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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 1 



September 1965 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
BuUt in 1880 

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l^(^6^/^7/ Lafayette's Visit To nuvanna County 

November 3, 1824 

General Lafayette arrived in New York in August 1824 
to begin his visit as a guest of the nation. He was then 67 
years old. He had been just twenty when he first came to 
this country, the Marquis de la Fayette, a young French 
nobleman, offering his services to General Washington to 
help secure the independence of the new country. His youth 
and charm attracted General Washington to him, and his 
valor and leadership as a soldier won the General's admira- 
tion. The young man whom the British contemptuously 
called "the boy'* dared to defy Comwallis, Tarleton and other 
British veterans. While his compatriots, under the leader- 
ship of De Grasse, were successfully blocking the harbor at 
Yorktown, he was in the battle on land that resulted in the 
defeat of the British, and the end of the Revolution. He 
was completely devoted to Washington, who loved him as a 
son. Now, with his own son George Washington Lafayette, 
he had returned to visit the country whose independence he 
had helped to secure. 

After a visit in New York and through the New England 
states, Lafayette arrived in Washington and was received 
in the Oval Room of the White House by President Monroe 
on October 12, 1824. A few days later he embarked on a 
steamboat in Alexandria to go to Mount Vernon to pay his 
respects at the grave of George Washington. He was ac- 
companied on this trip by George Washington Parke Custis, 
Washington's step-grandson, who was the father of Mrs. 
R. E. Lee. At the grave of Washington, G. W. P. Custis 
presented General Lafayette with a ring containing a lock 
of Washington's hair. The general said, upon receiving the 
gift: 'The feelings which at this awful moment oppress my 
heart do not leave me the power of utterance. I can only 
thank you, my dear Custis, for your precious gift, and pay 
a silent homage to the tomb of the greatest and best of 
men, my paternal friend." 

Lafayette is described as being at this time "a man of 
extraordinary attractions; in face, much changed within 
thirty years. His complexion, originally clear and white, is 
now simbumt; his forehead, which is very high, is covered 
very low with a wig; but it is still most attractive. So much 



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2 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

sweetness and modesty are blended with steadiness of pur- 
pose and loftiness of sentiment. He appeared in the ordi- 
nary dress of a citizen, black coat and pantaloons, and white 
vest ; five feet ten inches high, and limps a little as he walks. 
All that he says and does is distinguished by a singular 
taste and good sense. He never seems for a moment to 
overstep the modesty of nature- All is fit — all is happy." 

Lafayette continued down the Potomac in the steamboat 
from Mount Vernon and arrived at Yorktown for the celebra- 
tion on October 19th, the anniversary of the surrender in 
1781. This celebration, including parades, ship bombard- 
ments, banquets, transparencies and fireworks, was more 
spectacular than anything most of us have experienced in our 
generation. One of the features of the celebration was a 
breakfast in the tent of General Washington with the old 
comrades who had fought in the Bevolution. In all his 
travels, the meetings with the old soldiers seemed to touch 
Lafayette most. General John Hartwell Cocke met him at 
Yorktown, where the invitation to visit in Fluvanna County 
was extended. 

After Yorktown came the visit to Richmond. Then on 
toward Monticello for a visit of two weeks with his good 
friend, Mr. Jefferson. And since Fluvanna County was on 
the way to Monticello, its people were fortunate enough 
to have a visit from the great hero also. 

So it was that on the third day of November 1824 General 
Cocke and the Rev. Walker Timberlake, and a company of 
fifty or sixty gentlemen, well-mounted and in uniform dress, 
formed an escort for the General through the county. The 
company, under the orders of Captain John G. Miller, had 
assembled at Columbia to await the arrival of the guest and 
conduct him to Wilmington. 

At half after 2 o'clock the General arrived at Columbia 
attended by the Committee of Arrangement from Gooch- 
land and escorted by a handsome troop of cavalry under 
the command of Captain Ferguson. He was met by General 
Cocke and the Rev. Mr. Timberlake, who conducted him, 
his suite and companions to the door of the tavern, where 
John G. Miller was introduced and made to him an address 
which I quote in part: 

"GENERAL LAFAYETTE: We are deputed by the 
citizens of the county of Fluvanna to meet you here, sir, 



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Lafayette's Visit to Fluvanna County S 

and conduct you to the place at which, you have been so 
kind as to say, you will partake of a homely but hospitable 
entertainment which they have cheerfully and diligently 
provided for you. We are charged by them, sir, to greet you 
on this occasion with a warm and hearty welcome, to tender 
their sincere congratulations upon your restoration to a 
people who owe you so much, and who are always ready 
to avail themselves of every opportunity to pay a debt, 
which yet they feel can never be extinguished and to assure 
you of the pleasure which it gives them to hear that you 
come to them in health and comfort, and as they confidently 
hope, in the full enjoyment of that large share of happiness 
which they believe to have been so justly merited by a long 
life of unerring virtue and rectitude of conduct." 

Captain Miller then spoke to him of the recollections of 
the past generation : "We have heard with rapture from their 
lips the tale of noble daring and lofty spirit of high emprise 
that distinguished the young and gallant Marquis when he 
took the cause of strangers and of freedom against a mighty 
and a fearful foe. Most of our progenitors, sir, are gone to 
the world of spirits — ^those mighty men of valour who fol- 
lowed you so often to the field of death and turned not their 
backs in the day of battle, with few exceptions, meet you 
here no more. But they have left us a rich inheritance of 
liberty, and (as intimately allied to it) the sentiment to- 
wards yourself which I have endeavored to describe. . . . 
The independence and happiness which everywhere awaits 
your observation, is in an eminent degree ascribable to your 
own magnanimous efforts in our behalf — ^the influence of 
your own powerful arm and liberal treasures". 

To this address the General replied, in substance, as 
follows: '1 am much gratified, sir, by the attentions which 
the people of Fluvanna County have been pleased to bestow 
upon me. Among all the receptions with which I have been 
honored since I have been in this country, so dear to my 
heart, none has given me more real gratification than the 
kind, friendly and hospitable reception which I meet with 
from the citizens of Fluvanna. You are pleased to advert 
to my services to your country in the hour of her struggle — 
I have only to beg of you, take care of the liberty which 
your fathers have secured to you. Most of them, as you say, 
are gone. Whatever may become of those who remain of 



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4 Fluvanna C!ounty Historical Society 

us, take care of your liberty. Accept my thanks, sir, and 
tender the expression of my gratitude to your fellow- 
citizens." 

The General was then conducted into the tavern where a 
handsome meal had been prepared for him, his companions, 
and the committee from Goochland, by order of the Com- 
mittee of Arrangement of Fluvanna. Mrs. Lee, who arranged 
for the refreshments on this occasion, received much com- 
mendation for the abundant, neat and tasty banquet she 
had provided on only two days' notice. While in Columbia, 
Lafayette, with his escort, was entertained with music by 
Mrs. Anna Pa3me, who was considered a fine pianist. She 
was a great-great aunt of Miss Marion and Miss Frances 
Sadler of Wilmington, and also of Miss Virginia Gay of 
Richmond. The latter still owns the piano used by Mrs. 
Payne. 

The party having been refreshed and many citizens, male 
and female, from the adjacent counties having been intro- 
duced, at half after three o'clock the General and his at- 
tendants set off for Wilmington. The procession reached 
Wilmington at 35 minutes after 4 o'clock. The carriage in 
which the General rode was drawn by stallions of the true 
English Hunter breed and on this occasion they acquitted 
themselves in a maimer worthy of their ancestry, accomplish- 
ing a distance of more than nine miles in an hour and five 
minutes. The carriage used belonged to General Cocke. It 
has since been given to Stratford, the home of Robert E. Lee, 
by Mrs. Forney Johnston, a great grand-daughter of General 
Cocke. It had been used by General and Mrs. Lee, after the 
War, when they lived at "Derwent" in Cumberland County, a 
residence lent to them by Mrs. Elizabeth Randolph Cocke of 
Cumberland County. 

Miss Frances Sadler remembers her grandfather, Con- 
stantine Perkins, telling her about what he remembered of 
the occasion I have described. He was a boy of seven at 
the time of Lafayette's visit. His father, Col. Joseph Stephen 
Perkins, was one of those who escorted Lafayette from 
Columbia to Wilmington. When he left his home at Kents 
Store that morning, he had taken his son, Constantine, up 
on the saddle with him, and had brought him to Wilmington 
where he left him with Constantine's uncle, Joseph Shepherd, 
who ran a store there. This store was near the large brick 

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Lafayette's Visit to Fluvanna County 6 

house that was built in 1822 by Joseph Currin as a tavern 
to acconunodate the stagecoach trade. The store was on the 
same side of the road as the house, and the stable for the 
stagecoach horses was across the road from it. The boy 
Constantine, watching the procession from his uncle's store, 
was impressed by the sheets of mud and wat^ that dripped 
from the carriage wheels, by the procession of guests that 
arrived, and by the sight of the ladies, dressed in their finest 
dresses, being assisted or lifted down gently as they tried to 
avoid the muddy road. This was November, remember. The 
sword which Col. Joseph Stephen Perkins carried on this 
occasion is still in the family, owned now by his great-great- 
grandson, Philip Robinson Sadler. 

Mr. Horatio Bigelow, writing about Currin's house, com- 
mented: "A large room in the basement served as a bar 
where a noggin of rum could refresh the weary traveller 
and dear the dust from his throat. The dining room ad- 
joining furnished added cheer and warmth with its huge 
fireplace which handled six foot logs. Above the bar was 
the parlor lighted by six large windows of eighteen panes 
each. Here, the story runs, one owner told a lass of tender 
years whom he urged to become his second bride, *that all 
she would have to do would be to sit and watch the great 
go by.'" James Currin was Sheriff of the county at that 
time. A notation in the Minute Book of the Court, dated 
May 24, 1824, says, ''James Currin, Sheriff of this county, 
objects to the sufiiciency of the Gaol." He was appointed 
superintendent to erect a new one, and a Court House also. 

Wilmington has several points of historical interest. Not 
only does it have the two historic houses. Cole's Tavern and 
Wilmington House, but it is the site of the first post office 
in the county. The former post office still stands and is in 
reasonably good condition, though it is no longer being used 
as a post office. The post office at Stage Junction, a few 
miles down the road toward Columbia, is not quite as old 
as the one at Wilmington, but it still occupies the original 
building. It is one of the oldest buildings in the country 
that is still used for its original purpose. It is also the 
only post office in the United States with the name of Stage 
Junction. In 1924, when Mr. Henry C. Sadler was post- 
master at Wilmington, a commemorative envelope was 
issued in honor of the anniversary of Lafayette's visit. It 



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6 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

bore this legend: "It was here at Cole's Tavern that Lafay- 
ette was entertained by forty Revolutionary soldiers/' 

The first Baptist organization in the county built a church 
at Wilmington. This was Lyles Church, whose covenant is 
dated 1770. Goshen Church was later organized at a place 
which is now part of Cole's Tavern Farm. 

It was at Cole's Tavern that Lafayette was received when 
he arrived in Wilmington. This handsome old weather- 
boarded house, probably built in pre-Revolutionary times, 
was then owned by Horatio Wills. The Minute Book, in an 
entry dated May 24, 1824, states that "Horatio Wills, hav- 
ing paid a Tax of $18 for a License to keep an ordinary 
at his own home, the said Horatio Wills being a man of 
good character and not addicted to drunkenness or gaining, 
and it being our opinion that he will keep an orderly and 
useful house of entertainment, a License was granted him 
accordingly." 
y I quote the following excerpts from the speech delivered 
by John Timberlake, Jr. in welcoming Lafayette to Wil- 
mington: 

"GENERAL LAFAYETTE: 

In behalf of the citizens of this county, and especially of 
these here assembled with glowing hearts, to welcome your 
visit to our county, I have the honour to tender you the 
expression of their heartfelt joy for your return to, and 
arrival in these United States. On the first notice of your 
having set your feet on American soil, the hearts of this 
immense community were thrilled with emotions of awakened 
love, respect and gratitude towards you: And permit us to 
say that the citizens of this county participate largely in 
those sentiments ; and equally so in the intense anxiety which 
so imiversally prevails, to receive, to welcome and to honour 
you as the nation's best friend in the hour of her deepest 
distress and greatest need ; and in the sincerity of our hearts, 
we beg to be permitted to welcome and to hail you as the 
benefactor of our country and the friend of man. It were 
useless to recite in detail the peculiar circumstances under 
which you so gallantly quit your native land and flew to the 
aid of this then infant country; in the darkest and most 
perilous hour of her struggle for liberty and independence; 
or to dwell upon the infinite value of the services, which you. 



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Lafayette's Visit to Fluvanna County 7 

as the companion in arms of the illustrious leader of our ^ 
armies and the father of his country, then rendered us in 
bringing to a happy issue that unequal contest with a gigantic 
foe. . . . Yes, General, when the names of the principal 
actors in that eventful struggle and in those 'times which 
tried men's souls' shall cease to be remembered and revered, 
then indeed, will true liberty cease to have a friend on this 
globe. . . . Accept, dear General, the further tender of our 
sincere wishes that your future life may be as blissful as 
the past has been virtuous and noble." 

To this address the General made a warm and feeling 
reply, full of expressions of gratification and thanks for the 
attentions paid him by the people. He was conducted to 
chambers prepared for his accommodation, passing between 
two lines of citizens extending from the house a distance of 
a hundred yards into the open ground in front of it. All of 
them respectfully saluted him, some with an ardor and 
sensibility highly honorable to the best feeling of the human 
heart. These lines of citizens were terminated at the door 
by upwards of thirty revolutionary soldiers, many of whom 
had served imder Lafayette throughout his Virginia cam- 
paign and in other parts of America. They had been invited 
by the Committee of Arrangement to meet their old General 
on this occasion. These old veterans were individually in- 
troduced, and a scene ensued which filled the bosoms of 
hundreds of younger men who stood around, with ardent and 
intense emotion; the quick, close grasp, the reluctant yield- 
ing of the hand, the swimming eye which had not, perhaps, 
been moistened for years, the tears that flowed freely down 
the furrowed face, the earnest prayers to heaven for a con- 
tinuance of its smiles upon a great benefactor — ^these inci- 
dents themselves spoke in melting tones to the stoutest heart. 
But they cannot be described. General Lafayette having, 
with his suite, partaken of suitable refreshments, was con- 
ducted to the drawing room, in which he found a large assem- 
blage of ladies, to each of whom he was introduced. Here he 
seemed, indeed, delighting and delighted, but the scene was 
of too short a duration. When dinner was said to be ready 
and Lafayette was about to separate from his female friends, 
his attention was arrested by the first words of the following 
valedictory lines, composed for the occasion by Mrs. Cary, 
and sung by several ladies with fine effect: 

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8 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

Tune— TAMWORTH, a Sacred Piece 

Hear us! Hear us; e'er, then leave us, 
Take our lingering, long farewell; 
Thou who erst did'st aid to give us. 
All the joys we now can tell. 

Veteran hero ! Friend of freedom ! 

In our hearts, thou'lt ever dwell. 
May the richest boon of heaven, 
Pay thee for the good thou'st done; 
And to us may it be given. 
To behold thy setting sun, 

Veteran hero ! Friend of freedom ! 

Taste the fruits thy valour won. 
Leave no more these peerless mountains. 
Every hearth's a home for thee ; 
All these plains, these chrystal fountains. 
All, are fraught with Liberty. 

Veteran hero! Friend of freedom! 

Rest thee with the brave and free. 
But if thou hast left behind thee. 
Ties too tender thus to tear; 
Let these grateful tears remind thee 
That our prayers are with thee there. 

Veteran hero ! Friend of Freedom ! 

May thy downward path be fair. 

The old General's eyes were observed to fill with tears as 
he courteously and repeatedly tendered his earnest thanks to 
the ladies for the honors which they did him. At half past 6 
o'clock, a company of more than one hundred and twenty 
persons sat down to the dinner table. This was in the 
orchard to the west of the house, where there are still a 
few fruit trees. Mr. Horatio Wills arranged for this enter- 
tainment. Everything the country affords was furnished in 
abimdance, and served up in a style and manner entirely 
satisfactory. Mr. C. 0. Perkins told his granddaughter. Miss 
Frances Sadler, that the forty or so Fluvanna veterans of 
the Revolution gave the dinner for Lafayette. The General 
appeared to be in fine health and spirits, and imparted good 
humour, joy and gladness to all around him. General Cocke 
presided, assisted by John G. Miller and John Timberlake, Jr. 

After the company had dined came the toasts! And they 



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Lafayette's Visit to Fluvanna CtouNTY 9 

were many, about thirty-seven of them recorded. Here are 
a few: 

*The American Revolution — ^the sun in the firmament of 

history." 
"George Washin^on." 

^Thomas Jefferson — ^the lamp that lighted our land to 
liberty and glory — ^it bums bright to the socket." (Upon 
hearing this sentiment, Lafayette expressed much gratifica- 
tion and delight.) 

^TThe 19th day of April, 1777, he (Lafayette) came 
The young, the brave, the free. 
To fight for stranger's liberty." 

The Greneral having expressed his thanks to the company 
gave these toasts: 

"The County of Fluvanna and Mechunk Creek — ^where 
upper and lower Virginians rendevoused to show the enemy 
the road to Yorktown." 

"The French people— brave, generous and enlightened — 
they deserve to be happy." 

'The republics of South America — ^they have won their 
liberty with the price of blood — ^may they use it wisely." 

The set toasts having been drunk, Greneral Lafayette at- 
tended by the Committee of Arrangement retired to his 
chamber. Then John G. Miller was invited to preside and 
George Stillman, Esq. to act as Vice President, and many 
more toasts were given by other prominent citizens: Col. 
Barret G. Pajme, George M. Pajme, Esq., Colonel Strange, 
Capt. Peter Guerrant, Dr. Wills, Dr. Jones, Captain Pettit, 
Mr. W. M. Gary, Mr. W. Key, and Mr. H. Wills. 

In the course of the evening 'TLafayette in Fluvanna," a 
song to the tune of "Auld Lang Sjme" was sung by many of 
the company with much animation and spirit. 

Much of this material is from "The Richmond Enquirer," 
edition of Nov. 12, 1824, which carried a detailed account of 
Lafayette's visit to the county. The article does not mention 
the ball held on the evening of Nov. 3rd at Wilmington House, 
but that such a baU took place is a tradition that has been 
handed down for generations by word of mouth. 

Wts. Kate McGehee, a Fluvanna resident for many years, 
has a more-than-average interest in Lafayette. Her great- 



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10 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

great-grandfather was the celebrated hero of the Revolution, 
Peter Francisco, "The Giant from Virginia", noted for his 
great strength. It was at Brandywine, where Lafayette first 
saw service, that he and Peter Francisco were both injured. 
These two young soldiers, twenty and sixteen years old 
respectively, were nursed back to health in a Quaker home 
in Pennsylvania. Then and there a strong friendship was 
formed between the Marquis and the private soldier — 
a friendship which endured through the Revolution and was 
never broken. Peter Francisco was present when the sur- 
render at Yorktown took place and he made a trip to Rich- 
mond with Lafayette soon thereafter. He was with Lafayette, 
passing St. John's Church, when he met the girl he later 
married. In fact, he caught her as she tripped and would 
have fallen but for his arm thrust out to catch her. Lafay- 
ette, seeing Francisco's longing glance at the fair girl, said 
laughingly, "Peter, promise me to give my name to one of 
your descendants, whether the eyes be blue like hers or black 
like yours." "Yes" answered Francisco, "Unless me she doth 
deny." And true to his word, his first son was named Robert 
Lafayette. 

In 1824 when Lafayette came to Richmond, Francisco set 
out on horseback to meet his old friend and there in Rich- 
mond they greeted each other with an affectionate embrace. 
By request of (Jeneral Lafayette, his old comrade in arms 
was made one of his special escort for the entire trip. He was 
present when the ship "Brandywine" was ready to set sail 
for France, carrying Lafayette back home. 

But to get back to Wilmington — General Lafayette, his 
suite and companions, set out on Tuesday morning, Novem- 
ber 4th, a few minutes before 10 o'clock, accompanied by 
General Cocke, Colonel Gary, Colonel Strange, Captain Winn, 
Captain Magruder, Dr. Wills, Dr. Miller, Dr. Lewis, and Mr. 
George Stillman of the Conamittee. He was escorted also by 
the company of gentlemen which had attended him from 
Columbia, and arrived at Mrs. Boyd's in Albemarle, a distance 
of sixteen miles, a little after 12 o'clock. Here he took an 
affectionate and affecting farewell of his Fluvanna friends 
and set off for Monticello attended by a Committee from 
Albemarle and the Albemarle company of Fayette Guards. 
He was followed by the good wishes of everyone he left be- 
hind and by prayers for his health and happiness. To quote 



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Lafayette's Visit to Fluvanna County 11 

*The Richmond Enquirer", 'The presence of La Fayette 
among us has afforded a season of unbounded joy — ^the live- 
liest affections of the breast awakened — all the spirits high 
and buoyant — patriotism and friendship and gratitude on 
tiptoe. The time passed away as on the wings of the morn- 
ing — ^but many years will not remove the impressions which 
remain." 

Lafayette's two-week visit to his dear friend Jefferson was 
probably the happiest and most restful part of his visit to 
this coimtry. James Madison was a frequent companion at 
Monticello. Lafayette continued his journey through Gor- 
donsviUe, Orange and Fredericksburg, and reached Wash- 
ington again about November 22nd. He stayed there until 
after George Washington's birthday, then started the 
**triimiphal" tour through the South. After that, he jour- 
neyed through Pennsylvania and had some rugged travel 
in the Western states, including a shipwreck on the Ohio 
river on May 8th. He was in Boston on June 17th for the 
Bunker Hill Anniversary, where there was an address by 
Daniel Webster. He continued as far as Maine, then back 
to New York, Philadelphia and Washington. He visited 
Jefferson and Madison again in August 1825. 

On September 7th, when he left Washington, a general 
holiday was declared. He embarked on the steamship ^"Mount 
Vernon" and was accompanied to the frigate "Brandywine" 
by the Secretary of the Navy and a committee. As the 
steamship descended the Potomac with the General and his 
escort, Lafayette waved a farewell to the home of Wash- 
ington. On September 9th he boarded the '^Brandjrwine" for 
the voyage back to France. 

In all the accounts of his tour of this country, including 
his visit to Fluvanna, what impresses the reader most is 
what a vital and present and glorious thing their liberty 
and independence was to these people, who had not many 
years before fought and died to win it. As Lafayette said 
in Wilmington, '1 have only to beg of you, take care of the 
liberty which your fathers have secured to you. Most of 
them, as you say, are gone. Whatever may become of those 
who remain of us — ^take care of your liberty." 

Nancy Bercaw 

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MRS. LEE'S VISIT TO BREMO 

November 1865 

One hundred years ago this November, the private canal- 
boat of Colonel Ellis, president of the James Biver and 
Kanawha Canal Company, stopped at the canal landing of 
Bremo plantation, the seat of Dr. Cary Charles Cocke. The 
boat was carrying a most important passenger, Mrs. Robert 
E. Lee, who was making one of her last visits to the Cocke 
family at "Bremo," on her way to join General Lee in Lexing- 
ton. The General, two months previously, had accepted the 
Presidency of Washington College. 

Colonel Ellis's boat had enabled Mrs. Lee to reach Bremo 
with great ease and comfort. "It was", wrote R. E. Lee, Jr, 
afterwards, "well fitted up with sleeping accomodations, 
carried a cook, and had a dining-room. It corresponded to 
the private car of the present railroad magnate, and, though 
not so sumptuous, was more roomy and comfortable. When 
provisions were scarce we purchased fresh supplies from 
any farm-house near the canal-bank, tied up at night, and 
made about four miles an hour during the day. It was slow 
but sure and no mode of travel, even at the present day, could 
have suited my mother better. She was a great invalid from 
rheumatism, and had to be lifted whenever she moved. When 
put in her wheel-chair she could propel herself on a level 
floor, or could move about her room very slowly and with 
great difficulty on her crutches, but she was always bright, 
sunny-tempered, and uncomplaining, constantly occupied 
with her books, letters, knitting, and painting, for the last 
of which she had great talent". 

It was in the first week of November that Mrs. Lee, her 
son, Rob, and her daughters Mildred and Agnes, and perhaps 
the pet chickens, arrived at Bremo. The General had previously 
written to Mildred : "I do not know what you will do with your 
chickens, unless you take them to Bremo, and thus bring them 
here. I suppose Robert would not eat Laura Chilton and Dofia 
Ella McKay; still less would he devour his sister Mildred". 

Mrs. Lee, on this trip, in returning to the house where she 
had visited before, was returning also to her room (known 
even now, as Mrs. Lee's room), and to her bed. For Dr. 
Cocke, some years earlier had had made for her a bed es- 



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Mrs. Lee's Visit to Beemo 13 

pedally designed for her convenience. And it was here at 
Bremo that, during the war, Mrs. Lee had found some de- 
gree of peace and solace. A nostalgic reference to war-time 
visits by Mrs. Lee to Bremo is contained in the following in- 
teresting letter written by her to Dr. Arthur Lee Brent, the 
owner of Bremo Recess, shortly after the end of the war : 

"Richmond, Virginia, May 30, 1865 
I am afraid you will think my dear Doctor that I am very 
urgent on the subject of Recess but as the time approaches so 
nearly for us to leave town I am anxious to secure a house for 
the summer especially as it is so inconvenient for me to move 
about. Should Judge Baker succeed in recovering his house in 
time for our removal I do not know of any place that I should 
like so well as Recess but I would not have him know that I 
was anxious to get there as it is only in case of his removal 
that I would expect to get it. Will you be kind enough to let 
me know what is in the house and what it would be necessary 
for me to take up if I get there. I have bed linen and table 
linen which of course I will take with me, my knives and forks 
and my silver. I could also take my crockery both for the table 
and chambers. But as that is a troublesome thing to move 
about with, will you let me know what amount of it is in the 
House and what it would be necessary for me to take up. Also 
of the kitchen furniture and whether I could hire a cook from 
you some one that could cook and assist in the washing. I must 
also premise that we shall certainly expect to pay you some 
rent for the House. We may not require it longer than 4 to 5 
months as our future seems still unsettled. I hope Mrs. Lee 
Brent is improving by this time and am very glad to learn 
that the fruit I sent was grateful to her. The General and the 
girls unite in kind regards to you and your family. 

Believe me yrs most truly 
M. C. Lee" 
The foregoing letter is in the possession of Mr. Phillip 
B. Campbell and hangs, framed, on the wall of the parlor at 
Bremo Recess. 

The Lee family stayed at Bremo through November of 
1865. Then, again through the kindness of Colonel Ellis, ar- 
rangements were made for the departure to Lexington on 
the Colonel's private boat. General Lee, unaware of these 
special arrangements, had written as follows; 



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14 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

"Lexington, Virginia, November 30, 1865 
My dear Mary, I am much disappointed that you did not 
arrive on the boat last night, as you had determined when 
you wrote Saturday, to take the boat as it passed on Tuesday. 
I fear you are prevented either by the indisposition of your- 
self or of Robert. . . . This is a bright and beautiful morn- 
ing, and there is no indication of a change of weather, but 
the season is very uncertain, and snow and ice may be upon 
us any day. I think you had better come now the first op- 
portunity. Give my kind regards to all at *Bremo'. Custis 
is well and went with me to the boat to meet you this morn- 
ing. The boat stops one and one-quarter miles from town. 
Remain aboard imtil we come. . . " 

So the visit to Bremo came to its end and Mrs. Lee, Robert, 
and Mildred set out for Lexington. Agnes left directly from 
Bremo for Richmond, where she was to attend the wedding of 
her friend. Miss Warwick. On the morning of December 2nd, 
they arrived in Lexington. General Lee, on Traveller, was there 
to meet them and, putting them in a carriage, escorted them to 
their new home. The War-chapter was finished and a new life 
had begun. And the frequent visits to Bremo were almost at 
an end, too. It was a long farewell said between friends, as 
Mrs. Lee was not to return to Bremo until June 1870, only a 
few months before the General's death. 

E. H. Lacy Jr. 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 to 
collect and preserve manuscripts and other documents re- 
lating to the history of Fluvanna Coimty in Virginia; to 
maintain the Old Stone Jail at the county seat, Palmjn:^, as 
a museum where antiquities of the county may be exhibited ; 
and to encourage historical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. An- 
nual dues are $1.00; a life n^embership costs $25.00. A 
bulletin will be published twice a year, to be distributed for 
fifty cents a copy. Readers are requested to contribute any 
information of historical interest they may have or may be 
able to obtain. The Society will endeavor to publish as much 
of this information as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: The Editor, 
Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palmyra, Virginia. 



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GLEANINGS OF 
FLUVANNA HISTORY 



Taken from thb 

Notes for Talk to 

THE FLUVANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

At Cole's Tavern 

Wilmington, Virginia 

September 19, 1965 



EDWIN COX 



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The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 
1964 to collect and preserve manuscripts and other 
documents relating to the history of Fluvanna County 
in Virginia; to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the 
county seat» Palmjrra, as a museum where antiquities 
of the county may be exhibited ; and to encourage his- 
torical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. 
Annual dues are $1.50 ; a life membership costs $25.00. 
A bulletin will be published twice a year. Readers are 
requested to contribute any information of historical 
interest they may have or may be able to obtain. The 
Society will endeavor to publish as much of this infor- 
mation as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: The 
Editor, Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palmyra, 
Virginia. 



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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

On September 19, 1965, the Fluvanna Historical Society met 
at Cole's Tavern, with General Edwin Cox as the guest 
speaker. General Cox had been asked to give a '^running ac- 
count^' of the history of the county, all of which he did under 
the title of "Gleanings of Fluvanna History/' 

So successful was this speech that many of those who heard 
it clamored for copies but there were no copies — only "a book 
full of notes/' If only we had made a tape-recording ! 

Realizing the importance for future historians interested in 
this material, we felt it should be published, and asked per- 
mission of General Cox to put his notes witii his references 
into a form for publication in the 1966 issue of The Bulletin. 
He most generously agreed to this request. 

We regret not having the literary skills with which we 
might have put into writing the brilliance of the speech as de- 
livered, but we can hope that these printed *T)are bones" will 
provide for our readers interesting information, some amusing 
^side-lights" as well as a degree of pride and pleasure in our 
'Tluvanna past." 

We herewith present the "edited notes" of General Cox's 
speech, and wish to acknowledge the gratitude of the Fluvanna 
Historical Society for the use of this material. 

The Editor 



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INTRODUCTION OF THE SPBAKEB 

BY 
NANCY BBRCAW 

General Edwin Cox was bom in Richmond, Virginia and 
is a dMinguished graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. 
He is a chemist, a chemical engineer and a farmer. He is a 
m^Diber of the Executive Committee of The Virginia His- 
torical Society, and a former chairman of the Board of The 
Virginia State Library. General Cox lives now at Holly Hill 
in King & Queen County, Virginia. 

He is connected with Fluvanna County through descent 
from early land patentees — ^Randolph, Cocke and Cary — and 
primarily through his wife, Virginia De Mott, granddaughter 
of Virginia Snead of Fork Union (Mrs. William E. Hatcher) 
and reviser of her grandmother's book, ''Sneads of Fluvanna''. 



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INDEX 

Pages 

Geology & Geography 1 

First Families of Fluvanna 3 

Metes and Bounds 4 

Settlement of Fluvanna 6 

First Settlers 8 

The Revolution 12 

Other Aspects of the Revolution 15 

1781 17 

Peace and Prosperity — and Depressions 20 

The War of 1812 28 

The Depressionr-The Panic of 1819 24 

'TBefore The War*' 26 

The Civil War Period 29 

Long Years 1865—1870 88 

Three Decades— 1870— 1900 84 

The Twentieth Century 86 

References 89 



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of FhiTanna History 



INTRODUCTION 

The Commonwealth of Virginia is fortunate that another 
local Historical Society has come into being. Democracy has 
to rest on sound foundations. Virginia gave to these United 
States certain principles of government. These principles are 
based on the local governments, the hustings and the hundreds. 
Without these bases the mass of government inevitably be- 
comes totalitarian, and by sheer weight topples, and democracy 
will fall. Preservation of our heritage, revealed by history, will 
help to preserve these principles. 

Also, there is much pleasure to be had in fitting together 
historical bits and pieces. Fact will be found to be more inter- 
esting than fiction. Perhaps you will find that ''Grandma's 
knee is a nice, cozy place to leam about goblins and ghosts; 
even Santa Claus. But if s a mighly poor place to leam his- 
tory.'* 

Glean is a good old Angle-Saxon word meaning to gather 
scattered 'l>its'' — and I have gleaned through eighly-nine ref- 
erence works to gather what information I may be aUe to give 
you today. Dr. Samuel Johnson once commented, 'Ifany a 
fool will go through a whole library to write one book.'' No, I 
have not written a book (are you relieved?), only a book full 
of notes from which I will speak today in an endeavor to 
briefly review the one hundred eighty-eight years of Fluvanna 
history. 



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GEOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY 

"Old Fluvanna*' ia truly old, rivalling the oldest of exposed 
land masses. Its geology and geography determined its his- 
tory. The Wissahickon (good Indian word) schist (a metamor- 
phic crystalline rock) is over 400,000,000 years in age and 
forms Fluvanna bed rock. It was old when the Blue Ridge 
was pushed up, and when the Alleghenies were under the sea. 
A few years later 800,000,000 years or so, a granite eictrusion 
pushed up through the schist, that is now called Coluinbitm 
granite (which takes its name from the Fluvanna site, 
Ck>lumbia.) Just west of Fluvanna there was a volcanic ex- 
trusion, stretching from southwest to northeast, that formed 
the greenstone belt. Some milDion years later in the Ordovician 
period there was formed a narrow lake (at about the present 
site of Bremo), dammed by the granite wall on the east and 
by the slate wall at Big Rock — ^now Bremo Bluff. The sediment 
in this trench-like lake was clay and through many years of 
metamorphosis formed the slate bed that stretches into the 
soutiiem part of the county. These rocks are our oldest ''writ- 
ten" records. 

The schists and granite rocks were eroded over the millions 
of years and the soils that formed were tiie red and yellow 
Podzolic types. Through these years there was heavy erosion 
— ^more severe than in other parts of the i^ysiographic prov- 
inces now making up Virginia. Only along the stream courses 
did the alluvium from the up-stream lands maintain a high 
fertility. 

The junction of the branches of the James at Point of Fork 
is where the streams broke through the granite barrier. Here 
the Rivanna (North Fork) joined the Fluvanna (South Fork) . 
The James River was called the Main, Powhatan or James only 
east of this point in Colonial days. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 
1783: "This river is called in the maps James River only to 
its confluence with the Rivanna; thence to the Blue Ridge it 
is called the Fluvanna; and thence to its source, Jackson's 
River. But in common speech it is called James River to its 
source.'* (in the Alleghenies) 



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The plane of Fluvanna is tilted. Most of its area is drained 
Iqr the Rivanna» but in the southwest mainly by the Hardware 
(and that name goes back to the ITSlXs), and in the tilted 
east mainly by the Byrd Creek (River) • As seen from the air, 
the geological and geographical picture is quite dear. All of 
the names now in use appear on the Jefferson and Fry Map of 
1766, except the James which was then called the Fluvanna. 



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FIRST FAMILIES OF FLUVANNA 

We know these true F.F.F/S mainly by artifacts. We do 
know that about two to three generations before the English 
arrived, western Indians displaced the earlier settlers. These 
^"new comers'' were termed by the Algonquins, Souian, (mean- 
ing simply 'foreign language'') . Where the Rivanna joined the 
Fluvanna was their center or '"Rassawek". They were called 
Monacans or ''diggingstick" people— probably a term of de- 
rision. 

Some archeological studies have been made, and work done 
in this area, with some of the resulting artifacts being now in 
the possession of the Valentine Museum in Richmond. But we 
know all too little about the Monacans. Their strength was 
estimated at 1500 in 1607-1610 ; f eU to 100 by 1669 ; and before 
1700, they were nearly all gone. There is a single reference to 
the Indians in the records of the settlement of Fluvannar-« 
land patent in 1751 describing land at the head of Bremo 
Creek: 'The line ran up to the head of the branch that 
(where) the Indian shot John Lawson at" 

The recorded history makes no reference to Indian fighting 
in the County. The Monacans had silently departed before set- 
tlement by the white man had begun. 



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METES AND BOUNDS 

In 1632, the original four Virginia "corporations" or cities, 
(Elizabeth City, James City, Charles City, Henry City) be- 
came shires or counties, containing varying numbers of Par- 
ishes, each Parish being divided into precincts that were not 
only ecclesiastical but political units as welL The "county 
ancestry*' of Fluvanna is: Henrico (Henry City), the original 
corporation; Groochland erected in 1728, Albemarle in 1744, 
and Fluvanna was made a county in 1777 by act of the House 
of Delegates, of the independent Commonwealth of Virginia* 

The first political unit comprising Fluvanna was St James 
Parish of Henrico. It was in 1720, more than a hundred years 
after Jamestown before there was a political unit other than 
the original county or parish from which Fluvanna descended* 
In that year St. James Parish was created from the western 
part of Henrico. This new Parish, for a brief time, extended 
indefinitely westward — ^to the Western Sea, as was sometimes 
said. 

When Albemarle was formed, what is now Fluvanna came 
into the new parish of St. Anne's, in which it remained until 
the new county of Fluvanna was created and then the names 
were taken — ^Fluvanna for the County and Rivanna for the 
Parish. These names were for the Rivers and not in any way 
for Queen Anne of England. In 1777, it was not the spirit of 
the Virginia Revolutionary to memorialize British Royalty. 

In that year (1777) the General Assembly created two other 
new Virginia Counties; Powhatan (like Fluvanna), cut off 
from the eastern section of its parent, Cumberland, and 
Henry, named for the then governor, Patrick Henry. The 
previous Greneral Assembly (1776) had created the counties of 
Ohio, Yohogania, Monongalia and Kentucky. The next Greneral 
Assembly erected the Virginia County of Illinois. 

Fluvanna boundaries were ably surveyed. Major William 
Mayo of Goochland, who surveyed the Virginia-North Carolina 
line, and laid out the towns of Richmond and Petersburg, ran 
the north boundary of Louisa-Goochland, and later extended it 
The Goochland-Albemarle line was clearly fixed — ^''line north 



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30 degrees east extending from the Point of Fork to the Louisa 
County line/' This line is now the eastern boundary of Flu- 
vanna County. 

The line on the northwest comer required an adjustment 
around Mechunk Creek, as the western boundary of Louisa. 
With the able surveyors Mayo, Fry, and Peter Jefferson, one 
can be sure this was exact. When Fluvanna was separated 
from Albemarle, the line was described as ''beginning at the 
most western point on the line of Louisa County and then 
running directly to the lower edge of Scott's Ferry on the Flu- 
vanna River.'' There was no allowance for any geographical 
anomaly. It was to be a straight line, which would bisect 
Scottsville. It is entirely by chance that the western boundary 
so closely parallels the eastern boundary at north SO degrees 
east 

In 1784, the Parish as a political unit was abolished. The 
County Court took over the Parish functions. The "precinct" 
was a land unit It was not a voting unit until a later Con- 
stitution. These Metes and Bounds continued until the Under- 
wood Convention and Constitution of 1868 which did away 
with the proven Virginia system of County Courts, established 
Townships, and set up a new form of County Government 
When the 1868 Constitution was finally ratified, the townships 
were Columbia, Palmyra, Fork Union, and Cunningham and 
these became later the present magisterial districts. The Board 
of Supervisors, popularly elected, replaced tiie County Court. 



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SETTLEMENT OF FLUVANNA 

The popular concept that the settlement of new lands west 
of the Fall Line was by the rugged independent individualist^ 
clearing his own small patches, is contrary to history. It is a 
legend, as is the columned antebellum homes surrounded by 
magnolias and plentiful slave labor, and service of juleps on 
viiie-covered porches. 

The first explorers up the James, the Fluvanna and Rivanna 
rivers are not recorded, excepting Captain Newport in 1607. 
The disappearance of the Indians had been recorded, and there 
being no Indian population, tiiere was no trade nor trading 
posts; also, tiiere was no land patented. In 1700, the Huguenot 
settlement was the upper river limit, and no Indian trouble 
occurred there. 

In the first half of the eighteenth century, Virginia popula- 
tion increased fourfold — 58,000 to 280,000. Then came the 
westward push and treaties were made with the Western 
Indians, which they more honorably observed than did the 
colonists. 

New land policies had been established by Governors Spotts- 
wood, Drsrsdale and Gooch. Bather than individual patents of 
"50 acres per headright'', the system now allowed the receiv- 
ing of '"headrights'' by the payment of five shillings to the 
Colonial treasury. Thus, large patents were issued to planters 
who had the resources to establish settlements into the Pied- 
mont and across the Blue Bidge. With such patents, these in- 
dividuals undertook the responsibility for settlement. But for 
many years, there was friction between these "land specula^ 
tors'* and the colonial government. "Speculator*' is a mislead- 
ing name in today's semantics. These colonial grantees were 
what today would be called "real-estate developers." They 
took land in wholesale quantities, made the essential initial 
investments — ^mills, "paths", glebes — and then resold, bring- 
ing in new settlers, hopefullly at a profit. Inevitably, many 
lost at this game. But most of these Tidewater Virginians 
knew the requirements and were skilled in the business. Gov- 
ernor Gooch defended the advantages of this system : "Where 
the greatest tracts have been granted and possessed encour- 
agement has thereby been given to the meaner sort of people 

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to seat themselves as it were under the shade and protection 
of the greater/' Risks were financial rather than physical. 
The Indians were gone. '"Beasts'' were limited to a few wolves, 
tiiat, rather than a tiireat, were a source of income through 
bounties. Probably many a gray fox was classed as a wolf to 
secure the bounty. 

