III

Thomas Jefferson

Need to catch up, click here: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part I


Robert T. Hubard’s sketch of Lenaeus Bolling was a glowing tribute to a moderate, thoughtful man, who like most planters of his era did not shy away from politics.

Lenaeus Bolling, continued

He belonged to the Republican Party and was warmly attached to Mr. Jefferson and his views, although he though Mr. Jefferson ultra in desiring to abolish the freehold suffrage in Virginia. While he concurred with Mr. Jefferson in opposing the politics of Alexander Hamilton in advocating a strict construction of the Federal Constitution, and therefore opposing a National Bank, a protective tariff and etc. as unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States, Lenaeus Bolling would never yield his opinions up to Jefferson or any other man unless convinced of error and believing that no man in Virginia ought to vote except the freeholders, he expressed his astonishment that Mr. Jefferson and other sensible men should avow so much faith in Dick, Tom, and Harry as to suppose that they lived without land, or other property, “mere hangers on and loafers upon society,” should be allowed to exercise political power.

Lenaeus Bolling was the half-brother of my mother, and of course he was my half uncle. I knew him from my infancy until his death. He was fond of my mother and her children. I married his daughter Susan, who was my half first cousin. This marriage had his entire approbation. Upon his deathbed, he spoke to me and of me, in terms of praise and high regard. He never made any profession of religion; but I never saw anyone meet death or speak of it with more composure philosophy, or resignation. My love and regard for him and his character may have insensibly biased my feelings or impaired my judgement in some parts of this sketch; but I know that I have only sought to do justice and to leave to my own sons a faithful notice of the character of their grandfather Lenaeus Bolling.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part IV

April 11, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part II

James Madison  

Need to catch up, click here: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part I


In stark contrast to Powhatan Bolling, Robert T. Hubard described at length his maternal uncle and father-in-law, Lenaeus Bolling (1763–1849):

Lenaeus Bolling

Lenaeus had none of the eccentricities or excesses of his brother Powhatan. He possessed much more discretion, sounder judgement, and more respect for public opinion. He was educated at William and Mary College, married at the early age of 21 years, studied no profession, became a farmer and planter, was devoted to his wife and children, had a good library, was fond of reading works on politics, history, and science.

His constitution was not very robust and his health never good. On this account he was not a gentleman of great activity and energy of body. He lived at his ease because his fortune was ample for support of his family, his tastes were plain and he was entirely exempt from avarice. He loved and he practiced economy, not because he loved money, but because he loved independence and abhorred debt. He had no fondness for ostentation or show in dress, or equipage, fine houses, fine furniture, fine dinners, and etc. All these things he held in contempt.

He was a man of fine sense, fond of the company of intelligent people, dignified and graceful in his manners, tall and fine looking, candid, independent and honest in expressing his views, as patriotic as Washington himself and as thoroughly honest in all things as any man I ever heard of. I never knew any man more devoted to truth.

He indulged in no familiarity with others and allowed [none] to be familiar with him. He was an affectionate husband and father, and a kind master. He cared but little about acquiring more property for his children, thinking that he had enough to make them independent and that more probably might prove injurious to them. He served as a member of the House of Delegates from Buckingham (when quite young) during the memorable session of 1799–1800, when Madison’s report was discussed and adopted. He then retired from public life; but was elected again and served in the House of Delegates during the session of 1811–12 and afterwards, he served in the House of Delegates during the session of 1819–20. Becoming somewhat deaf and his health being delicate, he declined being a candidate afterwards, although he took great interest in all public concerns up to the period of his last illness.

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part III

April 8, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part I

Courtesy Library of Congress. 

The Bolling and Hubard families are not strangers to the followers of Slate River Ramblings. Over the years, numerous posts have discussed their plantations, including Cellowe and Rosney, and their contributions to Buckingham County history. Recently, Charlie Henneman, who inherited a collection of Bolling-Hubard papers, shared a marvelous biographical sketch, an excerpt from “Family Notices,” written by Robert T. Hubard, dated June of 1858.

Robert Thruston Hubard (1808–1871) was educated at Hampden-Sydney and the University of Virginia. He lived at “Rosney” in Buckingham County and, after 1850, at “Chellowe,” which he purchased from his brother-in-law, Robert Bolling.

In an essay entitled “Family Notices,” Hubbard characterized his maternal uncles, the Bolling brothers: Powhatan and Lenaeus (a. k. a. Linneaus). Dramatically different in character, these Bolling brothers remind us never to stereotype a Virginia planter.

