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June 18, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Cedar Croft, Part I

Lawford, Buckingham County, 1896 postal map.

Last winter, I posted a letter to the Appomattox and Buckingham Times written by Willie Witt in Lawford, Buckingham County. Click here to read the post: 1898: News From Lawford

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Willie Witt’s intriguing letter sparked my curiosity about the village of Lawford.

Lawford appears on the 1896 postal map, located near the Cumberland County border with Buckingham County. In 1904, it was still listed among the post offices in Buckingham included in the Gazetter of Virginia. Jane C. Lawford once served as postmistress and, in 1907, John W. Sharp was postmaster. In the autumn of 1908, the mail delivery moved to nearby Nuckols.

Slate River Ramblings reader Diane Apperson wrote that a farm called Cedar Croft was located near Lawford, noting its inclusion in “The Courthouse Burned —,” Book Two.

The entry begins: “If one enters the driveway at Cedar Croft, one immediately assumes that the place took its name from the magnificent cedars which circle part of the yard. Mrs. Estelle Atkinson, who owns the property, thinks it was built by a Lawford couple whose graves are at the bottom of the hill.”

Can a Slate River Ramblings reader identify precisely whose graves are at the bottom of the hill at Cedar Croft? Are they a Mr. and Mrs. Lawford, likely the namesakes of the village?

Coming next: Buckingham Houses: Cedar Croft, Part II

June 11, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: Robert Hill, Innkeeper

Not long ago, I wrote about the Travelers Rest that was located about 3 miles southeast of New Canton in Buckingham County and asked Slate River Rambling readers if they had any information about the owner, Robert Hill, and its history as an inn.

To catch up, follow these links:

Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part I

Buckingham Houses: Travelers Rest #4, Part II

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Slate River Ramblings follower Randy Crouse responded, writing that Robert Hill appeared on the 1793 Buckingham County tax records, then annually through 1802. He not only paid business taxes for a property in New Canton but also paid for an ordinary license. Hill owned as many as eleven horses and a coach, indicating he also may have provided transportation for his guests.

The question remains, did Thomas Jefferson sleep here?

June 10, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Summer Schedule for Slate River Ramblings

Buckingham County Courthouse, 1915.  Courtesy University of Virginia.

Beginning tomorrow, posts at Slate River Ramblings will slow down for the summer months. Expect to see a new post every Thursday and occasional announcements on other days.

As many of you know, the Slate River Ramblings archive is packed with nuggets of Buckingham gold. As of this month, there are over 1,000 posts!  Please, enjoy searching the archives for your favorite topic or surnames.

June 8, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Churches: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church Revisited

St. Peter’s Episcopal Church (Courtesy Historic Buckingham)

Way back in 2013, I posted about St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, which was once located about 6/10 of a mile north of Curdsville on Route 15, on the east side of the highway. The church was constructed in 1832 and, in 1937, Mrs. Elizabeth McCraw surveyed it for the Virginia Historical Inventory. Click here to learn more: Buckingham Churches: St. Peter’s Episcopal Church

Mrs. McCraw’s informant was Mrs. Annie Page Cox of Shepphards, VA.  She noted that Mrs. Cox was “one of the best informed persons in the county on local history. Her husband was a member of this church.”

Mrs. McCraw also wrote that the bell from St. Peter’s was given to Johns Memorial Church in Farmville.

When Elizabeth McCraw surveyed St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in 1937, she wrote of its historical significance in the community. Her description indicates that the building was no longer in use at that time but the building was still standing.

Since the original post, Slate River Ramblings readers added these comments:

Ed Ayres wrote, “I remember visiting the site of the church sometime in the early 1960s. There were still some pieces of wooden siding and other timbers on the ground, mostly overgrown by weeds. I think I still have a sadly damaged little hymnal or Book of Common Prayer that I picked up at the time. I am also fairly sure the church is identified on the 1863 manuscript map of Buckingham and Appomattox at the Library of Congress.”

Patt Freedman found this undated information at the Library of Virginia:

St. Peters’ Church, Tillotson Parish. Rev. JAS. GRAMMER, Rector.