There were no "'grants from the King". In Virginia, that 
troublesome device was limited to the Northern Neck and its 
Proprietary, which grant, by Charles II, had been bitterly con- 
tested. No right was cherished more by Virginia's General 
Assembly than the privilege of controlling land-ownership. 
Any title under a King's grant south of the Rappahannock is 
probably void. It is as un-Virginian as sugar in batterbread. 

Patent books show the way in which the land was taken up. 
The families most interested in developing the Fluvanna and 
Rivanna lands seemed to have been those seated below the 
Falls and on the Curies of the James. Nearly half of the pat- 
entees were first or second cousins. They picked the rich lands 
along the streams. Mapping these land patents — and then fill- 
ing in the gaps— is most interestilig. 

In the northwest of what is now Fluvanna county, there 
were patentees from the Rappahannock some of whom were al- 
so pushing into the Valley, which was being settled even be- 
fore the Rivanna and Fluvanna country because of popula- 
tion pressure. The 20 square mile grant to Nicholas Meri- 
weather on the Rappahannock included part of Mechunk 
Creek. Descendants and kinsmen and neighbors of William 
Randolph and Mary Isham— <^ed the Adam and Eve of Vir- 
ginia — ^pushed up the Fluvanna and Rivanna. The two largest 
first patentees were brothers-in-law — Cary and Cocke. Others 
foDowed: '^oUings", "Carters", "Eppes", "Pages", "Carys". 
In many instances, bujdng land rather than patenting it, was 
simpler and maybe cheaper for smaller investors. Many of the 
patents of Fluvanna are recorded in Louisa and Goochland 
Courthouses. 

The only plea for "protection" in this period came from citi- 
zens being persecuted by horse-thieves who had "established 
themselves into a confederacy for carrying on their business, 
passing their stolen horses to agents further off for sale." They 
remain unnamed. 

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FIRST SETTLERS 

Among the first settlers one meets many interesting Vir- 
ginians. The Burgesses: Richard Randolph, John Boiling, John 
Fleming, Dudley Digges, James Holman, Isham Randolph, 
Edward Scott (Scottsville), Alan Howard (HowardsviUe), 
Peter Jefferson, etc. The surveyors stand out: Joshua Fry, 
(professor of William and Mary, first Burgess from Albe- 
marle, and commander of the First Virginia Regiment, (at 
whose death Washington succeeded), Peter Jefferson, William 
Mayo. William Cabell and Thomas Walker were able doctors, 
surveyors, and explorers. All of these were representatives 
of what now comprises Fluvanna Clounty. 

Joseph Thompson, justice, first sheriff of Albemarle, and 
militia captain, ran one of Fluvanna's first taverns near now 
Palmyra. He was an early patentee and a leader of the com- 
munity. Giles Allegre, son-in-law of Groochland's first clerk, 
ran the tavern on Mechunk. His daughter married the young 
Swiss, Albert Gallatin, who became Secretary of the Treasury, 
and who did much to establish U. S. currency on a sound basis. 

John Nicholas, son of Creorge Nicholas of Williamsburg, 
who in 1729 patented James River land, succeeded William 
Randolph (non-resident) as first clerk of Albemarle (in 1750) . 
He served for 42 years. His lands were just on the southwest 
boundary, or just out of it. His brother was Robert Carter 
Nicholas, Treasurer of the Colony. An interesting story about 
this gentleman was that when quite advanced in years he 
fought a duel with Thomas Mann Randolph, one-time Grov- 
emor of Virginia, and thereafter wore the hat that Randolph's 
bullet had pierced. Incidentally, they were cousins. 

There were other settlers. David Riese had a ''piece bit out 
of his left ear"'. He, Patrick Nowlin, John and Stephen Heard 
had to appear before the Court and testify that it was in a 
*'fair^' fight. The court records had to show this; otherwise 
David would have been thought to have been branded a felon. 

Martin King and Martin King, Jr., were good road builders. 
Their name was given to the Martin King road. But they got 
in trouble with the Court, and Martin King was placed in cus- 

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tody '*for a year''. His son and James Fenley were placed in 
stocks. Earlier James Fenley won a suit against Samuel 
Stephens but Stephens chose a whipping rather than imprison- 
ment and Captain Thompson had to administer twenty-one 
lashes. As Captain Thompson was one who had adjudged Fen- 
ley, it is doubted if the lashes were severe. 

George McDaniel enlists sympathy. He was fined for swear- 
ing "two oaths in two months'*. 

The Parsons that served now-Fluvanna were interesting 
men. Mr. Becket seems to have been the first. A description of 
him has come down to us : "Mr. Becket is a man of strong con- 
stitution; loves drink perhaps too well; and living in the 
Northern Neck where drinking and boxing is too much in 
fashion has been tempted to quarrel; for being unpolished he 
is bold and hardy in his temper; and has not yet learned to 
turn his other cheek. But with this he is constant in the dis- 
charge of his duty.'' The register shows he well attended to his 
duties. There were troubles with the parson's wife, one of the 
larger landholder's wives writing "how the parish minister 
was hampered by his wife who made herself ridiculous by 
trying to be a fine lady." 

Anthony Gavin followed Mr. Becket. He was of Spanish 
birth, had been a Jesuit, and then ordained. His letter to the 
Bishop of London, 5 August 1788, is one of the first descrip- 
tions of Fluvanna : ". . . hearing that a frontier parish was 
vacant and that the people of the mountains had never seen a 
clerg3rman since they were settled there, I desired the Gov- 
ernor's consent to leave an easy parish for this I do now serve. 
I have three churches, twenty-three and twenty-four miles 
from the Glebe, in which I officiate every third Sunday, and 
besides these I have seven places of service up in the moun- 
tains where the clerks read prayers — ^f our clerks in the seven 
places. I go twice a year to preach in twelve places which I 
reckon better than four hundred miles backward and forward 
and ford nineteen times the North and South Rivers. (Note: 
these are the Fluvanna and Rivanna) I have taken four trips 
already and the 20th instant I go up again. In my first journey, 
I baptized white people 209; blacks 172; Quakers 15; and 
Anabaptists 2." Parson Gavin was a dedicated Missioner. The 
ratio of white/black baptisms is of interest, and also the "seg- 

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regation'' of Quakers and Anabaptists. The site of the lower 
colonial church in Fluvanna should be determined. 

The Reverend Robert Rose followed Parson Gavin. He was 
a gifted and versatile man. He came to Saint Anne's Parish 
when it was created and probably named it as he had come 
from St. Anne's in Essex. ''Like a patriarch of old he set out 
with his sheep^ cattle, servants and family for his new home.'' 

His diary is probably the best reference to Fluvanna in 
those formative years. He was not only an active Parson, rid- 
ing hundreds of miles, a surveyor, a large patentee, tiie orig- 
inator of the Rose method of transporting tobacco by fasten- 
ing two canoes together, a builder of large shops, but also he 
was a leader of his community and an adviser to his Governor. 
He died on a trip to the Tidewater and is buried at St. John's 
in Richmond. One interesting reference in his diary tells of 
visiting a parishioner and of ''drinking his whiskey which I 
think is a poor substitute for claret". 

John Ramsey succeeded Parson Rose and served for fifteen 
years. He "seems" to have gotten in trouble, as after fifteen 
years of service he was tried for "Neglect of duty and Adul- 
try." The spice can not be given. Presumably he died before 
sentence could be passed. 

Roads, Mills, Ordinaries were quickly established. The roads 
have been described in the Sketchbook : Bremo, Martin King's, 
Secretary. The Stage Road came west from Goochland, 
through Wilmington, (with a cut-off to Columbia behind the 
granite ridge), and passed by Allegro's Tavern on Mechuck. 
Until Rose's development of the double canoe, tobacco (both 
the money crop and "currency") had to be rolled down to West- 
ham and Richmond, the closest warehouses. Rose's "invention" 
opened up the river traffic, as several hogsheads could then be 
floated down at one time and supplies poled upwards. 

There is a recorded story of a certain man making this trip, 
carrying his tobacco and his other portable money product to 
market. He "had consumed too much of the whiskey and for- 
got to land at Westham. He rode his canoe, tobacco and all 
over the Falls. Shortly thereafter he was fished from the water 
downstream, wet and frightened, but sober." 

In these colonial days, there were no dams on the rivers. 
Fish "ran" up the Fluvanna and Rivanna — shad, herring and 

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rock. The rivers were clear. The little shallow plowing had not 
eroded the soil, muddied the waters, or filled the rivers with 
silt. 

There was a textile industry using the local wool, and Wil- 
liam Nelson of Yorktown wrote: **I now wear a good suit of 
cloth of my own son's wool manufacture as well as my shirts 
in Albemarle.'' This is thought to have been Union Mills. 

Colonial Mansions were not built in Fluvanna; The Mansion 
period came later. The houses first built were the t3i>ical A- 
roof ed Virginia cottages which are called by the Williamsburg 
architects ''Medieval Transitional", but best described by Dr. 
George Bagby in "Uncle Flatback's Plantation". 

The Ck>lony fought two wars in this Period of Settlement. 
Sons from the Fluvanna and Rivanna moved out to the Ohio. 
There was the growing challenge of total authority two cen- 
turies ago. Ck>lonists were ''descendants of Englishmen who by 
their own consent and at the expense of their own blood and 
treasure had settled the Colony for the aggrandisement of the 
present kingdom" and "Under an English Government all men 
are bom free, are only subject to laws made by their own con- 
sent, and can not be deprived of these laws without a trans- 
gression of them." 

The author of this protest in 1766 was the brother-in-law of 
a large land holder of what is now Fluvanna, and the kinsman 
of many. He spoke for the people of Fluvanna, their feelings 
then and now. 



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THE REVOLUTION 

In 1767, a young lawyer in his early twenties rode back 
through Fluvanna after graduating from the Ck>llege of Wil- 
liam and Mary and studying law under George Wsrthe. The old 
Stage Road was a familiar route to him, leading from his 
father's lands at Shadwell, to his mother's home at Tuckahoe. 
His surveyor father, who was now dead, had probably laid it 
out. Often in the future, he would ride that road from his new 
home, Monticello, to the lands he bought just over the Gooch- 
land line at Elk-Hill — and there are two Elk Hills. 

Young Thomas Jefferson had probably been present when 
the General Assembly in 1765 had passed the Act: 'Tor clear- 
ing the great falls of the James River, the river Chickahominy, 
and the north branch of the James River'' (Rivanna). The 
General Assembly resolved, but now it was up to undertakers 
to carry out the plans and, as a trustee, clearing the Rivanna 
was one of Jefferson's first tasks. 'To the best of his knowledge 
no hogsheads of tobacco had been transported on the North 
Branch of the James to the junction with the larger stream." 
He vigorously led in remedying this situation. Many years 
later, before being elected President, Jefferson drew up a list 
of "undertakings" as he asked himself whether 'Tiis country 
was the better for his having lived." This improvement of the 
Rivanna was the first item on his list. 

There was another result and reward to this. In 1768, an 
election of a new House of Burgesses was ordered by the new 
Governor, Norbonne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt. From Albe- 
marle there were three candidates. One was Dr. Thomas 
Walker of "Castle Hill", explorer, doctor, surveyor. The sec- 
ond was Edward Carter, son of John Carter (the Colonial Sec- 
retary for whom the Secretary Ford and Secretary Road were 
named, and a grandson of "King" Carter.) They were the in- 
cumbents. The third candidate was the young red-headed at- 
torney, only twenty-five years old with one year's practice of 
law behind him. Walker appeared certain of election. Carter 
and Jefferson, not as certain, supplied the electors with rum, 
in accordance with the practice of "swilling the planters with 

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bimbo''. Jefferson records that he provided ''drinks and cakes''. 
In a close election, Jefferson defeated Carter. One wonders 
what would have been the course of history had the election by 
the freeholders of Albemarle turned out differently. Probably 
the deciding factor was the vote from the eastern section of 
Albemarle in return for his work on the Rivanna. This was one 
of the greatest services rendered to Virginia and to our Na- 
tion. 

In 1771 there was catastrophe; a great freshet swept away 
the new mills along the Rivanna, flooded low grounds, and 
ruined crops. Large landowners, burdened by British debts, 
had to dispose of acreages. There was a heavy turnover in 
Fluvanna lands. New names appear. One of them was David 
Ross, Scotsman, trader, and miller, who, in time, became a 
major supplier of war materials in the Revolution. 

In 1775, Minutemen were formed into a company. Frederick 
Wills and Patrick Napier, corporals, seem to have certainly 
been from this section of Albemarle that became Fluvanna. 
Eighteen of the Minuteman Company marched on Williams- 
burg, returned, and then on July 11, 1775, twenty-seven 
marched back again. 

Albemarle was called on for two companies. They trained 
at Rockfish Gap and then moved to the Continental Line. Some 
of these Fluvanna troops were sent out to garrison Fort Henry 
(now Wheeling) for the protection of the Northwestern 
frontier. Others went to the Northern Theater. 

As in all wars, there was the problem of men and materials. 
Substitutes were used when conscription had to be enforced. 
Davis Ross and Charles Lynch (the latter a son of a Flu- 
vanna patentee) were in charge of lead procurement. The 
early years of the War left what is now Fluvanna unscarred, 
save for the sacrifice of her sons and economic disruption. 
Wartime inflation was on. Tobacco, although there was a lim- 
ited market, tripled in price, and tobacco was the currency. 
Those who had "capital" saw their relative values fall. Those 
who owed money could pay off debts. There were many 
changes, economic as well as governmental. 

In 1777, the new county was formed, named for its Rivers. 
The boundaries included "the Islands in the Fluvanna". The 
CSounty Court was elected by the legislature. 

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Wilson Miles Gary, senior member of the Quorum, was pre- 
siding justice and the first officer of the new county. He was 
from the lower Rivanna. The Thompson brothers, George and 
Roger, were from the center of the county, near now Palmjnra. 
They were sons of Joseph Thompson, the sheriff and one of 
the original justices of Albemarle. Martin Key with lands in 
the northwest of Fluvanna became the first Sheriff. He was a 
son of John Key who had been justice of Albemarle. William 
Henry, brother of the Governor, Patrick Henry, had lands on 
the Hardware. Jesse Burton was from the northeast section 
of the county, son of an early settler in Goochland and of a 
family active in the then new Baptist denomination. 

John Ware from the eastern part of the county, was the son 
of an early Goochland patentee. Thomas Napier from the cen- 
tral part of the county was also of ^'Goochland stock'', and 
brother of Patrick Napier of the Minutemen. The House of 
Delegates distributed and made diverse the Court of the new 
County. 

Martin Key became Sheriff, the second officer of the County ; 
William Henry went to the House of Delegates as Delegate of 
the new County ; Thomas Napier was designated County Lieu- 
tenant, in command of the Militia. The population of the new 
county is estimated to have been 2500 or slightly more and 
probably 200 to 226 families. Many were away at the ''wars''. 

John Timberlake, with the approval of the Governor, was 
appointed the first county clerk. He faithfully served the 
county for 41 years until he died in 1820, at the age of 89. 

John Timberlake should certainly be honored for his own 
distinguished service, but he will be remembered also for be- 
ing the brother-in-law of Peggy O'Neal (Mrs. James Timber- 
lake) , who was a contributing cause of a political furor during 
the administration of President Andrew Jackson, and whose 
name is memorialized in the well-known song '"That's Peggy 
O'Neal". She was a great beauty. 

The County of Fluvanna was in being, and a trying period 
it was. 



14 



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OTHER ASPECTS OF THE REVOLUTION 

With the spirit of the Revolutioii, there came dissatisfaction 
with the prevailing ''religious'' organization — or lack of same. 
Vestries had, to a great extent, been self -perpetuating; theur 
authority had extended to secular matters. Now, domination 
by any group was resented. For a generation, in Louisa to the 
north, and Cumberland to the south, there had been strong 
congregations of Presbyterians. In Louisa and in Albemarle 
there were Quaker meetings (see above: Parson Gavin). In 
the 1770's, the Baptist movement had come down from the 
North and was strong in the area east of the Rivanna. The 
Toleration Act assured freedom of worship but the dual tem- 
poral-spiritual authority of the Vestries was challenged, and 
there was the issue of separation of church and state. 

On 22 October 1776 there was a meeting of representatives 
from Albemarle (including Fluvanna), Buckingham and 
Amherst counties. A memorial was drawn up to the 'Delegates 
and Senators'' of the Conmionwealth stating that ''being Dis- 
senters from the Churoh of England they had not been in 
equal footing with other good people of this colonsr*' and that 
all religious denominations should be placed on an equal foot- 
ing. Many citizens of Fluvanna were at this meeting including 
Thomas Napier, Thomas Pemberton, Walter Leake and John 
Harris. The Burton family also were leaders of this movement. 

On May 18, 1779, an outstanding historical event occurred 
in Fluvanna. The war had disrupted religious services. Many 
Ministers of the Church of England were lojral to the Crown 
and not acceptable to rebel congregations. Many Parishes were 
without clergy and vestries were depleted by military service. 
The Reverend Devereaux Jarratt and the evangelism of 
Francis Asbury had awakened religious feelings. The "lay 
preachers'* were trjring to carry on without "an organiza- 
tion'\ There was a meeting held at Brokenbackt Church, the 
upper church of Fluvanna, and resolutions were adopted that 
would permit ordination of the members of this conference and 
so empower them to celebrate the ordinances of their religion. 
The ordination took place and "More than three score went 

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back to their circuits in Virginia and the Carolinas and began 
at once to administer the sacraments to the comfort and sat- 
isfaction of their own people/' This was one of the most 
significant events of the establishment of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Records of Fluvanna are free of any reference to troublous 
religious differences. With the disestablishment of the Church 
of England in 1784, both the lower church (site unknown) and 
Brokenbackt Church fell into disrepair. It is interesting that 
the ''parish funds'' of St. Anne's Parish went toward the es- 
tablishment of the University of Virginia, and are so listed. 
From then on ''denominations" shared houses of worship, and 
in the area of the "Fork" (between the James and Cunning- 
ham Creek), a brick church was built in 1824 called "Brick 
Union". Four denominations worshipped there. It was later 
caUed "Pork Union". 

In 1800 the Committee of Correspondence met in Lyles 
Baptist Church at Wilmington. It was at this meeting that the 
Greneral Meeting of Correspondence of the United Baptist As- 
sociation in Virginia was adopted by a large majority. This 
preceded and led to the Greneral Association. 

Fluvanna was the site in large measure of the establishment 
of both the Methodist and Baptist denominations in the Com- 
monwealth. 



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1781 

1781 was a fateful year. It had been six years since the 
Minutemen marched on Williamsburg. Fluvanna soldiers had 
fought the campaigns in the Northern Colonies and in the 
Northwest until George Rogers Clark destroyed the Shawnee 
capital. Some had been discharged but others were with 
Greene's Continental Armies in the Carolinas. Times were 
dark. George Washington on the Hudson wrote: "We seem 
to be verging so fast in destruction that I am filled with sensa^ 
tions to which I have been a stranger till within these three 
months.'^ Benedict Arnold, commanding British Forces, had 
ravaged Tidewater Virginia; the British had destroyed the 
Continental Base in Chesterfield where Baron von Steuben had 
been collecting men and supplies for Greene's Army. Leaving 
Chesterfield, April 27, Phillips and Arnold had converged on 
Warwick and Richmond, razed the first and captured the 
works and laboratory at Westham. Von Steuben moved his 
base, with what supplies he could evacuate, to Point of Fork, 
and this became the supply base, not only for Virginia's own 
d^ense, but for Greene's Army. It also supplied George Rogers 
Clark's 1781 campaign against Detroit. 

The economic condition is hard to picture. All supplies, ex- 
cept on-site food, were critical. David Ross of Fluvanna was 
responsible for mining and securing the necessary lead. Cur- 
rency had depreciated so much that tobacco was worth 2,000 
shillings per cwt. — if it could be gotten to market. The Vir- 
ginia Assembly fixed the price of a cavalry horse ($150 hard 
money) at $150,000. This was the "Ravaging of Virginia". 
Damage was estimated at three million pounds (hard money) 
— ^billions continental money. Further, there was an intense 
feud between Governor Jefferson and Von Steuben. The Vir- 
ginia defense forces consisted of three small units under 
Lafayette and the hastily constituted militia brigades of Nel- 
son and Muehlenberg. They were far outnumbered by the 
weU-trained and well-armed British. Jefferson ordered the 
draft to be rigidly enforced which added nothing to his pop- 
ularity in this period of d^eat. Calls for help were unheeded. 

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'Tirginia, then impoverished by defending the Northern De- 
partment, exhausted by the Southern War, now finds the full 
weight of it upon her shoulders/' 

On May 13, General Phillips, who had succeeded Benedict 
Arnold, died at Petersburg. On May 20 Comwallis arrived 
there with a brigade of guards, parts of four British regi- 
ments, a Hessian regiment, Hamilton's Tories, and Tarleton's 
Legion. He not only assumed command but reinforced PhiUips' 
force of four regiments — ^the 76th, the 80th, the Queen's 
Rangers, and the American Legion. 

The war now moved to Fluvanna. 

Comwallis advanced west inmiediately. Within 10 days 
Colonel Simcoe with his Queen's Rangers (Tory — ^not British 
—cavalry) and the 2nd Battalion of the 71st Regiment of the 
Line were at Point of Fork. Fluvanna was invaded. Von 
Steuben, having moved to Point of Fork less than five weeks 
before, now again moved what supplies he could to the south 
over the James (Fluvanna) and retreated to the West. 

On June 4, from Louisa, Comwallis sent young Major 
Tarleton to seek to capture the Virginia Assembly and Grov- 
emor Jefferson. It is well known how Jack Jouett, Jr., son of 
the (Charlottesville tavern keeper, rode from Cuckoo to Monti- 
cello. He took a ''disused and shorter route*'. Did it come 
through Fluvanna? Geographically it would have. Comwallis, 
meanwhile, moved to Elk Hill, Jefferson's plantation on the 
eastern edge of Fluvanna. Tarleton withdrew across Fluvanna 
from Charlottesville. Until June 12, Comwallis remained at 
Elk Hill. We must assume eastern Fluvanna was ravaged; 
Elk Hill certainly was. By June 20 Comwallis had withdrawn 
to Richmond. 

Now there is a sudden shift of scenes. At Mechunk, the 
young Lafayette (incidentally in his first and only campaign) 
with his 800 Continentals, was reinforced by Anttiony Wayne 
with 750 Continentals from Pennsylvania^ the Virginia bri- 
gades of Stevens and Lawson, Campbell's brigade from South- 
west Virginia and Von Steuben's hastily trained recmits and 
discharged soldiers under Colonel Febiger. On Mechunk in 
Fluvanna the army was formed that pursued Comwallis. The 
campaign that led to Yorktown began here. Within four 
months there came the glorious victory. 

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There was sadness, though. Despite the beginning of the suc- 
eessf ul campaign, J^erson completed his term of office in dis- 
grace and under investigation. Though that investigation, 
made by those hostile to J^erson, clearly revealed the fault 
could not be charged to him, J^erson withdrew from Virginia 
public life unfairly accused. His next sphere of achievement 
would be in the Ck>nf ederation. 

The War did not end for Fluvanna at Yorktown. The Point 
of Fork Depot, with recovered supplies and captured war ma- 
terial, continued to be the southern supply base. War material 
was now plentiful; there was no threat; victory had been 
achieved. Peace was on the way. 



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PEACE AND PROSPERITT— AND DEPRESSIONS 

The generation 1780's — 1810's, was an interesting one in 
the U. S., in Virginia and in Fluvanna history. Events moved 
fast. From the surrender at Yorktown in October 1781 to 1788» 
Virginia had largely recovered from The Ravaging. When 
Governor Benjamin Harrison took office, there were ''but four 
shillings in the Treasury"'. Thirty thousand slaves had been 
lost, towns and villages burned. Eighteen months later Vir- 
ginia had given 123,000 Virginia pounds, as well as much 
goods, to the Confederation and to the Northwest territories. 
She had recreated her Army and Navy and refinanced her own 
government. One of the first acts of the Conmionwealth had 
been to reestablish the pound sterling as currency instead of 
the worthless continental dollar. Tobacco export had soared to 
86,000,000 pounds at the price of 40 shillings a hundredweight 
in hard Virginia money. This brave chapter is generally un- 
sung! 

These were bright and hopeful days along the Fluvanna and 
Rivanna, and were often to be looked back upon. At Point of 
Fork, now the State Arsenal, barracks were built and from 
here Colonel Peyton commanded the First Virginia Regiment. 
In 1785 Point of Fork was among the first of three tobacco in- 
spection markets to be established west of the Fall Line; others 
were at Lynch's Ferry (now Lynchburg) and at Crow's Ferry, 
the head of navigation on the James. A Canal Company was 
chartered to develop navigation of the James. General Wash- 
ington accepted the Presidency of the Canal Company but 
Edmund Randolph, soon to become first Attorney-General, was 
the administrative head. David Ross, John Harvie and William 
Cabell were directors. A dam was duly built across the James, 
(a discouraging result of which ''progress" being that shad, 
herring and rock fish could no longer make their annual run 
up the river). The Rivanna was cleared but transportation 
was limited to batteaux. 

In 1788, during the boom, Point of Fork was chartered as 
a town; streets were laid out and lots were sold. In keeping 
with the terms and the adoption of the Constitution the town 

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was named "CJolumbia". It was to have been a great center. 
Incidentally, it was this "spirit of growth'' and not legis- 
lative action, that led to the legend that the Capital might be at 
Columbia rather than its already well established location at 
Richmond. 

One of the first families to settle here was that of Christian 
Wertenbaker, whose descendants gave so much to Virginia 
education. In June 1788, the year of the establishment of 
Columbia, Virginia (with reservations) adopted the Constitu- 
tion, voting 89 to 79. Change was immediate. 

The dollar again replaced the sound Virginia shilling. To- 
bacco prices fell sharply due to the "Morris" monopoly on 
tobacco export. Jefferson wrote, 'The monopoly of tiie pur- 
chase of tobacco for France had thrown the commerce of that 
article into agonies.'' The Hamiltonian finance S3rstem placed 
heavy penalties on Virginia and further, Virginia planters who 
had paid their British debts to the Commonwealth in order to 
finance the Revolution, had now to pay them again. The landed 
families lost heavily. Senator Giles stated that the New Eng- 
land States and north, proposed to make the "Southern States 
a Milch cow out of which the substance would be extracted", 
and a neighboring county memorialized, "It is time to deter- 
mine whether the people of America, in throwing off the yoke 
of England, had no object than to place it again on their necks. 
Had the pleasure and treasure of the people been expended 
only to expose them to a new flock of harpies more ravenous 
because more lean ?" 

This Federal depression struck Fluvanna a hard blow. The 
Arsenal was closed. The canal was not built for another half 
century and only after the Erie Canal had gone through. 

In tiie first census, the county had a population of 8,922. 
Some lands had not been patented and could now come only 
from the Land Office. Samples of Commodity Prices in Vir- 
ginia currency were as follows : 

In Lbs. — ^Houses, 20-25; "second rate" houses, 12-20; Oxen, 
pair 8-15 (the working beasts) ; Steers, 2.5-3 ; Milch Cows, 
good, 6. 

In shillings — ^Hogs, 12-15; Sheep, 6-15; Geese and Turkeys, 
2; Wheat, 4^ a bushel ; Com, 2 shilling a bushel. 

In 1800 the '^Virginia Dynasty" came into Federal power. 

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Times improved. This was the second boom period. Building of 
the first Fluvanna mansions began in this period. Mills were 
built. There were not only custom mills but merchant mills for 
export Four grades were '*fine'% "superfine", '^middlings" and 
for the feeds, "Shipstuflf" or "Bran'' for local usage. Virginia 
and Fluvanna flour moved south "across the Equator*' and 
was said to be the only flour of a quality to stand this. Virginia 
law required Virginia inspection and grading of all productcH-^ 
not only tobacco and flour, but com, beef, pork, and timber. 

Mills needed water power. Dams were built across the Ri- 
vanna. The Rivanna Navigation Company was chartered in 
1810. Locks were built around the dams. The river was 
broadened and dredged. This antedated the James River and 
Kanawha Canal by a generation. With the water power came 
textile mills, using not only wool but also local cotton. The 
Magruder family of Maryland built the Union Mills, this fam- 
ily being antecedents of the Confederate General John Bank- 
head Magruder and the Bankheads of Alabama (U. S. Senator 
and Speaker of the House) — and, not to be omitted, Tallulah 
Bankhead. 

The Stagecoach road was the route from Richmond to the 
west Along this road there were the many noted Fluvanna 
taverns. 



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THE WAR OF 1812 

The war came but spared Fluvanna. General John Hartwell 
Cocke commanded one of the four Virginia Brigades. In this 
brigade there were the Fluvanna companies. A rugged disci- 
pline was enforced, maybe inspired by and surpassing that of 
Von Steuben. In his 'Twelve Virginia CJounties", John 
Gwathm^ dtes two examples of discipline at the training 
center at Camp Carter in Louisa: 'In punishing a soldier who 
did kick and break the jawbone of another, an item of the 
meted punishment was that on the ninth day he shall be put in 
the pillory and there remain one-half hour and on the tenth 
day he shall be drunmied from the right to left of the Brigade 
with his crime described in large letters upon him ; and finally, 
his ration of whiskey stopped for twenty days.'' A second 
soldier, accused of ''stabbing*', was placed in the pillory and 
would "receive while there, on his bare posterior, fifteen cobbe, 
which shall be executed with a paddle made for that purpose 
with a number of holes bored through the end." 

General Cocke achieved a highly disciplined and trained 
Brigade. This brigade was assigned to the defense of Rich- 
mond when the British entry into the Chesapeake was assumed 
to be a threat against Virginia's capital. Times were not good. 
A surgeon on General Cocke's staff. Dr. Thomas Massie, com- 
plained ; "The best way of disposing of any kind of grain is to 
distill it into whiskey. That liquor, I am informed, being worth 
90 cents per gallon. Wheat and fiour are worth nothing at 
present" Interesting records as to this use of Fluvanna's 
grain are found at the County Court House. But such practice 
did not follow the later teachings of our rugged disciplinarian. 
General Cocke, who in 1828 joined "The Sons of Temperance." 



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THE DEPRESSION— PANIC OF 1819 

The short boom following the War of 1812 was followed by 
a depression equalling that of a little over a century later. 
Values fell to one-third of those of 1816-17. There was a de- 
pression of spirit as well as of values. 

The James River Canal, longed for by the people of Flu- 
vanna, could not proceed. It became forfeit to the Virginia 
Board of Public Works, a relief measure of 1816. The At- 
torney General entered suit against the company in 1818 and 
title passed to the Commonwealth February 17, 1820. The 
James River Canal, which had deprived Fluvanna of bountiful 
fishing, was limited to the passage from Westham to Rich- 
mond. Batteaux had to continue to carry the tobacco and 
freight down the James, dunking half of it. The dream faded. 
"Prices of wheat, com and tobacco fell to new lows"; "All of 
our most independent men seem to be running to the west/' 

New building ceased. The mills lost their volume and once 
prosperous mill-sites fell to a custom-mill level. Virginia cot- 
ton could not compete with that of the new Southern States. 
Possibly, as an outcome of the depression, there was the new 
Constitution of 1828, which broadened the suffrage and au- 
thorized some elections of county officers. 

In this depression there was the bright spot of the visit of 
the Marquis de Lafayette. He was not the youthful leader in 
his first independent campaign; he was now an aged man, 
who had been imprisoned and then exiled, although a leader 
of democratic government in France. He wanted to once again 
visit the scenes of his youthful ventures. He came to Norfolk 
and then to Richmond, October 26, 1824, attended a series of 
parties each day, a trip to Petersburg on the 29th, then back 
to Richmond. On November 2nd he was escorted to Goochland, 
and there was given a party with many "eloquent and expres- 
sive toasts". On the morning of November 8rd, he was es- 
corted by the Goochland Troop, under Colonel William Boiling, 
to Columbia and was there welcomed by General John H. 
Cocke. The old Marquis must have been weary. 

After a rest (and it could not have been long) he was drawn 

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in a coach by 'four English stallions of true hunters breed'' 
to Wilmington in an hour and five minutes. In a coach, over 
November roads of 1824, that must have been a rugged phy- 
sical experience (hunters don't make good coach horses — ^nor 
do stallions) . There at Cole's (then Will's) Tavern, he greeted 
his old war comrades, "upwards of thirty revolutionary sol- 
diers" (they were then dying out). There followed a dinner 
with one hundred and twenty sitting down to table. It was on 
November 11th and that the distinguished general was met at 
the Albemarle county line by the "Lafayette Guards" and 
was escorted to Monticello where Mr. Jefferson, far advanced 
in years, with "tottering steps", descended to meet him. Their 
greetings were: 'Tjafayette" — "Jefferson" . . . and a warm 
embrace. 

On his tour, Lafayette repeatedly toasted, 'To Mechunk!" 
Probably few knew its significance. One wonders ... did the 
old soldier ever get back to "Mechunk" where his early com- 
mand of a few hundred men had risen to thousands ? His route 
to Monticello had by-passed it, as had his route from Monti- 
cello to Montpelier where he visited Mr. Madison. 

Maybe (General Lafayette felt as did his great grandson 
some 107 years later, when that also-elderly French soldi^ 
had been through a week of Virginia entertainment It was 
early on a misty, cold, October morning in 1931, on the York 
River, when aides were awaiting '*the high brass" to whom 
th^ were assigned, and Greneral the Count de Chambrun was 
awaiting Marshal Petain. Some of the then "wine of the 
countrjr" was brought forth — **water-white fruit of com". 
Thinking it was a simple "vin blanc" the pink-faced and 
thoroughly chilled Count gulped it down (as had others) and 
then exploded in clear Military French, "My god! What a 
wine ! What a country !" 

Far too slowly the depression of the 1820's wore out. On 
March 16, 1832, the James River Canal Company again be- 
came a private venture, but with the State retaining sixty per 
cent of the stock. However, the first meeting of the new com- 
pany did not take place until May 25, 1836. 



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'^BEFORETHEWAR'* 

The quarter century preceding 1860 were years, generally 
speaking, of happiness and prosperity. There was the Mexican 
War but that was far away. Relative prosperity had returned 
to Virginia. There was a new agriculture. There were new 
plows that, with teams of oxen, could plow deep. Marl, and 
later, Guano could replenish the soil. It was truly said that 
the Maryland and Virginia farmer ''in these middle decades 
had solved problems greater than those presented to any other 
part of the nation and from him more could be learned of 
future importance than from other farmers in the nation.'' 
Cynxa McCormick developed the Virginia Reaper and was 
''compelled to wagon his reapers from his Forge in Rock- 
bridge County down the turnpike to Scottsville whence th^ 
were shipped by canal to Richmond, by sea to New Orleans, 
and thence up the Mississippi and Ohio to their destination.'' 

Under the new management, the James River and Kanawha 
Canal had been finished. General John H. Cocke was one of the 
eight directors. Simon W. Wright was the assistant engineer 
in charge of the section from Scottsville to Maiden's Adven- 
ture. It is interesting to note that in these late 1830's, the lands 
of the entire passage of the canal through Fluvanna were held 
by only eight landowners ; west to east they were : 

Hart V. Tutwiler 
John Johnson's heirs 
Edward A. Ancell 
John H. Cocke 
John H. Toney 
William Woodson 
WiUiamGalt 
James Gait 

Another interesting point in this prosperous period, that 
denies most popular understanding, was that "Slave labor 
proving inadequate and workers scarce, German and Scotch 
employees were induced to come to work on the canal." In 
fact, in 1831-32, the General Assembly of Virginia had again 

26 

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decried slavery, (Virginia had sought to prohibit slavery in 
1788), and only by a vote of seven had the move to abolish 
slavery been d^eated. The reason for its defeat was 'that to 
pay values would absorb all our present means''. 

In July 1840 water was let into the canal from Seven Is- 
lands (Shores) to Westham. Sixty five years had elapsed since 
its initiation. On December 3rd, the freight boat ''Greneral 
Harrison'' ascended the canal to Lynchburg. But with the 
canal's completion, it was obsolete. The railroad had reached 
Louisa in 1836 and was soon extended to C!harlottesville. The 
canal could compete only on heavy freight and by 1860 there 
was a plan to replace the canal with the James River railroad. 
The Rivanna Canal from Rivanna Mills to Columbia was re- 
built in this period — 60 feet wide at the waterline. The Ri- 
vanna Mills were again grinding and in ''merchant" volumes. 

In this period of growing prosperity there was a decision to 
build a new C!ourt House. The present site, Palmsrra, was 
chosen by elections. The Gazetteer of 1836 described the new 
courthouse and the townsite of Palmjrra which was surveyed 
in 1864. Who facetiously named it for the beautiful city in the 
Desert? Is there any connection between persimmons and 
dates? 

In 1832 there came a "Gold Rush". That metal was found in 
the granite extrusion in the eastern part of the county. The 
Telluriiun Mine (but there was no tellurium) on the eastern 
border of the county was discovered in 1832 and was mined un- 
til 1867. It shielded over $1,000,000. The Bowles Mine was one- 
half mile from the Tellurium. The Page Mine was one-half 
mile west of Wilmington. The Hughes Mine was five miles 
north of Bremo (and operated into the twentieth century). 
The Snead Mine was two miles north of Fork Union. William 
Barton Rogers, later founder of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, prospected and wrote reports on these mines. 

In this period of change, post offices (with the new postal 
qnstem) dotted the county. Newspapers came into general dis- 
tribution. The Constitution of 1860 gave suffrage to every 
white male citizen over twenty-one and for the first time these 
men could vote for the Grovemor (previously elected by the 
Creneral Assembly) , as well as for the County justices. Schools 

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and Academies were established, good houses were built, plan- 
tations were generally improved. 

These were happy years for Fluvanna. Dr. George Bagby 
described it more accurately than the ''moonlight — ^roses'^ 
writers when he wrote: "I do know, as I know nothitig else, 
that the first years of human life, and the last, yea, if it be 
possible, all the years, should be passed in the country. The 
towns may do for a day, a week, a month at most, but nature, 
mother nature, pure and clean, is for all time; yes for eternity 
itself." 

Virginia's economy was agricultural in contrast to the in- 
dustrial northeast, but it was not a slave economy. The Com- 
monwealth and the County were aghast when John Brown 
raided Harper's Ferry and Fluvanna's R^ment of Militia 
was readied as the 12th Militia Regiment under Colonel Cary 
Charles Cocke. The State was angered at the reactions of the 
northern states, and dismayed when the Cotton States seceded 
This was the end of an era. 



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THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD 

For 'four long and arduous years'' the Onnmonwealth of 
Virginia has commemorated the Civil War and probably little 
can be added to these records. There are few ''gleanings'' set 
forth in this period, and those are ia brief form. 

In early 1861 or before, as events moved frightenly fast, 
many young men of Fluvanna were forming themselves into 
two volunteer companies, separate from the Militia. Appar- 
ently they were "locally uniformed and armed." One of these 
companies met at the "courthouse" and elected Captain Robert 
H. Poore its Captain. The other company drilled at Scottsville. 
The Palmyra Company chose the name of Fluvanna Rifle 
Guard while the Scottsville Company, of both Fluvanna and 
Albemarle men, named their company the Scottsville Guard. 
^Two weeks" before the County was to vote on Secession, these 
two companies moved out. The Fluvanna Rifle Guard went to 
the "mobilization center" at Richmond on May 10 and then to 
the critical defenses of Norfolk. The Scottsville Guard, on May 
11, moved to Manassas. The Fluvanna Rifle Guard became 
Company C of the 14th Virginia, regimented with companies 
from Chesterfield, Amelia, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Bedford 
counties. Colonel James G. Hodges was the regimental com- 
mander and the regiment went into Armistead's Brigade and 
later into Pickett's Division. The Scottsville Guard went into 
the 19th Virginia at Manassas, commanded successively by: 
Fluvanna's Colonel Philip St. George Cocke, Colonel Rust, and 
John Bowie Strange of Fluvanna . . . the cadet who first re- 
lieved the Arsenal guard at VMI. This regiment was in the 
brigade commanded by General Gamett and also in Pickett's 
division. These regiments — ^the 14th and 19th Virginia — ^were 
great regiments of the Army of Northern Virginia. On July 
3, 18Q8, both were in the assault on Cemetery Ridge. Armi- 
stead's Brigade, crossing the stonewall, lost in action its bri- 
gade commander. The 19th Virginia lost Fluvanna's son. 
Colonel Strange at South Mountain in 1862. Henry Gantt, cap- 
tain of the Scottsville Guard, became regimental commander. 

The Ordinance of Secession was ratified on May 23, 1861. 

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Immediately tliree other infantry companies were formed. On 
May 20, the Fluvanna Hornets were organized in the area of 
Wihnington, at E^if s Store, with Thomas K Weisiger as Cap- 
tain. In the northeastern comer of the county the Ambler 
Greys was organized on June 8, by men from "'Goochland, 
Louisa, Fluvanna, and Hanover"' and they elected Captain 
Joseph L. Shelton to be their Captain. In the Fork, or south- 
west of the County, the Fluvanna Guards were organized on 
June 11 and elected David W. Anderson as Captain. These 
three volunteer companies hastily ass^nbled and quickly 
armed, learned war in the hard school of experience. Th^ 
became Companies D (Ambler Grejrs), F (Hornets), K 
(Guard) of the 44th Virginia and under conunand of Colond 
W. W. Scott, who had stepped down from his rank of general 
in the militia. These companies were hurried to the '"north- 
western frontier"' of the Commonwealth. It is a coincidence 
that, in both the Revolution and this uncivil war, Fluvanna 
forces fought west of the Alleghenies. After the trying days of 
the mountain campaigns of '61-'62, this 44th Virginia Regi- 
ment went into Swell's Division, then into Jackson's and fol- 
lowed Stonewall through the Valley Campaign. Later they 
were in Edward (""Allegany") Johnson's Division. Losses 
were such that, after Spottsylvania, the entire regiment was 
formed into one company. 