First, Robert T. Hubard takes on the eccentric Powhatan Bolling (1767–1803), who resided at Rosney.

Powhatan Bolling

The two brothers Powhatan and Lenaeus were quite different in many traits of character. Powhatan Bolling died when I was an infant or before my birth, but I have heard a great deal said of him—part of which was no doubt true and part error or falsehood.

He was generally considered rather eccentric and this may have originated mainly from the fact of his contempt for the then prevailing fashions as to dress and his determination to dress always according to his own taste. He always dressed very well, very clean, and often in such a showy manner as to excite the admiration and the wonder of weak mind[ed] people.

For instance, he wore a three cocked hat, a red coat made of the finest English broadcloth, blue vest or pants and etc. Being tall, well formed and a very commanding appearance, always confident and self-possessed, conscious of good descent, endowed with no ordinary intellect, well educated, acquainted with the world, fluent in conversation and possessing no little tact, he was quite a prominent man in his day.

Had his passions been more under his control, had he exhibited more stability and more discretion, he might had he lived longer been a distinguished man. He had some ambition and was a candidate for Congress in opposition to John Randolph the first time that Randolph offered. John Randolph was elected by a majority of five votes over Powhatan Bolling and it was generally thought that in mind and in powers of debate they were well matched.

Powhatan Bolling had, I think, served one session in the Virginia Legislature before offering for Congress, though I am not sure of the fact. After being defeated by John Randolph, Powhatan became more dissipated than before and so continued until his death. He was engaged in two, three or more duels, was very brave and by no means unwilling to engage in a duel or fight for a doubtful cause and certainly for any good and sufficient cause. The ignorant and the vulgar admired him, talked about him and loved him, or were over awed by him and dreaded him; while intelligent and independent men admired his manly appearance, his fine manners, his good sense and etc., although they deplored some of his excesses and his errors.

Click here to learn more: Buckingham Notables: Powhatan Bolling

Coming Next: Buckingham County Notables: The Bolling Brothers, Part II

April 4, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Weddings: Holman-Hooper

In the spring of 1900, the Farmville Herald reported the following Buckingham County wedding:


Arcanum, April 18, 1900.

On Tuesday the 17th, at 9:30 a.m., Mr. Henry Smith Holman, of Cartersville, and Eleanor Powell, eldest daughter of the late Mr. Powell Hooper, were united in wedlock by the Rev. W. A. Dabney. It was a pretty, unassuming spectacle, the young bride being surrounded by many of her friends and neighbors who have known and loved her all her life. Ellie is a pure, sweet girl, and in her life and character reflects great credit on the training of the mother, who, though widowed long years since, has been unceasing in her efforts to train up her children in the way they should go, and in this whole community there is no lady more respected and esteemed than Mrs. Hooper. Her loss is Mr. Holman’s gain. May he prove worthy of his fair young bride.

H of B.


April 1, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Rich Bottom, Part II

Rich Bottom. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In 1936, when Rosa G. Williams surveyed the Buckingham County property, “Rich Bottom,” she neglected a description of the dwelling house, focusing on a remarkable grave marker preserved in the family cemetery, describing it as follows:

The cemetery is in a body of oak woods, only one marker, there are other graves, but they are supposed to be slaves of the Langhorne family. This is a very large marble slab with the inscription on the back. Although this slab has been up about one hundred years, it is in perfect condition, and it is as secure in the ground as it ever was.

The inscription on the marker reads:


to the memory of

Elizabeth J.

Consort of

John R. Bennett

and daughter of

Rev. Mariace [sic] M. and Ann Langhorne

Born July 29, 1810

Died December 26, 1837.

She embraced religion in her ninth year and joined the Methodist E. Church in her thirteenth year in which she lived a faithful member and devout follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep, from which none ever wakes to weep,

A calm and undisturbed repose, unbroken by the last of foes.

The informants for the survey included: Miss Fletcher Smith and Mrs. Garnett Smith, both of Dillwyn, and “an old slave of the Smith family” named Ned Payne.

Recognize Ned Payne? Please comment below.

March 28, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Rich Bottom, Part I

In 1936, Rosa G. Williams (a. k. a. Garnett Agee Williams) surveyed a Buckingham County property with the unusual name of “Rich Bottom” for the Virginia Historical Inventory. She described the location as “2 miles east of Dillwyn, Virginia on Route #629, cemetery about .3 of a mile west of highway.”

