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May 22, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Extreme Weather in Buckingham County

Courtesy Historic Buckingham

Extreme weather is nothing new.  In Buckingham County, heavy rains not only adversely affected farmers but also halted work in the famous slate quarries.  On August 23, 1928, Charlottesville’s Daily Progress reported this from New Canton, Buckingham County:


New Canton, Va., Aug. 19. — A terrific and long continued thunderstorm visited this section at 6 o’clock yesterday afternoon, bringing 3 inches of precipitation—an amount unequaled in a thunderstorm in several years. All upper and sloping lands were badly washed, including fields of growing crops, and low lands were completely inundated. There was little wind, but much lightning, though so far as can be ascertained no buildings were struck.

Today beginning at 10 o’clock, it has been raining steadily, and indications are that it will continue through the night. Farmers are afraid that tobacco will be drowned on the hill and corn on the river bottoms ruined. Growers in the well-known Davidson section of Buckingham are beginning to cut tobacco, which is magnificent as to quality, and quantity. Indications are that by September 10 the entire crop in this portion of central Virginia will be ripe or harvested.

On account of the heavy rains work has been temporarily suspended in the Arvonia slate quarries, and the force building the iron bridge across James River at Bremo is idle. All section forces are kept on the rush, looking after the tracks of the James River Division, the Virginia Air Line and the Buckingham branch, all of which tracks have been badly washed them places.

May 18, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Land For Sale in Buckingham County

Broadsides are wonderful time capsules of Virginia history, though, few survive.  Even more ephemeral than newspapers, broadsides were handed out in crowds or tacked up by courthouse doors prior to an estate or land auction.  They announced a wide variety of events of public interest, such as the limited availability of a stud horse in the county or an upcoming performance by Buckingham-born humorist George W. Bagby.

Online, at Virginia Memory, the Library of Virginia has made available over 1,200 images in the “Broadside Collection.”

The collection makes for fun browsing on a rainy afternoon!

May 15, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Runaway Slave Davy


In early 1850, Elisha Robertson of Buckingham County advertised in the Richmond Enquirer for a runaway slave named Davy.  Scars and an unusual smile were his distinguishing features.


RANAWAY from the subscriber on the 14th day of November last, a man named DAVY.  He is of a brown color, with a small scar on his forehead, and a scar on one of his anckles (sic), and about 5 feet, 8 or 9 inches high.  He is plain spoken and shows his gums when he laughs with wide upper teeth.  I will give the above reward if taken out of the county and secured in jail so that I get him again; or $15 if taken in the county.  Davy is probably about Lynchburg, on some of the mountain boats.  I understand he was seen in Lynchburg some few weeks ago.


Near Diana Mills, Buckingham county, Va.

Jan 29.

Runaway slave advertisements offer a unique window into the life of American slaves.  For more examples, search runaway at Slate River Ramblings.  In addition to Runaway Slave advertisements, enjoy the unusual post: “Runaway Wife.”

May 11, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Elisha Z. Robertson, CSA

Elisha Z. Robertson headstone.  Photo by Jeremy Winfrey.

In addition to posting a photo of Elisha Z. Robertson’s headstone at Find-A-Grave, Slate River Ramblings reader Jeremy Winfrey has surveyed the Robertson family cemetery.

Elisha Z. Robertson (1830–1910) was the son of Elisha Robertson (1794–1871) and Mary Maxey Robertson (1795–1876).  His wife was Virginia (Bagby) Robertson (1837–1903).

The post at Find-A-Grave includes several hotlinks for other headstones in the Robertson family cemetery at Ransons, Buckingham County.  The family included:

 Siblings of Elisha Z. Robertson:

Elizabeth M Robertson (1823–1897)

Martha May Robertson (1824–1864)

George Edward Robertson (1826–1890)

Robert Nathan Robertson (1828–1878)

Amy Esther Robertson (1832–1895)

Mary Ellen Robertson (1837–1854)

Judith Catherine (Robertson) Winfrey (1838–1915)

Click here to see Elisha Z. Robertson’s headstone at Find-A-Grave.

Click here for more about the Robertson Family Cemetery.

Click here to view the Headstone Application for Elisha Z. Robertson.