Infantry, needed in tiie largest number, was not then, nor 
is it now, the most popular of armed services. Oddly enough, 
in Fluvanna, there was initially no cavalry troop. One of the 
reasons may have been that Virginia required each trooper to 
furnish his own mount and would pay the cost only if the 
horse was killed in battle, not if he died of natural causes. Also, 
there had been elsewhere a rush to the Cavalry and the num- 
ber of imits had to be restricted. In the northwest of the 
county, Reuben Boston organized a heavy artillery company 
for the 3rd Artillery Regiment. In early 1862, this unit grew 
tired of the detail of manning heavy guns, and reorganized. 
They were then accepted as a Cavalry troop and were put into 
the new 5th Virginia Cavalry, commanded by the young giant, 
recently graduated from West Point, Tliomas Lafayette 
Rosser. It was a regiment that had hard fighting. Captain 
Boston, after wounds, capture and exchange, succeeded to com- 

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mand of the 5th and was tragically killed cm the 6th of April 
in probably the last cavalry action of the Army of Northern 
Virginia. 

The appeal of the artiUery (or lack of appeal of the infan- 
try) led to the formation of two other artillery units — ^the Sons 
of Fluvanna in the center of the county organized on August 
6th under Captain Brent and the Fluvanna ArtiUery organized 
in the Fork Union area. Before this, the need for men (after 
Gametes defeat in the mountains) was such that all able 
bodied men were mobilized into the 12th Militia Regiment and 
were sent to Charlottesville. Colonel Cary Cocke conmianded 
this militia and upon his return, stepped down to the rank of 
Captain and conmianded the Fluvanna Artillery. He was suc- 
ceeded in his militia conunand by Colonel John J. Johnson. 
These two artiUery batteries were in Major Nelson's reserve 
artillery. After the 1862 campaigns and various changes in 
command, the two batteries were consolidated into the Flu- 
vanna Artillery commanded by Captain John L. Massie. After 
his death, in the fall of 1864, Captain Charles G. Snead ccmi- 
manded this battery of ''Second Corps'' artillery. 

There are three other Fluvanna units listed in the Virginia 
units. On April 3, 1862, Captain Henry Price enlisted a com- 
pany of Heavy ArtiUery from Albemarle and Fluvanna (re- 
pladng C!aptain Boston's). Organization was not completed 
and it was consoUdated with Captain Hendren's Company B, 
18th BataUion, Virginia Heavy ArtiUery. A home guard (lim- 
ited service company) was organized of boys under eighteen 
and men between forty-five and fifty caUed the Fluvanna 
Rangers. This company was successively commanded by Cap- 
tains James M. Strange, J. B. Perkins, John C. HoUand. After 
the Federal raid of May 1863 another home guard unit was 
organized — ^the "Fluvanna Guards''. Interestingly, the Captain 
who organized the unit on July 7 resigned August 18, 1863. 

Fortunately, Fluvanna was spared the deeper scars of war. 
One dislikes to remember the great sacrifices of these four 
arduous years. From an historical standpoint, court records 
show many claims for exemption, the use of substitutes, and 
actions to replace substitutes. There was continuing inflation 
and with it a false prosperity. Crop cycles continued. There 
was no significant loss of ''contrabands". In May 1863, Federal 

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Cavalry raided south from Hooker's Army on the Rappahan- 
nock. A heavy colunm moved on Charlottesville and a cavalry 
detachment rode to Columbia to seek to destroy canal com- 
munications. Losses were light They are recorded as "One 
foot bridge, two road bridges, four farm bridges and one gate 
on Lock 14.'' Navigation was held up only two days. Mrs. 
Snead's Fluvanna Sketch Book" and James Gait's Diary give 
interesting accounts of the civilian reaction at this raid. The 
raid was of light cost compared to the victory at Chancellors- 
ville to which the absence of Federal Cavalry contributed. 

Two interesting facets of Fluvanna's War History were that 
a Confederate Na/oal rest camp was located on the Rivanna, 
and in the lower end of the county there was an area for sup- 
ply of the Chimborazo Hospital, the largest military hospital 
of the Confederacy. 

In the despairing days of the spring of 1865 (March), 
Sheridan's troops moved east, after destrojring Jubal Early's 
Army of the Valley. Some 6,000 of his troops came south to 
ScottsviUe, moved east to Goochland, and then skirted Rich- 
mond. Their course was a leisurely one. They took all ''sur- 
phis auppKes" but there were no untoward incidents. The end 
of the war was near. Spring crops went in. On April 7, 1865, 
came "Appomattox". 



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LONG YEARS 1865-1870 

"Go home and go to work'' was General Lee's advice. The 
canal was repaired, crops were planted and there was a good 
harvest On June 28, 1865, the packet boats were again run- 
ning. The mills ground again. There had been little physical 
damage in the county. Financially there was a loss by nearly 
all save those who had prospered by war prices and had con- 
verted their holdings into rare gold or into "real" properties. 

In 1866 there came a radical change. Virginia refused to 
adopt the Fourteenth Amendment disqualif 3ring those who had 
served the Confederacy. On March 1867 Virginia became Mili- 
tary District No. 1. A Federal Lieutenant stationed at Palmjrra 
became Military Governor of Fluvanna. All county officers 
were changed. James D. Barrett, a colored shoemaker and 
minister, represented Fluvanna in the Convention for draft- 
ing a New Constitution. 'Townships" were set up, then 
changed to magisterial districts. The County Court of long 
proven efficiency ceased. 

After adjustments in January 1870, Virginia regained state- 
hood and Fluvanna was again self-governing. The census of 
1870 shows a population of 9,875. These were costly years. 



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THREE DECADES— 1870-1900 

The burdens of the War and of Reconstmcticm (1866-1870) 
were heavy. A^rricultural production could not recover nor 
compete with western production. Export markets were gone. 
Erosion had muddied the rivers, carried off topsoil, silted the 
streams. Capital was so limited as to be practically non-^dft- 
tant. The Rivanna no longer carried the produce of Albemarle 
and the James River Canal could not compete with the rails. 
After only thirty years of service it was known that the Canal 
could not be a success. 

On March 27, 1878, the ''Straight Shoot Railroad'' was in- 
corporated by northern capitalists to build a railroad up the 
James replacing the Canal. On February 28, 1878, with the 
name changed to Richmond and AUeghany, there was a new 
charter and the canal passed into new ownership. By Novem- 
ber 19, 1880, the railroad reached Columbia; February 17, 
1881, Bremo Bluff; March 17, 1881, Scottsville. Fluvanna had 
its first railroad ; the canal days were gone. After receivership 
in 1888, the Chesapeake and Ohio took over the Alleghany in 
1887. In 1885 the Buckingham railroad had been built, with 
the bridge over the James at ''Big Rock'', which now was re- 
named "Bremo Bluff". 

An accepted obligation of the Alleghany Railroad was that 
if the James River Canal were abandoned, the Railroad would 
maintain the dams and towpath on the Rivanna to furnish 
service to the center of the county. Fluvanna citizens, led by 
T. O. Troy, cited such neglect by the Railroad, and the C&O 
built the Virginia Airline, completing it in the early twentieth 
century. The few lower miles of the Rivanna canal continued 
to operate as the Rivanna Navigation Company. With the rail- 
road, came the telegraph, and then the "local" tdephone lines. 

Politics was not an avocation but a necessity in this period. 
Lines were sharply drawn — Conservatives/Radicals — then 
Funders/Readjusters, and in the 1880's/90's came the rise of 
the Populist Party. In 1892 Edmund Randolph Cocke of Cum- 
berland County, as nominee of the Populist party for Gover- 
nor, carried twenty-two counties. 

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The public school system was developed and by an ''act of 
the General Assembly'' in 1886-87, the Central High School at 
Palmyra became the ''first legally accredited rural high school 
in Virginia''. In 1898 the Fork Union Academy, initially co- 
educational, was founded. A catalogue of that school, some 
years later, described it as "far from the evil influences of the 
small towns and the dangers of the large city." Shades of Dr. 
George Bagby! 

There was the Spanish American War, but with little in- 
fluence on Fluvanna. 

Then came the twentieth century ! 



SS 



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THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 

It i& difficult for many to realize how fast ''history'' has 
moved in our own lives. One-third of Fluvanna's ''History" is 
within the twentieth century. "Gleanin^r" is difficult 

The long yellow trains of the James River Division, winding 
up the Valley, with the bright brass of the parlor car, are 
memories of the past. 

The creek-bottom road that ran north from Columbia is 
gone. The State Highway System has built major roads across 
the county; and all roads are "all-weather" roads, now! 

The Constitution of 1902 that established qualifications for 
suffrage, established segregation in transportation and facili- 
ties, has been thrown out Counties now raise limited amounts 
of tiieir required income. Cherished local "government funda- 
mentals" have declined in popular importance. 

The Hughes Gold Mining and Milling Company that was 
operating early in this century, vdth Virginia's only cyanide 
recovery process, is of the past. In 1905 this mine had two 
shafts, a stamp mill and a gold f umacing imit 

Population of the county fell to 7,088 in 1940 but by the 
1960 census it has shown an upturn to 7,227. This figure is 
less than it was a century before. 

There have been so many events — EWorld Wars I and II, the 
Korean "police action", and now. Southeast Asia. Mechaniza- 
tion has replaced the "Mule" on the farm, and the output of a 
single agricultural worker is twenty-fold or more than at the 
turn of the century. 

Fork Union has grown into one of the Nation's leading Mili- 
tary schools. 

Automobiles, telephones, electrification, radio and television, 
have changed our lives. 

From Bremo Bluff (no longer Big Bock) electric power goes 
to serve Virginia. Gas Transmission lines cross the county. 

A record of history can not omit the Prohibition Era or the 
Flaming Youth Era of the '20s (possibly comparable to the 
Beatles of today), the Depression of the '30's and the "alpha- 
betical agencies", to say nothing of the radical political 
changes. 

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We can hardly realize that in: 
July 16, 1946 the first atom bomb was exidoded 
In 1946 — top airplane (jet) speed was 600 mph 
In 1947 — Space flight was forecast 
In 1948 — ^Atomic Powered Ships were predicted 
In 1949 — Color TV was demonstrated 
In 1961 — ^Direct Dialing came into telephone services 
In 1962 — ^The sonar (sound) systems of porpoises were pro- 
jected 
In 1962 — ^First national political conventions were televised 
In 1967 — ^Prediction — man could hit the moon with a missile 
In 1967 — ^Birth control pills were on the market 
In 1966 — Over 600 man-made objects are now flying around 
in space 

The Fluvanna Historical Society comes into being when 
history is being rapidly made. There is the trite and old story 
of the Washington taxi-driver explaining the inscription on 
the Archives Building: ''What is Past is Prologue'' he said, 
and I think his 'ixanslation'' serves us today. An unusual and 
interesting book of history is well begun and great chapters 
are yet to be written. To you, The Fluvanna Historical Society, 
I lay down the challenge. 



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REFERENCES 

1. James Street— 'The Revolutionary War*' 

2. William R. Brown— "Geology of the Piedmont Province" 

— ^Pages 482-496 — James River Basin— Virginia Acad- 
emy of Science (1950) — ^with Bibliography 

3. Thomas Jefferson- "Notes on State of Virginia" 1966 

Edition University of North Carolina Press — ^Page 26 

4. Map — Jefferson and Pry (1761) 

6. James Mooney — Souian Tribes of the East 

— ^Bureau of American Ethnology — Grovemment Print- 
ing Office (1864) 

6. David Bushnell — "Five Monacan Towns in Virginia" — 

Smithsonian Msc. (Collections— Vol. S2, No. 12 (1980) 

7. Edgar Woods— "History of Albemarle'' Page 24 Michie 

Company (1901) 

8. B. C. McCary — "Indians in Southeastern Country Vir- 

ginia'* 

9. Executive Journal Council of Colonial Virginia, VoL 4» 

Page 56 

10. Hennings Statutes (Acts of House of Burgesses) Vol. 6, 

Page 383 

11. Hennings Statutes— Vol. 6, Page 262 

12. Hennings Statutes— Vol. 7, Page 141 

13. Acts of House of Delegates 1777 

14. Richard L. Morton "Colonial Virginia" (1960), published 

for the Virginia Historical Society by University of 
North Carolina Press 

16. Grooch Papers No. 6, 1728, Nov. 6, 1728— Calendar of State 
Papers— 1728-29 

16. Repeated References — (joochland and Albemarle County 

Records 

17. Journal House of Burgesses, 1742-49, Page 274 

18. Will of Edward Scott— Goochland County 

19. John H. Gwathmey — "Twelve Virginia Counties'' Page 

346 

20. Edgar Woods— "History of Albemarle'', Page 10 

21. EdgarWoods— "History of Albemarle", Pages 12-13 

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22. G. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Pagea 

37, 54-61, 176 

23. Helen Barrett Agee — "Facets of Goochland County" Pages 

113-117 

24. Gooch Papers, July 8, 1735 VHS 393, Box 1, M 68 

25. Mary Newton Stewart— "Colonial Virginia" Page 66 

26. Diary of Robert Rose — Colonial Williamsburg 

27. Richard L. Morton — Colonial Virginia, Vol. II, Pages 555- 

559 

28. Tobacco in Colonial Virginia — ^Melvin Hemdon 

29. G. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Note 21, 

p. 337, Vol. II 
SO. Edgar Woods— History of Albemarle— Page 229 

31. Edgar Woods — History of Albemarle 

32. Fluvanna County Sketchbook — Fluvanna Co. Civil War 

Commission 

33. Mary Newton Stewart— Colonial Virginia, Page 205 

34. H. C. Fooman — "Virginia Architecture'', Jamestown 

Series 

35. George W. Bagby— "Old Virginia Gentlemen" 

36. Melvin Hemdon — "Tobacco in Colonial Virginia", James- 

town Series 

37. Richard L. Morton — Colonial Virginia, Vol. II, Pages 815- 

832 
88. Newton B. Jones— Pages 122-134— The Old Dominion — 
Essays for Thomas Perkins Abemathy 

39. Dumas Malone — Jefferson the Virginian — ^Pages 114, 116, 

116, 129 

40. Helen Barrett Agee — Facets of Goochland History, Page 

176 

41. Rev. Edgar Woods^History of Albemarle, Pages 29, 30 

42. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Appendix 

Pages 562, 563 

43. Melvin Hemdon — ^Tobacco in Colonial Virginia, Page 49 

44. Cary Family Records 

45. H. B. Agee — Facets of Goochland History 

46. Edgar Woods — ^Woods History of Albemarle, Pages 880, 

331 

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47. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church — ^Pages 

206-207 

48. Christopher Ward— "The War of the Revolution" Pages 

862, 863, 866, 870, 871 

49. Elizabeth Conwetti — "Depradations in Virginia during 

the Revolution*' — ^The Old Dominion Abemathy Letters 

50. D. E. Peeples — ^Ammunition Supply in Revolutionary Vir- 

ginia— VMHB Jan. 1965— Pages 56-77 

51. Dumas Malone — Jefferson the Virginian — ^Pages 343-866 

52. Christopher Ward— War of the Revolution— 866-896 

53. Henry S. Randell— "Life of Thomas Jefferson" Pages 321- 

360 

54. Journal House of Delegates, March 1781 Session, Bulletin 

Va. State Library XVIL, 53-54 

55. Virginia's Critical Period— Alan Schafer— The Old Do- 

minion — ^Abemathy Papers — ^U. Va. Press (1965) 152- 
170 

56. Acts of Virginia House of Delegates 

57. Virginia Statutes XI, 510 

58. Louise C. Caldwell "Richmond in Old Portraits'* 

59. Edgar Woods — History of Albemarle — Page 341 

60. James River Basin, ps. 718-719 

61. Hugh Blair Grigsby — Constitutional Convention in 1829 

62. Thomas Jefferson — ^Letter to John Adams — Jefferson 

Papers X-106 

63. Dr. Gwinett Ryland— "Baptists in Virginia" Pages 164- 

165 

64. Newton B. Jones — "Old Dominion — ^Abemathy Papers'* 

Pages 122-134 

65. Acts House of Delegates, 1796 

66. Acts House of Delegates, 1810 

67. John H. Gwathmey — ^Twelve Virginia Counties, Pages 

427-428 

68. Mary Newton Stewart — ^Richmond and Its People, 111 

69. Virginia Cavalcade— Summer 1965 — ^Va. State Library 

70. James River Basin — Chesapeake & Ohio Railway — Pages 

721-722 

71. Hornbook of Virginia History— Va. State Library (1965) 

Page 82 



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72. Mary Newton Stewart — ^Richmond and Its People — ^Pages 

118-121 

73. Helen B. Agee — ^Facets of Goochland County History — 

Pages 91-92 

74. Mrs. Ellis Pollard Snead— 'Tluvanna County Sketchbook'' 

Ps. 90-91 

75. Edgar Woods— History of Albemarle— Pages 104-105 

76. J. E. Teal — Chesapeake & Ohio Railway — James River 

Basin— Pages 725-729 

77. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead— Fluvanna Sketch Book— Pages 39, 

40-42,43 

78. George W.Bagby—*The Old Virginia Gentleman'' 

79. Thomas L. Watson — ''Mineral Resources of Virginia'' 

Pages 669-562 

80. Matthew Page Andrews — ^''Virginia the Old Dominion" 

Pages 441, 445 

81. Matthew Page Andrews — ''Virginia the Old Dominion" 

82. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead — ^Fluvanna County Sketch Book 

83. L. A. Wallace, Jr., — Guide to Military Organizations 1861- 

1865— Pages 124, 165-166, 20, 56, 41, 39, 34, 221, 246, 
270 

84. James River Basin VAS — ^Railroad Transportation, Page 

732 

85. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead — ^Fluvanna County Sketchbook, Page 

82 

86. James River Basin — ^Railway Transportation, Pages 756- 

786 

87. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead— Fluvanna Sketch Book, Page 81 

88. Hornbook of Virginia History— ^Virginia State Library, 

Page 96 

89. T. L. Watson — Mineral Resources of Virgnia, Plate 

LXXVIII, Page 661 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Numbers 2 & 3 



September 1966 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
Bwli in 18S0 



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GLEANINGS OF 
FLUVANNA HISTORY 



Taken from the 

Notes for Talk to 

THE FLUVANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 

At Cole's Tatern 

Wilmington^ Virginia 

September 19, 1965 



EDWIN COX 



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y i 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 
1964 to collect and preserve manuscripts and other 
documents relating to the history of Fluvanna County 
in Virginia; to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the 
county seaty Palmyra, as a museum where antiquities 
of the county may be exhibited ; and to encourage his- 
torical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. 
Annual dues are $1.50; a life membership costs $25.00. 
A bulletin will be published twice a year. Readers are 
requested to contribute any information of historical 
interest they may have or may be able to obtain. The 
Society will endeavor to publish as much of this infor- 
mation as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: The 
Editor, Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palmyra, 
Virginia. 



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ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 

On September 19» 1965, the Fluvanna Historical Society met 
at Cole's Tavern, with General Edwin Cox as the guest 
speaker. General Cox had been asked to give a ^'running ac- 
count"' of the history of the county, all of which he did under 
the title of "Gleanings of Fluvanna History/' 

So successful was this speech that many of those who heard 
it clamored for copies but there were no copies — only "a book 
f uU of notes/' If only we had made a tape-recording I 

Realizing the importance for future historians interested in 
this material, we felt it should be published, and asked per- 
mission of General Cox to put his notes with his references 
into a form for publication in the 1966 issue of The Bulletin. 
He most generously agreed to this request. 

We regret not having the literary skills with which we 
might have put into writing the brilliance of the speech as de- 
livered, but we can hope that these printed %are bones" will 
provide for our readers interesting information, some amusing 
^'side-lights" as well as a degree of pride and pleasure in our 
*Tluvanna past." 

We herewith present the ''edited notes" of General Cox's 
speech, and wish to acknowledge the gratitude of the Fluvanna 
Historical Society for the use of this material. 

Thb EnrroE 



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INTRODUCTION OF THE SPBAKER 

BT 
NANCY BERCAW 

General Edwin Cox was born in Richmond, Virginia and 
is a distinguished graduate of the Virginia Military Institute. 
He is a chemist, a chemical engineer and a farmer. He is a 
member of the Executive Committee of The Virginia His- 
torical Society, and a former chairman of the Board of The 
Virginia State Library. General Cox lives now at Holly Hill 
in King & Queen Coun^, Virginia. 

He is connected with Fluvanna County through descent 
from early land patentees — ^Randolph, Cocke and Cary — and 
primarily through his wife, Virginia De Mott, granddaughter 
of Virginia Snead of Fork Union (Mrs. William E. Hatcher) 
and reviser of her grandmother's book, ''Sneads of Fluvanna' 



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INDEX 

Pacsb 

Geology & Geography 1 

Firet Families of Fluvanna 3 

Metes and Bounds 4 

Settlement of Fluvanna 6 

Firet Settlera 8 

The Revolution 12 

Other Aspects of the Revolution 15 

1781 17 

Peace and Prosperity — and Depressions 20 

The War of 1812 28 

The Depressionr—The Panic of 1819 24 

'"Before The War*' 26 

The Civil War Period 29 

Long Yeare 1865—1870 88 

Three Decades— 1870— 1900 84 

The Twentieth Cratury 36 

References 89 



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Gkuuugs of Huvanna Hiatorjr 



INTRODUCnON 

The Commonwealth of Virginia is fortunate that another 
local Historical Society has come into being. Democracy has 
to rest on somid foundations. Virgiliia gave to these United 
States certain principles of government These principles are 
based on the local governments, the hustings and the hundreds. 
Without these bases the mass of government inevitably be- 
comes totalitarian, and by sheer weight topples, and democnu^ 
will fall. Preservation of our heritage, revealed by history, will 
help to preserve these principles. 

Also, there is much pleasure to be had in fitting together 
historical bits and pieces. Fact will be found to be more inter- 
esting than fiction. Perhaps you will find that ''Grandma's 
knee is a nice, cozy place to learn about goblins and ghosts; 
even Santa Claus. But it's a mighty poor place to learn his- 
tory." 

Glean is a good old Angle-Saxon word meaning to gather 
scattered ''bits'' — and I have gleaned through eighty-nine ref- 
erence works to gather what information I may be i^le to give 
you today. Dr. Samuel Johnson once ci»nmented, "Many a 
fool will go through a whole library to write one book." No, I 
have not written a book (are jrou relieved?), only a book full 
of notes from which I will speak today in an endeavor to 
briefly review the one hundred eighty-eight years of Fluvanna 
history. 



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GEOLOGY AND GEOGRAPHY 

"Old Fluvanna'* is truly old, rivalling the oldest of exposed 
land masses. Its geology and geography determined its his- 
tory. The Wissahickon (good Indian word) schist (a metamor- 
phic crystalline rock) is over 400,000,000 years in age and 
forms Fluvanna bed rock. It was old when the Blue Ridge 
was pushed up, and when the Alleghenies were under the sea. 
A few years later 800,000,000 years or so, a granite extrusion 
pushed up through the schist, that is now called Columbian 
granite (which takes its name from the Fluvanna site, 
Columbia.) Just west of Fluvanna there was a volcanic ex- 
trusion, stretching from southwest to northeast, that formed 
the greenstone bdt Some miUlion years later in the Ordovician 
period there was formed a narrow lake (at about the present 
site of Bremo) , dammed by the granite wall on the east and 
by the slate wall at Big Rock — ^now Bremo Bluff. The sediment 
in this trench-like lake was clay and through many years of 
metamorphosis formed the slate bed that stretches into the 
southern part of the county. These rocks are our oldest ' Vrit- 
t^i" records. 

The schists and granite rocks were eroded over the millions 
of years and the soils that formed were the red and yellow 
Podzolic types. Through these years there was heavy erosion 
— ^more severe than in other parta of the physiographic prov- 
inces now making up Virginia. Only along the stream courses 
did the alluvium from the up-stream lands maintain a high 
fertility. 

The junction of the branches of the James at Point of Fork 
is where the streams broke through the granite barrier. Here 
the Rivanna (North Fork) joined the Fluvanna (South Fork) . 
The James River was called the Main, Powhatan or James only 
east of this point in Colonial days. Thomas Jefferson wrote in 
1783 : "This river is called in the maps James River only to 
its confluence with the Rivanna; thence to the Blue Ridge it 
is called the Fluvanna; and thence to its source, Jackson's 
River. But in common speech it is called James River to its 
source.'' (in the Alleghenies) 



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The plane of Fluvanna is tilted. Most of its area is drained 
by the Rivanna, but in the southwest mainly by the Hardware 
(and that name goes back to the 178(Ks), and in the tilted 
east mainly by the Byrd Creek (River) . As seen from the air, 
the geological and geographical picture is quite clear. All of 
the names now in use appear on the Jefferson and Fry Map of 
1766, except the James which was then called the Fluvanna. 



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FIRST F AMIUES OF FLUVANNA 

We know these true F.F.F/8 mainly by artifacts. We do 
know that about two to three generations before the English 
arrived, western Indians displaced the earlier settlers. These 
'"new comers'' were termed by the Algonquins, Souian, (mean- 
ing simply 'foreign language'') . Where the Rivanna joined the 
Fluvanna was their center or ''Rassawek". They were called 
Monacans or ^'diggingstick" people— probably a term of de* 
risibn. 

Some archeological studies have been made, and work done 
in this area, with some of the resulting artifacts being now in 
the possession of the Valentine Museum in Richmond. But we 
know all too little about the Monacans. Their strength was 
estimated at 1500 in 1607-1610 ; fell to 100 by 1669 ; and before 
1700, they were nearly all gone. There is a single reference to 
the Indians in the records of the setUement of Fluvanna — a 
land patent in 1761 describing land at the head of Bremo 
Creek: 'The line ran up to the head of the branch that 
(where) the Indian shot John Lawson at" 

The recorded history makes no reference to Indian fighting 
in the County. The Monacans had silently departed before set- 
tlement by the white man had begun. 



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BfETES AND BOUNDS 

In 1632, the original four Virginia ^'corporations'' or cities, 
(Elizabeth City, James City^ Charles City, Henry City) be- 
came shires or counties, containing varsdng numbers of Par- 
ishes, each Parish being divided into precincts that were not 
only ecclesiastical but political units as welL The ''county 
ancestry*' of Fluvanna is : Henrico (Henry City) , the original 
corporation; Goochland erected in 1728, Albemarle in 1744^ 
and Fluvanna was made a county in 1777 by act of the Htmse 
of Delegates, of the independent Commonwealtli of Virginia. 

The first political unit comprising Fluvanna was St James 
Parish of Henrico. It was in 1720, more than a hundred years 
after Jamestown before tliere was a political unit other than 
the original county or parish from which Fluvanna descended. 
In that year St James Parish was created from the western 
part of Henrico. This new Parish, for a brief time, extended 
indefinitely westward — ^to the Western Sea, as was sometimes 
said. 

When Albemarle was formed, what is now Fluvanna came 
into the new parish of St Anne's, in which it remained until 
the new county of Fluvanna was created and then the names 
were taken — ^Fluvanna for the County and Rivanna for the 
Parish. These names were for the Rivers and not in any way 
for Queen Anne of England. In 1777, it was not the spirit of 
the Virginia Revolutionary to memorialize British Royalty. 

In that year (1777) the Greneral Assembly created two other 
new Virginia Counties; Powhatan (like Fluvanna), cut oflf 
from the eastern section of its parent, Cumberland, and 
Henry, named for the then governor, Patrick Henry. The 
previous General Assembly (1776) had created the counties of 
Ohio, Yohogania, Monongalia and Kentucky. The next Greneral 
Assembly erected the Virginia County of Illinois. 

Fluvanna boundaries were ably surveyed. Major William 
Mayo of Goochland, who surveyed the Virginia-North Carolina 
line, and laid out the towns of Richmond and Petersburg, ran 
the north boundary of Louisa-Goochland, and later extended it 
The Groochland-Albemarle line was clearly fixed — ''line north 



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30 degrees east extending from the Point of Fork to the Louisa 
County line." This line is now the eastern boundary of Flu- 
vanna County. 

The line on the northwest comer required an adjustment 
around Mechunk Creek, as the western boundary of Louisa. 
With the able surveyors Mayo, Fry, and Peter Jefferson, one 
can be sure this was exact When Fluvanna was separated 
from Albemarle, the Ime was described as 'liieginning at the 
most western point on the line of Louisa County and then 
running directly to the lower edge of Scott's Ferry on the Flu- 
vanna River/' There was no allowance for any geographical 
anomaly. It was to be a straight line, which would bisect 
Scottsvilla It is entirely by chance that the western boundary 
so closely parallels the eastern boundary at north 30 degrees 



In 1784, the Parish as a political unit was abolished. The 
County Court took over the Parish functions. The ''precinct" 
was a land unit It was not a voting unit until a later Con- 
stitution. These Metes and Bounds continued until the Under- 
wood Convention and Constitution of 1868 which did away 
with the proven Virginia system of County Courts, established 
Townships, and set up a new form of County Government 
When the 1868 Constitution was finaUy ratified, the townships 
were Columbia, Palnqnra, Fork Union, and Cunningham and 
these became later the present magisterial districts. The Board 
of Supervisors, popularly elected, replaced the County Court 



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SETTLEMENT OF FLUVANNA 

The popular concept that the settlement of new lands west 
of the Fall Line was by the rugged independent individualist^ 
clearing his own small patches, is contrary to history. It is a 
legend, as is the columned antebellum homes surrounded by 
magnolias and plentiful slave labor, and service of juleps on 
vine-covered porches. 

The first explorers up the James, the Fluvanna and Rivanna 
rivers are not recorded, excepting Captain Newport in 1607. 
The disappearance of the Indians had been recorded, and there 
being no Indian population, there was no trade nor trading 
posts; also, there was no land patented. In 1700, the Huguenot 
settlement was the upper river limit, and no Indian trouble 
occurred there. 

In the first half of the eighteenth century, Virginia popula- 
tion increased fourfold— 58,000 to 230,000. Then came the 
westward push and treaties were made with the Western 
Indians, which they more honorably observed than did the 
colonists. 

New land policies had been established by Governors Spotts- 
wood, Drysdale and Gooch. Rather than individual patents of 
''50 acres per headrighf ', the system now allowed the receiv- 
ing of 'Tieadrights'* by the payment of five shillings to the 
Colonial treasury. Thus, large patents were issued to planters 
who had the resources to establish settlements into the Pied- 
mont and across the Blue Ridge. With such patents, these in- 
dividuals undertook the responsibility for settlement. But for 
many years, there was friction between these ''land specula- 
tors" and the colonial government. "Speculator"' is a mislead- 
ing name in today's semantics. These colonial grantees were 
what today would be called "real-estate developers." They 
took land in wholesale quantities, made the essential initial 
investments — ^miUs, "paths", glebes — and then resold, bring- 
ing in new settlers, hopefullly at a profit. Inevitably, many 
lost at this game. But most of these Tidewater Virginians 
knew the requirements and were skilled in the business. Gov- 
ernor Grooch defended the advantages of this system : "Where 
the greatest tracts have been granted and possessed encour- 
agement has thereby been given to the meaner sort of people 

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to seat themselves as it were under the shade and protection 
of the greater/' Risks were financial rather than ph3r8ical. 
The Indians were gone, 'leasts'' were limited to a few wolves, 
that, rather than a threat, were a source of income through 
bounties. Probably many a gray fox was classed as a wolf to 
secure the bounty. 

There were no ''grants from the King*'. In Virginia, that 
troublesome device was limited to the Northern Neck and its 
Proprietary, which grant, by Charies II, had been bitterly con- 
tested. No right was cherished more by Virginia's General 
Assembly than the privilege of controlling land-ownership. 
Any title under a King's grant south of the Rappahannock is 
probably void. It is as un-Virginian as sugar in batterbread. 

Patent books show the way in which the land was taken up. 
The families most interested in developing the Fluvanna and 
Rivanna lands seemed to have been those seated below the 
Falls and on the Curies of the James. Nearly half of the pat- 
entees were first or second cousins. They picked the rich lands 
along the streams. Mapping these land patents — and then fill- 
ing in the gaps — ^is most interesting. 

In the northwest of what is now Fluvanna county, there 
were patentees from the Rappahannock some of whom were al- 
so pushing into the VaUey, which was being settled even be- 
fore the Rivanna and Fluvanna country because of popula- 
tion pressure. The 20 square mile grant to Nicholas Meri- 
weather on the Rappahannock included part of Mechunk 
Creek. Descendants and kinsmen and neighbors of William 
Randolph and Mary Isham — called the Adam and Eve of Vir- 
ginia — ^pushed up the Fluvanna and Rivanna. The two largest 
first patentees were brothers-in-law — Cary and Cocke. Others 
foDowed: "BoUings", "Carters", "Eppes", "Pages", "Carys". 
In many instances, buying land rather than patenting it, was 
simpler and maybe cheaper for smaller investors. Many of the 
patents of Fluvanna are recorded in Liouisa and Goochland 
Courthouses. 

The only plea for '^protection" in this period came from citi- 
zens being persecuted by horse-thieves who had "established 
themselves into a confederacy for canying on their business, 
passing their stolen horses to agents further off for sale." They 
remain unnamed. 



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FIRST SETTLERS 

Among the first settlers one meets many interesting Vir- 
ginians. The Burgesses: Richard Randolph, John Boiling, John 
Fleming, Dudley Digges, James Holman, Isham Randolph, 
Edward Scott (Scottsville), Alan Howard (Howardsville) , 
Peter Jefferson, etc. The surveyors stand out: Joshua Fry, 
(professor of William and Mary, first Burgess from Albe- 
marle, and conmiander of the First Virginia Regiment, (at 
whose death Washington succeeded) , Peter Jefferson, William 
Mayo. William Cabell and Thomas Walker were able doctors, 
surveyors, and explorers. All of these were representatives 
of what now comprises Fluvanna County. 

Joseph Thompson, justice, first sheriff of Albemarle, and 
militia captain, ran one of Fluvanna's first taverns near now 
Palmyra. He was an early patentee and a leader of the com- 
munity. Giles Allegro, son-in-law of Goochland's fijrst clerk, 
ran the tavern on Mechunk. His daughter married the young 
Swiss, Albert Gallatin, who became Secretary of the Treasury, 
and who did much to establish U. S. currency on a sound basis. 

John Nicholas, son of Gieorge Nicholas of Williamsburg, 
who in 1729 patented James River land, succeeded William 
Randolph (non-resident) as first clerk of Albemarle (in 1750) • 
He served for 42 years. His lands were just on the southwest 
boundary, or just out of it. His brother was Robert Carter 
Nicholas, Treasurer of the Colony. An interesting story about 
this gentleman was that when quite advanced in years he 
fought a duel with Thomas Mann Randolph, one-time Grov- 
emor of Virginia, and thereafter wore the hat that Randolph's 
bullet had pierced. Incidentally, they were cousins. 

There were other settlers. David Riese had a 'Apiece bit out 
of his left eax^\ He, Patrick Nowlin, John and Stephen Heard 
had to appear before the Court and testify that it was in a 
''f(Ur^' fight. The court records had to show this; otherwise 
David would have been thought to have been branded a felon. 

Martin King and Martin King, Jr., were good road builders. 
Their name was given to the Martin King road. But they got 
in trouble with the Court, and Martin King was placed in cus- 

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tody "for a year*'. His son and James Fenley were placed in 
stocks. Earlier James Fenley won a suit against Samuel 
Stephens but Stephens chose a whipping rather than imprison- 
ment and Captain Thompson had to administer twenty-one 
lashes. As Captain Thompson was one who had adjudged Fen- 
ley, it is doubted if the lashes were severe. 

George McDaniel enlists sympathy. He was fined for swear- 
ing "two oaths in two months". 

The Parsons that served now-Fluvanna were interesting 
men. Mr. Becket seems to have been the first. A description of 
him has come down to us : "Mr. Becket is a man of strong con- 
stitution; loves drink perhaps too well; and living in the 
Northern Neck where drinking and boxing is too much in 
fashion has been tempted to quarrel ; for being unpolished he 
is bold and hardy in his temper ; and has not yet learned to 
turn his other cheek. But with this he is constant in the dis- 
charge of his duty." The register shows he well attended to his 
duties. There were troubles with the parson's wife, one of the 
larger landholder's wives writing "how the parish minister 
was hampered by his wife who made herself ridiculous by 
trsdng to be a fine lady." 

Anthony Gavin followed Mr. Becket. He was of Spanish 
birth, had been a Jesuit, and then ordained. His letter to the 
Bishop of London, 5 August 1738, is one of the first descrip- 
tions of Fluvanna : ". . . hearing that a frontier parish was 
vacant and that the people of the mountains had never seen a 
clergyman since they were settled there, I desired the Gov- 
ernor's consent to leave an easy parish for this I do now serve. 
I have three churches, twenty-three and twenty-four miles 
from the Glebe, in which I officiate every third Sunday, and 
besides these I have seven places of service up in the moun- 
tains where the clerks read prayers — ^f our clerks in the seven 
places. I go twice a year to preach in twelve places which I 
reckon better than four hundred miles backward and forward 
and ford nineteen times the North and South Rivers. (Note : 
these are the Fluvanna and Rivanna) I have taken four trips 
already and the 20th instant I go up again. In my first journey, 
I baptized white people 209; blacks 172; Quakers 15; and 
Anabaptists 2." Parson Gavin was a dedicated Missioner. The 
ratio of white/black baptisms is of interest, and also the "seg- 



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regation'' of Quakers and Anabaptists. The site of the lower 
colonial church in Fluvanna should be determined. 

The Rever^id Robert Rose followed Parson Gavin. He was 
a gifted and versatile man. He came to Saint Anne's Parish 
when it was created and probably named it as he had come 
from St. Anne's in Essex, 'like a patriarch of old he set out 
with his sheep, cattle, servants and family for his new home.'' 

His diary is probably the best reference to Fluvanna in 
those formative years. He was not only an active Parson, rid- 
ing hundreds of miles, a surveyor, a large patentee, the orig- 
inator of the Rose method of transporting tobacco by fasten- 
ing two canoes together, a builder of large shops, but also he 
was a leader of his community and an adviser to his Governor. 
He died on a trip to the Tidewater and is buried at St. John's 
in Richmond. One interesting reference in his diary tells of 
visiting a parishioner and of ''drinking his whiskey which I 
think is a poor substitute for claret". 

John Ramsey succeeded Parson Rose and served for fifteen 
years. He "seems" to have gotten in trouble, as after fifteen 
years of service he was tried for "Neglect of duty and Adul- 
try." The spice can not be given. Presumably he died before 
sentence could be passed. 

Roads, Mills, Ordinaries were quickly established. The roads 
have been described in the Sketchbook : Bremo, Martin King's, 
Secretary. The Stage Road came west from Goochland, 
through Wilmington, (with a cut-off to Columbia bdiind ttie 
granite ridge), and passed by Allegro's Tavern on Mechuck. 
Until Rose's development of the double canoe, tobacco (both 
the money crop and ''currency") had to be roUed down to West- 
ham and Richmond, the closest warehouses. Rose's "invention" 
opened up the river trafiic, as several hogsheads could then be 
floated down at one time and supplies poled upwards. 

There is a recorded story of a certain man making this trip, 
carrying his tobacco and his other portable money product to 
market. He "had consumed too much of the whiskey and for- 
got to land at Westham. He rode his canoe, tobacco and all 
over the Falls. Shortly thereafter he was fished from the water 
downstream, wet and frightened, but sober." 

In these colonial days, there were no dams on the rivers. 
Fish "ran" up the Fluvanna and Rivanna — shad, herring and 

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rock. The rivers were clear. The little shallow plowing had not 
eroded the soil, muddied the waters, or filled the rivers with 
sflt. 

There was a textile industry using the local wool, and Wil- 
liam Nelson of Yorktown wrote: '1 now wear a good suit of 
cloth of my own son's wool manufacture as well as my shirts 
in Albemarle.'' This is thought to have been Union Mills. 

Colonial Mansions were not built in Fluvanna; The Mansion 
period came later. The houses first built were the tsnpical A- 
roof ed Virginia cottages which are called by the Williamsburg 
architects ^'Medieval Transitional", but best described by Dr. 
George Bagby in 'IJncle Flatback's Plantation". 

The Colony fought two wars in this Period of Settlement. 
Sons from the Fluvanna and Rivanna moved out to the Ohio. 
There was the growing challenge of total authority two cai- 
turies ago. Colonists were ^'descendants of Englishmen who by 
their own consent and at the expense of their own blood and 
treasure had settled the Colony for the aggrandisement of the 
present kingdom" and '"Under an English Government all men 
are bom free, are only subject to laws made by their own con- 
sent, and can not be deprived of these laws without a trans- 
gression of them." 

The author of this protest in 1766 was the brother-in-law of 
a large land holder of what is now Fluvanna, and the kinsman 
of many. He spoke for the people of Fluvanna, their feelings 
ttien and now. 



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THE REVOLUTION 

In 1767, a young lawyer in his early twenties rode back 
through Fluvanna after graduating from the C!ollege of Wil- 
liam and Mary and studying law under George Wythe. The old 
Stage Road was a familiar route to him, leading from his 
father's lands at Shadwell, to his mother's home at Tuckahoe. 
His surveyor father, who was now dead, had probably laid it 
out. Often in the future, he would ride that road from his new 
home, Monticello, to the lands he bought just over the Gooch- 
land line at Elk-Hill — and there are two Elk Hills. 

Young Thomas Jefferson had probably been present when 
the General Assembly in 1765 had passed the Act: "For clear- 
ing the great falls of the James River, the river Chickahominy, 
and the north branch of the James River" (Rivanna). The 
General Assembly resolved, but now it was up to undertakers 
to carry out the plans and, as a trustee, clearing the Rivanna 
was one of Jefferson's first tasks. "To the best of his knowledge 
no hogsheads of tobacco had been transported on the North 
Branch of the James to the junction with the larger stream." 
He vigorously led in remedying this situation. Many years 
later, before being elected President, Jefferson drew up a list 
of "undertakings" as he asked himself whether "his country 
was the better for his having lived." This improvement of the 
Rivanna was the first item on his list. 