Baptisms–infants, white, 1. Communicants–white, 47; colored, 2; added, 2; removed, 1; present number 50. Confirmed–white, 3. Marriages–1. Contributions–objects within the Parish, $91; objects in connection with the P. E. Church, $125; objects not in connection with the P. E. Church, $68; total $284. Postoffice–Farmville.

June 4, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part III

Rose Terrace, restored.  Photos by Kenny Sink.

Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki continued her article, offering an exceptionally detailed description of Rose Terrace as she found it in 1958:

“Rose Terrace” is a charming, three-story house built of brick laid in Flemish bond. The entrance is composed of a large, six panel, double-cross door still having its original lock and small brass knob. The classic design of the original fan light over the front door lends beauty to both the inside and outside.

To the right of the front hall is the living room which measures 18 by 20 feet. In this room is a cornice and on the ceiling is a matching diamond-shaped design, giving the room a feeling of beauty and grace. The walls are of wedgewood blue with the ceiling of off-white. All the fireplaces are original — the one in the living room being 78 inches across. Above the inornate mantle hangs an antique beveled mirror with an eight-inch frame of gold-leaf. Its overall dimensions are 55 by 45 inches. The living room ceiling is 11 feet high while ceilings in the other rooms are of varying heights. 

Mrs. Wojnicki went on to describe the winding stairway to the second floor and the three-room basement, with floors of brick, which was accessed by the original closed-string stairway. The original well house still sat in back of the main dwelling. A variety of roses and beautiful trees, including poplar, osage, orange, holly and magnolia, continued to thrive in the back and side yards.

Rose Terrace, restored.  Photo by Kenny Sink.

June 1, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part II

 

In 1958, Mrs. R. J. Wojnicki wrote an article entitled, “Rose Terrace in Buckingham County served as Hotel, Private School and Residence during 158-Year History,” for Charlottesville’s Daily Progress. She began by identifying the house is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Rowlett H. Bruce. They were responsible for changing the name from “Rose Cottage” to “Rose Terrace” so that it would not be confused with the property belonging to the United Daughters of the Confederacy, also named “Rose Cottage,” which was located near Lee Wayside Park.

Noting that the deed history of the property had been destroyed when the Buckingham County courthouse burned, Mrs. Wojnicki dug into tax records at the Virginia State Library (today the Library of Virginia). She discovered that Dr. William Perkins Moseley paid tax on the property in 1820 and added an east wing to the house in 1824 or 1825, using this part of the house for his office. She went on to identify subsequent owners as the Walton, Eldridge, Morris, Luck and Grigg families.

Then, she went on to describe some of its history:

Long ago the place was well-known as a hotel. Governor McKinney of Virginia was among the many distinguished guests who were entertained here. At one period it housed a small private school.

In August of 1940, when Richard Winston visited “Rose Terrace,” he told the present owners that as a young boy he visited there and remember a kitchen in the yard for which meals were brought inside to serve guests who arrived by carriage and on horseback when they came to Buckingham Court House on “Court Day.”

Coming Next: Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part III

May 28, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Rose Terrace, Part I

Rose Terrace. Photo by Frances Benjamin Johnston, 1933. Courtesy Library of Congress.

Rose Terrace is included in the Buckingham Court House District (Virginia Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places). Today, the expansive, inviting veranda and balconies which attracted Frances Benjamin Johnston’s eye are closed in.

Originally called Rose Cottage, in the late 1930s this house was renamed Rose Terrace to distinguish it from the Rose Cottage located just outside Maysville.

Rose Terrace sits at the extreme west end of Buckingham Court House on the north side of Highway 60.

In 1936, Elizabeth McCraw described Rose Terrace’s lovely entry for the Virginia Historical Inventory, writing: “A flagstone walk leads to the entrance door. This heavy six panel door with a fan shaped transom, leads into the front hall, which is more like a room than a hall.”

The interior included a welcoming parlor, with a cornice of plaster and “a matching decoration in the ceiling in the shape of a diamond.” The eight-room house included a “splendid basement of three rooms,” as well as a “unique stairway” from the main floor to the basement.

Mrs. McCraw also described the back of the house, photographed by Frances Benjamin Johnston: “A Dutch door opens from the kitchen to the ‘veranda’ which is under the back porch, and floored with brick. A brick walk leads to the office building in the side yard.”