Thanks to Jeremy for this and other posts at Find-A-Grave.

May 8, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

CSA Headstone


Headstone Application for U. S. Military Veterans

Elisha Z. Robertson was a neighbor of my Woodson family on Muddy Creek, in the Slate River District of Buckingham County. He served as a private in D-56 Company, in the Virginia Infantry, during the War Between the States.  Note that Robertson died in in 1910, however, because the application for his headstone was made in 1934, it is included in the searchable database available at

Click here for more information: U.S., Headstone Applications for Military Veterans, 1925-1963

Many thanks to Jeremy Winfrey for this unusual document.


May 4, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

A Prison Story

1860 Federal Census. State Penitentiary. Miletus Scott, carpenter.  Click to enlarge.

In 1869, Richmond’s State Journal printed an unusual story about a Buckingham County resident named Miletus Scott:

A PRISON STORY. – Some time in September, 1852, seventeen years ago, Miletus Scott, a free man of color, was convicted before the county court of Buckingham county of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to 18 years in the Penitentiary. Thirteen of these years he served within the walls of the prison. On the morning of the memorable 3rd of April, 1865, while the fire was at its height, and one army left the city as another entered it, the inmates of the Penitentiary created a blaze of their own, and by its light liberated themselves. Amongst those who went forth was Miletus, who made his way to his old home in Buckingham. There for four years, he worked and supported himself. A few months ago, however, somebody related to Sheriff Davis, of that county, the tale of his conviction and escape. Acting on his sense of duty, the sheriff levied on Scott, and by the aid of a canal boat landed him in the city [Richmond]. The court house and clerk’s office of Buckingham County having been destroyed by fire during the war, the sheriff was unable to bring with the prisoner any documentary evidence of the conviction. Arriving here, he carried Scott to the State’s prison, but a search for the record of his entry into the prison disclose the fact that it had been burned up. The prison officials thereupon refused to receipt for him, and the sheriff informed Scott that he had no further claims upon him, whereupon he proceeded to make himself scarce. The sheriff has now pending before the Auditor of Public Accounts an unliquidated bill for expenses incurred in arresting Scott and bringing him hither. – –

Note: Buckingham County’s courthouse survived the war and was burned in early 1869. If Scott had been back in the county about four years, he must have been apprehended shortly after the courthouse burned.

May 1, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: James M. Logan

Holy Cross Catholic Church, Lynchburg, Virginia. 

Courtesy HABS, Library of Congress.


When James M. Logan of Algoma in Buckingham County married Miss Mary E. McDonald in Lynchburg, Virginia, the announcement was reproduced in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on May 3, 1915.


[Special to The Times-Dispatch.]

LYNCHBURG, VA., May 2. – James M. Logan, manager of the famous “Algoma farm,” in Buckingham County, and Miss Mary E. McDonald, were married yesterday, the ceremony being performed at the rectory of Holy Cross Catholic Church by the pastor, Rev. Edward M. Tearney. The witnesses to the ceremony were R. Colston Blackford and Colonel James A. Scott. The bride was formerly a resident of Chesterfield County, but for some time has been living in North Carolina. The groom is a son of General T. M. Logan, and has been living in Buckingham County for some time. After a brief stay here, Mr. and Mrs. Logan will go to Buckingham to reside.

To learn more about life at the “Famous Algoma,” type Algoma in the search box at Slate River Ramblings and enjoy the results!

April 27, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notable: Mrs. Thomas M. Logan

Algoma. Courtesy Historic Buckingham.

In 1932, Lily Logan Morrill remembered her mother and life at Buckingham County’s Algoma in My Confederate Girlhood, The Memoirs of Kate Virginia Cox Logan:

… [H]ers was a life of work in the highest sense – work always for the happiness of those about her, for life meant to her one round of unselfish service. She was always packing baskets for the poor and sick. Her very worst cold was caught by giving all her warm clothes at once to an old colored woman whose house had been burned down. In the country in those days, that meant waiting several days for a new supply. She never let anybody leave our home, Algoma, hungry for either sympathy or food. No matter how much the cook might grumble, no matter what hour it was of the day or night, visitors of every class had to break their fast. How did she always remember?