There was another result and reward to this. In 1768, an 
election of a new House of Burgesses was ordered by the new 
Governor, Norbonne Berkeley, Lord Botetourt. From Albe- 
marle there were three candidates. One was Dr. Thomas 
Walker of "Castle Hill", explorer, doctor, surveyor. The sec- 
ond was Edward Carter, son of John Carter (the Colonial Sec- 
retary for whom the Secretary Ford and Secretary Road were 
named, and a grandson of "King" Carter.) They were the in- 
cumbents. The third candidate was the young red-headed at- 
torney, only twenty-five years old with one year's practice of 
law behind him. Walker appeared certain of election. Carter 
and Jefferson, not as certain, supplied the electors with rum, 
in accordance with the practice of "swilling the planters with 

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bimbo"- Jefferson records that he provided "drinks and cakes". 
In a close election, Jefferson defeated Carter. One wonders 
what would have been the course of history had the election by 
the freeholders of Albemarle turned out differently. Probably 
the deciding factor was the vote from the eastern section of 
Albemarle in return for his work on the Rivanna. This was one 
of the greatest services rendered to Virginia and to our Na- 
tion. 

In 1771 there was catastrophe; a great freshet swept away 
the new mills along the Rivanna, flooded low grounds, and 
ruined crops. Liarge landowners, burdened by British debts, 
had to dispose of acreages. There was a heavy turnover in 
Fluvanna lands. New names appear. One of them was David 
Ross, Scotsman, trader, and miller, who, in time, became a 
major supplier of war materials in the Revolution. 

In 1775, Minutemen were formed into a company. Frederick 
Wills and Patrick Napier, corporals, seem to have certainly 
been from this section of Albemarle that became Fluvanna. 
Eighteen of the Minuteman Company marched on Williams- 
burg, returned, and then on July 11, 1775, twenty-seven 
marched back again. 

Albemarle was called on for two companies. They trained 
at Rockflsh Gap and then moved to the Continental Line. Some 
of these Fluvanna troops were sent out to garrison Fort Henry 
(now Wheeling) for the protection of the Northwestern 
frontier. Others went to the Northern Theater. 

As in all wars, there was the problem of men and materials. 
Substitutes were used when conscription had to be enforced. 
Davis Ross and Charles Lynch (the latter a son of a Flu- 
vanna patentee) were in charge of lead procurement. The 
early years of the War left what is now Fluvanna unscarred, 
save for the sacrifice of her sons and economic disruption. 
Wartime inflation was on. Tobacco, although there was a lim- 
ited market, tripled in price, and tobacco was the currency. 
Those who had "capital" saw their relative values fall. Those 
who owed money could pay off debts. There were many 
changes, economic as well as governmental. 

In 1777, the new county was formed, named for its Rivers. 
The boundaries included **the Islands in the Fluvanna". The 
County Court was elected by the legislature. 

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Wilson Miles Gary, senior member of the Quorum, was pre- 
siding justice and the first officer of the new county. He was 
from the lower Rivanna. The Thompson brothers, George and 
Roger, were from the center of the county, near now Palmyra. 
They were sons of Joseph Thompson, the sheriff and one of 
the original justices of Albemarle. Martin Key with lands in 
the northwest of Fluvanna became the first Sheriff. He was a 
son of John Key who had been justice of Albemarle. William 
Henry, brother of the Governor, Patrick Henry, had lands on 
the Hardware. Jesse Burton was from the northeast section 
of the county, son of an early settler in Goochland and of a 
family active in the then new Baptist denomination. 

John Ware from the eastern part of the county, was the son 
of an early Goochland patentee. Thomas Napier from the cen- 
tral part of the counly was also of ''Goochland stock*', and 
brother of Patrick Napier of the Minutemen. The House of 
Delegates distributed and made diverse the Court of the new 
County. 

Martin Key became Sheriff, the second officer of the County ; 
William Henry went to the House of Delegates as Delegate of 
the new County; Thomas Napier was designated County Lieu- 
tenant, in command of the Militia. The population of tihe new 
county is estimated to have been 2600 or slightly more and 
probably 200 to 225 families. Many were away at the "wars". 

John Timberlake, with the approval of the Governor, was 
appointed the first county clerk. He faithfully served the 
county for 41 years until he died in 1820, at the age of 89. 

John Timberlake should certainly be honored for his own 
distinguished service, but he will be remembered also for be- 
ing the brother-in-law of Peggy O'Neal (Mrs. James Timber- 
lake) , who was a contributing cause of a political furor during 
the administration of President Andrew Jackson, and whose 
name is memorialized in the well-known song ''That* s Peggy 
O'Neal". She was a great beauty. 

The County of Fluvanna was in being, and a trying period 
it was. 



14 



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OTHER ASPECTS OF THE REVOLUTION 

With the spirit of the Revolution, there came dissatisfaction 
with the prevailing "religious" organization — or lack of sama 
Vestries had, to a great extent, been self-perpetuating; their 
authority had extended to secular matters. Now, domination 
by any group was resented. For a generation, in Louisa to the 
north, and Cumberland to the south, there had been strong 
congregations of Presbyterians. In Louisa and in Albemarle 
there were Quaker meetings (see above: Parson Gavin). In 
the 1770's, the Baptist movement had come down from the 
North and was strong in the area east of the Rivanna. The 
Toleration Act assured freedom of worship but the dual tem- 
poral-spiritual authority of the Vestries was challenged, and 
there was the issue of separation of church and state. 

On 22 October 1776 there was a meeting of representatives 
from Albemarle (including Fluvanna), Buckingham and 
Amherst counties. A memorial was drawn up to the ''Delegates 
and Senators'' of the Commonwealth stating that ''being Dis^ 
senters from the Church of England they had not been in 
equal footing with other good people of this colony*' and that 
aU religious denominations should be placed on an equal foot- 
ing. Many citizens of Fluvanna were at this meeting including 
Thomas Napier, Thomas Pemberton, Walter Leake and John 
Harris. The Burton family also were leaders of this movement. 

On May 18, 1779, an outstanding historical event occurred 
in Fluvanna. The war had disrupted religious services. Many 
Ministers of the C!hurch of England were loyal to the Crown 
and not acceptable to rebel congregations. Many Parishes were 
without clergy and vestries were depleted by military service. 
The Reverend Devereaux Jarratt and the evangelism of 
Francis Asbury had awakened religious feelings. The "lay 
preachers" were trsring to carry on without "an organiza- 
tion". There was a meeting held at Brokenbackt CJhurch, the 
upper church of Fluvanna, and resolutions were adopted that 
would permit ordination of the members of this conference and 
so empower them to celebrate the ordinances of their religion. 
The ordination took place and "More than three score went 

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back to their circuits in Virginia and the Carolinas and began 
at once to administer the sacraments to the comfort and sat- 
isfaction of their own people." This was one of the most 
significant events of the establishment of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church. 

Records of Fluvanna are free of any reference to troublous 
religious differences. With the disestablishment of the Church 
of England in 1784, both the lower church (site unknown) and 
Brokenbackt Church fell into disrepair. It is interesting that 
the "parish funds" of St. Anne's Parish went toward the es- 
tablishment of the University of Virginia, and are so listed. 
From then on "denominations" shared houses of worship, and 
in the area of the "Fork" (between the James and Cunning- 
ham Creek), a brick church was built in 1824 called **Brick 
Union". Four denominations worshipped there. It was later 
called "Fork Union". 

In 1800 the Conunittee of Correspondence met in Lyles 
Baptist Church at Wilmington. It was at this meeting that the 
General Meeting of Correspondence of the United Baptist As- 
sociation in Virginia was adopted by a large majority. This 
preceded and led to the Greneral Association. 

Fluvanna was the site in large measure of the establishment 
of both the Methodist and Baptist denominations in the Com- 
monwealth. 



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1781 

1781 was a fateful year. It had been six years since the 
Minutemen marched on Williamsburg. Fluvanna soldiers had 
fought the campaigns in the Northern Colonies and in the 
Northwest until George Rogers Clark destroyed the Shawnee 
capital. Some had been discharged but others were with 
Greene's Continental Armies in the Carolinas. Times were 
dark. George Washington on the Hudson wrote: "We seem 
to be verging so fast in destruction that I am filled with sensa- 
tions to which I have been a stranger till within these three 
months.'' Benedict Amold> commanding British Forces, had 
ravaged Tidewater Virginia; the British had destroyed the 
Continental Base in Chesterfield where Baron von Steuben had 
been collecting men and supplies for Greene's Army. Leaving 
Chesterfield, April 27, Phillips and Arnold had converged on 
Warwick and Richmond, razed the first and captured the 
works and laboratory at Westham. Von Steuben moved his 
base, with what supplies he could evacuate, to Point of Fork, 
and this became the supply base, not only for Virginia's own 
defense, but for Greene's Army. It also supplied George Rogers 
Clark's 1781 campaign against Detroit. 

The economic condition is hard to picture. All supplies, ex- 
cept on-site food, were critical. David Ross of Fluvanna was 
responsible for mining and securing the necessary lead. Cur- 
rency had depreciated so much that tobacco was worth 2,000 
shillings per cwt. — if it could be gotten to market. The Vir- 
ginia Assembly fixed the price of a cavalry horse ($150 hard 
money) at $150,000. This was the "Ravaging of Virginia". 
Damage was estimated at three million pounds (hard money) 
— ^billions continental money. Further, there was an intense 
feud between (Jovemor Jefferson and Von Steuben. The Vir- 
ginia defense forces consisted of three small units under 
Lafayette and the hastily constituted militia brigades of Nel- 
son and Muehlenberg. They were far outnumbered by the 
well-trained and well-armed British. Jefferson ordered the 
draft to be rigidly enforced which added nothing to his pop- 
ularity in this period of defeat. Calls for help were unheeded. 

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"Virginia, fhen impoverished by defending the Northern De- 
partm^it, exhausted by the Southern War, now finds the full 
weight of it upon her shoulders/' 

On May 13, General Phillips, who had succeeded Benedict 
Arnold, died at Petersburg. On May 20 Comwallis arrived 
there with a briigade of guards, parts of four British regi- 
ments, a Hessian regiment, Hamilton's Tories, and Tarleton's 
Legion. He not only assumed command but reinforced Phillips' 
force of four regiments — ^the 76th, the 80tih, the Queen's 
Rangers, and the American Legion. 

The war now moved to Fluvanna. 

Comwallis advanced west immediately. Within 10 days 
Colonel Sitncoe with his Queen's Rangers (Tory — ^not British 
-—cavalry) and the 2nd Battalion of the 71st Regiment of the 
Line were at Point of Fork. Fluvanna was invaded. Von 
Steuben, having moved to Point of Fork less than five weeks 
before, now again moved what supplies he could to the south 
over the James (Fluvanna) and retreated to the West. 

On June 4, from Louisa, Comwallis sent young Major 
Tarleton to seek to capture the Virginia Assembly and Gov- 
ernor Jefferson. It is well known how Jack Jouett, Jr., son of 
the (Charlottesville tavern keeper, rode from Cuckoo to Monti- 
cello. He took a ''disused and shorter route". Did it come 
through Fluvanna? Geographically it would have. Comwallis* 
meanwhile, moved to Elk Hill, Jefferson's plantation on the 
eastern edge of Fluvanna. Tarleton withdrew across Fluvanna 
from Charlottesville. Until June 12, Comwallis remained at 
Elk Hill. We must assume eastern Fluvanna was ravaged; 
Elk Hill certainly was. By June 20 Comwallis had withdrawn 
to Richmond. 

Now there is a sudden shift of scenes. At Mechunk, the 
young Lafayette (incidentally in his first and only campaign) 
with his 800 Continentals, was reinforced by Anttiony Wajme 
with 750 Continentals from Pennsylvania, the Virginia bri- 
gades of Stevens and Lawson, Campbell's brigade from South- 
west Virginia and Von Steuben's hastily trained recruits and 
discharged soldiers under Colonel Febiger. On Mechunk in 
Fluvanna the army was formed that pursued Comwallis. The 
campaign that led to Yorktown began here. Within four 
months there came the glorious victory. 

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There was sadness, though. Despite the beginning of the suc- 
cessful campaign, Jefferson completed his term of office in dis- 
grace and under investigation. Though that investigation, 
made by those hostile to Jefferson, clearly revealed the fault 
could not be charged to him, Jefferson withdrew from Virginia 
public life unfairly accused. His next sphere of achievement 
would be in the Confederation. 

The War did not end for Fluvanna at Yorktown. The Point 
of Fork Depot, with recovered supplies and captured war ma- 
terial, continued to be the southern supply base. War material 
was now plentiful; there was no threat; victory had been 
achieved. Peace was on the way. 



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PEACE AND PROSPERITY— AND DEPRESSIONS 

The generation 1780's — 1810's, was an interesting one in 
the U. S., in Virginia and in Fluvanna history. Events moved 
fast. From the surrender at Yorktown in October 1781 to 1788, 
Virginia had largely recovered from The Ravaging. When 
Governor Benjamin Harrison took office, there were "but four 
shillings in the Treasury''. Thirty thousand slaves had been 
lost, towns and villages burned. Eighteen months later Vir- 
ginia had given 123,000 Virginia pounds, as well as much 
goods, to the Confederation and to the Northwest territories. 
She had recreated her Army and Navy and refinanced her own 
government. One of the first acts of the Conmionwealth had 
been to reestablish the pound sterling as currency instead of 
the worthless continental dollar. Tobacco export had soared to 
86,000,000 pounds at the price of 40 shillings a hundredweight 
in hard Virginia money. This brave chapter is generally un- 
sung! 

These were bright and hopeful days along the Fluvanna and 
Rivanna, and were often to be looked back upon. At Point of 
Fork, now the State Arsenal, barracks were built and from 
here Colonel Peyton commanded the First Virginia Regiment. 
In 1785 Point of Fork was among the first of three tobacco in- 
spection markets to be established west of the Fall Line; others 
were at Lsoich's Ferry (now Lsoichburg) and at Crow's Ferry, 
the head of navigation on the James. A Canal Company was 
chartered to develop navigation of the James. General Wash- 
ington accepted the Presidency of the Canal Company but 
Edmund Randolph, soon to become first Attorney-General, was 
the administrative head. David Ross, John Harvie and William 
Cabell were directors. A dam was duly built across the James, 
(a discouraging result of which "progress" being that shad, 
herring and rock fish could no longer make their annual run 
up the river). The Rivanna was cleared but transportation 
was limited to batteaux. 

In 1788, during the boom. Point of Fork was chartered as 
a town; streets were laid out and lots were sold. In keeping 
with the terms and the adoption of the Constitution the town 

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was named "Columbia". It was to have been a great center. 
Incidentally^ it was this "spirit of growth" and not legis- 
lative action, that led to the legend that the Capital might be at 
Columbia rather than its already well established location at 
Richmond. 

One of the first families to settle here was that of Christian 
Wertenbaker, whose descendants gave so much to Virginia 
education. In June 1788, the year of the establishment of 
Columbia, Virginia (with reservations) adopted the Constitu- 
tion, voting 89 to 79. Change was immediate. 

The dollar again replaced the sound Virginia shilling. To- 
bacco prices fell sharply due to the "Morris" monopoly on 
tobacco export. Jefferson wrote, "The monopoly of the pur- 
chase of tobacco for France had thrown the commerce of that 
article into agonies." The Hamiltonian finance system placed 
heavy penalties on Virginia and further, Virginia planters who 
had paid their British debts to the Commonwealth in order to 
finance the Revolution, had now to pay them again. The landed 
families lost heavily. Senator Giles stated that the New Eng- 
land States and north, proposed to make the "Southern States 
a Milch cow out of which the substance would be extracted", 
and a neighboring county memorialized, "It is time to deter- 
mine whether the people of America, in throwing off the yoke 
of England, had no object than to place it again on their necks. 
Had the pleasure and treasure of the people been expended 
only to expose them to a new flock of harpies more ravenous 
because more lean ?" 

This Federal depression struck Fluvanna a hard blow. The 
Arsenal was closed. The canal was not built for another half 
century and only after the Erie Canal had gone through. 

In the first census, the county had a population of 3,922. 
Some lands had not been patented and could now come only 
from the Land Office. Samples of Commodity Prices in Vir- 
ginia currency were as follows : 

In Lbs. — Houses, 20-25; "second rate" houses, 12-20; Oxen, 
pair 8-15 (the working beasts) ; Steers, 2.5-3 ; Milch Cows, 
good, 5. 

In shillings — Hogs, 12-15; Sheep, 6-15; Geese and Turkeys, 
2 ; Wheat, 4^ a bushel ; Com, 2 shilling a bushel. 

In 1800 the "Virginia Djmasty" came into Federal power. 

21 

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Times improved. This was the second boom period Building of 
the first Fluvanna mansions began in this period. Mills were 
built There were not only custom mills but merchant mills for 
export Four grades were "fine*', "superfine", '^middlings'' and 
for the feeds, "Shipstuff" or "Bran'' for local usage. Virginia 
and Fluvanna flour moved south "across the Equator'' and 
was said to be the only flour of a quality to stand this. Virginia 
law required Virginia inspection and grading of all productfih-^ 
not only tobacco and flour, but com, beef, pork, and timber. 

Mills needed water power. Dams were built across the Ri- 
vanna. The Rivanna Navigation Company was chartered in 
1810. Locks were built around the dams. The river was 
broadened and dredged. This antedated the James River and 
Kanawha Canal by a generation. With the water power came 
textile mills, using not only wool but also local cotton. The 
Magruder family of Maryland built the Union Mills, this f am^- 
ily being antecedents of the Confederate General John Bank- 
head Magruder and the Bankheads of Alabama (U. S. Senator 
and Speaker of the House) — and, not to be omitted, Tallulah 
Bankhead. 

The Stagecoach road was the route from Richmond to the 
west. Along this road there were the many noted Fluvanna 
taverns. 



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THE WAR OF 1812 

The war came but spared Fluvanna. General John Hartwell 
Ck>cke commanded one of the four Virsrinia Brigades. In this 
brigade there were the Fluvanna companies. A rugged disci- 
pline was enforced, maybe inspired by and surpassing that of 
Von Steuben. In his "Twelve Virginia CJounties'*, John 
Gwathmey cites two examples of discipline at the training 
center at Camp Carter in Louisa: "In punishing a soldier who 
did kick and break the jawbone of another, an item of the 
meted punishment was that on the ninth day he shall be put in 
the pillory and there remain one-half hour and on the tenth 
day he shall be drummed from the right to left of the Brigade 
with his crime described in large letters upon him ; and finally, 
his ration of whiskey stopped for twenty days." A second 
soldier, accused of "stabbing*% was placed in the piUory and 
would "receive while there, on his bare posterior, fifteen cobbs, 
which shall be executed with a paddle made for that purpose 
with a number of holes bored through the end.'' 

General Cocke achieved a highly d&tciplined and trained 
Brigade. This brigade was assigned to the defense of Rich- 
mond when the British entry into the Chesapeake was assumed 
to be a threat against Virginia's capital. Times were not good. 
A surgeon on General Cocke's staff, Dr. Thomas Massie, com- 
plained ; "The best way of disposing of any kind of grain is to 
distill it into whiskey. That liquor, I am informed, being worth 
90 cents per gallon. Wheat and flour are worth nothing at 
present" Interesting records as to this use of Fluvanna's 
grain are found at the County Court House. But such practice 
did not follow the later teachings of our rugged disciplinarian, 
General Cocke, who in 1828 joined "The Sons of Temperance^" 



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THE DEPRESSION— PANIC OF 1819 

The short boom following the War of 1812 was followed by 
a depression equalling that of a little over a century later. 
Values fell to one-third of those of 1816-17. There was a de- 
pression of spirit as well as of values. 

The James River Canal, longed for by the people of Flu- 
vanna» could not proceed. It became forfeit to the Virginia 
Board of Public Works, a relief measure of 1816. The At- 
torney General entered suit against the company in 1818 and 
title passed to the Commonwealth February 17, 1820. The 
James River Canal, which had deprived Fluvanna of bountiful 
fishing, was limited to the passage from Westham to Rich- 
mond. Batteaux had to continue to carry the tobacco and 
freight down the James, dunking half of it. The dream faded. 
'Trices of wheat, com and tobacco fell to new lows" ; "All of 
our most independent men seem to be running to the west." 

New building ceased. The mills lost their volume and once 
prosperous mill-sites fell to a custom-mill level. Virginia cot- 
ton could not compete with that of the new Southern States. 
Possibly, as an outcome of the depression, there was the new 
Constitution of 1828, which broadened the suffrage and au- 
thorized some elections of county officers. 

In this depression there was the bright spot of the visit of 
the Marquis de Lafayette. He was not the youthful leader in 
his first independent campaign; he was now an aged man, 
who had been imprisoned and then exiled, although a leader 
of democratic government in France. He wanted to once again 
visit the scenes of his youthful ventures. He came to Norfdk 
and then to Richmond, October 26, 1824, attended a series of 
parties each day, a trip to Petersburg on the 29th, then back 
to Richmond. On November 2nd he was escorted to Goochland, 
and there was given a party with many ''eloquent and expres- 
sive toasts". On the morning of November 3rd, he was es- 
corted by the Goochland Troop, under Colonel William Boiling, 
to Columbia and was there welcomed by General John H. 
Cocke. The old Marquis must have been weary. 

After a rest (and it could not have been long) he was drawn 

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in a coach by 'four English stallions of true hunters breed'' 
to Wilmington in an hour and five minutes. In a coach, over 
November roads of 1824, that must have been a rugged phy- 
sical experience (hunters don't make good coach horses — ^nor 
do stallions) . There at Cole's (then Will's) Tavern, he greeted 
his old war comrades, '"upwards of thirty revolutionary sol- 
diers" (they were then dying out). There followed a dinner 
with one hundred and twenty sitting down to table. It was on 
November 11th and that the distinguished general was met at 
the Albemarle county line by the '"Lafayette Guards" and 
was escorted to Monticello where Mr. Jefferson, far advanced 
in years, with "tottering steps", descended to meet him. Their 
greetings were: "Lafayette" — "Jefferson" . . . and a warm 
embrace. 

On his tour, Lafayette repeatedly toasted, 'To Mechunk!" 
Probably few knew its significance. One wonders ... did the 
old soldier ever get back to "Mechunk" where his early com- 
mand of a few hundred men had risen to thousands? His route 
to Monticello had by-passed it, as had his route from Monti- 
cello to Montpelier where he visited Mr. Madison. 

Maybe Greneral Lafayette felt as did his great grandson 
some 107 years later, when that also-elderly French soldier 
had been through a week of Virginia entertainment It was 
early on a misty, cold, October morning in 1931, on the York 
River, when aides were awaiting "the high brass" to whom 
they were assigned, and Greneral the Count de Chambrun was 
awaiting Marshal Petain. Some of the then "wine of the 
countrjr" was brought forth — "water-white fruit of com". 
Thinking it was a simple "vin blanc" the pink-faced and 
thoroughly chilled Ck>unt gulped it down (as had others) and 
then exploded in clear Military French, "My god! What a 
wine ! What a country !" 

Far too slowly the depression of the 1820's wore out. On 
March 16, 1832, the James River Canal Company again be- 
came a private venture, but with the State retaining sixty per 
cent of the stock. However, the first meeting of the new com- 
pany did not take place until May 26, 1835. 



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'BEFORE THE WAR^ 

The quarter century preceding 1860 were years, generally 
speaking, of happiness and prosperity. There was the Mexican 
War but that was far away. Relative prosperity had returned 
to Virginia. There was a new agriculture. There were new 
plows that, with teams of oxen, could plow deep. Marl, and 
later, Guano could replenish the soil. It was truly said that 
the Maryland and Virginia farmer ''in these middle decades 
had solved problems greater than those presented to any other 
part of the nation and from him more could be learned of 
future importance than from other farmers in the nation.'' 
Csrrus McCormick developed the Virginia Reaper and was 
''compelled to wagon his reapers from his Forge in Rock- 
bridge County down the turnpike to Scottsville whence they 
were shipped by canal to Richmond, by sea to New Orleans, 
and thence up the Mississippi and Ohio to their destination.'' 

Under the new management, the James River and Kanawha 
Canal had been finished. General John H. Cocke was one of the 
eight directors. Simon W. Wright was the assistant engineer 
in charge of the section from Scottsville to Maiden's Adven- 
ture. It is interesting to note that in these late 1830's, the lands 
of the entire passage of the canal through Fluvanna were held 
by only eight landowners ; west to east they were : 

Hart V. Tutwiler 
John Johnson's heirs 
Edward A. Ancell 
John H. Cocke 
John H. Toney 
William Woodson 
WiUiam Gait 
James Gait 

Another interesting point in this prosi>erous period, that 
denies most popular understanding, was that "Slave labor 
proving inadequate and workers scarce, German and Scotch 
employees were induced to come to work on the canal." In 
fact, in 1831-32, the General Assembly of Virginia had again 

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decried slavery, (Virginia had sought to prohibit slavery in 
1788), and only by a vote of seven had the move to abolish 
slavery been defeated. The reason for its defeat was 'that to 
pay values would absorb all our present means". 

In July 1840 water was let into the canal from Seven Is- 
lands (Shores) to Westham. Sixty five years had elapsed since 
its initiation. On December 3rd, the freight boat ^'Gleneral 
Harrison'' ascended the canal to I^nchburg. But with the 
canal's completion, it was obsolete. The railroad had reached 
Louisa in 1836 and was soon esrtended to (Charlottesville. The 
canal could compete only on heavy freight and by 1860 there 
was a plan to replace the canal with the James River railroad. 
The Rivanna Canal from Rivanna Mills to (Tolumbia was re- 
built in this period — 60 feet wide at the waterline. The Ri- 
vanna Mills were again grinding and in ''merchant" volumes. 

In this period of growing prosperity there was a decision to 
build a new Court House. The present site, Palm3rra, was 
chosen by elections. The Gazetteer of 1836 described the new 
courthouse and the townsite of Palmyra which was surveyed 
in 1864. Who facetiously named it for the beautiful city in the 
Desert? Is there any connection between persimmons and 
dates? 

In 1832 there came a "Grold Rush". That metal was found in 
the granite extrusion in the eastern part of the county. The 
Tellurium Mine (but there was no tellurium) on the eastern 
border of the county was discovered in 1832 and was mined un- 
til 1867. It yielded over $1,000,000. The Bowles Mine was one- 
half mile from the Tellurium. The Page Mine was one-half 
mile west of Wilmington. The Hughes Mine was five miles 
north of Bremo (and operated into the twentieth century). 
The Snead Mine was two miles north of Fork Union. William 
Barton Rogers, later founder of the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology, prospected and wrote reports on these mines. 

In this period of change, post offices (with the new postal 
system) dotted the county. Newspapers came into general dis- 
tribution. The Constitution of 1860 gave suffrage to every 
white male citizen over twenty-one and for the first time these 
men could vote for the Governor (previously elected by the 
Greneral Assembly) , as well as for the County justices. Schools 

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and Academies were established, good houses were built, plan- 
tations were generally improved. 

These were happy years for Fluvanna. Dr. George Bagby 
described it more accurately than the ''moonlight — ^roses'* 
writers when he wrote: ''I do know, as I know nothing else, 
that the first years of human life, and the last, jrea, if it be 
possible, all the years, should be passed in the country. The 
towns may do for a day, a week, a month at most, but nature, 
mother nature, pure and clean, is for all time; yes for eternity 
itself.'' 

Virginia's economy was agricultural in contrast to the in- 
dustrial northeast, but it was not a slave economy. The Com- 
monwealth and the County were aghast when John Brown 
raided Harper's Ferry and Fluvanna's Regiment of Militia 
was readied as the 12th Militia Regiment under Colonel Cary 
Charles Cocke. The State was angered at the reactions of the 
northern states, and dismayed when the Cotton States seceded 
This was the end of an era. 



28 



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THE CIVIL WAR PERIOD 

For 'Your long and arduous years'' the Ck>nunonwealth of 
Virginia has commemorated the Civil War and probably little 
can be added to these records. There are few ''gleanings" set 
forth in this period, and those are in brief form. 

In early 1861 or before, as events moved frightenly fast» 
many young men of Fluvanna were forming themselves into 
two volunteer companies, separate from the Militia. Appar- 
ently they were ''locally uniformed and armed.'' One of these 
companies met at the "courthouse" and elected Captain Robert 
H. Poore its Captain. The other company drilled at Scottsville. 
The Palmyra Company chose the name of Fluvanna Rifle 
Guard while the Scottsville Company, of both Fluvanna and 
Albemarle men, named their company the Scottsville Guard. 
^Two weeks" before the County was to vote on Secession, these 
two companies moved out. The Fluvanna Rifle Guard went to 
the ''mobilization center" at Richmond on May 10 and then to 
the critical defenses of Norfolk. The Scottsville Guard, on May 
11, moved to Manassas. The Fluvanna Rifle Guard became 
Company C of the 14th Virginia, regimented with companies 
from Chesterfield, Amelia, Halifax, Mecklenburg and Bedford 
counties. Colonel James G. Hodges was the regimental com- 
mander and the regiment went into Armistead's Brigade and 
later into Pickett's Division. The Scottsville Guard went into 
the 19th Virginia at Manassas, commanded successively by: 
Fluvanna's Colonel Philip St George Cocke, Colonel Rust, and 
John Bowie Strange of Fluvanna ... the cadet who first re- 
lieved the Arsenal guard at VMI. This regiment was in the 
brigade commanded by General Gamett and also in Pickett's 
division. These regiments — ^the 14th and 19th Virginia — ^were 
great regiments of the Army of Northern Virginia. On July 
3, 1863, both were in the assault on Cemetery Ridge. Armi- 
stead's Brigade, crossing the stonewall, lost in action its bri- 
gade commander. The 19th Virginia lost Fluvanna's son. 
Colonel Strange at South Mountain in 1862. Henry Gantt, cap- 
tain of the Scottsville Guard, became regimental commander. 

The Ordinance of Secession was ratified on May 23, 1861. 

29 

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Immediately three other infantry companies were formed. On 
May 20, the Fhwanna Hornets were organized in the area of 
Wihnington, at Kent's Store, with Thomas E. Weisiger as Cap- 
tain. In the northeastern comer of the county the Ambler 
Greys was organized on June 8, by men from ''Goochland, 
Louisa, Fluvanna, and Hanover'' and th^ elected Captain 
Joseph If. Shelton to be their Captain. In the Fork, or south- 
west of the County, the Fluva/nna Guards were organized on 
June 11 and elected David W. Anderson as Captain. These 
three volunteer companies hastily assembled and quickly 
armed, learned war in the hard school of experience. They 
became Companies D (Ambler Greys), F (Hornets), K 
(Guard) of the 44th Virginia and under command of Colonel 
W. W. Scott, who had stepped down from his rank of g^ieral 
in the militia. These companies were hurried to the ''north- 
western frontier" of the Conmionwealth. It is a coincidence 
that, in both the Revolution and this uncivil war, Fluvanna 
forces fought west of the Alleghenies. After the trying days of 
the mountain campaigns of '61-'62, this 44th Virginia Regi- 
ment went into Ewell's Division, then into Jackson's and fol- 
lowed Stonewall through the Valley Campaign. Later th^ 
were in Edward ("Allegany") Johnson's Division. Losses 
were such that, after Spottsylvania, the entire regiment was 
formed into one company. 

Infantry, needed in the largest number, was not then, nor 
is it now, the most popular of armed services. Oddly enough, 
in Fluvanna, there was initially no cavalry troop. One of the 
reasons may have been that Virginia required each trooper to 
furnish his own mount and would pay the cost only if the 
horse was killed in battle, not if he died of natural causes. Also, 
there had been elsewhere a rush to the Cavalry and the num- 
ber of units had to be restricted. In the northwest of the 
county, Reuben Boston organized a heavy artillery company 
for the 3rd Artillery Regiment. In early 1862, this unit grew 
tired of the detail of manning heavy guns, and reorganized. 
They were then accepted as a Cavalry troop and were put into 
the new 6th Virginia Cavalry, commanded by the young giant, 
recently graduated from West Point, Thomas Lafayette 
Rosser. It was a regiment that had hard fighting. Captain 
Boston, after wounds, capture and exchange, succeeded to com- 

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mand of the 6th and was tragically killed on the 6th of April 
in probably the last cavalry action of the Army of Northern 
Virginia. 

The appeal of the artillery (or lack of appeal of the infan- 
try) led to the formation of two other artillery units — ^the Sons 
of Fluvamia in the center of the county organized on August 
6th under Captain Brent and the Fluvanna ArtiUery organized 
in the Fork Union area. Before this, the need for men (after 
Cramett's defeat in the mountains) was such that all able 
bodied men were mobilized into the 12th Militia Regiment and 
were sent to Charlottesville. Colonel C!ary Cocke commanded 
this militia and upon his return, stepped down to the rank of 
Captain and commanded the Fluvanna Artillery. He was sue* 
ceeded in his militia command by (Colonel John J. Johnson. 
These two artiUery batteries were in Major Nelson's reserve 
artillery. After the 1862 campaigns and various changes in 
command, the two batteries were consolidated into the Flu- 
vanna ArtiUery commanded by Captain John L. Massia After 
his death, in the fall of 1864, Captain Charles G. Snead com- 
manded this battery of ''Second Corps'' artillery. 

There are three other Fluvanna units listed in the Virginia 
units. On April 3, 1862, Captain Henry Price enlisted a com- 
pany of Heavy ArtiUery from Albemarle and Fluvanna (re- 
pladng Captain Boston's). Organization was not completed 
and it was consoUdated with Captain Hendren's Company B, 
18th BataUion, Virginia Heavy ArtiUery. A home guard (lim- 
ited service company) was organized of boys under eighteen 
and men between forty-five and fifty caUed the Fluvanna 
Rangers. This company was successively commanded by Cap- 
tains James M. Strange, J. B. Perkins, John C. Holland. After 
the Federal raid of May 1863 another home guard unit was 
organized — ^the "Fluvanna Guards''. Interestingly, the Captain 
who organized the unit on July 7 resigned August 18, 1863. 

Fortunately, Fluvanna was spared the deeper scars of war. 
One dislikes to remember the great sacrifices of these four 
arduous years. From an historical standpoint, court records 
show many claims for exemption, the use of substitutes, and 
actions to replace substitutes. There was continuing inflation 
and with it a false prosperity. Crop cycles continued. There 
was no significant loss of ''contrabands". In May 1863, Federal 

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Cavalry raided south from Hooker's Army on the Rappahan- 
nock. A heavy column moved on Charlottesville and a cavalry 
detachment rode to Columbia to seek to destroy canal com- 
munications. Losses were light Th^ are recorded as ''One 
foot bridge, two road bridges, four farm bridges and one gate 
on Lock 14.'' Navigation was held up only two days. Mrs. 
Snead's Fluvanna Sketch Book" and James Galf s Diary give 
interesting accounts of the civilian reaction at this raid. The 
raid was of light cost compared to the victory at Chancellors- 
ville to which the absence of Federal Cavalry contributed. 

Two interesting facets of Fluvanna's War History were that 
a Confederate Nouval rest camp was located on the Rivanna, 
and in the lower end of the county there was an area for sup- 
ply of the Chimborazo Hospital, the largest military hospital 
of the Confederacy. 

In the despairing days of the spring of 1865 (March), 
Sheridan's troops moved east, after destrojring Jubal Early's 
Army of the Valley. Some 6,000 of his troops came south to 
Scottsville, moved east to Goochland, and then skirted Rich- 
mond. Their course was a leisurely one. They took all "«<r- 
pbis supplies'' but there were no untoward incidents. The end 
of the war was near. Spring crops wwit in. On April 7, 1865, 
eame "Appomattox". 



82 

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LONG YEARS 1865-1870 

''Go home and go to work" was General Lee's advice. The 
canal was repaired, crops were planted and there was a good 
harvest On June 28, 1866, the packet boats were again run- 
ning. The mills ground again. There had been little physical 
damage in the county. Financially there was a loss by nearly 
all save those who had prospered by war prices and had con- 
verted their holdings into rare gold or into ''real'' properties. 

In 1866 there came a radical change. Virginia refused to 
adopt the Fourteenth Amendment disqualifying those who had 
served the Confederacy. On March 1867 Virginia became Mili- 
tary District No. 1. A Federal Lieutenant stationed at Palnqnra 
became Military Governor of Fluvanna. All county officers 
were changed. James D. Barrett, a colored shoemaker and 
minister, represented Fluvanna in the C!onvention for draft- 
ing a New Constitution. 'Townships" were set up, then 
changed to magisterial districts. The County Court of long 
proven efficiency ceased. 

After adjustments in January 1870, Virginia regained state- 
hood and Fluvanna was again self-governing. The census of 
1870 shows a population of 9,876. These were costly years. 



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THREE DECADES— 1870-1900 

The burdens of the War and of Reconstruction (1866-1870) 
were heavy. Agricultural production could not recover nor 
compete with western production. Export markets were gone. 
Erosion had muddied the rivers, carried off topsoil, silted the 
streams. Capital was so limited as to be practically non-exis- 
tant. The Rivanna no longer carried the produce of Albemarle 
and the James River Canal could not compete with the rails. 
After only thirty years of service it was known that the Canal 
could not be a success. 

On March 27, 1873, the "Straight Shoot Railroad" was in- 
corporated by northern capitalists to build a railroad up the 
James replacing the CanaL On February 28, 1878, with the 
name changed to Richmond and AUeghamy, there was a new 
charter and the canal passed into new ownership. By Nov^n- 
ber 19, 1880, the railroad reached Columbia; February 17, 
1881, Bremo Bluff; March 17, 1881, Scottsville. Fluvanna had 
its first railroad ; the canal dasrs were gone. After receivership 
in 1883, the Chesapeake and Ohio took over the Alleghany in 
1887. In 1886 the Buckingham railroad had been built, with 
the bridge over the James at ''Big Rock'^ which now was re- 
named ''Bremo Bluff*'. 

An accepted obligation of the Alleghany Railroad was that 
if the James River Canal were abandoned, the Railroad would 
maintain the dams and towpath on the Rivanna to furnish 
service to the center of the county. Fluvanna citizens, led by 
T. O. Troy, cited such neglect by the Railroad, and the C&O 
built the Virginia Airline, completing it in the early twentieth 
century. The few lower miles of the Rivanna canal continued 
to operate as the Rivanna Navigation Company. With the rail- 
road, came the telegraph, and then the "local'* telephone lines. 

Politics was not an avocation but a necessity in this period, 
lines were sharply drawn — Conservatives/Radicals — then 
Funders/Readjusters, and in the 1880's/90's came the rise of 
the Populist Party. In 1892 Edmund Randolph Cocke of Cum- 
berland County, as nominee of the Populist party for Gover- 
nor, carried twenty-two counties. 



34 



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The public school system was developed and by an ^act of 
fhe General Assembly'' in 1886-87, the Cratral High School at 
Palmyra became the '"first legally accredited rural high schod 
in Virginia''. In 1898 the Fork Union Academy, initially co- 
educational, was founded. A catalogue of that school, s<mie 
years later, described it as 'far from the evil influences of the 
small towns and the dangers of the large city." Shades of Dr. 
George Bagby! 

There was the Spanish American War, but with little in- 
fluence on Fluvanna. 

Then came the twentieth century ! 



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THE TWENTIETH CENTURY 

It i8 difficult for many to realize how fast 'liistory" has 
moved in our own lives. One-third of Fluvanna's ''History^ Is 
within the twentieth century. ''Gleaning'* is difficult. 

The long yellow trains of the James River Division, winding 
up the Valley, with the bright brass of the parlor car, are 
memories of the past 

The creek-bottom road that ran north from Columbia is 
gone. The State Highway System has built major roads across 
the county ; and all roads are ''all-weather*' roads, now ! 

The Constitution of 1902 that established qualifications for 
suffrage, established segregation in transportation and facili- 
ties, has been thrown out. Counties now raise limited amounts 
of their required income. Cherished local "government funda- 
mentals" have declined in popular importance. 

The Hughes Gold Mining and Milling Company that was 
operating early in this century, with Virginia's only cjranide 
recovery process, is of the past. In 1906 this mine had two 
shafts, a stamp mill and a gold f umacing unit. 

Population of the county fell to 7,088 in 1940 but by the 
1960 census it has shown an upturn to 7,227. This figure is 
less than it was a century before. 

There have been so many events — EWorld Wars I and II, the 
Korean "police action", and now. Southeast Asia. Mechaniza- 
tion has replaced the "Mule" on the farm, and the output of a 
single agricultural worker is twenty-fold or more than at the 
turn of the century. 

Fork Union has grown into one of the Nation's leading Mili- 
tary schools. 

Automobiles, telephones, electrification, radio and television^ 
have changed our lives. 

From Bremo Bluff (no longer Big Rock) electric power goes 
to serve Virginia. Gas Transmission lines cross the county. 

A record of history can not omit the Prohibition Era or the 
Flaming Youth Era of the '20s (possibly comparable to the 
Beatles of today), the Depression of the 'SO's and the "alpha- 
betical agencies", to say nothing of the radical political 
changes. 

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We can hardly realize that in : 
July 16, 1945 the first atom bomb was exploded 
In 1945 — ^top airplane (jet) speed was 500 mph 
In 1947 — Space flight was forecast 
In 1948 — ^Atomic Powered Ships were predicted 
In 1949 — Color TV was demonstrated 
In 1951 — ^Direct Dialing came into telephone services 
In 1952 — ^The sonar (soimd) sjrstems of porpoises were pro- 
jected 
In 1952 — ^First national political conventions were televised 
In 1957 — ^Prediction — ^man could hit the moon with a missile 
In 1957 — ^Birth control pills were on the market 
In 1965 — Over 600 man-made objects are now flying around 
in space 

The Fluvanna Historical Society comes into being when 
history is being rapidly made. There is the trite and old story 
of the Washington taxi-driver explaining the inscription on 
tbe Archives Building: '"What is Past is Prologue'' he said» 
and I think his 'translation'' serves us today. An unusual and 
interesting book of history is well b^run and great chapters 
are yet to be written. To you. The Fluvanna Historical Society, 
I lay down the challenge. 