Mrs. Williams did not provide a deed history for the property, however, she described a series of owners as follows:

A Mr. Brown was the first owner (known), next a Mr. Langhorne owned it about 1830 and lived there until about 1840 when the place was sold to Moses Smith. It has remained in the family of the Smiths since that time. It passed from Moses Smith to his sons: William, Emmette, Wesley and Robert. It is now owned by Garnett Smith, a son of Robert, who inherited his father’s share and bought the other heirs out in 1911. He lives here with his family.

Mrs. Williams added that the dwelling house at Rich Bottom “must have been built in the early 1800s.” At that time, the property consisted of 1,000 acres. The Smith family retained about 600 acres.

Coming next: Buckingham County Houses: Rich Bottom, Part II

March 27, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Book News: “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way”

The Spring 2019 issue of Central Virginia Heritage, published by the Central Virginia Genealogical Association, is now available and includes my article “Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way: Dissecting Last Wishes in Three Buckingham County.”  In it, I expand on the Slate River Ramblings series “Buckingham County Notables “The Allens of Hunts Creek.”

The essay opens, “The patriarch of this Allen line, Capt. William Allen (1692–1751/1752), born in eastern Virginia, was destined to become one of the founders of the newly formed Albemarle County. Sometime after the spring of 1720 and following the death of his first wife, Hannah, Allen left New Kent County, Virginia, and moved westward to Fine Creek in Goochland County. There, his neighbor was Peter Jefferson, the father of President Thomas Jefferson. Together, Allen and Jefferson served the county as Gentleman Justices. . . .”

Print copies are now available at Amazon: Central Virginia Heritage, Spring 2019

March 25, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Houses: Oakland

In 1937, Elizabeth McCraw surveyed the Holman dwelling house at “Oakland” for the Virginia Historical Inventory. She described its location as “.8 mile west of Andersonville, Va., on Route #640; thence north on Route #642 2.9 miles. East side of the highway.” She went on to note that Tandy Holman was the owner in 1832, followed by Mrs. Mary L. Jones (1877), and M. T. Jones (1899, present owner in 1937).

Mrs. McGraw’s description of the house emphasized features:

The yard of this home with its large oak trees, extends to the highway. The house with heart pine beaded weatherboarding which has never been painted, is built in three parts—one part a story, one part a story and a half, and the other part two stories high. It was all built about the same time. One part was built new, another part was moved about one-quarter of a mile just as it is, and added, and the other was originally Tandy Holman’s father’s house. It was torn down and rebuilt into this house. The heavy timbers with mortised ends, shop-made nails and wooden pegs are noticeable here. A one story porch leads into the front hall.

A winding, partly cased-in stairway leads from the hall to the second floor. Under this stairway another one-flight stairway leads to the basement. The basement is really a ground floor, but is walled up with brick and has a brick floor. These brick walls are whitewashed. A few of the original locks are still on some of the doors. On one of the basement doors is a large wooden lock. Several inside doors are fashioned with hand-made wooden buttons, and one is still fastened with the peg attached to a leather strap. One room has a wide wainscoting made of three very wide planks, all fitted together without a nail. The other rooms have a baseboard and chair-rail. There are nine rooms, each with a fireplace, there being three large brick chimneys to the house. The floors are on different levels, uneven, with one or two steps between each room.

Significantly, Elizabeth McCraw added the house had always remained in the family: “members of the third, fourth, and fifth generation from the original owner are living here at present.”

Now that’s Buckingham County continuity!

March 21, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Churches: Records of the Baptist Association, Part II

Chestnut Grove Baptist Church. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In 1937, when Rosa G. Williams surveyed a surviving record book from the Baptist Association, she summarized the minutes concerning a meeting that took place in 1832:

This meeting or association was held on Sat. Oct. 1832 and continued through Monday Morning at 9 o’clock with constitution and rules of decorum and the meeting was adjourned to meet with Agola Baptist Church in Browns Meeting House in Cumberland County on 27th, 28th, 29th of July 1833 Sat. Sun. and Mon. here at Agola (now long extinct as a church) began the function of what we still call the James River Baptist Association and here in the script of a hand long since rested from its labors we read the delegates names as well as the churches they represent. The meeting was adjourned to meet the third session at Chestnut Grove church 3 miles above New Store in Buckingham. A motion was made for a Union Meeting to be held each year at a place selected by the Association.

The first Union meeting was held at Mulberry Grove.