And then there were the numberless cousins and friends to stay week after week, a lonely young Englishman – the proverbial younger son, who long afterwards gave his life nobly in the World War – came for a night and remained for three years.

Nor did mother ever forget to consider even the animals in her service. I remember her childish petulance when she made us curtail our trips because our horses might possibly be fatigued.

At Algoma, not only hospitality but everything else was freely dispensed. Watermelons grew easily in our low grounds, but refused to live on the higher rich lands behind our woods. Therefore, mother never considered it fair to sell melons, but divided her surplus among less fortunate neighbors. During August a daily procession came driving, riding or walking up to claim the dearest of dainties to a darkey’s pallet, while the white neighbors from the back country were never far behind.

April 24, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Confederate Girlhood

Kate Virginia (Cox) Logan

In the 1890s, Kate Virginia (Cox) Logan, wife of General Thomas M. Logan of Algoma in Buckingham County, wrote her memories of her youth, shaped by the American Civil War.  In 1932, they were published as My Confederate Girlhood, The Memoirs of Kate Virginia Cox Logan. Her daughter, Lily Logan Morrill, added an epilogue, describing life at Algoma.

According to the review in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the “little volume” (published by Garrett & Massie, Inc.), glorified Kate’s cousins, aunts, and uncles, accompanied by a few choice images. The review notes:

Even in 1890, when the war days were thirty years behind her, she could recall them so clearly that her book is like a glimpse into the mind of a Southern girl of the sixties. She has written, delightfully, of prewar gaieties, of the leisure and life at “Clover Hill,” of the stirring days when ladies spent their time in nursing wounded soldiers back to strength and health. The many Virginia people who knew her on General Logan will value her book for the very real glimpse it gives of herself.*

Charles W. Smith has done a striking and lovely jacket for this little picture of the Old South.

*Clover Hill was located in Chesterfield County, Virginia.

Click here for more about General Logan.

Coming Next: Lily Logan Remembers Her Mother

April 20, 2017 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Houses: Chellow

Chellow. Photo Courtesy Virginia Department of Historic Resources

In 1936, Rosa G. Williams surveyed Chellow for the Virginia Historical Inventory.  At the time, the house stood empty.  The caretaker was a son of a former slave owned by the Hubbard family. Mrs. Williams wrote:

Chellow Plantation is part of a grant of 6,740 acres, originally in Albemarle County, now Buckingham County, Virginia. Patented to Colonel John Bolling, July 20, 1748. Chellow was named for an old English Estate of the Bollings.

The home is a very imposing example of colonial architecture, consisting of ten rooms. You must enter the front by way of a “T” shape hall, to the right as you enter is a large bed room, to the left is a large library or living room, to the center of this hallway is a door leading to a lovely dining room, with French windows, lovely old doors with locks on them that were imported from England with brass keys. A side hall leads to the rear of this house. A lovely wide winding stairway leads to a large upstair hall. In this hall is a built in bookcase with many valuable books. In the center of this hall are double doors leading to an upper porch with French windows on either side of the door. The porch runs about three-fourths of the length of the house.…

The “old kitchen” still stands, but has been restored, it stands in the east corner of the yard. There was once a covered walk way leading from the kitchen to the main house, to protect the food from the weather. The yard is a thing of beauty, it contains two acres and is kept in perfect condition. Many of the old trees still stand, among them is a large oak, twenty odd feet in circumference, the sole survivor of the original trees that shaded the spacious lawn.

Aunt Mary Bolling’s garden at Chellow was known through the country as one of the most beautiful of its day, there are still signs of it, some of the old roses still bloom there.

The beautiful situation, the secluded location, the old house spring from which an abundance of crystal water flows, the tall trees, the extensive view, the gorgeous sunset beyond the mountain, the very atmosphere of the place, its history and its traditions, all combine to make Chellow a delightful and restful abode in these days of hurry, worry and painful uncertainty.


On Sunday, 23 April 2017, Historic Buckingham will hold its Spring Membership Meeting at Chellow, which remains a “restful abode in these days of hurry, worry and painful uncertainty.” 

If you are in Buckingham County or environs, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the magnificent Chellow and support Historic Buckingham!