87 

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REFERENCES 

1. James Street— 'The Revolutionary War'' 

2. William R. Brown— "Geology of the Piedmont Province" 

— ^Pages 482-496 — James River Basin— Virginia Acad- 
emy of Science (1950) — ^with Bibliography 

8. Thomas Jefferson — ''Notes on State of Virginia'' 1966 
Edition University of North Carolina Press — ^Page 26 

4. Map — Jefferson and Fry (1761) 

6. James Mooney — Souian Tribes of the East 

— ^Bureau of American Ethnology — Grovemment Print- 
ing Office (1864) 

6. David Bushnell— "Five Monacan Towns in Virginia"— 

Smithsonian Msc. Collections— Vol 82, No. 12 (1980) 

7. Edgar Woods— ''History of Albemarle" Page 24 Michie 

C!ompany (1901) 

8. B. C. McCary— 'Indians in Southeastern Country Vir- 

ginia" 

9. Executive Journal Council of Colonial Virginia, Vol. 4» 

Page 66 

10. Hennings Statutes (Acts of House of Burgesses) Vol. 6» 

Page 383 

11. Hennings Statutes— Vol. 6, Page 262 

12. Hennings Statutes— Vol. 7, Page 141 

13. Acts of House of Delegates 1777 

14. Richard L. Morton "Colonial Virginia" (I960), published 

for the Virginia Historical Society by University of 
North Carolina Press 
16. Giooch Papers No. 6, 1728, Nov. 6, 1728— Calendar of State 
Papers— 1728-29 

16. Repeated References — Groochland and Albemarle Clounty 

Records 

17. Journal House of Burgesses, 1742-49, Page 274 

18. Will of Edward Scott— Groochland County 

19. John H. Gwathmey — "Twelve Virginia Counties" Page 

346 

20. Edgar Woods— "History of Albemarle", Page 10 

21. Edgar Woods— ^Tlistory of Albemarle", Pages 12-13 

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22. G. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Pages 

37, 54^1, 176 

23. Helen Barrett Agee— 'Tacets of Goochland County*' Pages 

113-117 

24. Gooch Papers, July 8, 1735 VHS 393, Box 1, M 68 

25. Mary Newton Stewart— "Colonial Virginia" Page 66 

26. Diary of Robert Rose — Colonial Williamsburg 

27. Richard L. Morton — Colonial Virginia, Vol. II, Pages 555- 

559 

28. Tobacco in Colonial Virginia — ^Melvin Hemdon 

29. G. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Note 21, 

p. 337, Vol. II 

30. Edgar Woods— History of Albemarle— Page 229 

31. Edgar Woods — History of Albemarle 

32. Fluvanna County Sketchbook — Fluvanna Co. Civil War 

Commission 

33. Mary Newton Stewart — Colonial Virginia, Page 205 

34. H. C. Fooman — '^Virginia Architecture", Jamestown 

Series 

35. George W. Bagby— "Old Virginia Gentlemen" 

36. Melvin Hemdon — "Tobacco in Colonial Virginia", James- 

town Series 

37. Richard L. Morton— Colonial Virginia, Vol. II, Pages 816- 

832 
88. Newton B. Jones— Pages 122-134— The Old Dominion- 
Essays for Thomas Perkins Abemathy 

39. Dumas Malone — Jefferson the Virginian — ^Pages 114, 115, 

116, 129 

40. Helen Barrett Agee— Facets of Goochland History, Page 

176 

41. Rev. Edgar Woods — ^History of Albemarle, Pages 29, 30 

42. MacLaren Bryden — ^Virginia's Mother Church, Appendix 

Pages 562, 563 

43. Melvin Herndon — ^Tobacco in Colonial Virginia, Page 49 

44. Gary Family Records 

45. H. B. Agee — Facets of Goochland History 

46. Edgar Woods — ^Woods History of Albemarle, Pages 330, 

331 

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4f7. MacLaren Bryden— Virginia's Mother Church— Pages 
206-207 

48. Christopher Ward— 'The War of the Revolutioii'' Pages 

862,863,866,870,871 

49. Elizabeth Conwetti — ^"'Depradations in Virginia during 

the Revolution" — ^The Old Dominion Abemathy Letters 

50. D. E. Peeples — ^Ammunition Supply in Revolutionary Vir- 

ginia^VMHB Jan. 1965— Pages 56-77 

51. Dumas Malone — Jefferson the Virginian — ^Pages 343-366 

52. Christopher Ward— War of the Revolution— 866-896 

53. Henry S. Randell— "Lif e of Thomas Jefferson" Pages 321- 

360 

54. Journal House of Delegates, March 1781 Session, Bulletin 

Va. State Library XVIL, 53-54 

55. Virginia's Critical Period— Alan Schafer— The Old Do- 

minion — ^Abemathy Papers — ^U. Va. Press (1965) 152- 
170 

56. Acts of Virginia House of Delegates 

57. Virginia Statutes XI, 510 

58. Louise C. Caldwell ''Richmond in Old Portraits" 

59. EdgarWoods— History of Albemarle— Page 341 

60. James River Basin, ps. 718-719 

61. Hugh Blair Grigsby — Constitutional Convention in 1829 

62. Thomas Jefferson — ^Letter to John Adams — Jefferson 

Papers X-106 

63. Dr. Gwinett Ryland— "Baptists in Virginia" Pages 164- 

165 

64. Newton B. Jones — "Old Dominion — Abemathy Papers'' 

Pages 122-134 

65. Acts House of Delegates, 1796 

66. ActsHouseof Delegates, 1810 

67. John H. Gwathmey — ^Twelve Virginia Counties, Pages 

427-428 

68. Mary Newton Stewart — ^Richmond and Its People, 111 

69. Virginia Cavalcade — Summer 1965 — ^Va. State Library 

70. James River Basin — Chesapeake & Ohio Railway — ^Pages 

721-722 

71. Hornbook of Virginia History— Va. State Library (1965) 

Page 82 

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72. Mary Newton Stewart — ^Richmond and Its People — ^Pages 

118-121 

73. Helen B. Agee — Facets of Goochland County History — 

Pages 91-92 

74. Mrs. Ellis Pollard Snead— "Fluvanna County Sketchbook** 

Ps. 90-91 

75. Edgar Woods— History of Albemarle— Pages 104-105 

76. J. E. Teal — ^Chesapeake & Ohio Railway — James River 

Basin— Pages 725-729 

77. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead— Fluvanna Sketch Book— Pages 39, 

40-42,43 

78. George W. Bagby— "The Old Virginia Gentleman" 

79. Thomas L. Watson — "Mineral Resources of Virginia" 

Pages 559-562 

80. Matthew Page Andrews — **Virginia the Old Dominion" 

Pages 441, 445 

81. Matthew Page Andrews — **Virginia the Old Dominion" 

82. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead— Fluvanna County Sketch Book 

88. L. A. Wallace, Jr., — Guide to Military Organizations 1861- 
1865— Pages 124, 165-166, 20, 55, 41, 39, 84, 221, 245, 
270 

84. James River Basin VAS — ^Railroad Transportation, Page 

732 

85. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead — Fluvanna County Sketchbook, Page 

82 

86. James River Basin — ^Railway Transportation, Pages 766- 

786 

87. Mrs. Ellis P. Snead— Fluvanna Sketch Book, Page 31 

88. Hornbook of Virginia History— Virginia State Library, 

Page 96 

89. T. L. Watson — Mineral Resources of Virgnia, Plate 

LXXVIII, Page 561 



42 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 4 



March 1967 




POINT OF FORK MAGAZINE 
Bu\li in 1788 



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97-7:3 



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The Point of Fork Arsenal: 
Fluvanna G>unty't Revolutionary Landmark 

The Point of Fork arsenal, located on the south side of the 
Rivanna River about two miles northwest of its confluence 
with the James, was one of Virginia's principal military in- 
stallations during the Revolution, and was the only military 
center operated by the Commonwealth during the post-Revo- 
lutionary period of the eighteenth century. During its 
twenty-year active history as an arsenal, a supply and am- 
munition depot, and a basic training camp, the post played a 
vital role in the defense of Virginia's vast western frontier. 

We cannot be certain exactly when Point of Fork was first 
established as a military base, and its history, in the tradi- 
tional manner of military epics, must begin in media res. The 
fact that the earliest surviving official documents about the 
post speak of it as a going concern in February of 1781 may 
be attributable in part to the loss of earlier documents, but it 
results mainly from the informality of the situation : The pat- 
triotic David Ross, as a regional Quarter Master for the Vir- 
ginia forces, simply established the supply point on his own 
land without bothering to lease it to the Commonwealth. 

For the same reasons very little is known about the build- 
ings existing there before the Simcoe raid. Ross wrote the 
War Office from Point of Fork on 26 February 1781 concern- 
ing ^'the want of nails at that Post in order to finish the 
work" and a note of 6 April 1781 enclosed for the governor's 
perusal some estimates for brick work there. Colonel William 
Davies wrote the governor on 21 April 1781, "I am confident 
we shall never be able to get them [i.e., the state-owned weap- 
ons] repaired unless some buildings are prepared for them 
in a safe place above the falls.'' Governor Jefferson the same 
day approved the Colonel's suggestion to direct ''all the hands 
employed on the public works in this [Richmond] neighbor- 
hood, to remove immediately to the Point of Fork . . ." Sev- 
eral other letters during the spring of 1781 mention in gen- 
eral terms the erection of workshops and other buildings and 
the large-scale delivery by boat and waggon of arms, supplies 
and ammunition, and the arrival of tailors, shoemakers, and 
ordnance workers. 

The May, 1781, correspondence reveals that all the neces- 
sary tools had arrived and that workers were busily f abric%t- 



2 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

ing the new-style blue-on-white summer uniforms and repair- 
ing 100-150 muskets a week when the warning came to pre- 
pare for invasion: Captain Young was to supervise the re- 
moval of Stores, Captain Roane was to sink the artillery in 
the James, and Captain Anderson and his '"artificers" were to 
stay on as long as possible (26 May 1781) and escape with the 
canoes, tools and firearms. 

The summer, 1781, British invasion of Virginia which was 
destined to end with the October entrapment of Comwallis 
and his army at Yorktown began with a series of successful 
raids up the James — one of the most successful being the at- 
tack on Point of Fork. Whfle Tktrleton was driving the \^- 
ginia legislature out of Charlottesville, lieutenant Colonel 
Simcoe (the same John Graves Simcoe who later became (3ov- 
«mor Greneral of Canada) led his own American Tory regi- 
ment — ^the Quem's Rangers — and the Sec<nid Batallion of the 
71st Highland light Infantry to raid the arsenal. The Point 
was then protected by some 400 Continental recruits under 
Baron von Steuben— temporarily stationed there but already 
under orders to march into Carolina. Steuben managed to 
save many of the supplies by moving them across the James, 
but he also abandoned a great many of them to Simcoe's ap- 
proximately 400 raiders. They arrived, devastated the post 
and left, all on 5 June. By Simcoe's own acount: 

There was destroyed at the point of Fork, two thousand 
five himdred stand of arms, a large quantity of gun- 
powder, case shot, &c. several casks of saltpetre, sulphur, 
and brimstone, and upwards of sixty hogsheads of rum 
and brandy, several chests of carpenters' tools, and up- 
wards of four hundred intrenching tools, with casks of 
flints, sail cloth and waggons, and a great variety of 
small stores, necessary for the equipment of cavalry and 
infantry. 

The arsenal personnel, immediately resuming their activi- 
ties after the raid, began collecting the stores from various 
hiding places and assessed their damage: Mr. Ford, the con- 
tractor who had been in charge of erecting the arsenal build- 
ings that spring, reported on 25 June that the Royalists had 
burned "the barracks," but had **left the blacksmiths' shops 
imtouched, as well as a frame of the Armoury, which was 
raised & ready for covering in." This report, together with the 

^oogle 



The Point of Fork Absenjil 3 

order of 4 July 1783 that new buildings be erected on the sites 
of those burnt by the enemy, is the best information we have 
on the Revolutionary War buildings. The excellent maps 
which the Queen's Rangers prepared, depicting the driving of 
Steuben's rear-guard off the extreme point of the fork, are of 
an area just east of the arsenal site, and show no military or 
industrial buildings whatever — although they include in some 
detail the house, bam and gardens of a plantation belonging 
to Mr. Ross. 

In the aftermath of the attack, recriminations were ex- 
changed by the arsenal officials and the local inhabitants, who 
were accused of stealing the hidden supplies and of revealing 
them to the British. However, more important concerns soon 
engaged the officers' attention: David Ross on 1 August 1781 
advised C!olonel Davies that the spades, picks and shovels 
needed for the siege of Yorktown could be got out of the river 
at Point of Fork, and that the fascine knives, axes, and hoes 
could be made by ''Anderson's people" at the Point. 

A proposal for formal re-organization of the Point of Fork 
artisans at the time probably reflects with some accuracy the 
actual makeup of the labor force which turned out the 
mat&riel required for victory at Yorktown. The plan reads : 



1. Captain 

1. Capt. Lieut 

1. First Lieut 

1. Second Lieut 

1. Third 

12 Gunsmiths good 

6 Gunstockers 
24 Blacksmiths 

1 Striker 

7 Nailers 

12 Carpenters 



James Anderson 
@ 11 S a day 
@ 10 S a day 
@ 9 S a day 
@ 8 S a day 

@ 5 S pr day — according to 

their work 
@ 5 S pr day — according to 

their work 
@ 4 S pr day — according to 

their work 
@ 2 S pr day — according to 

their work 
@ 4 S pr day — according to 

their work 
@ 4 S pr day — according to 

their work^ , 

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4 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

12 Saddle and 

Harness makers @ 4 S pr day — according to 

their work 
10 Wheelwrights @ 4 S pr day — according to 

their work 
24 Shoemakers @ 3 S pr day — according to 

their work 
24 Tailors @ 3 S pr day — according to 

their work 

132 in the total. 

These men were always accompanied at the post, the official 
records show, by government-employed laundresses and a 
complement of "public negroes", and, in many cases, by their 
own families. The Superintendent and his family also resided 
on post. Temporary quartering of troops continued long past 
the actual end of hostilities, and throughout the history of the 
post a number of combat troops served as an arsenal guard* 
From all indications in contemporary documents, the sur- 
render at Yorktown of the smallest of the three British armies 
then operating in America made little immediate difference in 
the continuity of activities at Point of Fork. The rebel com- 
manders, expecting at least another year of warfare, went on 
ordering munitions and supplies, which the arsenal turned out 
in ever-increasing volume. By 14 January 1782, however, it 
had become apparent that arms production could be allowed to 
level off. A letter of that date calls for reduction of the offi- 
cer staff at Point of Fork to "one Quarter Master, one Store- 
keeper and sergt. to act as Forge-Master, and Issuing C!om- 
missary". A War Office letter of 15 January 1782 from Colonel 
William Davies to the governor proposed that a combat force 
of only 'lialf a company'' be stationed there to guard 'the 
jail and . . . the Continental and State magazines''. The op- 
portunity to leave Point of Fork was welcomed by the large 
garrison stationed there, but the attempt to celebrate the oc- 
casion with fireworks was frustrated, as the arsenal com- 
mandant explained to his superior: 

The fact as near as I can recollect was as follows: 
A day or two after the commanding officer of the Con- 
tinental Troops, at this place received orders for disband- 

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The Point of Fork Arsenal 6 

ing his men, it was concluded by the officers that they 
should have an entertainment on leaving the post, which 
accordingly happened. After the day being spent in the 
usual manner on those occasions, the company repaired to 
my Quarters, in order to sp^id the Evening. Soon after 
their arrival there, it was proposed publickly by Lieut 
Heth, to sett fire to the State Magazine, but as no per- 
son supposed he had any intention to perpetrate the act, 
there was no attention paid to his proposition, till he was 
discovered to leave the room with a lighted pipe in his 
mouth • . • Lieut Heth was permitted to get between 
the sentry & the Door of the Magazine: which he broke 
open by a lack with his feet; on that circumstances Hap- 
pening, I immediately run to the place, on my getting 
there, discovered Lieut. Heth endeavoring to enter the 
Door, but was prevented going in by the sentry. I asked 
him his reason for such conduct & soon discovered him 
too much entoxicated to assign any. The next morning on 
mentioning the matter to Lieut Heth, he discovered such 
uneasiness on acct. of his over nights conduct, which 
gave me every reason to believe it proceeded from the 
fumes of Liquor & no real intention of Destroying the 
Magazine. 

Relatively speaking, however, the war's end resulted in an 
increase, rather than a decline, in the importance of the Point 
of Fork armory; for as the other large military installations 
in the Commonwealth were closed down, their stockpiles and 
activities were removed to Point of Fork. The Correspondence 
of mid-1782 indicates the transfer thence of the guard, work- 
men and workshops from ''Albemarle Barracks'' and the con- 
struction of adequate buildings for them. Soon afterward the 
public stores from Goochland Court House ; the public books 
from ''Mr. Jefferson's in Albemarle"; the Fredericksburg gun 
factory and its craftsmen; the stores from the arsenals and 
cannon foundry at Westham (just above Richmond, on the 
James) ; the collection of arms from Winchester, the North- 
em Nedc, and "Joseph Lee's in Cumberland"; and the public 
negroes &om the army's lead mines in Bedford were concen- 
trated there. This consolidation of the state's entire military 
establishment was unequivocally ordered in Governor Harri- 
son's letter of 6 February 1783, directing that "the Point of 
Fork you will consider as the grand repository of Military 



6 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

Stores where those Arms & Stores not necessarily Vested 
elsewhere, are to be collected and repaired and kept deposited 
for the public use as occasion may require. . . /' 

As Point of Fork moved into the postwar phrase of its his- 
tory, it acquired a new superintendent, a Captain John Pey- 
ton. Captain Peyton took over from Samuel Dyer on 4 August 
1782 and served until his resignation in November of 1786, 
when he was replaced by Major Elias Langham. The role of 
the armory during the tenure of these officers was chiefly to 
maintain a large stockpile of weaponry for emergencies and 
to issue armaments to the various county militia units — ^with 
the largest shipments invariably going to the western coun- 
ties (now in Kentucky and West Virginia) where active war- 
fare with the Indians continued unabated. Frontier command- 
ers receiving arms shipments from the post included Daniel 
B65ne, Jack Jouett, and the chief of a friendly Indian nation 
the Chickasaws. 

Although the work of the post was largely custodial, the 
manufacture and repair of arms went on continually. The 
Point of Fork gunsmiths, although they probably never made 
the entire firearm at one time, fabricated every musket part 
in the course of their repair work. Swords, bayonets and 
ramrods were forged directly from ingot metal. Other prod- 
ucts of the post over the years included gunpowder and lead 
shot, uniforms, horse equipment, cannonballs and guncar- 
riages for the artillery, cartridge boxes, belts and scabbards, 
wooden canteens, camp kettles, fifes and drums, and "pioneer 
tools" such as axes and spades. 

In the late summer of 1782, when most of the arms and 
supplies were being kept in a building known as the "long 
house*'. Captain Peyton hired Milton Ford to begin some new 
construction, the nature of which is not certain from the post 
correspondence. Exact specifications are extant, however, for 
the three buildings begun the following summer, although 
the drawings which originally accompanied them have been 
lost. These specifications, directed to the contractor and dated 
July 4th, 1783, called for a 40 x 15i^-foot stone magazine 
with side walls at least two and one-half feet thick and six 
feet high, a 160 x 25-foot arsenal with a stone lower story 
for cannon and a frame upper story sufficient to hold 10,000 
muskets, and a third building of unspecified shape and pur- 
pose. The order that these structures be built, as nearly as 

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The Point op Fork Arsenal 7 

the prescribed dimensions would allow, on the sites of those 
destroyed by the British, may afford archaeologists at least 
a partial clue as to the locations of the 1781 buildings. 

The next indication of construction at the post is the Sep- 
tember 1786 recommendation by an inspection committee 
from Richmond that "a small Tub Mill'* be erected in "the 
neighboring stream" for the grinding of bayonets ("the ar- 
morers being at present obliged to bore and grind the Bayo- 
nets by hand"), and that an arsenal large enough for 15,000 
muskets and a stone magazine sufficient to hold fifty tons of 
powder (**the present Magazine being very insufficient") be 
constructed. Unfortunately the conmiittee's arsenal plan and 
the plan which Captain Pesrton drew for the magazine are 
missing from the State Papers. This new arsenal was needed 
for the sizable arms shipment expected from France, which 
arrived the following December. 

Shortly after Major Langham's assumption of conmiand in 
early 1787 it was reported that the timbers were all in place 
and the stone walls of the new buildings beginning to rise. 
Beginning in April 1787 and continuing through the summer, 
the arsenal officials were involved in the lengthy process of 
formalizing, at last, the transfer from David Ross to the 
Commonwealth of the nine-acre tract which these new build- 
ings occupied. The County Surveyor and the Superintendent 
of Milita^ Stores, as shown in their plat of 26 April 1787, 
laid off the piece "to include the Mill Seat, and on the other 
side to go down to the Spring . . . and round the buildings, 
as far as to leave room for gardens on each side." Mr. Ross 
stated his willingness "to extend the line at least 100 yards 
on all sides, that no buildings may be erected within that 
distance." The deed included enough additional land to place 
the line "at least one hundred yards distant from the place 
where the new magazine is to be erected at", and left at 
least 150 feet "on all sides of the present row of buildings as 
they now stand on either side of the street • • ." Apparently 
the additional 100-yard sections were taken, for on 8 August 
1787 the evaluating jury composed of John Nicholas, Richard 
James and Wilson Cary Nicholas estimated a £250 condem- 
nation price for the 24 acres "upon which the Barracks 
stand". An additional 150 acres of adjacent land was ac- 
quired the following October from Elias Wills, and an ease- 
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8 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

ment was acquired from David Ross for the flooding to be 
required for operation of the boring miU. 

Before the latest proposed magazine was even completed, 
apparently its capacity was abready insuffidmt for the Com- 
monwealth's needs and a contract had to be let to Daniel 
Morin for another such building. The agreement, dated 14 
March 1788, calls for a ''structure twenty-four feet square in 
the clear, with walls sufficiently thick to bear being ''arched 
over with stone, &c., and to be plastered within''. The con- 
struction estimate was for 16,000 brick, 600 bushels of lime, 
6,000 20d. nails, 16,000 8d. nails, and aix extra construction 
workers. When Edmund Randolph inspected the post on 6 
May 1788, he found that the brick for this magazine, which 
was scheduled for construction between 16 June and 16 
October of that year, had already been arranged for, and that 
the three-story "Arsenal of 40 x 20", so long in process, was 
all but finished. However, a second arsenal building of the 
same dimensions was sorely needed. 

Governor Randolph reported also that with the new water- 
driven miU at work, two men were grinding some 25 bayo- 
nets per day — about twice the hand-ground number. But this 
water-driven mill was frequently out of repair and was fin- 
ally swept away by a flood. 

The post commander lost no time in filing an estimate for 
the additional building Mr. Randolph prescribed. It was to 
be of frame, apparently plank sheathed and lined with a 
brickbat fill between the two plank walls. So many buildings 
were reportedly in process by 1788 that the statement by an 
inspector of that year saying that "the new arsenal" was 
going up might have referred to any one of at least three 
projects — ^the terms arsenal, armory and 7n4igazine having 
been used all too interchangeably by some of the correspon- 
dents. 

The next gubernatorial inspection, on 24 August 1790, re- 
vealed that the new French-made weapons and equipment 
were well kept; that 6,717 old assorted muskets stored in 
three "apartments" of the arsenal building were in good re- 
pair, although the large number of old arms "piled in the 
loft of the Work-shop" had not fared so well; and that a 
leaking proof endangered the powder in the "new magazine". 

Except for Major Langham's reduction to the rank of cap- 
tain (for the abuse of his men) in 1790, the early 1790's seem 

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The Point of Fork Arsenal 9 

to have passed routinely enough at the arsenal, with an aver- 
age of 650 muskets being restocked per quarter and a supply 
of some 10,000 firearms on hand in various states of repair at 
all times. Langham was replaced by Major Robert Quarles 
in 1793. 

Although an office was constructed in 1791, the establish- 
ment was gradually reduced. From the 26-man guard and un- 
specified number of workers, etc., on duty in 1789, it declined 
to a force of one superintendent, seven armorers, one cor- 
poral and 16 soldiers, two carpenters, four women, two chil- 
dren and one state negro at the end of 1791. It was planned 
to reduce the force over the next year to a superintendent 
and four armorers, a corporal and nine soldiers, and one state 
negro. StiU, soldiers' houses were directed to be built on post 
in the fall of 1793, and the superintendent's nephew Thomas 
Quarles found it profitable to open a sutler's shop at the post 
a few weeks later. 

Out of this circumstance grew a particularly nasty exchange 
of vituperative countercharges between the Langham broth- 
ers and the Quarles brothers in which the soldiers below and 
the bureaucrats above eventually took the Quarleses' side. It 
was concluded that having a store on post was better than 
having the soldiers continually ^"rambling off to Columbia to 
buy liquor." At least one product of this unseemly squabble 
which is nevertheless beneficial to the historian is an in- 
dignant letter from the incumbent Quarles that the garrison 
of eight smiths and three soldiers at the Point when he took 
over had soon been increased to 18 and 13, that Captain 
Peyton had commanded fewer men than that and that Lang- 
ham had had less than half that number. 

The arsenal's response to the military emergency of 1794, 
when the Pennsylvania Whisky RebeUion and tiie Fallen 
Timbers campaign in Ohio necessitated large arms shipments 
to both the Virginia militia and the federal army, is well 
documented. Point of Fork lent the United States 3,000 
muskets and bayonets with cartridge boxes, 15 barrels of 
powder, 1,650 pounds of shot, five barrels of flints, 19 pigs of 
lead and numerous musket accessories. Very soon thereafter, 
the arsenal began to accelerate its work, and to manufacture 
gun locks, the one part which had formerly been bought else- 
where. Apparently the artisans had earlier made individual 
component parts of these mechanisms in the course of their 

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10 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

repair work, but had not made entire locks. That is a good 
clue to why there is apparently no firearm extant today which 
can definitely be identified as "the Point of Fork musket*'. 

Official papers after the year 1795 record, mainly, the de- 
cline of the arsenal establishment. A House of Delegates 
Resolution of 23 December 1796, although it authorizes the 
enlistment of additional artisans for Point of Fork, also re- 
quests the governor to find an advantageous site in Richmond 
for an "arsenal and manufactory of arms". When an inspec- 
tion board in 1798 reported the post to be in a poor situation 
militarily, work was begun on a 60 x 70-yard log stockade 
with bastions for protection by cannon, but the work was so 
long delayed that by the time of its near completion in 1799, 
all but four of the artisans had been discharged. To make 
matters worse, the bayonet-grinding mill was swept away by 
a late spring flood, never to be replaced. A temporary rein- 
forcement of the guard by local militia in September of 1800 
was an illusory sign of resurgence. Pursuant to a resolution 
of discontinuation passed three years earlier by the House of 
Delegates, Captain John Clarke began the removal of the 
Point of Fork arms to his Richmond manufactory in January 
of 1801. 

The last entries in the Commonwealth's records concern the 
sale of the 25-acre tract and its dilapidated buildings. The in- 
spection made preparatory to this s^e in October of 1809 dis- 
closed that the 24-foot square magazine remained ''a piece 
of very good stone work", and that the two-story frame ar- 
senal of ''86 X 20 feet" (a new figure, indicating, if correct, 
that the original specifications were compromised upon) had 
sunk upon ten inches at one end. The several ''houses . • • 
used as shops & Residences for the artificers and soldiers" 
were tumbling down. Much of the brick, stone, and struc- 
tural iron had been appropriated by the local farmers. 

Today very little is known about the actual physical lay- 
out of the military establishment at Point of Fork. On the 
other hand, the prospects for further discovery (of the sort 
which would facilitate restoration) are excellent. The sche- 
matic plat of 1787 does not even purport to be drawn ac- 
curately to scale, and does not show ground relief or any 
other natural features, except for two springs and a short 
section of stream at the "mill seat". All we do know for 
sure is the location of two stone ruins on Mr. J. W. Siegfried's 

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The Point op Fork Arsenal 11 

land in the area specified by the report of October, 1809, as 
*Vhere the old arsenal stands" — ^i.e,, "on the South side of 
the Rivanna River about two miles above its confluence with 
the Fluvanna'' (Fluvanna being the name then given the 
James above C!olumbia). These are a square foundation and 
basement located on a cleared hilltop, and a long rectangular 
stone foundation located about one hundred yards nearer 
Columbia on the '^military crest" or eastern shoulder of this 
elongated hill. There is little doubt that the smaller ruin, 
being clearly 24 feet square and once vaulted into two rooms, 
is the stone magazine of 1788. 

Once it is established that these are the remains of the 
projected "new magazine" shown on the 1787 plat, that docu- 
ment can be oriented so that the springs coincide with pres- 
ent-day springs, and the stream-section with Barracks 
Branch, making it fairly certain that the rectangular founda- 
tion belonged to one of the several 'longhouse" arsenals so 
frequently mentioned in the records. Since archaeological re- 
search on such a small scale that it can only be called a pre- 
liminary survey has indicated an unusual concentration of 
deliberately and violently destroyed military-type debris 
around the longer foundation, it seems that the ruin must be- 
long to a building destroyed in the Simcoe raid or one erected 
on the site of the destroyed buildings. The other fact of 
which we can be fully certain is that whatever we may learn 
from these two building-sites is very little compared to what 
we may yet learn from the sites of a great many other now- 
vanished buildings at Point of Fork. 

The above discussion should indicate, if nothing else, the 
necessity for preservation of this highly significant historic 
site and for further research on both the documentary and 
the archaeological fronts. The archaeological research, al- 
though it is something which every interested person can 
and should help with, should be done by professional per- 
sonnel and under the auspices of a reputable non-profit or- 
ganization — ^preferably the state or federal government. The 
documentary research, particularly in the form of an in- 
tensified local search for pertinent maps, manuscripts and 
documents, is the responsibility of all and can be begun right 
away. Most important of all, however, and preliminary to 
my question of restoration, is the preservation of the site 
from industrial, commercial and even residential develop- 



12 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

mmt. Once this preservation is assured, historians can be 
certain that further docummtary and archaeological research 
on the Point of Fork will result in a full exploitation of the 
site's enormous educational and recreational potential. 

RicHABD Crouch 
9 February 1967 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 
to collect and preserve manuscripts and other documents 
relating to the history of Fluvanna County in Virginia; 
to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the county seat, Pal- 
myra, as a museum where antiquities of the county may 
be exhibited ; and to encourage historical research. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Ndmbbr 5 



October 1967 




COUBT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 

Bwlt in 18S0 Digitized by Google 



9/''i 



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The Rivanna Navigation Company 

Hie Rivanna River has played an important and active role 
in the history and development of Central Virginia. It gath- 
ers the small streams of northwest Albemarle County and 
enters the City of Charlottesville as a river of some impor- 
tance. With sweeping curves cradling rich bottom land, it 
loops and meanders as it bisects Fluvanna County, emptjring 
into the James River at Columbia. 

On the banks of the Rivanna River in Fluvanna County 
are the remains of locks and dams and short stretches of 
canals once used by boats that traveled up and down the 
stream. Abandoned about 60 years ago, they have been un- 
disturbed except by flood and are in a good state of preserva- 
tion. Even the silting and filling caused by floods have helped 
preserve the wood and metal of the lock gates which now lie 
buried. The locks and aqueducts are beautifully built, "the 
ancient castles of the new world." 

The Rivanna Navigation Company is the only historical 
navigation system in the State of Virginia which was well- 
built of stone and is well preserved today with structures 
and towpaths virtually undisturbed. It could be the only tow- 
path park in Virginia, as no such park now exists. It offers 
an irresistible combination — History and Nature. Dr. W. E. 
Trout, III, has said, "History mollified by nature is ideal 
along Virginia's old waterways.'* 

Many navigation systems, such as the James River-Kana- 
wha Canal, have been altered or destroyed. The Chesapeake 
and Ohio Railway line was built on the towpath along the 
James River. But the structures on the Rivanna thus far 
have escaped destruction by railroads, highways, pipelines 
and industry. This chapter of the past can be enjoyed today 
and with forethought can be enjoyed in the future. 

More than 200 years ago, in 1763, Thomas Jefferson began 
the first organized effort to improve navigation on the Ri- 
vanna River. He and others subscribed a total of 200 pounds 
to do the first improvements to make the river navigable. 

Jefferson secured Roger and George Thompson to survey 
the river and make the necessary improvements. The Thomp- 
son brothers, in 1777, were active in the formation of Flu- 
vanna County and were the leaders of civic and religious life 
of the new County. 

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2 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

In a 1796 pamphlet, "Notes on Virginia," Jeflferson men- 
tioned that the Rivanna was then navigable by canoes and 
batteaux from the Southwest Mountains below Charlottesville 
to its mouth on the James. 

Many years later, before being elected President, Jefferson 
drew up a list of his "undertakings" as he was asking himself 
whether his country was any the better for his having lived. 
This improvement of the Rivanna was the first item on his 
list. 

Dr. Trout, of Richmond, in his report on the Rivanna states 
that the early improvements may have consisted of little 
else than removing fallen trees in the river, and creating chan- 
nels — sluices — at falls and shoals by moving gravel and rocks, 
using blasting powder when necessary. 

Navigating such "improved" channels could be accom- 
plished only with very maneuverable boats of shallow draft. 
.The canoe was the lightest, and could be used almost any- 
where, but was subject to inversion under a heavy load. 

The double canoe, two canoes lashed side by side, was more 
stable and could carry heavy loads such as tobacco hogsheads. 

The batteau, a flat-bottomed wooden boat usually pointed at 
both ends, was a heavier, more durable craft especially de- 
signed for river transport. About 60 feet long and 7 feet 
wide, they were poled up or down the current, and so were 
common on those navigable streams lacking a towpath. 

Water transportation was without a doubt the best means 
of getting bulky farm goods to market and the traffic on the 
Rivanna increased. Tobacco was one of the main farm prod- 
ucts to be transported down the Rivanna. Hogsheads of to- 
bacco had been rolled to Richmond by farmers and slaves on 
foot, or an axle had been placed through the hogsheads so 
that a horse could pull them over the poor roads. Water 
transportation was surely quicker and easier. 

Towns were built on the river banks. One of the first state 
tobacco inspection stations, Henderson's Warehouse, was 
established in 1789 at "The Shallows." Here, the town of Mil- 
ton was established the same year. At the head of navigation, 
about five miles below the present site of Charlottesville, Mil- 
ton was the shipping center of Albemarle — ^The Port of Albe- 
marle. 

When, during the next century, navigation was extended to 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 3 

Charlottesville, Milton began to decline. Today the extent of 
its abandoned streets can be seen from the air. 

Another tobacco inspection station, Rivanna Warehouse, 
was established in 1785 at the other end of the Rivanna — ^the 
Point of Fork of the James — ^where three years later the town 
of Columbia was established. 

A town also grew on the river in the northwest comer of 
Fluvanna called Bemardsburg, named for the burgo-master, 
Bernard. It was established by an act of the General Assembly 
in 1796. A state tobacco warehouse was established there in 
1802. Tradition states that the first newspaper in this section 
was published at Bemardsburg. The population was increased 
in mid-nineteenth century by the stonemasons who came to 
build the locks and other navigation structures, but the town 
"died'* early in this century. 

In 1805 the Rivanna Navigation Company was organized 
to make more extensive improvements on the Rivanna. Pe- 
riodic improvements were made thereafter by the company, 
which can be roughly divided into three periods : around 1810, 
the 1830's and the 1850's. It was in 1830 that more locks were 
added at existing dams and other locks and dams were built 
It was not until the 1850's that most of the locks with hand- 
some stonework were built. These and the towpath along the 
river and the stretches of canal made horseboat navigation 
possible on the Rivanna. 

By 1817 the company was actively engaged in straightening 
and deepening sluices, and building wing-dams at more than 
27 falls, shoals and fords between Milton and Columbia. A 
survey book of 1826 notes the location of many of these. 

The wing dams were probably not masonry structures, but 
low broad dams up to two feet high, of large stones piled upon 
each other. These were placed so as to direct the river into 
narrow channels, or sluices, passing through the falls or 
shoals near the bank. Sometimes two wing dams were built, 
extending from each bank to form a sluice in the center of 
the river. 

When traveling upstream, a sluice near the bank was pref- 
erable since the boatmen could get out and drag their boat 
by a rope when the current was too swift for poling. 

One can still detect remains of these wing dams and sluices, 
even though they have not been kept up since they were aban- 
doned in the 1830's. A rocky ripple may once h;^ve been a 

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4 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

wing dam, and a shallow channel, a sluice. Rocks, too, show 
signs of blasting. 

Above Charlottesville, the river was finally improved to 
some extent as far as Hydraulic Mills on the South Fork and 
for a few miles to Brook Mills on the North Fork. 

The Rivanna navigation at this time was not entirely a 
series of sluices. There were several mill dams on the river, 
each of which was required by law to have a lock. When the 
navigation company was incorporated, it took over the main- 
tenance of these locks, but not of the mill dams which were 
supposed to be kept up by the owners. 

It was in 1810 that Thomas Jefferson wrote the directors 
of the company revealing some of the plans for navigation 
improvements. Writing of his Shadwell mills he said in effect: 

*Tf our gentlemen directors, observing that my mill 
dam and canal present a dead sheet of water from 
the entrance of the river into the mountains, at the 
Secretary's Ford, to its exit at my mill, desire the use 
of my dam to keep back water at its present navi- 
gable state. Use it. I shall maintain it for my own 
purposes. 

"But you wish to raise the dam two feet. In that 
case, you must maintain the dam yourselves, because, 
being raised to five feet, it will be carried away ten 
times for once if it remains at three feet 

"You wish to use my canal. You are welcome to 
it. Next you say you wish to widen it for batteaux. 
You are free to widen it, but as admitting a greater 
volume of water will destroy the bank in some places, 
you must maintain the bank. 

"Next you say you shall want a site for a lock at 
the lower end. I will give it to you, together with 
timber, earth and stone to build it . . . But while 
you are widening the canal you say you must stop my 
mill perhaps a month. You may do it and I will charge 
you nothing for the rent.*' 

Available records do not tell how all the issues were settled 
but according to the companjr's report in 1818 there were 
seven wooden locks: three at Jefferson's Shadwell Mill, and 
one each at Campbell's Mill at the Buck Island Dam in Albe- 
marle, Union Mills Dam in northwestern Fluvanna, Palmyra 

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The RivANNA Navigation Company 6 

Dam, and Rivanna (Ashlin's) Mill about five miles above 
Columbia. There were short canals at Shadwell, Union Mills 
and Rivanna Mills. The dam at Palmyra seems to have been 
a little upstream from the later dams, one of which rested 
against the piers of the covered bridge. 

When there was enough water in the river, and when the 
locks and dams were in order, the improved navigation prob- 
ably extended to Moore's Creek, li/^ miles south of Charlottes- 
ville. 

An article by T. J. Wertenbaker in The Magazine of Albe- 
marle County History described commerce in this way: ^'At 
high water the batteaux could carry 200 bushels of wheat. 
Three men were sufficient to man a batteau. They would fall 
down with the stream, but work their way back with poles." 

The load for downstream depended on how high the water 
was. Information on the state of the water in the river was 
continually sought from the watermen, for on a flush river 
a batteau might safely take on 50 barrels of flour; if the wa- 
ter was low, half that number might constitute a load. 

Wertenbaker included this description : 

''A batteau on the water was more than a match 
for the best four or six horse bellteam. ... If ever 
man gloried in his calling, the Negro batteauman was 
that man. His was a hardy calling, demanding skill, 
courage, and strength in a high degree. I can see him 
now striding the plank that ran along the gunwale 
to afford him footing, his long iron-shod pole trail- 
ing in the water behind him. 

"Now he turns, and after one or two ineffectual ef- 
forts to get his pole fixed in the rocky bottom of the 
river, secures his purchase, adjusts the upper part of 
the pole to the pad at his shoulder, bends to his task, 
and the long, but not ungraceful bark mounts the 
rapids like a sea bird breasting the storm. . . . 

"A stalwart, jolly, courageous set they were, ply- 
ing the pole all day, hauling into shore at night. . . to 
rest, to eat, to play the banjo, and to snatch a few 
hours of profound, blissful sleep." 

The canoes and batteaux, on their trips down to Richmond, 
were laden with hogsheads of tobacco, barrels of flour or other 
upcountry produce. On the return trip the cargo was much 



6 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

lighter — sacks of salt, bags of coffee, sugar, molasses and 
whiskey. 

Tolls for using the company's navigation were payable at 
Columbia, 83 miles below Moore's Creek. From Columbia, 
boats could continue 56 miles down the open James to West- 
ham above Richmond, where two short canals led to the canal 
basin at the foot of Capitol Hill. (This canal was, of course, 
later improved and lengthened.) 

The 1830's was a time of great progress in Central Vir- 
ginia. The building boom and the increase in farm production 
was reflected in the improvement of the Rivanna Navigation 
system. As trade on the Rivanna increased, tiie sluice system 
was declared inadequate. One problem with channels cut 
through falls and shoals was the consequent draining of the 
deeper ponds above them. 

Of course wing dams helped to back the water, but they 
were hazardous. Occasionally boats were smashed against a 
wing dam while trying to shoot the sluice formed by it. Poling 
the boats upstream against swift currents was an even more 
difficult job. The primary problem, however, was the frequent 
navigation stoppage caused by low water. Batteaux could 
travel fully laden only during freshets. 

It was decided to build a safer, more reliable system by 
constructing a series of locks and dams, and making improve- 
ments at the mill dams. Batteaux were still to be the means 
of transport since no towpath was planned. 