The original section of the house was erected sometime between 1776 and 1800. Dr. William Perkins Moseley (1794–1863) purchased the property in 1820 and elaborated it to accommodate his large family. In 1833, Dr. Moseley became an elder at Maysville Presbyterian Church, where he served until his death.

In 1936, Elizabeth McCraw’s informants included Florence LaSalle (Moseley) Pratt (1855–1951). Her husband, Dr. Whitcomb Eliphalet Pratt (1849–1901), was the grandson of Alexander Trent Moseley (1786–1873), who was born in the house. Mrs. McCraw also interviewed Margaret G. (Mrs. Philip Ashley) Grigg (1869–1960), the owner and resident of Rose Terrace when the photo was made.

Coming Next: Rose Terrace, Part II

May 25, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham County Weddings: Layne-Steger

 

On December 24, 1896, the Appomattox and Buckingham Times reported the marriage of Miss Maggie Steger to Mr. John W. Layne. The announcement read as follows:

The home of Mr. Charles Steger, near Well Water, in Buckingham county, on Tuesday last was the scene of a beautiful marriage, the contracting parties being Mr. John W. Layne, the worthy and honored son of Mr. P. Layne, and Miss Maggie Steger, the accomplished daughter of Mr. Charles Steger, of the same county.

At 2 o’clock the friends and guests in attendance were invited to repair to a room in which stood an altar beautifully decorated with evergreens and white chrysanthemums, and in the centre of which stood a dimly burning lamp. A few minutes later the bridal party appeared, and the ceremony was performed by Rev. W. E. Wright, of Appomattox, Va.

After receiving many useful and valuable presents and hearty congratulations from the host of friends present, the newly married couple left for their new home near Wingina.

In the nineteenth century December weddings were very popular.

In the mood to read about more happy couples? Put “wedding” in the search box at Slate River Ramblings and enjoy the results!

May 21, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: “Hon. Thomas S. Bocock Dead”

Thomas S. Bocock.

On August 7, 1891, Buckingham born Thomas S. Bocock died at his home in Appomattox County. The Daily Virginian, published in Lynchburg, ran the following obituary:

Hon. Thomas S. Bocock Dead

His Peaceful End At His Old Appomattox Home.

A special telegram to the VIRGINIAN from Appomattox, received yesterday morning, announced the death of Hon. Thos. S. Bocock, ex-Speaker of the lower house of the Confederate Congress, at his home in that county at 8 o’clock Wednesday evening. His death had been expected daily for two weeks or more, owing to his prostrated and enfeebled condition remitting from the wearing out of life’s forces, and his end was peaceful and painless. He was stricken with paralysis some years ago and has been an invalid ever since.

Mr. Bocock was born in Buckingham county, which then included Appomattox county, in May, 1815, and was therefore over seventy-six years of age. His long life was passed in the place of his nativity except when absent at Washington or Richmond in the discharge of his public duties.

Five children survive him, namely; Miss Belle Bocock, Mrs. James M. Booker, Jr., Mrs. C. D. Price, Miss Sallie P. Bocock, and Mr. Willis P. Bocock. His funeral will take place at 4 o’clock this afternoon from his residence and will be attended by a large concourse of friends from far and near.

An excellent sketch of Mr. Bocock as a citizen and statesman, by Mr. C. W. Button, of this city, who was for years, his intimate friend, will be found on the editorial page.

Unfortunately, I have only a transcription of the obituary.  We will have to imagine the “excellent sketch” of Thomas S. Bocock.

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For more about Thomas S. Bocock, click on these links:

Buckingham Notables: Thomas S. Bocock

Buckingham Notables: Thomas S. Bocock (Fire at the Virginia State Capitol)

 

 

May 20, 2020 / Joanne Yeck

Snowden: A Bird’s Eye View

Take a trip to Peter Jefferson’s Snowdon and the Horseshoe Bend in the James River courtesy of Chase Richards.

You can learn more about the origins of the plantation in my newest book, Peter Jefferson’s Snowden: A History of Settlement at the Horseshoe Bend.