Although mill dams provided slack-water navigation on 
their ponds, they were perhaps the main obstacles to naviga- 
tion on the Rivanna, as well as on other rivers. The first 
problem was to make arrangements with the mill owners for 
the construction of navigation facilities. Fortunately for the 
Rivanna navigation, mill dams were required to have locks. 
Secondly, both the mills and the navigation required water. 
There was not always enough for both. Besides the cotton 
factory at Union Mills, called the Virginia Union Factory, 
there were many flour and grist mills which used the water 
held by the dams. At some dams the water was also used to 
power sawmills. Some of the deeds recorded in Fluvanna lead 
one to think is was usually the mill which had to use the "ex- 
cess" water — ^that which would have otherwise run over the 
dam. 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 7 

The third problem with the mill dams was that they were 
not usually built on a site suitable for navigation. They were 
designed to provide a maximum fall of water for the mill 
wheel, so were built on the falls rather than below them in 
navigable water. Locks built in these dams did not lower 
boats into deep water, and the water level below the dam 
could not be raised without flooding ("drowning'*) the mill 
wheel, making it inoperative. The solution was to build a 
canal, with locks, from the millpond to navigable water down- 
stream. Some of the 1880 improvements on the Rivanna con- 
sisted of building such canals. 

Below the dam at Palmyra there were riffles and the water 
between this dam and the mouth of Cunningham Creek was 
too shallow. Plans were made to construct a canal with locks 
from the mill dam to slack water of Strange's millpond. The 
Reverend Mr. Walker Timberlake and Mr. John 6. Hughes 
both offered plans and estimates for this stretch of river 
and were rejected. Finally, in July, 1882, Mr. Timberlake 
won the contract to make improvements on the north side of 
the river, widen and deepen the canal to his present lock, put 
in guard gates, and construct two chambers of locks in the 
canal. He was to deepen the River from the mouth of the 
lower lock to the deep water at the head of Strangers pond 
to the width of 25 feet. This channel was to be of sufficient 
depth for boats drawing 2 feet of water. 

It is doubtful that Timberlake ever built two locks at his 
mill site. His letters to Gen. John Hartwell Cocke about 
workmen needed for the project give the impression that he 
built only one lock, a substantial one — ^perhaps of stone. One 
wonders if he ever deepened the channel to the needed depth 
as an eyewitness tells us that the water was always too 
shallow below the dam in the last part of the century. This 
was overcome by opening the gates of the locks to let out a 
rush of water. The mule pulled the boat into the lock on this 
flood tide. The lock was then refilled to lift the boat for further 
travel upstream. 

To provide a complete lock and dam navigation from the 
James River to Moore's Ford at Charlottesville, it was neces- 
sary to use 14 dams and 19 locks. Six of these were the old 
mill dams: Shadwell, Campbell's, Union, Palmyra, Rivanna 
and Wood's mills. Eight were new dams built by the company: 
Pireus, Milton, Stump Island, Bernardsburg, Broken Island 



8 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

(Pettit's Island), Strange's, White Rock and Columbia dams. 
The directors worked hard over the plans for these improve- 
ments, and orders seem to have been given, contracts let, 
but there were delays and many changes in plans. The con- 
tract for improvements from Columbia to Union Mills was 
given to Capt. John M. Perry, excepting one contract given to 
Mr. Gideon A. Strange to do the necessary work at his mill 
site. 

Most of the dams on the Rivanna were "crib dams," made 
by building a crib of heart-pine squared timbers, pegged to- 
gether with huge wooden pegs. Some timbers were bolted to 
the bedrock with big iron pins. The timbers parallel to the 
stream slanted upward on the downstream side and these 
timbers rested on long timbers laid across the stream. The 
back of the dam looked a little like a long roofless log cabin ; 
the front was sloping. The hollow cribs were filled with large 
stones, and the faces and tops of the dams were planked in an 
effort to make them watertight. This structure, five to ten 
feet high, extended across the river and was stabilized with 
stone or masonry abutments on each bank. 

Much of the remains of Strange's lock completed in 1832 
can be seen on the right bank, just below the C. & O. Railway 
bridge across the Rivanna near Carysbrook. Some of the 
masonry work and a great deal of the upright wooden 
timbers are clearly visible. A large rock was used as part 
of the lock. No traces of the dam have been recognized. The 
minutes noted that the construction was acceptable except 
he must "make the canal leading to the lock to the depth of 
2 feet, 8 inches, and wide enough for loaded boats to pass 
the same without danger of striking or hanging and he is 
to deepen the channel from the lock to the deep water be- 
low. . . ." It is also noted that Gen. Cocke of Bremo was paid 
$250 by Strange, probably for work done by Cocke's slaves. 

The best remains of a wooden lock of this period is at 
White Rock dam, a couple of miles down river from the high- 
way bridge at Carysbrook Farm. The rough masonry sides, 
the upright timbers and wrought-iron pins which supported 
the plank sides are all visible. Remains of the dam show the 
placement of the timbers in the stream bed and one can see 
where the wooden pins held these timbers together. The di- 
rectors inspected this work in 1888 and reported that Perry's 
work was unsatisfactory in some ways. "The sluice from the 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 9 

lock is too narrow and not of sufficient depth . . . the cap 
sills of the abutments are not sufficiently secure and the 
wicket gate is deficient in size." 

The directors also found some of Perry's work at Bernards- 
burg not finished according to contract, but "the balance of 
the work . . . the Board considers as well and faithfully exe- 
cuted and deserves the highest commendation." The rebuild- 
ing was supervised by Nicholus H. Lewis, who was appointed 
superintendent by the directors, to receive $3 a day. 

Over 100 years later there are still signs of these dams: 
stones, abutments, wrought-iron spikes and timbers in their 
original positions in the riverbed. Since some of these locks 
and dams were by-passed in the rebuilding of the 1850's, the 
construction of the 1830 period can be seen, not only at 
Strange's and White Rock, but at Bemardsburg and near 
Columbia. The remains of the Columbia dam built by John 
G. Hughes is just above the spot chosen by the James River 
Canal for their aqueduct. This Columbia dam seems to have 
replaced the old Wood's Mill dam. Wood's Mill is shown on a 
map of the county dated 1820, and stood where the Route 6 
highway bridge crosses the Rivanna west of Columbia. 

Mills were erected at some of these new dams. The com- 
pany built a sawmill at Broken Island and bought land from 
William S. Lane in 1844 to build comfortable cabins for the 
"hands." 

Some records indicate as many as 23 locks on the Rivanna 
during this period and they had an average lift of seven feet 
and came in two types: wooden locks and rough masonry 
locks lined with plank. They were built 8 feet wide, for the 
batteaux using them were about 7 feet wide. (As early as 
1831 Thomas Jefferson Randolph recommended building the 
locks 14 feet wide.) The batteaux could pass two abreast 
through the 15-foot-wide locks on the James River-Kanawha 
Canal which was gradually extending westward from Rich- 
mond, reaching Columbia in 1840. 

Claudius Crozet, chief engineer of the state, suggested the 
following construction: "These locks, which are necessarily 
to be made of wood, should consist of a foundation of cross 
sills laid on the ground or on longitudinal sleepers, bolted to 
rocks, as the case may require. On every other cross sill 
uprights eight by ten inches should be framed about three feet 
apart. . . . After having filled the spaces between the sills 



10 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

with clay or stone according to the situation, the sides and 
bottom are to be planked up with two-inch planks." 

The company was often in trouble with the mill owners and 
were involved in suits that dragged on for years. The minutes 
of the meetings of the Board of Directors now on file at the 
Alderman Library, University of Virginia, refer often to a 
suit brought by Timberlake and Magruder, owners of the 
Shadwell Mills around 1830. The heirs of the estate of Wil- 
liam Wood also brought suit against the company, but the 
cause of their grievances was not too clear. 

The company also had financial troubles and often solicited 
additional subscriptions for stock to raise more money. Perry 
must have become weary waiting for payments for his work 
on the navigation structures, for though the directors ordered 
the pajonents to be made by a certain date, later entries in 
the minutes show the pajonents had not been made. 

The Rivanna Navigation Company again rebuilt its struc- 
tures in the 1850's. The engineer in charge was John Gouty, 
an excellent mathematician and builder. Twenty-nine beauti- 
fully drawn plats showing the 1850 plans for the Rivanna 
navigation have been found. Couty's plats are characterized 
by their blue, red, green, and yellow shading to indicate slopes 
and land areas. Many have a pink border. All of his plats are 
^'signed'' by his device indicating North. It was an important 
and exciting discovery to unearth these beautifully drawn 
plats which were done between 1836 and 1860. Included with 
them were many plats for the James River Canal. Dr. Trout 
also found the Rivanna Navigation seal, on a d^d signed by 
John Randolph Bryan of Carysbrook. It is a blue imprint with 
a stylized boat (unusual for 1854) encircled with the name 
of the company; field of blue, with white lines. The directors 
in 1830 had regretted they had no official seal and so substi- 
tuted the private seal of their President, Hugh Nelson. By 
1854 Thomas Jefferson Randolph was President of the com- 
pany. 

The rebuilding of the navigation in the 1850's was neces- 
sary for a number of reasons. On December 1, 1840, the James 
River-Kanawha Canal was opened to traffic from Richmond 
to L3aichburg. Large horse-drawn freight and packet boats 
were passing through Columbia, and across the Rivanna on 
a beautiful three-arched cut-stone aqueduct. Although bat- 
teaux from the Rivanna Navigation could use the James River 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 11 

Canal, the big James River canal boats could not be returned 
the courtesy; the Rivanna locks were too small, and there 
was no towpath. Also, there was no direct water connection 
at Columbia. The nearest was a river lock at Cartersville, ten 
miles down the James. 

To keep up with the times, the Rivanna navigation was re- 
built once more. Both companies took part in this rebuilding. 
The James River Company agreed to make the connection if 
the Rivanna Company would make similar improvements to 
Charlottesville. In 1851 the James River Company completed 
its "Rivanna Connexion," a 4^^ mile canal with two locks 
and two large walk-through culverts. 

The new canal began at the locks at Rivanna Mills and ran 
to the James River Canal at Columbia. The beautifully built 
culverts at Gum and Dog Creeks are long and like small 
aqueducts, with earthen canal beds and earthen towpaths on 
top of the stonework. These connections fed water into the 
James River Canal, so that it was a "feeder canal" as well 
as a major branch line. Where this canal enters the town of 
Columbia, at St. Andrews Street, there is a lock now almost 
entirely filled and covered with sawmill debris. 

The Rivanna Company, on its part, built seven large stone 
locks, six miles of canals, 20 miles of towpath and a dam at 
a new location, Carysbrook Farm. The dams at Union Mills, 
Broken Island, Palm3rra and Rivtona Mills were probably all 
rebuilt and strengthened and larger locks built. The naviga- 
tion system had been badly damaged by a freshet in 1840. 
The directors reported that "five lock gates were loosened or 
washed away, and two entirely lost, and a pair of guard gates 
crushed by the force of the water. • . . '' A part of the mill dam 
at Palm3rra was washed away. 

The works of the 1850's on the Rivanna were — and still 
are — ^magnificent structures, built to last for centuries. The 
credit for this excellence goes to John Couty, "to whom no 
higher compliment can be paid than by simply saying that 
the floods of the season have passed over his work in every 
possible stage of construction, without displacing the first 
stick or stone that has been laid down," an 1852 report of the 
Bureau of Public Works relates. 

Couty's works on the Rivanna are among the best in Vir- 
ginia. The locks are of carefully shaped granite masonry. The 
stone facing the lock chamber is "hammer dressed" to a 

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12 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

smooth surface to provide both a pleasing appearance and a 
smooth wall which would not chew up the boats rubbing 
against it. The stones in view, but not in contact with the 
boats, were sometimes given a rougher "quarry-faced" sur- 
face; and those which were to be covered, on the back walls, 
had an even rougher finish. All these types can be seen at 
the Palmyra lock, which is the most accessible by car. The 
lock chambers between gates were uniformly 100 by 15 feet, 
the same as those on the James River. 

Besides the locks at Columbia and Rivanna Mills, they were 
built at Carysbrook, Palmyra, Dog Point, Pettit's Island, two 
at Bernardsburg and one at Union Mills. All of this new con- 
struction was within Fluvanna County. The improvements 
never reached Charlottesville. In 1854 the horse boat navi- 
gation had been completed to Thrift's Ford at the upper edge 
of Fluvanna, within eight miles of Charlottesville. At this 
point the navigation company apparently ran out of money 
and no work other than maintenance was done for 20 years. 
Then, too, the Virginia Central Railway reached Charlottes- 
ville in 1850. Presumably goods to that town were sent over- 
land or transferred at Thrift's Ford to smaller batteaux. 

Any one of the locks on the Rivanna today is worth a hike 
to see. Each one is unique. All the stonework at Rivanna 
Mills and on the stretch of canal below is impressively beauti- 
ful. These mills were run by the Stillmans and the Ashlins 
and were often called by their names. A little settlement grew 
here where the Bryant Ford Road crossed the Rivanna. The 
Stillman brothers lived with the Ashlins at Rivanna Hall and 
ran a thriving enterprise of flour and grist mill, store, post 
office and at one time, a blacksmith shop. The records pre- 
served about this area provide an interesting historical back- 
ground that makes the stonework remains most interesting. 

The lock at Palmyra, at Timberlake's mill, has two narrow 
verticle slots cut into the stone for a stopgate, just a few feet 
upstream of the gates. A thin wooden gate could be slipped 
into these slots to dam the water for lock site repairs. Some 
of the metal which held the miter-lock gates is still in place 
on this lock and more of it may be buried in the lock. Part 
of one of the gates from this lock has been discovered near 
the bank a short distance downstream. Portions of the large 
timbers have been preserved in the water, and the metal 
wicket gate is still attached to them. It is believed that most 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 13 

of these locks had wooden floors which are now covered with 
dirt 

A study of the mammoth stones in the Palmsrra lock tells 
much about how they were quarried and then cut — smoothed 
and squared. Most interesting of all are the mason's marks, 
the trademarks— or autographs — of the stone masons who 
built the locks. The use of these symbols is an old tradition 
brought from Europe. 

Just upriver from the lock and mill are the stone piers 
which once supported the wooden covered bridge. The bridge 
was first built to replace the ferry in 1828 when the Fluvanna 
Courthouse was moved to Palmyra. The date "Au 21 1829" is 
carved on the pier on the north side of the river. The bridge 
was often washed away by high water and was burned at the 
end of the Civil War, either by the Yankees or by the re- 
treating Rebels. It was burned again in 1931 by the State 
highway department when they had completed the new steel 
bridge across the Rivanna which is named for Pembroke 
Pettit. Many people now tell of how they stood on the new 
bridge and cried as they watched through the night the cov- 
ered bridge being burned. 

Almost in sight of the covered bridge stands Solitude Mill 
on Cunningham Creek. It was spared by Sheridan's raiders 
by the pleas of the women. This flour mill was operated until 
about 1940 and is the only old brick mill standing in Fluvanna. 
Flour from this and other Fluvanna mills were shipped south 
"across the Equator" and was said to be the only flour of a 
quality to stand the heat of the voyage. Solitude Mill, like 
many of the mills on the river, was powered by a turbine. 
The grist mills on the creeks were powered by overshot water 
wheels. 

The locks at Pettit's Island dam, at the head of a mile- 
long canal, is believed to be the only one on the river with an 
earthen chamber which was lined with wood. Apparently only 
the ends of the lock which supported the gates were built of 
rock. The lock at the lower end of the canal is buried except 
for the coping stones. Nearby are the chimneys of the gate- 
keeper's house. / 

There were locks on both sides of the river at Union Mills, "^ 
the one on the east bank was used by the mills. On the west 
bank there is one of the most interesting locks on the river 

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14 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

which could be called "The Unique Lock." The engineer used 
the natural rock whenever he could, so the lock is a mosaic 
of bedrock and masonry. To top it off, part of the wall was 
made of wood. 

On the east bank can be seen the ruins of the old town of 
Union Mills. The Gazetteer of Virginia of 1835 gives the fol- 
lowing account of a merchant mill, grist and sawmill, and a 
cotton factory : 

"Messrs. Timberlake and Magruder own the fac- 
tory, a large and commodious brick building ; it runs 
1500 spindles, besides the necessary machinery for 
carding — ^it contains 12 power looms, in which sev- 
eral hundred yards of substantial cloth are made per 
day. The cotton yam of this establishment is in high 
repute throughout the state. More than 100 opera- 
tives are employed by the enterprising proprietors in 
the different departments of their establishment. — 
The place contains comfortable houses for the accom- 
modation of 18 or 20 families, a tanyard, and 
a Methodist house of worship; besides the elegant 
dwellings of the proprietors." 

Union Mills is at the head of 2^ miles of canal crossed by 
the present Route 600 at Crofton. At the lower end of the 
canal (at old Bemardsburg) there are two stone locks. The 
guard lock nearest the river is silted full, but the lift lock 
nearby has less fill than any seen on the Rivanna, and, being 
well exposed, it is most impressive. This is the only lock on 
the Rivanna where one can see a wall at the upper end (six 
feet tall) to hold back silt from the canal bed. It is not un- 
common, however, for locks to have such an apron or sill. 

Route 600 cuts through the body of this canal, and one 
can see from the road a tjnpical cross section consisting of: 
a berm ditch and bank on the hillside to catch ground water 
runoff and funnel it through culverts under the canal; the 
trunk of the canal itself; the towpath, on the river side of the 
canal — a strong bank forming the canal as well as a path 
for the horses and mules ; and below the towpath, a soakage 
ditch to collect water seeping from the canal, and direct it 
to streams so that cultivated bottom land would not be ruined. 
At intervals along the canal are found spillways to regulate 
the water flow. 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 15 

It is hard for many persons today to realize the importance 
of the Rivanna River in the nineteenth century. They cannot 
visualize the volume of travel and commerce on the Rivanna 
100 years ago. Pleasure excursions on the river were fre- 
quent. Mrs. J. L. Carroll's mother kept a delightful newspa- 
per account which tells how two young men joined a group of 
48 young people on an Easter Monday outing around 1895. 
The following excerpts are from the droll sketch of the trip 
from Carysbrook to Columbia : 

". . . Well, we plodded along up the bank and fi- 
nally met a mule with a rope tied to him, and one of 
the descendants of Ham perched sleepily on his back 
— ^the mule's back I mean. After a while we met the 
boat, and the good natured manager and promoter 
of the scheme wanted to know if we wished to get on. 

**We replied that we had ridden all over Fluvanna 
for that purpose alone, whereupon he ran into the 
bank and we got aboard, and moved smoothly down 
the pleasant stream regaled by the delightful music 
of the Fork Union Band whose reputation is already 
deservedly won. . . . 

"As we glided along, different things of interest to 
the tourists were pointed out to us. First East Point, 
where Aunt Lavinia sits and follows the apostolic 
calling so much praised by the Puritans. Then the 
splendid farm of Mr. Marion Wood, where water- 
melons attain the size of hogsheads, and sweet potato 
vines reach such a length as to span the river. Then 
Buzzard's Rock, an immense cliff where so many of 
the graceful birds whose name it bears rest their 
wearied pinions. Then Stillman's Mill where the 
biggest fish stories of the world originate. 

"Then, lastly, Columbia, nestled quietly on the 
banks of the majestic James, whose tranquility is 
disturbed only by the shriek of the locomotive and 
the yells of an Easter party. It was understood at 
the outset that the object of our going to Columbia 
was to come back. So as soon as we got there we be- 
gan to make preparations for returning. 

"The thing that puzzled us most was how to turn 
around. Everybody had a different suggestion to 
make, but we all finally decided to leave it tp the 

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16 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

mule, whose sagacity in boatology was equalled only 
by the size of his ears, or to our giant-statured and 
ebony-featured Captain, Peter ... he succeeded in 
turning the boat around, which was the principal 
thing at that time. After getting straight a delightful 
dinner was served that would rival the menu of the 
finest Atlantic steamers. . . '* 

There was a large store at East Point (where the Carsrs 
Creek enters the Rivanna) during the last half of the nine- 
teenth century, kept by Robert Anderson. It was a meeting 
place for the people of the neighborhood and the river boat- 
men. It was said that if you wanted to do business you went 
to Ashlin's Mills, but **it you want a good time, go to East 
Point" 

An October, 1881, entry in Gideon UnderhilFs diary reads 
something like this : "J. S. U. arrived from New York today — 
met him at the boat at East Point.'' An invoice of his dated 
August 25, 1874, for a shipment of one hogshead of tobacco 
shipped from East Point to Richmond lists the charges: 
"Freight charges, $1.50; Rivanna Toll, $0.24; James River, 
ditto, $1.69.'' 

Research has led to the conclusion that there were few 
packet boats on the Rivanna, but that the freight coats carried 
passengers. When the boats reached the locks, the passengers 
would somtimes get off to stretch their legs. The boats going 
upstream would enter the lock, which contained a minimum 
of water. Then the lower gates would be closed and the small 
metal wicket gate in the upstream gates would be opened to 
begin filling the lock. This relieved the pressure against the 
tall miter gates which opened upstream. With these upper 
gates open and the lock full of water, the boat continued up- 
stream. 

It seems that only one steamboat ever ran on the Rivanna. 
They were not usually used on canals as the wash of the 
paddles tended to ruin the banks of the canal, but in spite 
of this, as early as 1844, Col. Randolph made a resolution 
at a meeting of directors that they procure information as 
to the practicality and feasibility of introducing and using 
steamboat navigation on the Rivanna. Nothing seems to have 
come of this resolution, but many years later Mr. William 
Ronald Cocke, Jr. did put a steam engine and paddles on his 



The Rivanna Navigation Company 17 

boat. It delighted the river people of the day, but it is said that 
it traveled no faster than the mule drawn boats. It sank in 
a bend in the Rivanna during high water about 1890, and is 
still there today. Explorers delight in examining the relic. 
Built of heart pine timbers, it was about 80 feet long and 
had a maximum width of about 10 feet. 

It is said that one mule could pull a boat loaded with 850 
railway ties. A wagon was usually loaded with 15 to 20 ties 
and pulled by two mules. Many ties for the building of the 
railroad along the James River were transported down the 
Rivanna. 

The Rivanna Navigation Company survived the Civil War 
with apparently little damage. The great flood of 1870, how- 
ever, damaged it severely. It still would not give up, and in 
1871 the company borrowed money for repairs and extension 
of the line. The company had, at an earlier date, ridded itself 
of a legal obligation in the following curious way: in 1856 
Thomas Wood had been made trustee of the company, which 
ownership included "five slaves and one packet boat,'* and he 
had been obligated to sell the company if it had not paid all 
its debts by 1862. The debts had not been paid, and in 1871, 
the obligation still remaining, was removed by selling the 
company, "so that said company might itself become the pur- 
chaser thereof at such sale.'* Tliis satisfied the creditors and 
the company got back to work. 

Fluvanna County voted $10,000 and Albemarle $20,000 in 
1871 for the repair and extension of the navigation. Accord- 
ing to one source, two dams were constructed, one above Mil- 
ton, the other above Shadwell. But floods soon damaged them 
and they were abandoned. It is a puzzle why Albemarle would 
vote such a large amount to the navigation system on the 
Rivanna when they already had rail service through Char- 
lottesville. 

The descendants of Dr. Dudley Boston of Red Hill at 
Bemardsburg give an account of a Navigation Company 
meeting about this time. It is said that Dr. Boston enjoyed 
telling of this meeting. Since most of the funds had been 
raised in Albemarle, naturally the Albemarle faction wanted 
the funds spent on building an extension so that the end of 
navigation would be nearer Charlottesville. Others wanted the 
funds spent on repairing the part already in use. 

Baron William R. Staehling, although of Albemarle, sided 

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18 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

with the Fluvanna faction. Col. Randolph (Jefferson's son-in- 
law) became very indignant and said "they would excuse his 
stand because of his foreigner's ignorance." Whereupon the 
Baron jumped to his feet and stated that ''he thought in this 
case foreign ignorance was much to be preferred to local 
stupidity." According to this account, the funds were spent 
on the existing dams and locks and any left over was to be 
spent on the continuation of the canal above Union Mills. 
However, it seems the canal was never extended. 

After 1880 freight sent down the Rivanna was transferred 
to the railroad. For in 1880 the James River-Kanawha Canal 
was sold to the Richmond and Alleghany Railroad Company, 
now the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway Company. The railroad 
was completed from Richmond to Columbia, along the tow- 
path, within the same year. 

The Rivanna navigation persisted, as a branch line of the 
railroad, which was supposed to maintain it up to Carys- 
brook. An agreement in 1880 specified that if the canal from 
Columbia to Rivanna Mills were discontinued, the railroad 
was to build a branch line to replace it. Julian Jones, who was 
reared on Carysbrook Farm tells of spending a summer tak- 
ing soundings in the canal. The measurements were to be 
used in a court case against the railroad to show that the 
canal and towpath were not being maintained properly. The 
navigation system gradually decayed, and the Virginia Air 
Line Railroad, now part of the Chesapeake & Ohio, was built 
through the county in 1908, following the river only from 
above Carysbrook through Palmyra. 

But the Rivanna navigation was at its busiest just before 
its demise. The ties and rails and other supplies for the Air 
Line Railway were brought up the Rivanna. 

Many older citizens of Fluvanna have stories to tell of the 
adventures of freighting on the Rivanna. Capt. J. H. Ander- 
son found he could not "negotiate" the locks at Palmjrra dur- 
ing a flood because the current was too strong. His son tells 
how Capt. Anderson rode his boat, loaded with wheat, over 
the mill dam. But another captain, when he found himself in 
a like situation, ordered his men to jump overboard. The boat 
hung on the top of the dam and broke up. 

There was always a man who walked behind the mules on 
the towpath, and this driver was sometimes called a "hoggee." 
Mr. Julian Jones tells a delightful story of mutmy on the 

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The Rivanna Navigation Company 19 

part of the mule driver. This driver was offended by the orders 
shouted to him by the captain of the boat. The captain's tone 
was too peremptory for his liking. He stopped his mule, un- 
hitched the towline, and headed — Pleading the mule — ^back 
down the towpath to home port, leaving the boat stranded. 

Mr. Jones also rememberd that when his father's boat 
would become stuck on a sandbar, they would just put 
''Old Peter" over the side and he would lift the boat right 
off the bar. Peter is remembered by many as an unusually big 
and powerful man. 

And any man who lived on the river around 1900 can tell 
you about Mr. Wilmer White's mule named Scott — 'the 
kickin'est mule in seven counties" — ^who pulled a load of lum- 
ber downriver in the morning and a load of supplies for the 
new railroad back up in the evening. 

Navigation on the Rivanna died, but some of the mills were 
still used. Rivanna Mills continued a thriving center until 
around World War I. 

The wholesale abandonment of the Virginia navigation sys- 
tems and canals has given the popular impression that they 
were unsuccessful. Yet they were not less successful than 
horse-drawn carriages or steam engines. (Automobiles, too, 
may disappear after having given good service !) 

Canals and river improvements were used by the early 
settlers of Virginia when the railroad was unheard of. Goods 
had to get to market, and water transport was the best way. 
Even in the middle of the nineteenth century when the rail- 
roads were found worthwhile, river navigation continued to 
develop. This was partly because it was a tried and true sys- 
tem and less expensive than rail transport, and partly be- 
cause the investment was already too great to be thrown away 
until the last minute. 

What will be the future of the remains of the Rivanna Navi- 
gation Company? The beautiful stone locks and other struc- 
tures line 25 miles of the Rivanna in Fluvanna County. Some- 
thing could be done to save this while it is still so ideal for 
the enjoyment of those who love to hike, fish, picnic or explore. 
The towpath could be a cycling path or bridle path, and a 
perfect nature trail. The bluffs along the river are the habitat 
of rare and lovely wildflowers and countless species of birds. 

Why preserve the navigational structures? It has been said, 
"Nothing in the past is dead to the man who would learn how 

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20 Fluvanna County Historical Societt 

the present came to be what it is. ... by looking at things 
people used and that show the way they lived, a better and 
truer impression can be gained than could be had in a month 
of reading — even if there were books whose authors had the 
facilities to discover the minute details of the older lif e/^ 

Such undeveloped areas as are here described as existing on 
the Rivanna River are becoming increasingly rare on our 
eastern seaboard — and here is a chance to save the best of it. 

Minnie Lee McGehee 

August 1, 1967 



We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. 
W. E. Trout, III, for his interest in "our River," for 
his encouragement that has led to this endeavor, 
and for his generosity in sharing his research notes 
and his vast, yet intimate, knowledge of river navi- 
gation. 

M. L. Mc. 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 
to collect and preserve manuscripts and other documents 
relating to the history of Fluvanna County in Virginia; 
to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the county seat. Pal- 
myra, as a museum where antiquities of the county may 
be exhibited ; and to encourage historical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. 
Annual dues are $1.50 ; a life membership costs $25.00. A 
bulletin will be published twice a year, to be distributed 
for fifty cents a copy. Readers are requested to contribute 
any information of historical interest they may have or 
may be able to obtain. The Society will endeavor to pub- 
lish as much of this information as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: The Edi- 
tor, Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palmyra, Virginia. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 6 



June 1968 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
Buili in 18S0 



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C) 



i! 



■'J 



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CLARA COCKE FORSYTH 
(1909-1968) 

This issue of the Bulletin of the Fluvanna 
County Historical Society is dedicated to the 
memory of Mrs. Thomas Forsjrth (n6e Clara 
Pollard Cocke) who died April 14, 1968. She 
was a charter member of the Society and had 
edited the Bulletin since its inception. 

A native of Columbus, Mississippi, Mrs. For- 
syth was the daughter of Cary Hartwell Cocke, 
who had been bom at "Lower Bremo'* here in 
Fluvanna County, and of May Richards Cocke, 
and grew up at "Malvern," her parents' planta- 
tion near Columbus. Her education, begun by 
her mother at home, was continued in the public 
schools of Columbus and at the Mississippi State 
College for Women. She was a teacher at St. 
Mary's School in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Mrs. Forsjrth is survived by her husband, 
Thomas Forsjrth of Bremo Bluflf and her daugh- 
ter, Mrs. Claire Koch, and three grandchildren 
of Bern, Switzerland. 

To Mrs. Forsyth, whose personality was a 
rare blend of the aesthetic and the intellectual, 
the Society is indebted for her many services — 
particularly her editorial work, for which she 
modestly declined any credit. Her going has im- 
poverished us all. 



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JOHN HARTWELL COCKE: SOUTHERN 
ORIGINAL^ 

By Boyd Coyneb ♦♦ 

Every state of society has, happily, its originals; 
men and women who, in more or fewer respects, 
think, speak, and act, naturally and unconsciously, 
in a different way from the generality of men, 

Harriet Martineau 

More than a half -century ago Henry Adams cast his some- 
what jaundiced gaze at these Southern states to pronounce a 
caustic indictment. To a depressingly unflattering description 
of Roonie Lee whom he had known at Harvard, Adams 
added these unpleasantries : "Strictly," he wrote, "the South- 
erner had no mind; he had temperament. He was not a 
scholar; he had no intellectual training; he could not analyze 
an idea, and he could not even conceive of admitting two . . . ." 
A generation ago Wilbur Cash cited these derogatory phrases 
in support of his thesis that residents of the Old South did 
not think; they felt. The Mind of the South, Mr. Cash con- 
cluded in his work of that title, was monolithic and closed; 
it was incapable of analysis. 

John Hartwell Cocke of Fluvanna County, Virginia, whose 
life spanned the years from the Revolution to Reconstruction, 
was in his own way as severe a critic of the South as Messrs. 
Adams and Cash ; and by his stubborn detachment from the 
generality of his fellows, Cocke offers a kind of symbolic 
rebuttal to the concept of the Southern mind as an unthinking 
monolith. Inspired alike by Jeffersonian rationalism and nine- 
teenth century romantic humanitarianism, Cocke was a re- 
former by instinct. His restless dissatisfaction with the world 
as he found it led him to champion a variety of unpopular 
causes ; the vigor and independence of his spirit sent him in 



* This paper was delivered as an address to the Fluvanna County 
Historical Society at Bremo on September 13, 1964. 

♦♦ Mr. Coyner has a grant from the Cooperative Program in the Hu- 
manities at Duke and the University of North Carolina for 1968-69 
to finish the biography of General Cocke. He is now Professor of 
History at Hampden-Sydney College and will join the faculty at the 
College of William and Mary in the fall of 1969. ^ I 

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4 Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin 

perpetual search of new solutions to old problems. A "pioneer 
of modern social reform" he has been called; a planter "of 
unusual independence of mind," "the outstanding social re- 
former" in the Old South writes another. Professor Clement 
Eaton chose Cocke for an essay — "as exemplar of the liberal 
facet of the Southern mind" — ^in his Mind of the Old South. 
Significant pioneer in agriculture and architecture, in man- 
ners, morals, transportation and education, there was no one 
quite like him in the South. 

There was not a great deal in Cocke's heritage to suggest 
such a man. Son of one of the wealthiest planters in Virginia, 
he inherited 5000 acres in the lush James River bottoms. In 
some respects his life was conventional enough: he was a 
distinguished example of that not unfamiliar figure, the suc- 
cessful planter who gave his time and energy to a great 
number of public enterprises. He was, to be sure, more enter- 
prising than most. Many of his contemporaries took up arms 
as citizen soldiers in the War of 1812, but Cocke rose within 
eighteen months from the rank of captain to that of brigadier 
general. If many of his fellow Virginians were concerned 
with education, John Hartwell Cocke became — ^with Jefferson 
and Joseph Cabell — one of the three fathers of the University 
of Virginia. Many worked to bind state and nation with better 
transportation, but few labored with the persistence and 
practical good sense which Cocke brought to the building of 
the James River Canal. 

Cocke was more, however, than the public-spirited patri- 
cian. He had an intensely critical mind that set him apart 
from the custom and drift of his environment. From his 
constant travel and from his books Cocke knew the intellec- 
tual and moral ferment of his time far better than most of 
those around him. There was also in Cocke the reaction of a 
very able gentleman, representative of a passing aristocracy 
that was being pushed aside in the press of democracy, ren- 
dering judgments on a society that seemed blind to genuine 
virtue and talent. His was not the only patrician sniff of dis- 
taste in the Utopian urge of nineteenth century reform. 

In no area does Cocke's stubborn independence appear 
more forcefully than in his continuing hostility to human 
slavery. Bom in 1780, he was educated in that post-Revolu- 
tionary era when well-bred Virginians felt the moral burden 
of the institution of slavery. "I have long & do still stedfastly 

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John Habtwell Cocke: Southern Original 6 

believe/' Ckx^e wrote in 1832, 'i;hat Slavery is the great 
cause of all the chief evils of our land, individual as well as 
national/' If rhetoric permitted over-simplification, this sensi- 
tive Virginian was not without the gift of prophecy. He 
continued : 

and while every man of common foresight & reflec- 
tion is obliged to admit, that we or our posterity are 
inevitably destined to be overwhelmed unless the 
cause is removed, in the name of wonder how is it, 
that all will not agree to go faithfully & honestly 
about the work of removing this blot upon our na- 
tional escutcheon, this cancer eating upon the vitals 
of the Commonwealth. 

While his contemporaries closed their minds in defense of 
this cancer, the aging General retained his hostility. He 
rededicated his life in 1843 ''to the amelioration of Slavery 
in my native State ... for the ultimate extermination of 
this sorest and most afflictive evil of our day & generation in 
the Southern States." Slavery was a triple curse, he wrote in 
1844, to the enslaved, to the master, and to the country which 
bore it. In 1846 he expressed his ultimate faith in the ever- 
present appeal to the Southern master, made "before his 
minds eye" by "his suppliant slave ... in chains & with the 
words in his mouth. Am I not man & brother?" "How would 
our Anglo Saxon race regard the argument ... in favor 
of servile submission !" Cocke wrote in 1851 ; the white man 
would claim the right of resistance, and Cocke wondered how 
it could be denied to the slave. He not only read Uncle Tom's 
Cabin with approval, but took a lively interest in Harriet 
Stowe. On his next trip to the North he recorded in his 
journal that he "went to call on Mrs. Stowe, who was absent 
in Boston." He met her husband, Calvin Stowe, however, who 
received him with kindness, he noted. 

Coupled with this zealous hatred of slavery was a notable 
absence of sectional rancor. New Englanders, he reported in 
1829, "as enlightened, enterprizing, liberal, & pious com- 
munities . . . are a century in advance of us." In 1838 he 
fdt in some degree justified in the assumption that "Our 
improvements come from the North." "Thank God the 
Yankees are at hand," he rejoiced in 1844 at the prospect 
of trading with Northern lime dealers in preference to his 



6 Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin 

fellow Virginians. Northerners were "the greatest people on 
Earth," Such cities as Boston and New York were cultural 
and spiritual oases, where men were devoted to education, 
religion, efficiency, and progress. As late as October 1860, 
two months before the secession of South Carolina, Cocke 
wrote from New York City that his Yankee brethren were 
"beyond comparison ... the best part of our nation.*' He 
hailed the commercial and industrial expansion of the North 
with particular favor, and saw in the spread of these forces 
to the South an agency of rejuvenation. On the prospect of 
an influx of engineers into Virginia in 1835, he rejoiced : 

We shall soon have a brilliant corps of a new order 
of human beings in the meridian of the Ancient 
Dominion — sl corps of scientific working gentlemen 
—each one of whom will be worth to the community 
six doctors & as many lawyers, & at least a cowpen 
full of our Jimmy-Jessimy Gentlemen at large. I 
hope a new day is open upon us. 

With all of his independence, however, Cocke stopped short 
of radical solutions. If he hated the institution of slavery, he 
could not bring himself to wholesale emancipation. He wrote 
a Northern friend in 1837, 

there is not a shadow of doubt in my mind, that if 
the negro race of Va. in their present unprepared 
state were forthwith universally emancipated, that 
an amount of human suffering & mortality tenfold 
as great would take [place] as is now the conse- 
quence of slavery. 

The whites in control of government and power would domi- 
nate; 

a portion of the blacks would doubtless support 
themselves but a vast majority by their very ig- 
norance & imprudent habits would soon peri^ by 
pestilence & famine, to say nothing of war, in which 
the weaker & worse furnished party would inevitably 
be the greatest sufferers. 

The difficulties in the way of the "Holy Cause'* of emanci- 
pation, he wrote in 1831, "are greater than any one who is 
not the inhabitant of a slave state can well conceive.'' It is a 



John Hartwell Cocke: Southern Original 7 

poor commentary on the quality of human hope that even 
such men as Cocke and Jefferson could not foresee more 
accurately the consequences of emancipation. 

If the barriers to emancipation were formidable, Cocke 
attacked them with characteristic zeal. For many leaders of 
the early anti-slavery movement, a republic of freedmen 
on the coast of Africa provided a glimmer of hope. Cocke 
aflSliated himself with this venture in Colonization as soon 
as he heard of it; he was one of the earliest vice-presidents 
of the American Colonization Society, and a generous con- 
tributor to the Liberian scheme. He chose the ablest and most 
promising of his own slaves and — ^with their voluntary agree- 
ment — freed them, outfitted them, and allowed them to settle 
in Liberia. The first family so freed was that of a stone 
mason, Peyton Skipwith. He was, Cocke wrote, "an intelligent 
& skillful man for his station ; '' 

his intelligent, & to some degree cultivated mind 
[Cocke believed], his qualifications as a mechanick, 
being a first rate mason & stone cutter; but above 
all, his Christian walk & conversation, and his un- 
deviating adherence for three years last past, to the 
requisitions of Temperance reformation 

qualified him for freedom. There is no finer tribute to Cocke 
than the long series of affectionate letters written to him 
from Liberia by this stone mason, and by other Negroes who 
joined him on the African coast. 

Unfortunately, Cocke felt that there were few slaves as 
qualified as Peyton Skipwith. The vast residue of "common 
working negroes of the farm," Cocke wrote in 1831, were 

in such a state of abject ignorance as would sink 
them below the lowest grade of menial servant in 
our free & enlightened community, & in their present 
state must be mere hewers of wood & drawers of 
water in any community enlightened enough to be 
under a civil government. 

If this barrier too, was formidable, Cocke attacked it with 
intelligence and energy. His work in educating Negroes was 
perhaps his most notable contribution. 

Cocke himself preached to his slaves the lessons of sobriety 
and virtue. He added a white chaplain to his plantation staff, 



8 Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin 

built churches on both his Alabama and Virginia plantations, 
and offered liberal rewards for lives that were temperate and 
orderly. More significantly, he employed a young white 
woman from the North to live at his home to teach young 
Negroes the three R's. When the Commonwealth barbarously 
forbade the employment of white people for such purposes 
in 1831, there were enough literate slaves to join Mrs. Cocke 
to continue this worthy and decent enterprise. A rich collec- 
tion of letters from slaves deposited with the Cocke papers at 
the University of Virginia witnesses to the successes of this 
effort. 

Nor was Cocke content with his program of education, 
moral uplift, and colonization. He launched an ambitious 
experiment in Alabama, designed to prove to all slaveholders 
that Negroes could earn their own freedom in preparation 
for emigration. To execute his experiment, the Virginian 
bought 1800 acres of rich canebrake soil in what is now Hale 
County, Alabama, in the 1840's and '50's. On this fertile 
prairieland cotton plantation, he estimated that in seven years 
each Negro could earn for his master the price of his own 
freedom, interest on the capital invested, and all the costs of 
plantation operation, including, as he wrote, "the cost of 
moral & religious instruction to prepare them for their new 
condition." By the 1850's General Cocke had sixty-five Negroes 
living and working in Alabama, apprentices laboring in his 
school for emancipation. He believed that the "successful 
prosecution" of this scheme "would be fraught with the 
happiest consequences to our beloved country." It would 
"reflect imperishable honor upon the name of the first man 
who demonstrates its practicability . . . ." William Short 
of Philadelphia, Cocke's old friend, and one-time prot6g6 of 
Thomas Jefferson's, wrote the General in December of 1837 : 
"Your plan of liberation seems to me the best I have heard of, 
& may God grant you that success which you merit in it." 

However merited, success did not come. If moral vigor 
inspired Cocke with compassion for the Negro, he brought to 
his project the rigid moral demands of evangelistic Christian- 
ity. He was able to manufacture few models of Victorian 
propriety. The moral derelictions among his people drove the 
General to despair that he could ever raise them to the level 
of civilization to which he aspired. "Let the man who under- 
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John Hartwell Cocke: Southern Original 9 

takes the moral reform of the best of our race prepare to bear 
a heavy cross," he wrote in 1852; "but, in reforming the 
degraded subjects of the Southern Institution he may expect 
a burthen almost too heavy to be bourne . . . ." Furthermore, 
his clergjmien did not always confine themselves to moral 
uplift. George Skipwith, the Negro foreman in Alabama, 
wrote his absent master of the Reverend Mr. Taylor in 1847 : 

i knoe sir that mr Taylor has don more harm 
amoung our people than he has don good for he says 
that we are treated worse than any peopel in the 
world and if there is any in the world treated any 
worse he has never herde talk of them and this he 
says he will tell to every boddy that ask him any 
thing about us. he has spoken very free about the 
matter and master John [Cocke's manager, John 
Cocke of Greene County, Alabama] saw that he was 
doing more halm than he was doing good and he 
turned him off .... I knoe that you always did 
think hily of ministers and christians i cant say 
that mr Taylor was not a christian but he aked very 
comical the time he was with us 

The total results were scarcely an encouragement. When 
the Civil War put an end to his program after twenty years 
of effort, only fourteen souls had been dispatched to Liberia, 
graduates of Cocke's experiment in Alabama. 

It is easy after a hundred years to dismiss his efforts as a 
quixotic failure. Certainly his lit candle burned dim against 
the darkness that was coming. He was striving in times out of 
joint; the Jeffersonian middle ground was a vanishing faith. 
To judge harshly, he sent only fourteen Negroes to a strug- 
gling African republic, and he taught a moiety of blacks to 
read and write. He inspired few if any whites to emulate his 
example and, in fact, lived to see his own sons reject the 
Alabama experiment. From such visionaries flows leadership 
when the popular mind is ripe. In Cocke's time it was not, 
and for that reason he failed. 

If the blunt independence of Cocke's mind stands out most 
starkly in his unyielding hatred of slavery, nothing reveals 
so well his bold originality as his taste as a builder. No more 
handsome home stands in America than the mansion at Upper 
Bremo. "Of all the houses in the Jeffersonian tradition, not 



10 Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin 

even excepting Monticello," wrote Fiske Kimball, "it is Bremo 
which makes the deepest impression of artistic perfection/' 
To another historian of American architecture, it "is an 
extremely bold and mature design, more architectonic and 
assured that the Virginia state capitol . . . and even more 
assured than Monticello . . . ." Once said to have been de- 
signed by Jefferson himself, the former president in fact con- 
tributed more in spirit than in substance. It was General 
Cocke and his contractors who took the suggestions of many 
individuals and merged them in this superb form. They 
created in Upper Bremo the capstone of the Greek revival. 

Even more original and prophetic was Cocke's anticipation 
of the Grothic revival. Some years before the flowering of this 
movement in America, the General was building homes that 
suggested it. In the 1830's, almost ten years before the English 
cottage style was popularized by Andrew J. Downing, Cocke 
remodeled Bremo Recess to its present form. His inspiration 
was evidently a private one, the result of his own shifting 
taste, his search for a more modest architectural expression. 
His specific inspirations, as he wrote, were "the well re- 
membered, old six-chimney house in Wmsburg once the 
property of the Custis Family, and Bacon's Castle in Surry." 
When he built a home for his son Charles at Lower Bremo 
in 1939-41, it was likewise in the so-called cottage style, remi- 
niscent of Grood Queen Bess rather than the glories of the 
ancient world. 

If General Cocke had never owned a slave or designed a 
building, he would be worth remembering as a progressive 
farmer. In my doctoral dissertation I recount in excruciating 
detail his many contributions in this field. It should suffice 
here to say that he pioneered in much, and was always among 
the first to employ new practices. Long before Edmund RufiSn 
popularized the use of marl, that blessed rejuvenator of 
exhausted farmers and farms, Cocke had experimented with 
its calcareous benefits. On his first venture to Alabama he 
noticed marl-like deposits, phenomena in which the natives 
exhibited no interest. He had this substance analyzed at the 
University of Virginia and became, Ruffin believed, the first 
man in Alabama to employ it. His example was widely copied 
to the benefit of the Black Belt, and Alabama planters are still 
marling in the 1960's. His progressive and active spirit led 
him to much else : he was among the first Southerners to lay 



John Hartwell Cocke: Southern Original 11 

out a thoroughly planned system of hillside terracing; he 
was among the early practitioners of reforestation and timber 
culture; he developed a notable strain of com, famous in his 
day as "Cocke's Prolific." I could surely exhaust your patience 
with more of the same. 

General Cocke's final vision in agriculture, reached after 
his sixtieth year, was the transformation of the plantation 
to the farm, from subtropical staples to grain and livestock. 
He created in central Virginia what a neighbor dubbed a 
"Yankee farm." After raising tobacco for forty years in the 
lowgrounds of Bremo, he banished that fragrant staple from 
his soil. He developed in time a ferocious hatred for the weed, 
and denounced it in a widely-read pamphlet as the Bane of 
Virginia Agriculture. I wonder that the American Cancer 
Society has not reproduced his invective. His assault on 
tobacco did not endear Cocke to his contemporaries, but surely 
his spirit would rejoice today to see his old lands in Virginia 
and Alabama conform to his vision of pasture and small 
grain. 

On an October day in 1828 General Cocke made what may 
have been the boldest of all his resolutions. At a Baptist 
meeting house he made his decision to renounce the use of 
strong drink. This was a fearless and unorthodox act for his 
class and generation. Temperance flourished among the mid- 
dling classes, and few of the gentry or the poor were lured 
into its ranl^. Cocke tells us that he was among the first of 
his class to take the pledge of abstention. He describes the 
scene when he first told his old college-mate, the lawyer and 
United States Senator, Benjamin Watkins Leigh, of his 
decision. Leigh, Cocke wrote, fixed him vdth his penetrating 
stare, and in his well-remembered fashion intoned simply 
"Lo-o-o-ord!" 

The General was nothing if not courageous, and persisted 
in his new cause. He became vice-president of the Virginia 
Society for the Promotion of Temperance in 1830, president 
of the first Virginia Temperance Convention in 1834, and in 
1836 first president of the American Temperance Union, an 
oflace he held until his resignation in 1843. He was zealous in 
the organization of chapters of the Sons of Temperance, gave 
inducements to young teetotalers, exhortations to his blacks, 
and preachments to his friends. 



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12 Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin 

For this activity Cocke wins fewer friends today than he 
did a century ago. If— once more— he was a pioneer in a new 
crusade, Prohibition has (we note) come and gone. One 
gentleman, in fact, writing in the Saturday Review, questions 
Professor Eaton's classification of Cocke as a liberal on the 
basis of his teetotalism. The categorization of liberal '^be- 
comes strained," we are told, when applied to a man "who 
thought a friendly drink anti-christian." Although the ad- 
jective ''liberal" is rather obscured in a jungle of semantics, 
the alcohol test seems severe. I prefer to call Cocke a gentle- 
man of independent (as against liberal) mind, a mind heavily 
influenced by the democratic-humanitarian reforms emanating 
from Old and New England alike. These movements were so 
strongly intermixed with the various evangelical crusades 
that I find it painfully unhistorical to question Cocke's liberal- 
ism on the character of his potables. If a deep dissatisfaction 
with the backwardness of his own people and energetic efforts 
to bring them into the mainstream of contemporary civiliza- 
tion have anything to do with liberalism, then Greneral Cocke 
has some of the qualifications. But, I suspect, we would all 
do well to banish "liberal" from our lexicon until an American 
Academy standardizes its meaning. 

One detects today more tolerance for the Victorians than 
they have enjoyed in some years. More knowledge of the 
seamier side of the eighteenth century breeds more tolerance 
for the moral earnestness of the Victorians. At any rate, the 
old battles against prudery are over, Mencken's work is done, 
and a harbinger of Victorian piety can be viewed as merely 
quaint at worst, and at best as an apostle of human better- 
ment. 

When John Hartwell Cocke was planning a vineyard in 
1816, Thomas Jefferson wrote of him, "there is no person in 
the U. S. in whose success I should have so much confidence. 
He is rich, liberal, patriotic, judicious and persevering." 
Cocke was once seriously considered for the governorship of 
Virginia; he was elected to succeed John Taylor as the second 
president of the Virginia Agricultural Society; he was a 
valuable member of the boards supervising the University of 
Virginia and the James River Canal. Politics he eschewed, 
however, and he has missed the reputation he might other- 
wise have earned in a state where the first accolades are 
reserved for statesmen and soldiers. "Politics are a muddy 



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John Hartwell Cocke: Southern Original 13 

pool, and those who dabble most in it, will come off dirtiest/' 
Cocke wrote in 1829. He resisted Joseph Cabell's pleas that 
he offer for the legislature to join 'the small band of honest 
& liberal men in defending the best interests of the country*' 
against "ignorance and knavery." "Alas!" Cocke wrote in 
1845, "when will our countrymen have a true sense of their 
dignity as freemen, which ought to be offended rather than 
complimented by being solicited for their votes." His im- 
patience with the indolence— the "miasmata" — ^he saw around 
him was ill-disguised. And, in return, his dislikes were some- 
times reciprocated. An old toast in Fluvanna County went 
thus: 

Here's to the great state of Fluvanna. May she be 
delivered from the sheep-sorrel and the Timberlakes, 
from the Hessian fly and John Hartwell Cocke, and 
by God's help old 'Flu' will come through aU right. 

Prophets are often without honor. 

Stanley ElUns, in his Slavery: A Problem in American In- 
stitutional and Intellectual Life, has much criticism for both 
North and South and their inabUity to cope with the challenge 
of human bondage. What was needed in the South, he wrote, 
were planters who educated their slaves, "law or no law," who 
Christianized them, "ridicule or no ridicule," who let them 
work for their own independence. "All this certainly did occur 
in the South," he declared, but there was lacking "at least a 
scattered community of guilty slaveholders . . . who were 
willing to incur some displeasure in their neighborhoods but 
whose activity would in a wider sense be recognized as 
virtuous, not only among themselves but by antislavery people 
everjrwhere." What was lacking, he seems to be sajring, were 
more John Hartwell Cockes. We would not all of us disagree. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 7 



October 1968 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 

Built in 1830 



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FORK UNION DURING THE CIVIL WAR 

The Letters of Oranie Virginia Snead 

The extant Civil War letters of Oranie Virginia Snead 
written to a close girlhood friend possess an especial interest 
today as affording a brief picture of life in Fork Union in a 
little-known period. They not only illustrate the changes in 
that peaceful little village but make apparent the almost uni- 
versal hope of victory steadfastly held by Southerners until 
the crushing news came of the burning of Richmond and the 
Surrender at Appomattox. The details from "Jennie" Snead's 
youthful pen may be clarified for the reader by the addition 
of facts from such documents as the census of 1860, old road 
maps, church minutes, and county, family and other records 
of the period. 

Tradition has it that not until the Fork Church was built 
in 1824 and there was a sufficient number of people in the 
locality to justify the Federal Government in establishing a 
post office did Fork Union acquire its name. Since the Fork 
Church stood in the center of the village where the main road 
forked, and was a "union" church, free for all denomina- 
tions to use, the new post office was naturally named Fork 
Union. Hard by the church stood Temperance Hall with its 
handsome Greek facade. Some years before 1860 this building 
had been donated and evidently designed by the distinguished 
owner of Bremo, General John H. Cocke, as a gift to the com- 
munity to further the cause of temperance, in which he was 
an ardent and national leader. That period was the heyday 
of temperance societies ; and when Temperance Hall was dedi- 
cated there had been a great procession down the hill "from 
Bashaws" in which women as well as men proudly marched, 
proclaiming their allegiance to The Cause. 

In 1860 approximately seventy-eight families of Fluvanna's 
rolling country-side used Fork Union as a post office. They 
lived along the road from Dixie to the present Cohasset, along 
the Bremo road as far as its junction with the road to Winns- 
ville which formed "the loop," and of course along the side 
roads branching off from these main and muddy (or dusty) 
highways. At that time the census listed a total of 990 white 
and free colored families in Fluvanna County and a popula- 
tion of 5,365. Throughout the Fork section lived descendants 



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2 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

of families who had moved in the eighteenth century from 
Hanover "west" to Fluvanna (then Albemarle) where land 
was cheaper and there was a larger opportunity for younger 
sons — Norvells, Hughes, Winns, Andersons, Sneads and many 
others. By 1860 Sneads were found north, east and west of 
Fork Union. In the 1820s three Snead brothers had married 
three Pollard sisters; and since each couple produced seven 
sons, several of the twenty-one cousins had established homes 
of their own in the Fork section. 

The village of Fork Union had mercantile establishments, 
a blacksmith shop, a tannery and the usual collection of small 
businesses of that day. The post office was on the other side 
of the south branch of Gary Creek, now called Judy Creek, 
a stream of no mean proportion then, on the property of the 
postmaster, George Holman Snead, who was paid by the Fed- 
eral Government for serving in that capacity in 1856 (the 
latest date available) a salary of $58.63. The revenue received 
by the Government from the post office was $24.38, a sum in- 
dicating that before 1860 the citizens of Fork Union were 
little concerned with the outside world. The postmaster's 
house. Rose Hill, situated on the hill above the tiny post office, 
looked across Gary Greek to the village. At that time it housed 
himself, his wife, the three youngest of their seven sons, and 
their only daughter and youngest child Virginia (Jennie). 
Farther west along that road lived the Clements, Woods, 
Oppenheimers, Winns, Hensons, Woolings and a few others. 
Corinth Church stood on Corinth Hill opposite the Oppen- 
heimers, and a short distance to the west the Fluvanna Insti- 
tute adjoined the Winn lands. 

This important school for young ladies, Fluvanna Institute, 
was founded in 1855 by John Waller Henson. In 1860 his 
brother, the Rev. Poindexter Smith Henson, a graduate of 
Richmond College and the University of Virginia, was princi- 
pal. A gifted teacher and "a man of parts," Poindexter Hen- 
son was remembered and quoted more than fifty years later 
with admiring affection by his former pupils. This illustrious 
son of Fluvanna served as pastor of three large northern 
churches during his long life after Fluvanna Institute became 
a casualty of the poverty following the Civil War. 

That the Institute deserved a better fate is evidenced by its 
catalogue for 1859, which stated that the Legislature of the 
Commonwealth of Virginia at its last session had granted it 



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Fork Union During the Civil War 3 

a charter empowering the faculty to award diplomas and 
confer degrees: "It may therefore be now considered a per- 
manent establishment where young ladies may complete, not 
their education, but a course of studies as extended and 
thorough as that pursued at any other female institution in 
the country/' Young ladies who completed the collegiate 
course in mathematics, moral philosophy, natural sciences and 
one of the languages received the degree of A.B. Those who 
completed the university course and three of the languages 
received the degree of A.M. Apparently no credit toward a 
degree was given for courses offered in music, art and em- 
broidery. 

The main building of the Institute was of brick, 144 feet 
long, with accommodations for sixty students and faculty, reci- 
tation rooms, a dining room and a chapel forty feet square, 
the whole heated by a "spiral wood furnace." Every apartment 
of this modem building was "completely ventilated." The 
brick kitchen, quarters and other outbuildings stood behind 
the main building. 

Fifty-eight fortunate young ladies from eleven counties at- 
tended Fluvanna Institute in the 1857-58 session. From Flu- 
vanna came Emma C. Anderson, Josephine Anderson, Julia 
Anderson, Mittie M. Applebury (sic) , Nannie Duncan, Virgin 
(sic) D. Griffin, Lucie M. Holland, Mary S. Hughes, Ann E. 
Minter, Jennie Snead, Ella E. Snead, Mary B. Seay, Nannie 
E. Shepherd, Mary J. Shepherd, M. Frances Scruggs, Helen 
Sadler, Lillian C. Thomas, Lucie A. Thomas, Mary J. Thomas, 
Rosa Tisdale, Mary F. Williams, Martha J- Wren, Alwilda 
C. White; from Amherst came Isabella M. Henley, Lucie M. 
Mantiple, Sallie J. Settle; from Appomattox came Josephine 
Abbit; from Buckingham came Anne E. Boatwright, Virgin 
(sic) W. Burress, Lucie J. Burress, Mary W. Brooks, Sallie 
E. Glover, Mary B. Glover, Susan E. Glover; from Cumber- 
land came Mary Eliza Groodman and Angelia E. Groodman; 
from Chesterfield, Bettie T. Gregory; from Goochland, Mary 
E. Thomas ; from Nelson came E. Marshall Elsom, Pocahontas 
Megginson, E. Claudine Shepherd; from Powhatan came 
Nellie F. Hicks, E. Scott Henning, M. Ella Mayo, Marcella J. 
Stratton, M. Lou Whitlock, Alice V. Whitlock, F. Adelaide 
Whitlock; from Prince Edward came Mattie J. Ligon and 
Emma A. Woodfin ; from Spotsylvania came Mary A. Phillips 
and Calla B. Phillips. 

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4 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

The Institute began its sessions on the first Wednesday in 
October and held its commencement exercises on the first 
Wednesday in July. On that long day addresses were delivered 
to the student body, certificates of distinction and diplomas 
awarded, essays of the graduates read and degrees conferred. 
At night there was a "musical soir6e." 

After graduating from Fluvanna Institute with the degree 
of A.B. Jennie Snead continued her studies at Albemarle Fe- 
male Institute in Charlottesville. There she enjoyed instruc- 
tion from several distinguished professors at the University 
of Virginia who were permitted to give some of their time 
to lecturing at the Institute. In 1861 she was graduated with 
the degree of A.M. 

Among the friends she made at the Albemarle Institute was 
Sallie Miller Broaddus of Caroline, to whom were addressed 
the letters included here. Sallie saved the letters from her 
devoted friend Jennie, and they were eventually restored to 
her and preserved for sixty years. Unfortunately they were 
then lost, except a few which were rescued from a trash heap 
in the 1920s by a granddaughter of the writer. These are 
printed below exactly as they were written, save for the omis- 
sion of a few items such as long pious exhortations and repeti- 
tive excuses for not having written earlier; also ampersands 
have been modernized. The letters are full of a young girl's 
zest for living, mixed with Victorian sentimentality and cur- 
rent information about Fork Union. At the time of the first 
letters Jennie Snead was eighteen years old and very pretty, 
with thick braids coiled about her head; probably si>oiled by 
her brothers and parents, and yet popular with both masculine 
and feminine contemporaries. 

Since the 1861 letters were lost and the first remaining 
letter was not written until May 1862, the excitement occa- 
sioned in Fork Union as Fluvanna men prepared to leave for 
war is indicated by three extracts from the minutes of the 
monthly business meetings of the male members of Fork 
Church, whose grounds were being used as drill grounds : 

May 11, 1861. After sermon by the pastor it was 
proposed and agreed that no church meeting be held, 
owing to the excitement and noise consequent upon 
the drilling of military companies which suspended 
their exercises during the time of worship. 



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Fork Union During the Civil War 5 

Saturday, June 11, 1861. The pastor being unwell 
and drilling going on by military companies, there 
was no preaching. After prayer the brethren present 
convened in church meeting. 

August 10, 1861. As the drilling of the military 
companies was going on, the clerk wished to leave at 
an early hour. It was agreed to hold the church meet- 
ing before preaching. [M. B. Shepherd was clerk.] 
S. B. Jones and Benj. W. Snead were appointed to 
confer with officers in charge of military companies 
and agree upon some plan by which drilling and re- 
ligious exercises may not conflict. 

In the first letter, which follows, the well drilled Fluvanna 
companies have gone ; the war seems distant and Fork Union 
a safe haven : 

Rose Hill 
May 15th, 1862 
My darling Sallie, 

The pang that pierced my heart a few moments since at the 
sad intelligence of your dear Brother could not have been 
much more intense had it been that of my near and dear rela- 
tive. Although a stranger to me, yet so often had the name 
Brother fallen so affectionately from your lips, that from our 
close intimacy there had grown up within me a kindly and 
endearing feeling for him who was so dear to you. ... He 
died at his post of duty, nobly defending his country's honor 
. . . Many noble souls have been sacrificed upon our 
country's altar and amongst that gallant number is that of 
Eugene Broaddus. My sympathy for all of you, dear Sallie, is 
tender and heartfelt ... I have three brothers exposed to 
the cannon's mouth — from whom I daily fear to hear — ^two 
under Johnston and one under Beauregard in the West. Gideon 
was in the battle at Williamsburg in the very hottest of the 
fight and escaped unhurt. He was also in a skirmish down 
there a day before where the bullets flew fast around him 
for more than an hour. Poor boy, he has had a hard service, 
without a tent, with very little to eat and is in the advance 
guard of the Army. Being nearly always engaged in skir- 
mishing he does not have time to write but when last I heard 
from him he was hoping to get a furlough to go to see you. 
I do not suppose there is any chance for one in some time to 

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6 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

come yet. I have felt some uneasiness about your family all 
the while being so close to the enemy. It (- - - illegible) 

We too will be in danger as we will be subject to marauding 
parties who will go out in every direction. Several families 
have come up to this neighborhood to board from Richmond. 
The Flu[vanna] Institute is a large building and can accom- 
modate several families very comfortably. You will have to 
move your family with these up here. 

Ma sends her love and tender S3rmpathies to all of you. Ac- 
cept the same from me. . . . (illegible) 

loving and synpathising friend, 

Jennie. 

(Jennie's three brothers in the war at that time were Mar- 
cellus, Nash and Charles. The Gideon referred to is her double 
first cousin, Gideon Smith Snead. The romantic Jennie is en- 
deavoring to start a romance between her cousin and her 
friend.) 

SECOND LETTER 

Rose Hill 
May 31st— 62 
My dear Sallie, 

... I am very sorry that you have been cut oflf from us but 
I have been expecting it for some time. I hope they will not 
disturb your family — ^tho' I think you are in great danger. 
Write to me whenever you get a chance as I shall always be 
glad and anxious to hear from you. Can't you come up and 
stay with me till the Yanks clear out? Come across the country 
or get on the boat above Richmond. Nearly everybody is flock- 
ing to Fork Union. We will have quite a little town after a 
while. Sallie, I wish you would come I'd meet you at Big 
Rock [Bremo Bluff]. The news we received this morning is 
rather more encouraging. Jackson that noble leader of "Spar- 
tans" has at last penetrated the enemies lines and is now 
standing with arms outspread to relieve the oppressed Mary- 
landers. I know that God will bless the arms of so Christian 
a warrior. My sweetheart is with him — ^where he has so longed 
to be — in Maryland — unless he was killed in the last battle at 
Winchester, as I have not had a letter from him since. In a 
letter from Gid to his Pa a few weeks since, he spoke of com- 
ing home and going to see all his friends again. If he should 
survive the war — ^he and I will surely visit you as soon as 



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Fork Union During the Civil War 7 

peace is made. He will not forget you — always asks when I 
heard from you — sends his love or something of the kind 
whenever he writes home, wh' has not been very often, You 
must excuse him from writing — until he has paid his duty 
to his country as he is a faithful and gallant soldier and 
doesn't have time to write home often — as he is so often on 
picket or marching. The rose slips I set out last fall are all 
in bloom. I wish very much I could get the fushia (sic) you 
promised me. I believe I hear the horn of the post boy which 
necessitates a conclusion. Sallie, I hope you will come and 
stay with me if you possibly can — ^as there is no danger of 
their getting here. Ma joins in love to all at your home. . . . 
Write when you can to your 

Aff— friend 

Jennie 

(This letter was written just after Jackson's Valley Cam- 
paign and illustrates how little in the days before tele- 
phone, radio and television was known by civilians about the 
strategic movements of the Confederates. On the very day 
that Jennie thought Jackson was in Maryland he had made 
his celebrated march from Harper's Ferry to Strasburg. 

The "sweetheart" referred to is one of Jennie's suitors from 
the Valley of Virginia. 

The rose slips were a thoughtful gift from another suitor, 
a captain of Light Artillery, whom Jennie had met while she 
was attending Albemarle Institute and he was practising law 
in Charlottesville. He gave up his practice to organize a com- 
pany in March, 1862, for the war, and it served as an indepen- 
dent battery fighting under his name until May '64 when it 
became Company A, 12th Battalion, Virginia Light Artillery, 
a part of Anderson's Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. More 
about him later.) 

THIRD LETTER 
(Badly mutilated) 

Rose Hill 
July 26—62 
- - - ie 

I have rec'd your - - - have only a few minutes in wh' to 
answer it before the mail leaves here. I have written to you 
several times but suppose you have not rec'd any of my letters. 
Gid is safe and well. He has come out victoriously ±hro' every 

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8 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

battle and has had such a hard time his Pa has offered him 
a substitute wh' he will accept and will be at home the 1st of 
August. Come up here and stay with me until the war is over 
and then we will return with you. I wish you would come. 
I've written you several times but you don't seem inclined to 
heed. The neighborhood is very gay. I never saw so many 
young fellows here before. Three are staying down at Uncle 
Ben's and we have a hospital in the village. Write me word 
come and I will at the boat at Mr. Camp- 
bell wi staying here sends his to you and says 

you must come. I havent time to write more now. . . . 
Love to all 
yr aff — ^f riend 
Jennie 

(Gideon did not obtain a substitute but fought until the end 
of the war and died a few years after its conclusion. 

The Temperance Hall, which had been used for many com- 
munity activities as well as temperance meetings, was the 
"hospital in the village." In the church minutes for June, 1862, 
it is recorded that "the Pastor recommended that some pro- 
vision be made for the benefit of wounded soldiers and that 
the Temperance Hall be fitted up as a hospital for that object. 

S. B. Jones, Wm. Snead, George H. Snead, Jr., T. F. Bashaw 
and John N. Perkins, brethren, were appointed a committee 
to procure a suitable place and mature a proper plan for the 
receptacle of the wounded." Not only the church but the en- 
tire community participated in equipping Temperance Hall as 
a hospital. It is said that later the church also had to be used 
for the wounded. 

"Uncle Ben" was Benjamin Weaver Snead, father of Gideon 
and Ella, a friend of Sallie's at Albemarle Institute. Ella was 
later Mrs. Charles Thomas. The mention of "Mr. Campbell" 
suggests that he was recuperating at Rose Hill.) 

FOURTH LETTER 

Rose Hill 

September 30th 
Dear Sallie 

. . . Bro. Marcellus came home from the Western Army 
last week, sick. I had been staying at Uncle Seay's for several 
weeks when I heard that he was at home. You may imagine 

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Fork Union During the Civil War 9 

my delight at his arrival, not having seen him for twelve 
months. Bro. Burl is at home now and sick with the jaundice. 
We have had a great deal of djrphtheria in the neighborhood 
which has been extremely fatal among children. Four have 
died in our village. Bro. George has had it and is just recover- 
ing. He has had seventy patients with it. I am very much 
afraid of it and believe I will go to Ch'ville this week and stay 
a while. Gid told me of reading your letters and you men- 
tioned having a beau for me. Send him up as these articles 
are always marketable. You were right mean not to come to 
see me. If you would go to Richmond you could come up here 
very easily in the boat. I'd send someone to meet you. . . . Gid 
is just as handsome as ever and frequently speaks of ''Miss 
Sallie." Sallie, have you any patterns for working or stitching 
chemise bands? Send me something of that order. Don't forget 
your promise to send me a hair wreath. We haven't heard 
from the boys since the last battle and we are of course all 
anxiety. We hope and believe that they are safe however. How 
are goods selling in your county? Can't get a calico here for 
less than $15. A worsted dress half cotton is worth $25. I 
was sorry indeed to hear of the death of poor Sallie Timber- 
lake. I know there must be great distress in that family. . . . 

Ella told me she would write to you and sends her love to 
all. I am affly 

Yr friend 

Jennie 

("Uncle Seay" was Burwell Weaver Seay of Cherry Hill, 
husband of Jennie's aunt, Katherine Pollard. 

Bro. Burl was Jennie's oldest brother, Burwell William 
Snead, who was practising law in Charlottesville as early as 
1850. Always frail, he died not long after this letter was writ- 
ten "of a galloping consumption." 

Bro. George is Jennie's brother. Dr. George Holman Snead, 
Jr., who had graduated at the University of Virginia and con- 
tinued his study of medicine in Philadelphia. He later became 
a minister as well as physician and was pastor of both Bethel 
and Fork Churches. His children used to complain that his 
patients did not pay him because he had a steady income from 
two churches, and that his churches were negligent in paying 
him because he enjoyed such a large medical practice that he 
did not need their scarce dollars. There may have been a 
modicum of truth in their complaints. r^ ^^^T^ 

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10 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

Phillip was the brother of Gideon. 

Hair wreaths were made of a small lock of hair from the 
tresses of a dear friend or relative. The hair was plaited into 
a wreath and worn in a brooch, bracelet, or ring. Never very 
pretty or interesting as jewelry, hair wreaths and rings were 
cherished by their owners and were very fashionable. Exam- 
pies of such jewelry may be seen at the Lee House, 707 East 
Franklin Street, Richmond, and at the White House of the 
Confederacy. 

Sallie Timberlake is unidentified — ^probably a schoolmate 
.of Jennie and Sallie at Albemarle Institute.) 

LETTER FIVE 

Rose Hill 
Dec 10th— 62 
Dear Sallie 

Your little letter was literally an excoriation yet I cannot 
complain as it was deserved. I had purposed writing to you 
for many weeks but that, like most of my good acts, had 
existence only in my mind and was not projected into action. 
. . . Well, first and foremost as to what is uppermost in my 
thoughts — as tis in every darkey's — Xmas — ^is ahead and we 
have a gay time in anticipation. I would like exceedingly to 
accept your invitation but am afraid to go, tis rather too near 
the Yankees — ^would be afraid of being paroled. The safest 
plan would be for you to come up here. I would ensure you a 
good time. I hope you may go to Richmond as Gid can more 
easily go to see you there than now. He will write to you 
very soon. I had a good time in ChVille tho not as gay as I 
had expected as nearly all of my old friends had left. I staid 
at the Institute chiefly and had a very pleasant time there. 
The house is nearly full of boarders — ^refugees. All of them 
are very nice people — ^mostly from Washington. Mr. Hart had 
only four boarding scholars. I wish very much your Pa would 
send you or Ally there as the opportunities for study are 
double what they ever were before as Mr. Hart devotes all of 
his time to them and has no other teacher and you well know 
his capability for teaching. This is only an excuse for not 
writing. Will write more at length in my next. 

Aflf.y 
Jennie 



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Fork Union During the Civil War 11 

(Mr. John Hart was head of the Albemarle Female Institute.) 
Almost a year has passed since the above letter and Sallie 
and Ella Snead are again students at Albemarle Institute. 

LETTER SIX 

Oct 31st 63 
My dear Sallie, 

. . . I've been minus writing apparatus for many days and 
have not been able to replenish myself — ^my other correspon- 
dents have shared the same fate that you have. I shall only 
write as little as I can, as the prospect for scratching thro' 
is very dismal. Phil has just gotten up from Richmond and 
says that Gid has been to Ch'ville. Did you see him? Of course 
you did. How did you manage it? Is Mr. Hart as strict as he 
used to be? Sallie, you rascal, you must be sure and come 
home with Ella Xmas. Gid and all of the boys will be here and 
we anticipate a very gay time. We are preparing some what 
to have a grand concert also. Tell Ella she must get Mr. Frey 
to give her a piece to play and she must practice it to that end. 
Tell her also that I staid at her Bro. Nealie's last night and 
that Mr. Wm. Henry Winn was there. He came home with 
me and will call again tomorrow. Tell her that Edwin is well. 
Sallie, my brothers have lately been in a fight and very nar- 
rowly escaped injury. We had news of them today that they 
were in line of battle wh' keeps us always uneasy. I'm glad 
to know that you and Ella are such good friends. . . . Liza 
is sitting by me stewing molasses and Harriet parching com 
to put in it. Wont you have some? Bless me, I must stop. . . . 
Tell Ella Julia's beau from Goochland has just arrived. 

Love to all inquiring friends and for Mercy's sake tear this 
up right now. 

Affly 

Yr friend 
Jennie 

Lewis and John Peyton have just come. You all must not allow 
yourselves to get low-spirited. Xmas is near. 

(Evidently Albemarle Institute had the same rule as Flu- 
vanna Institute, where "The young ladies connected with the 
Institute are not allowed to receive the attentions of young 
gentlemen nor to carry on clandestine correspondence under 
any pretense whatever." 

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12 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

Nealie was Ella's brother Cornelius Pollard Snead, who 
lived near the home of their father. Mr. Henry Winn was 
doubtless his brother-in-law. 

Edwin and Julia are unidentified. 

Liewis and John Peyton are two of the double first cousins, 
the former a son of William Pumphrey Snead, the latter a 
son of Benjamin and brother of Gideon. Liewis and Gideon 
were considered the handsomest of the Snead cousins. Neither 
married. 

On December 2, 1863, "Bro. George S. Thomas on behalf 
of the ladies of the neighborhood asked permission of the 
Church to hold a vocal and instrumental concert in this house 
on the 29th Inst., the proceeds of which they propose to de- 
vote to army colportage." Permission for the concert was 
granted and it is for this performance that Jennie is urging 
Ella to prepare "a piece." 

Harriet and Liza were servants.) 

LETTER SEVEN 

Fork Union, July 27th '64 

Dearest One (except three or four boys), 

... As I am making ready to attend an Association to- 
morrow in Buckingham I cannot indulge in a long chit-chat 
now. Nash and Phil have just gotten home a few hours ago 
from Rockbridge Alum Springs, whither they have been for 
several weeks to recruit their health and I am happy to say 
my dear Brother is looking much improved and feels better. 
They went thro' the country, had a merry time returning — 
stopping to see the girls. They met with Ella Shepherd at her 
Uncle's, Wm Ligon who is very sick with Typhoid fever — 
not likely to recover. She says you must direct to Nelson sta- 
tion — ^that she has never gotten your letter. Poor child, she is 
indeed heavily afflicted. . . . 

We rec'd a letter from Charles — dear boy — Saturday. He 
has had another narrow escape for his life — ^the balls penetrat- 
ing [letter torn] his underclothing, leaving him untouched. 
I suppose Junius was not engaged. Once before Charles had 
the seat of his saddle torn to pieces by a ball just after he 
dismounted. I will enclose his letter to us — ^perhaps you can 
read it. We should indeed be truly thankful for the preserva- 
tion of the dear boys. But we are hardly relieved of one pang 
before another takes its place — a rumor — ^reliable — has just 

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Fork Union During the Civil War 13 

reached us of two different battles fought by Early — again is 
anxiety on tiptoe to hear the fate of the beloved ones, when 
we hope and believe our shelter is under the wings of an All- 
wise Protector. 

I suppose C. had not gotten our letter when he wrote. I 
was glad to see from the papers that the much dreaded fate 
had not befallen our Capt. and that he was safe at Point 
Lookout. Ah, Sallie you little rascal, you believed and inti- 
mated in your last that I had surrended myself to a certain 
brave Captain of the Confederate service. But how you are 
in the wrong "my vows have not been plighted — amen" (?) 
I try to keep the citadel of my heart strongly guarded tho' 
the sentinels sometimes fall a-napping and an entrance is ef- 
fected while I confess an unaccountable attachment or attrac- 
tion. . . . Sallie, your last was read with pleasure — ^not only 
because it was from my little pet and because it was replete 
with words breathing pure and confiding friendship such as 
two true and loving hearts should always yield to the other — 
but there was an additional charm — ^the sweet perfume — 
that exhaled from the tiny bouquet so tastefully arranged it 
excited pleasant sensations — which in turn awakened pleasing 
emotions and grateful thoughts of the gallant form who 
bended over his crutch to pluck the smiling blossoms for the 
friend of his dear little Cousin. Mercy me, I am almost ready 
to grow eloquent, just as my time and paper are out. However 
assure Cousin Milton that his flowers are highly appreciated 
— ^as a proof of wh' I keep them in a book of daily reading — 
and tell him — well anything else you choose that is sweet and 
kind. Ah, Sallie, how I wish you would come to our Association 
in August. Excuse my paper. Pa is away with the key to the 
secretaire. Write a long letter and give much love to all at 
your home. Ma joins me in love to you. 
Aifly yours. 
Fondly, 
Jennie 

(Nash, Jennie's brother, returned home at the end of the 
war so ill "from exposure" in the war that he died early in '66. 

Charles, Jennie's youngest and favorite brother, is now en- 
gaged to Sallie and we read no more of the handsome Gideon. 

Junius, the fifth brother of Jennie to serve in the Confeder- 
ate Army, became a prisoner and was not released until the 

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14 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

end of the war. Of her seven brothers five were living at the 
time of the Snead reunion in 1909. 

The "Capt." who was a prisoner at Point Lookout is un- 
identified. 

The "certain brave Captain" to whom Sallie accuses Jennie 
of having surrendered her heart is the Captain of Artillery re- 
ferred to in the second letter, the donor of the rose bushes. 
The sentinels of Jennie's heart seem indeed to have fallen 
a-napping, since she had been endeavoring for several months 
to withdraw from a semi-engagement, as portions of the next 
letter show. Although the letter is from the Captain, is out 
of place chronologically and has no direct connection with 
Fork Union, it explains references in the preceding and fol- 
lowing letters of hers, and is part of a fine letter from a brave 
officer. The susceptible and light-hearted Jennie lost no time in 
getting married when she was really in love.) 

THE CAPTAIN'S LETTER 

Petersburg 
May 18, 1864 

... It would seem, Jennie, that you are experiencing the 
truth of that descriptive adage that "the way of the trans- 
gressor is Hard." Could you have a more significant proof 
that your late proceeding was wrong than this, that when 
another suitor comes you do not find yourself prepared with 
an answer to a question which involved the withdrawal of 
pretensions to your hand? And, furthermore, by your silence 
and failure to answer, haven't you given the last comer en- 
couragement? Is not the very failure to answer an invitation 
to continue solicitation? You must refuse a man whom you 
would accept or accept him while sustaining a qtmsi relation 
of betrothal to another. . . . Now hear a word of perfect 
frankness. I am afraid, Jennie, that you have departed some- 
what from the frank, sincere honesty which I used so much 
to admire in you. The recent proceedings savour very strongly 
of coquetry, my dear girl. Very strongly. There can be no 
reason why a woman cannot meet the fresh demonstration of 
affection with a decided and unmistakeable indication of re- 
fusal which will check further progress and this is what a 
true-hearted woman ought to do. . . . Change all this, Jennie, 
it is altogether unworthy of you and return to that original 

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Fork Union During the Civil War 15 

frankness and simplicity of character which is after all the 
highest charm of woman. 

I am writing this and shall commit it to the Post Office, 
with no sort of idea as to when it will reach you. Petersburg 
is pretty thoroughly beleagured by the enemy and if reports 
and rumours of the day be true, all mail communication with 
the outside world is cut oflf. • .That being true, this may 
lie here for days or even weeks before it will meet your eyes. 
Meantime I shall probably meet the enemy and participate 
in more than one fight and God only knows what will be the 
issue to me personally. Nor do I feel greatly concerned. I am 
conscious that I am in the line of duty, standing where I 
ought, and doing my best to serve the cause which is dearest 
to my heart. If in that place I must fall, well — albeit I would 
like to survive the end of this war and see the government 
established upon the principles which inaugurated this strife. 

. . . There is scarcely a doubt now, I think, that we will 
successfully defend Petersburg and Richmond from the at- 
tacks made upon them by the column on the South Side and if 
God gives Gen'l Liee the success which has heretofore attended 
his arms, the spring campaign will be glorious indeed for the 
South. 

Now I must conclude . . . Good bye and God bless you. 

N.A.S. 

(The Captain did not know of the mighty army advancing 
from the north under Grant. 

A few days after this letter was written the Captain became 
a Major.) 

LETTER EIGHT 

Fork Union 
Augst (64) 
Darling Sallie, 

I think that I deserve a premium for being so punctual to 
you and yet you murmur. I fear you are a naughty girl. What 
would my jewlarky say if he knew that I wrote to you weekly 
and to him only semimonthly but alas ! I have no hi-pertickler 
now to whom I care to write regularly. As I told you before 
I am just now disentangling myself from a net in wh' I en- 
trapped another. [See the preceding letter.] All love affairs 
that have not marriage in view as the thing most desired by 
both parties always — ^yes — ^I believe it, always eventuate in 

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16 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

trouble to one or both. So profit by my experience — I am done 
trifling. But I have a big secret that I would pour into the 
ear of my little pet were she near but I dare not entrust it 
to the custody of this seal. It is a dangerous secret, I shudder 
almost to think of it — ^While it continually haunts me, it yields 
pleasure — ^the thought, I mean, while I would fain drive it 
from me. It is pleasant — ^yet harrowing because it can never 
be realized unless my stern nature succumbs. Dont guess 
Sallie, you will do me injustice. I am not at all culpable — 
unless it be from nurturing it. I fear I've already hinted too 
much, it is a mystery to you, I know you will say. It cannot 
be otherwise until we meet — ^then you shall know all — when 
I hope to be free from its cluthches. You are the only one who 
shall ever know it all — ^but I must stop this enigmatical talk. 

We had a letter from Charlie yesterday — was anxious to 
hear from you. Wished oh so much that this cruel war was 
over so that he could return to his own quiet happy home to 
revel in the sweets of domestic life and happiness with the 
chosen one of his heart. He says "Ladies are very changeable 
but I have no reason to doubt my little pet — ^will not and can- 
not." Are you worthy of so good a reputation? I believe it 
and will till the contrary is proven. Ah Sallie have you heard 
the sad crushing news of dear Ella Shepherd's death? She 
died of typhoid fever Wednesday week. She sacrificed her life 
to save her Uncle . . . Does it not seem that we are in the 
midst of death in life? We have had more deaths than usual 
in this vicinity from battle fever. The soldier upon whom 
we've been attending for so long died last week — His wife is 
a widow away from home with two babes. Two of his brothers 
are here — nice fellows too. Well, the Association has come and 
gone. I'm sorry it is over. Mr. Hart, Fife and Thompson staid 
here, Hiden, Johnson and Dr. Broaddus, Chelf and Alexander 
were here. . . . How I wish you could have heard us singing 
some anthems. We made the church ring. ... I formed many 
nice acquaintances among the no. Mr. Hatcher of Manchester 
(a brother of an old teacher of mine) with whom I lost my 
heart. Lt. Bagby who staid here several days and who knows 
Charlie intimately and a Lt. Jennings from Tennessee now 
staying in Buckingham. I enjoyed myself much more than I 
expected. Had an old schoolmate and dear friend to stay 
several days with me. Belle Henley of Nelson. Mr. Hart seemed 
to enjoy himself very much didn't want to go back — ^write 

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Fork Union During the Civil War 17 

immediately. Tell Cousin Milton "he just ought to be here 
now to eat sorghum candy." 
Love to all from all 

Affly 

Jennie 

("Jewlarky" and "hi-pertickler" are Victorian equivalents 
of the present day horrid expression "boy-friend." 

Mr. Hatcher, of Bedford, was the Rev. William Eldridge 
Hatcher, Jennie's future husband. A recent graduate of Rich- 
mond College, at that time he was pastor of a struggling 
church in Manchester. His brother Harvey, Jennie's old 
teacher, had taught briefly at the Fluvanna Institute before 
entering the ministry. 

Lt. Bagby, later Captain, was Alexander Bagby of King 
and Queen. 

There is a little confusion about when Jennie met Mr. 
Hatcher, as in another place she said that she had met him 
at an earlier Association in Buckingham and that they were 
introduced at that time by Mr. Pumphrey Seay, a college 
friend of his.) 

LETTER NINE 

Fork Union 
Sept. 30—64 
Dear Sallie, 

. . . We are suffering all the horrors of suspense that you 
are— consequently cannot comfort you much. Yet I cannot 
help writing all that I know to her who possesses the heart 
of my darling brother. We heard several days ago that two 
members of his Co. were killed — Moton Griffin and another 
one — ^afterwards that Capt. Massie was certainly killed and 
Charlie had a ball thro' his coat sleeve — ^Another rumor was 
that they had lost all of their cannons and a few remaining 
from capture and death were fighting with muskets. This is 
the sum and substance of all that I know. He wrote to us after 
the first day's fight in which he lost so many and we expected 
to hear today but not a single letter was received from the 
company — ^which inclines us to the belief that they were all 
captured. Bro. Marcellus and Cousin John Snead will start 
to Ch'ville and from thence to where they are this evening — 
we hope that all may be well with them. I try to trust that 
God will answer our prayer and save them. 



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18 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

We have just heard the sad news of the death of a soldier 
friend from this neighborhood, who has been for 18 long 
months at Point Lookout — ^Pat Thomas — also of poor Willie 
Abell — Skilled in the Valley. I reckon it will be a crushing blow 
to his family. It is well that we cannot see the future. We have 
been looking for Junius home on f urlo' — afraid he can't come 
now. Ella and I have been attending a meeting at Paulette's 
Chapel. Pa has bought me the prettiest little riding horse you 
ever saw — rather too low for me — reckon I will have to keep 
him till you come up as he will comport better with your figure. 
I wrote to you a few days ago — ^will write again as soon as 
we hear from the boys. I directed your letter to Richmond. 
I'll tell you a secret in my next. 

With much love from Ma — who already loves Sallie very 
much and speaks of her often. 

I must close — 

Write often to yr. aflf Jennie 

(Captain Massie was killed and Jennie's brother Charles, 
Sallie's ftanc6, was promoted on the field from the rank of 
lieutenant to that of captain. Jennie does not yet know this. 
For the rest of his long life Charles was always called "Cap- 
tain Snead." 

Paulette's Chapel was probably beyond Cohasset on land 
owned by the Paulette family. 

In spite of the war, church and association meetings were 
held as regularly as always. Shortly after the meeting of the 
Albemarle Association in Fork Union Mr. Hatcher was in- 
vited back to hold a meeting at the Fork Church, and during 
that period he and Jennie became engaged and were married 
the 22nd of the following December. On his trip to Fork Union 
the groom was accompanied on the packet boat from Rich- 
mond by five ministers: his brother Harvey, his first cousin 
Jeremiah Bell Jeter, Charles H. Ryland, A. B. Woodfin and 
John R. Bagby. The Rev. George W. Hyde, who expected to 
join the party at Dover, wrote that he was ill on the night 
he was to meet the boat. He heard the horn of the man who 
drove the canal boat's horses as he blew and blew and blew 
for a long time, but he could not join the happy party of his 
"dear friends that night on their way to Fluvanna." 

The ceremony was performed by Dr. Jeter and the Rev, 
William A. Whitescarver, pastor of Fork Church. 



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Fork Union During the Civil War 19 

Since the war precluded any thought of a wedding trip, the 
bridal couple spent several days visiting different relatives of 
Jennie's at their homes in Fluvanna and then left for Man- 
chester and the grim times awaiting them there as the war 
drew to a close.) 

LETTER TEN 

Manchester, Jan. 17th— [1865] 
Darling Sallie, 

Fm "mad" with you again. My ire against you has been so 
frequently excited I fear you will think I've lost my temper 
and equanimity in these later days. But listen — ^mind if I don't 
crimson you a little before I'm thro' — How have you treated 
my poor soldier brother? Immediately after he left you he 
wrote me that he would be married on the 17th if he could 
get his furlo' — also wrote to Mr. Hatcher to marry him — or 
be present and assist. Accordingly we went to work, made all 
arrangements to go up and secured the attendance of two 
extra nice beaux, Mr. Ryland and Lt. Bagby. I told everybody 
I was going to Flu Friday, expecting to go up with the bridal 
party. On Monday I rec'd a letter from Charlie stating that 
he had heard nothing from you — that he was very anxious, 
etc. — and that he couldn't get his furlo' before the 24th. This 
was some disappointment, but mercy when 3rr. letter came 
yesterday stating that you could not be ready before the mid- 
dle of March I threw up my hands in holy surprise and 
sorrow. I can but think that you intended a hoax upon me — 
to tease me — a letter from home yesterday stated that they 
were fixing for yr reception. If you are in earnest about 
putting it off Mr. Hatcher nor I cannot go as he will commence 
a meeting here the middle of Feb. and he wants me to go 
home and return before then. He is very anxious to go to 
yr house to be present on the occasion — as well as myself — 
so if you want us to be with you at all — ^you had better stop 
that nonsense. Besides, Charlie I suppose will get his furlo' 
next week and oh my ! wont he be woefully disappointed. We 
do not want to interfere at all with 3rr arrangements. At the 
same time we hope twill not be delayed for selfish as well as 
other reasons. By March the summer campaign will have 
commenced and you will necessarily be separated — ^while you 
might board near him during the winter. 

My wardrobe is at 3rr command — ^but I suspect you will not 
much desire it if you were to see it. I think low neck would 



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20 Fluvanna County Historical Society 

be more becoming. My muslin is trimmed with narrow satin 
ribbon. If you want it send for it — be sure to have a little 
skirt behind made to your dress if you make it. I have one 
you can get. My wreath and veil were borrowed. If you come 
to R'd let me know and I'll meet you. Or if you prefer it, send 
me the orders to fill. My husband is very tasty. We have yr 
wedding ring — it is beautiful and the motto appropriate. If 
Charlie comes must we come up the 24th — 34th or 44th. Oh, 
you vixen. If you are not married next week I'll not wait for 
you but go to Flu anyhow — ^Write to me immediately. Let 
me know all. Mr. H. sends much love to Sallie. 

Affly, 

Jennie 

(In spite of Jennie's urging and her "holy surprise and sor- 
row" Sallie and Charles were not married until the last day 

of February, 1865.) 

♦ ♦ ♦ 

In 1870 "the pure and gentle" Sallie died, leaving two little 
girls who grew up in Fork Union under the care of Charles 
and, later, his second wife, the lovely Betty Payne. After 
Sallie's daughters were married they returned to Fork Union 
every summer to visit Captain Snead and his wife at Rose 
Hill — whose name, alas, was changed to one less euphonious. 
But to the Fork Union which once knew the mellow sound of 
the church bell summoning worshippers to service and the 
melodious horn of the post boy, the twentieth century has 
brought the noise of modern traffic. At times, however, one 
may hear the clear call of a bugle or the notes of a martial 
band coming from the hillside where stands the Fork Union 
Military Academy, founded by Jennie's husband. 

Virginia D. Cox 



This article was requested by the late editor, 
Mrs. Clara Cocke Forsyth. 



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APRIL BUS TO RICHMOND 

Three counties, white and green 
With dogwood and with pine, 
Divide us from the town. 

Our bus, exhaling fumes. 
Breathes in pure April, hums 
Beside the bloated James. 

Ladies make Easter talk 
Around me. Point of Fork 
Is passed. This land's a book 

Left out and rained upon 
And crinkled so you can 
Not read it well, but in 

A paragraph we shall 
Ascend the pampered hill 
At State Farm. And you hail 

From where? New Canton? Here 
The hungry suburbs are 
Devouring fields and more. 

Through counties flecked with light 
(Traffic-green, supper-white) 
We shall hum home tonight. 

John Ndcon, Jr., Editor "The Lyric" 
Bremo Bluff, Va. 

Reprinted by permiaaion 
© 1959 The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. 



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BANISHED MELODY 

The old piano, once the wabiut queen 
Of an adoring parlor, now must hold 
Her sorry court down in the bam — ^between 
Two rival sovereigns, Decay and Mould- 
On silent nights her exiled majesty 
Wraps a thin shawl of spider's web around 
Her shoulders and remembers poignantly 
The pompous years she filled with regal sound. 

And dreaming thus, perhaps she hears again 
The once familiar rhythms of Bizet 
Or savors some mazurka by Chopin 
Secretly there among the com and hay. 

John Ndcon, Jr. 

from The (Washington) Evening Star 

March 23, 1949 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 
to collect and preserve manuscripts and other documents 
relating to the history of Fluvanna County in Virginia; 
to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the county seat, Pal- 
myra, as a museum where antiquities of the county may 
be exhibited ; and to encourage historical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. 
Annual dues are $1.50; a life membership costs $25.00. A 
bulletin will be published twice a year, to be distributed 
for fifty cents a copy. Readers are requested to contribute 
any information of historical interest they may have or 
may be able to obtain. The Society will endeavor to pub- 
lish as much of this information as may be possible. 

An communications should be addressed to: The Edi- 
tor, Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palm3rra, Virginia. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 9 



October 1969 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 

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Table of Contents 

I Introductioii 

n Creatioii of Fluvanna^-Petitioii of 1777 
m Thomas Jefferson Map — 1777 
IV Headsof FamiUefr— 1782 
V Moving the County Seat^l828 
VI Gazetteer of Fluvanna^-lSSS 
Vn BusinesssDirectoryof Fluvannar— 1868 
Vm Business Directory of Fluvannar— 1877-78 
IX Virginia Gazetteer— 1890-91 
X Fluvanna County Historical Society Report— 1969 
XI Fluvanna County Historical Society Officers 
Xn Fluvanna County Historical Society Membership 



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FaU BuUetin 1969 

Our faU huUetin is an offering to those members with a 
statisticdl turn of mind and an answer to requests for a pub- 
lished list of the members of the Fluvanna County Historical 
Society. 

We have in the past published manuscripts covering origin 
nal research, and there are many facets of Fluvanna history 
about which we hope to publish in narrative form in the 
future. However, for this issue, we decided to give some of the 
recorded statistics of Fluvanna. 

The questions have often arisen: Why did Fluvanna citi- 
zens vnsh to be a separate county-^-^cut themselves off from 
Albemarle? Why in 1777, in the midst of the Revolution, did 
men concern themselves with a mMter such as this? The pe- 
tition sent to the General Assembly requesting this separa- 
tion is published here. 

The next record of Fluvanna which we include is a sum- 
mxiry of the census of 1790, followed by statistical infomuv- 
tion about Fluvanna published in directories of 18S5, 1868, 
1877 and 1890. 

Copying the list of active members of the Society for pub- 
licaMon has not been an easy task. Those individuals whose 
names have been omitted and who are interested in member- 
ship should contact the Treasurer of the Society. 



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PETITION TO THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY FOR 

SEPARATION OP FLUVANNA COUNTY 

FROM ALBEMARLE COUNTY 

"Sundry inhabitants and freeholders situate in the South 
part of Albemarle County, suffer many and great hardships 
and inconveniency fry)m the vast extent of said county, in 
traveling to the courthouse. The greatest part, by far, of your 
petitioners have (to go) from twenty to thirty-five miles to 
the same. Roads are extremely bad and cannot be made much 
better, as the lands are craggy and mountainous. Two rivers 
and many creeks that are rapid add to the inconveniency. 
The courthouse of the said County has been set many miles 
from the center and to the north — ^partly to make (its) sit- 
uation more agreeable — as the part supposed to be about the 
center is mountainous. Yet your petitioners are occasionally 
(forced) to get through these mountains in emergencies. 

"The inconveniences are so great that many become suffer- 
ers, not having it in their power to attend to their business 
without riding (a full) day before, as well as a day after- 
wards. Your petitioners therefore pray that the county may 
be divided into two distinct counties, by running a direct line 
from the Southwest point of the Louisa line — ^the waters of 
Mechunk Creek — ^to the Fluvanna River, at the lower side of 
Scott's Ferry landing, by which division your petitioners con- 
ceive the greatest conveniency to themselves, and no individ- 
uals to be prejudiced. The courthouse and town of Charlottes- 
ville will answer the same purpose as at present and be near 
central to the North part of said county. Ybur petitioners 
shall ever pray, etc." 

Fluvanna became a Coimty, June 3, 1777. It is interesting 
to note, however, that the exact line of division between Al- 
bemarle and Fluvanna Counties was in dispute for nearly one 
hundred years and was not finally decided upon until a sur- 
vey was made during the middle 1870's. 

By coincidence, William Ronald Cocke II, son of Judge Wil- 
liam Ronald Cocke, was a member of the surveying commis- 
sion. Judge Cocke had removed from Powhatan County in 
1853 and settled at Greenwood, the present home of the 
Cockes. The young surveyor was in his early twenties at the 
time. ^ . 

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The liflt of petitioners for Fluvanna County, retaining orig- 
inal spellings, is appended alphabetically: 

Benja. Anderson, George Anderson, Geo. Anderson, Jr., Na- 
thaniel Anderson, Absolom Applebery, William Applebery. 

David Bailey, Thomas Bailey, Joseph Barad, John Barnard, 
John Bamett, William Bamett, Will Basket, Sp — Bashaw, 
Fisher R. Bennatt, Richard Bennatt, Benj. Bradshaw, Reu- 
ben Brown, Wm. Bugg, John Burgess, Will Burgess, J. Burt- 
on. 

Wilson Miles Gary, John Clark, William Clark, Thos. Cle- 
ments, Thomas Clemens, James Cole 

Thomas Devard, Thomas Doherty ( ?), George Duncan 

James Eads 

Tho. Farrar, Thomas Farrar, Jr., Benja. Fitzpatrick, Donald 
Fraser, Rd. Furbush, Wm. Furbush 

James Glass, Will Glass, Js. Glass 

John M. Haden, William Haden, John Hancock, Richard 
Haris, W.Henry, Henry Hughes, Rees Hughes 

John Kent, Thomas Kent, Aron Kidd, Benjamin Kidd, John 
Kidd, Lewis Kidd, Moses Kidd, Sam. Kidd 

Jos. Lambert, Benj. Lee, Edward Lee, Joseph Lea, Stephen 
Lea, Daniel Lightfoot, William Lilly, Thomas Linthieum, Lan- 
dry Linsey, Aron Lowry, Moses Lowry 

John Mann, Henry C. Martin, John Martin, William Martin 
and Wm. Martin, Joseph Mayo, Richard Mayo, Robert Mayo, 
Joseph Minter, Edmond Moody, John Moody, Jesse Moore, 
John Moore, Alexander Moss 

John New, Ashford Napier, John Napier, Richard Napier, 
Robert Napier, Thomas Napier 

William Oglesby, Richard Omohundro, David Owl 

Jesse Parish, Robt. Paslay, Wm. Payne, Robt. B. Payne, 
Wm. Pearces, Elias Putney 

Tunstall Quarles 

Charles Richards, Green Richardson, Turner Richardson, 
Toms. Roberson 

Julias Sanders, John Seay, Archibill Snead, Vinson Sprouse, 
Elijah Stone, Hezekiah Stone, Marbil Stone, David Staples, 
John Staples 

Benj. Thacker, Geo. Thompson, Lee Thompson, John 
Thompson, Roger Thompson, Thomas Thurmond, Daniel Til- 
man 

David Wade, Elias Williams, WiUiam WiUiams, Juir. Jacob 

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Waiiamson, John Williamson, Patr. Williamson, Willis Willis, 
Benj. Woodson, Patr. Woodson, Rene Woodson, Wm. Woody, 
Joseph Wooling, Robert Wright. 



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Thomas Jefferson Map : Proposed Formation of 
Fluvanna C!ounty 

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Ceii8ii8l790 

Heads of Families— Yirginia 1782 

Flvyamia County 

The first census of the United States in 1790 was an enum- 
eration of the inhabitants of Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, 
Eentuclgr, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, 
New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South 
Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont and Virginia. The returns of 
Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee and Vir- 
ginia were destroyed when the British burned the capital dur- 
ing the war of 1812. 

The loss of Virginia's original schedules for the first and 
the second census is so unfortunate that every endeavor has 
been made to secure data that would in some measure fill the 
vacancy. The <mly records that could be secured were some 
manuscript lists of state enumeration in the years 1782, 1783, 
1784 and 1786. 

These schedules of 1790 form a unique inheritance for the 
nation since they represent for each of the states concerned 
a list of the heads of the families in the United States at the 
time of the adoption of the Constitution. The framers were 
the statesmen and leaders of thought; but those whose names 
appear upon the schedules of the first census were in general 
the plain citizens who by their conduct in war and peace made 
the Constitution possible, and by their intelligence and self- 
restraint put it into successful operation. 

From Heads of Families. First census of the United States 
1790. 

State enumerations of Virginia 1782-1796. 

Total— Heads of families 332 

White 1,980 

Black 1,319 



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FLUVANNA COUNTY 
HEADS OF FABflLIES 1782 



NAME OP HEAD 
OP FAMILY 

Richardson, Capt. 
Purburk, Robert 
Richardson, William 
Kiddy John 
Allen, Richard 
Perkins, Stephen 
Rice, Tandy 
Lilley, Armig^er 
Pace, Marry 
Adams, Richard 
Clarkson, David 
Martin, Elizabeth 
Haden, Jos. 
Ross, Peter 
Humphrey, David 
Linthecum, Thomas 
Jenkins, James 
Cole, William 
Quarles, Tnnstal 
Bentley, Danl. 
Kent, Robert 
Richardson, Saml. 
Eadson, Ann 
White, WiUiam 
White, John 
Stodgill, Ambrose 
May, Ambrose 
Shepherd, John 
Holland, Hezekiah 
Humphrey, Elijah 
Humphrey, Edward 
Loveing, William 
Taylor, Henry 
Clarke, Charles 
Prances, Reuben 
Clubb, William 
Baine, Edwin 
Johnson, Walter 
Basket, William 



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NAME OF HEAD 
OF FAMILY 

Clark, William 
Allford, Ancil 
Perkins, Michael 
Humphrey, Merry 
Askew, Charles 
Davis, James 
Sparks, Edward 
Bentley, Danl. Junr. 
Bentley, James 
Haden, John 
Haden, Benjamin 
Strange, John A. 
Moore, John 
Askew, Anthony 
Pace, John 
Bellomy, John 
Bellomy, Benjamin 
Tuggle, Joshua 
Thacker, Benjamin 
Thacker, Ambrose 
Thacker, William 
Bethel, Valentine 
Crewson, James 
Southerland, Sanders 
Timberlake, John 
Moore, William 
Bamet, John 
Cary, Wilson M. 
Bamet, William 
Poster, James 
Poster, John 
Johnson, William 
Thacker, Nath. 
Paine, William, Esq. 
Thompson, Roger 
Davis, John 
Adams, James 
Adams, Robert 
Adams, William 

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NAME OF HEAD S 

OF FAMILY ^ 

Barnard, Peter 9 

Stephens, James 3 

King, Danl. 8 

Paine, Danl. 7 

Bibee, John 5 

Glasby, John 7 

Smithson, Drummond 6 

Howard, William 8 

Haggard, George 5 

Haggard, James 4 

Denton, William 3 

Allen, Mary 1 

Kent, John 5 

Martin, John 18 

Lilley, William 10 

Baber, John 6 

Baber, Thos. 6 

Baber, Elizabeth 8 

Weldy, William 8 

Bailey, Thomas 6 

Bailey, Elizabeth 6 

Bryant, Sylvanus 11 

Bryant, Susanna 2 

Bryant, William 8 

Carter, William 7 

Wood, Thomas 8 

Sanders, George 7 

Wood, Martha 5 

Martin, William 7 

Brag, John 10 

Appleberry, William 10 

Ashley, William 8 

Moss, Alexander 18 

Thurmond, Benjamin 7 

Bruce, Benjamin 8 

Bentley, Danl. 8 

Bentley, Danl., Junr. 8 

Lindsey, Landy 7 

Cole, James 5 

Wells, Elias 8 

Napier, Thomas 8 

Hensley, Witham 8 

Thompson, George 8 

Thompson, John 5 



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NAME OF HEAD S 

OF FAMILY ^ 

Thompson, Leonard 5 

Lisle, Sophia 6 

Kidd, Moses 7 

Lowry, Aaron 10 

Lowry, Moses 4 

Clark, Jonathan 6 

Clark, John 8 

Overstreet, William 4 

Rice, Charles 6 

Wills, Willis, (dec'd.) 1 

Kidd, Benjamin 2 

Seay, Austin 8 

Kidd, Saml. 8 

Chandler, Elizabeth 8 

Ross, David 18 

Cox, George 8 

King, JackviUe 7 

Wade, David 10 

Cawthom, Robt. — 
Anderson, George, Senr. 4 
Anderson, George, Junr. 8 

Anderson, Nathl. 1 

Martin, John, Senr. 8 

Martin, William 4 

Rice, John 4 

Anderson, Benjamin 8 

Sanders, Julias, Senr. 6 

Hughes, Jesse 2 

Kirby, Francis 4 

Hughes, Rees 6 

King, Jos. 5 

Bibee, David 11 
Thacker, Benjamin, Jr. 4 

Pace, William 6 

Priddy, William 7 

Priddy, Robert 4 

Alligree, Danl. 7 

Harlow, William 9 

Abbney, Paul 2 

Bell, John 10 

Harlow, John, Junr. 4 

Gadberry, John 2 

Denton, Thomas 9 

Parish, Jollah 6 



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NAME OP HEAD 


-S 


•8 


NAME OF HEAD 


-S 


1 


OP PAMILY 


i 


1 


OP PAMILY 


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Roundtree, Thos. 


9 




Stone, Hezekiah 


7 


8 


Shermond, Rebeckah 


6 


5 


Stone, Prancis T. 


1 


3 


Baber, Abadiah 


2 




Napier, John 


7 


5 


Norton, Christopher 


6 




Williamson, John 


6 


7 


Gnbert, Nathl. 


7 




Williamson, Jacob 


2 


4 


Porsith, John 


2 




Williamson, Patrick 


4 


2 


Priddy, Elizabeth 


8 




Napier, Patrick 


5 


8 


Priddy, William 


— 




Prazier, Donald 


8 


7 


Ray, William 


1 




Woodson, Rene 


4 


4 


Appleberry, Thomas 


10 


4 


Melton, John 


10 




Webb, James 


6 


1 


Bennit, P. R. 


7 


1 


Seay, John 


6 


2 


Bashaw, Mary 


6 




Weaver, Benjamin 


10 


6 


Mayo, Jos. 


10 


9 


Grant, Alexander 


4 




Sneed, Holmon 


8 


10 


Parish, Abraham 


8 


18 




4 


1 


Stanley, Solomon 


4 


8 


JUes, WUliam 


8 




Johnson, John 


4 


2 


Woodson, Benjamin 


6 


10 


Laine, Jacob 


6 




Wright, Robert 


7 


2 


Stanley, Jonathan 


8 




Pitzpatrick, Joseph 


1 


2 


Toney, Alexander 


4 




Pitzpatrick, William 


1 


1 


Richardson, Green 


10 




Pitzpatrick, Mary 


8 


5 


Tindale, Thomas 


1 


8 


Pitzpatrick, Benjamin 


6 


8 


Tilman, Thomas 


8 


9 


Handcock, John 


10 




Morris, John 


6 


1 


Haislep, Henry 


9 




Haislep, Robert 


6 




Haislep, Spencer 


5 




Moore, Warren 


6 




Allen, Robert 


6 


8 


Stone, Marbel 


7 


2 


Mayo, Joseph 


8 


9 


Napier, Champion 


5 


8 


May, Thos. 


4 


1 


Scott, WilHam 


2 


8 


Champion, Cutt 


5 


4 


Kneaves, William 


1 


9 


Parish, Jesse 


10 




Marry, Richard 


9 


6 


Mawyer, John 


6 




Perry, George 


8 


7 


Rodes, George 


8 




Ladd, Jehoshaphat 


4 




Rodes, George, Jnnr. 


4 




Ladd, John 


2 


1 


Rodes, Henry 


5 




Perkins, Richard 


8 


6 


Napier, Richard 


9 


22 


Pettice, Jno. 


4 


8 


Napier, Rene 


1 


8 


Johnson, Dilmus 


7 




Hemdon, Reuben 


9 


2 


Henry, William 


8 


19 


Hemdon, Jos. 


9 




Appleberry, Absalom 


6 




Hall, Richard 


9 




Hammonds, Ephraim 


8 




Dawson, Thomas 


4 


11 


Brookes, Benjamin 


4 




Duncan, John 


6 




Hammonds, Thomas 


2 




Handcock, Lewis 


6 




Hughes, Johns 


4 




Duncan, George 


8 


14 


Williams, WiUiam 


11 




Oglesby, WiUiam 


7 


11 


Manley, John 


6 


1 


Stone, Elijah 


9 








12 

Digitized bv 


Goo* 


?Ie 



NAME OF HEAD 


S 


e 

s 


NAME OP HEAD 


.•§ 


s 


OP FAMILY 


i 


OF FAMILY 


1 


Wilson, Jonathan 


6 




Sandrige, John 


5 


1 


Woolce, Christopher 


9 




Farror, Mary 


8 


4 


Burgess, John 


9 




Moody, John 


11 




Burgess, William 


8 




Parrer, Thomas 


2 


2 


Moore, John 


3 




Sanders, Julias 


8 


1 


Tihnan, Thomas 


8 




Eads, James 


5 




Haislep, Jane 


1 




Barnard, John 


12 




Price, Abraham 


8 




Richardson, Turner 


7 


13 


Pucket, Robert 


7 




Harden, John M. 


8 


4 


Sprouce, John 


9 




Jones, David 


9 


4 


Key, Tandy 


5 


20 


Paisley, Robt. 


6 


2 


Cocke, Jno. Hartwel 


(The 




Ford, Tandy 


10 




Estate) 




45 


Linthicum, Thos. 


6 


1 


Cocke, Allen, Dec'd 






Logan, Anthony 


10 




(Estate) 




42 


Evans, Thos. 


4 


1 


Ware, John 


10 


41 


Haden, William 


6 


5 


Henley, WiUiam 


12 


10 


Thomas, John 


8 




Wooling, Joseph 


2 


17 


Ford, Bartlet 


5 




Winn, Thomas 


3 


4 


Hayes, Ann 


8 




Bugg, William 


7 


2 


Robinson, Sarah 


4 




Kirby, William 


6 


1 


Martin, Henry 


5 


4 


Omohundro, Richard 


9 


1 


Haden, Anthony 


11 


19 


Kidd, Samuel 


2 


1 


Busley, James 


4 




Eidd, Benjamin 


3 




Rogers, John 


8 




Tihnan, Danl. 


5 


3 


Webber, Phillip 


4 


5 


Seay, Stephen 


10 




Sadler, John 


8 




MuUis, Willoughby 


8 




Richardson, Robert 


2 


9 


Sadler, William 


10 




Richardson, Jno. 


2 




Kirby, Francis 


4 




Lee, Benjamin 


4 


4 


Cawthom, Thomas 


4 




Lilley, Thomas 


8 


2 


Creasy, William 


7 




Robinson, John 


7 


4 


Butler, George 


7 




Stone, Caleb 


5 


8 


Himt, John 


8 




Bryant, Elizabeth 


8 


2 


Perry, John 


4 




Ashlin, John 


7 


13 


Woody, Austin 


8 




Venable, Wm., Dec'd. 






England, John 


8 




(Estate) 


4 


5 


Hughes, Anthony 


5 


4 


Grant, Alexander, Junr. 


6 




Shores, Thomas, Senr. 


6 




Hughes, William 


6 


5 


Lightfoot, Danl. 


6 


9 


Clark, Jacob 


8 





13 



Digitized by Vj OOQ IC 



Ebccerpts from 

"An Act Concerning the Place for Holding Courts in the 
County of Fluvanna, and for Other Purposes." (Passed 
February 18, 1828) 

Whereas, it is represented to the General Assembly, that 
the public buildings in the County of Fluvanna are out of re- 
pair, and that the present place for holding courts in the said 
county is thought by many to be inconveniently situated, and 
it is desirable to ascertain and accommodate the wishes of 
the people of the said county as to the place most eligible for 
its permanent seat of justice before any further expense is 
incurred in the erection or repairs of public buildings. 

1. Be it enacted by the General Assembly, That the Sheriff 
of the County of Fluvanna or his deputy, superintended by 
John Winn, George W. Richardson, Gideon A. Strange, Over- 
ton B. Pettit, Commissioners or any three of them on the 
twenty fourth day of March next at the Courthouse of the 
said county shall proceed to have a poll opened for the pur- 
pose of ascertaining the number of voters for each respective 
place proposed as the most fit for the permanent seat of 

justice all freeholders 

and housekeepers in the said county and no others shall have 

the right to vote 

The justices of the said county shall on the first day of their 

May court— examine the said poll book and 

if any one place shall have a majority of the whole number of 
votes given, the court shall by entry of the record declare 
that place to be the future seat of justice for the said county 
but if neither of the places voted for shall have a majority 
the place having the smallest number of votes shall no longer 
be considered in the contest — and the remainder again voted 
for until one place shall have a majority of the whole number 
of votes given. 

(Note: In October 1777, Wilson Miles Gary of Carysbrook, 
offered a site for the courthouse on his plantation. In 1778 
land was selected for the courthouse on the south side of the 
Rivanna on the lands of Col. Thomas Napier and Capt. Pat- 
rick Napier. In 1828 the citizens voted that the new court- 
house building be located at Palmsnra instead of Wilmington 
or the old site.) 



14 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



A New and Comprehensive 

GAZETTEER OF VIRGINIA and the DISTRICT 

OF COLUMBIA 

By Joseph Martin 

1835 

FLUVANNA. 

Fluvanna was created by the Legislature in 1777, from a 
part of Albemarle County. — It is bounded N. by Louisa, W. 
by Albemarle, S. by James River, which separates it from 
Buckingham, and E. partly by Goochland, and partly by a bend 
of James River, separating it from Cumberland. It is in 
shape a parallelogram, approaching to a square, its border 
in common with Albemarle is 26 miles, its mean breadth 16, — 
area 416 sq. miles. It extends in lat. from 37^ 40' to 37^ 58' 
N. and in long, from 1*^ 12' to 1^ 43' W. of W. C. The Rivanna 
river enters it from Albemarle, and flowing S.E. divides the 
county diagonally, leaving nearly half on the north side, and 
empties into James River at Columbia. The surface is for 
the most part broken, but between the Rivanna and James 
there is a large tract of barren, level land which runs for 
some distance into Albemarle. The soil on the rivers is good — 
that on the James equal perhaps to any of the celebrated low 
grounds on that river. The lower part of the county, — included 
in a line drawn from the mouth of little Bremo creek to the 
N.E. angle of the county — has a dark greyish soil resembling 
disintegrated granite which produces the best chewing to- 
bacco in the state. An eminent tobacco manufacturer of 
Richmond has offered the inhabitants of this district to take 
all of their tobacco, (lugs included,) at $10 a hundred, and 
pay all costs and charges for its delivery in Richmond. 

The vein of gold which runs through Louisa, Goochland and 
Fluvanna into Buckingham, is worked near Palmsnra, the 
county seat of Fluvanna. Population 1820, 6,704 — ^in 1830, 
8,221. — ^This county belongs to the 11th judicial circuit and 
6th district. Taxes paid in 1832-3, $2092.18— in 1833-4, on lots, 
$37.31— land, $1316.83—2093 slaves, $523.25—1626 horses, 
$97.66—7 studs, $84.00—10 coaches, $26,25 — ^20 carryalls, 
$24.05—30 gigs, $23.36. Total $2132.60. Expended in educat- 
ing poor children in 1832, $166.83 — ^in 1883-$359.73.-^q^|^ 

16 " ^ 



TOWNS, VILLAGES, POST OFFICES, &c. 

COLUMBIA, P. V. 52 ms. N.W. by W. of R. and 122 from 
W— situated on the left bank of the Rivanna, at its junction 
with the James. — ^It contains 20 dwelling houses, 4 mercan- 
tile stores, 2 taverns, 1 house of public worship, free for all 
denominations, 1 common school, 2 tailors, 3 boot and shoe 
factories, 2 cabinet makers, 1 wheelwright, 1 house carpenter, 
and 1 smith's shop. Population 86 whites, one of whom is a 
physician, 54 free colored persons, and 38 slaves. Total, 177. 

LAUREL SPRING, P. 0. 61 ms. N.W. by W. of R. and 
from W. 

LINDSEY'S CROSS ROADS, P. 0. 80 ms. W. of R. and 125 
from W. 

PALMYRA, P. V. and seat of justice, 59 ms. N.W. by W. 
of R. and 136 S.W. of W., in lat. 37" 47' N. and long. 1^ 29' W. 
of W.C. — situated on the Rivanna River 14 ms. from its junc- 
tion with the James. Besides the county buildings which are 
of brick, and have been recently erected, it contains 14 dwell- 
ing houses, 1 methodist house of worship, 1 mercantile store, 

1 tavern, 1 merchant, grist and saw mill, 1 woollen factory, 

2 saddlers, 2 tailors, 1 boot and shoe factory, 1 tansrard, 1 
cabinet maker, and several carpenters and coopers. A hand- 
some and permanent bridge is erected across the Rivanna. 
This village is thriving. 

County Courts are held on the 4th Monday in every month ; 
— Quarterly in March, June, August, and November. 

Judge Field holds his Circuit Superior Court of Law and 
.Chancery on the 1st of April and September. 
^ UNION MILLS, 68 ms. N.W. by W. of R. and 122 from W., 
situated on the left bank of the Rivanna, on the post road, 
25 miles from Columbia, and 16 from Charlottesville, in the 
midst of beautiful mountain and river scenery. At this place 
there are located, a merchant mill, grist and saw mill, and a 
cotton factory, called the VIRGINIA UNION FACTORY.— 
This factory owned by Messrs. Timberlake and Magruder, is 
a large and commodious brick building; it runs 1500 spindles, 
besides the necessary machinery for carding, &c. — ^it contains 
12 power looms, in which several hundred yards of substan- 
tial cloth are made per day. The cotton yam of this establish- 
ment is in high repute throughout the state. More than 100 
operatives are employed by the enterprising proprietors in 
the different departments of their establishment. — ^The place 

jg Digitized by CiOOQ IC 



contains comfortable houses for the accommodation of 18 or 
20 families, a tanyard, and a methodist house of worship; 
besides the elegant dwellings of the proprietors. 

WILMINGTON, P. V. 55 ms. N.W. by W. of R. and 132 
from W., situated on Rivanna river, 14 miles above its mouth. 
There are located here 2 taverns, 2 mercantile stores, and a 
blacksmith shop. 

WINN'S TAVERN, P. O. 68 ms. N.W. by W. of R. and 142 
from W. in the western part of the county. 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

17 



VIRGINIA BUSINESS DIRECTORY AND GAZETTEER 

AND 
RICHMOND Cmr DIRECTORY: 

1868 



Carding MaehineM 

McCray, D. (Columbia) 
Dayis, W. H. 

Country Stores and Merchants 



Kent, J. M., Jr. 
Shepherd, J. F. 
Davis & Burgess 
Hodgson, Joseph, Jr. 
Mahoney, E. N. 
Simms, C. F. 
Kent, J. M. 
Perkins, T. 
Sea & Sowd 
Winn, E. A. & Co. 
Burgess, Morgan 
Clark, Monteller 
Rock, W. & Co. 
Strange, Reuben 
Hodgson, Jos. 
Peers, G. H. 
Shepherd & Co. 
Wakeham, W. & Co. 
Lowell, Seay & Morris 
Winn, E. A. 
Paulett & Haden 
Saunders, B. W. 
Bullock & Magruder 

Lawyers 

Gray, A. A, 
Pettit, W. B. 
Tutwiler, T. H. 



Chapel Hill 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 
Columbia 

Pork Union 

Pork Union 
Palmyra 
Palmyra 

Union MiUs 



Palmyra 



Dentists 

Johnson, G. W. 

Flour Mills 

Cocke, Gary C. 

McCray, D. 

Holeman, W. H. 

Norvell & Burgess 

Bragg, John 

Gray, W. A. 

Wright, G. M. 

Bryan, John R. 

Perkins & Nelson 

Gait, James 

Perkins & Nelson 

Loving, R. E. 

StiUman & Ashlin 

Snead, W. P. 

Seay, Austin 

Clark, Montilla Palmyra 

Wills, A. G. (Solitude) Pahnyra 

Sclater, John Palmyra 

Nicholas, Robert Seven Islands 

Bragg, W. J. Union Mills 

Gooch & Allen Union Mills 

Insurance Agents 

Jones, Silas B. Fork Union 

Sheriff, Joseph Payne 
Clerk, County Court, 

Abram Shepard, Jr. 
Circuit Abram Shepard, Jr. 



Bremo Bluffs 
Columbia 



Chapel Hill 



Carysbrook 
Columbia 



Fork Union 



18 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



VIRGINIA BUSINESS DIRECTORY AND GAZETTEER 

AND 
RICHMOND CITY DIRECTORY: 

1877-78 

FLUVANNA COUNTY — POPULATION IN 1870— White, 
4,778 Colored, 5,097. Total 9,875 

COUNTY SEAT, PALMYRA 

Vote of the county November 7, 1876: Conservative, 966 — 
Republican, 702 

Value of real estate, 1876 $1,275,402.34 

Value of personal property 362,523.00 

Tax on real estate 6,377.01 

Tax on personal property 1,812.62 

County levy 7,336.90 

This county was formed from Albemarle in 1777. It lies on 
the north side of the James river, with Goochland on the 
east, Albemarle on the west, and Louisa on the north. It is 
distant about forty miles from Richmond. The James river 
and Kanawha canal traverses its entire southern boundary. 
This is a fine farming section, and produces excellent crops of 
tobacco, wheat, oats and com. The county has an area of 281 
square miles, and the average assessed value of the land is 
about $7 per acre 

Post-Offices. Sixth Circuit meets at Palmyra on 

Antioch *^« l^th- April and 10th. Septem- 

Bremo Bluff l>«r. 

Central Plains Judge, Henry Shackelford. 

Columbia Clerk, Wm. Sclater. 

Pork Union THE COUNTY COURT meets at 

Hunter's Lodge the C.H. on the Fourth Monday in 

Kent's Store each month 

Palmyra (c.h.) Judge, D. W. K. Bowles 

Seven Islands Clerk, Wm. Sclater 

Union Mills ^ ^ ^^ 

Wihnington ^^^^*^ ^^^•• 

Sheriff, Lewis J. Walton 

Courts. Treasurer, Luther R. Payne 
THE CIRCUIT COURT of the Surveyor, O. B. Thomas . 

JO Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



Com'r. Rev., S. J. Seay 
Com'th AttSr, Thos. H. Tutwiler 

Magistrates 

J. A. Landrum, J. Madison, 
Wm. Hodgson, Columbia; 
W. S. Branhan, Fork Union; 
J. R. Noel, Central Plains. 

Churches and Pastors, 
Baptist 

Antioch— Rev. Wm. Hall, 

Central Plains 
Beaver Dam — ^Wm. Hall, 

Union Mills 

Bethel— Rev. C. Dickerson, 

Pork Union 

Bula — Rev. C. Dickerson, 

Kent's Store 

Corinth — Rev. C. Dickerson, 

Pork Union 

Edgewood — Rev. C. Dickerson, 

Palmyra 

Fluvanna — Central Plains 

Lyle's — Rev. C. Dickerson, 

Wilmington 
Columbia— Rev. Wm. Hall, 

Columbia 
Episcopal 

Columbia — Rev. Dr. Morrison, 

Columbia 
Methodist 

Byrd Chapel— Rev. J. W. Howard, 
Bowlesville 

Cunningham's — Rev. J. W. How- 
ard, Palmyra 

Palmyra Church— Rev. J. W. 
Howard, Palmyra 



Hotels. 




Pajme James, 


Palmyra 


Strange, R. C, 


Palmyra 


Lawyers, 




Gray, A. A., 


Palmyra 


Parrish, J. Saml., 


Kents Store 


Pettit, Pembroke, 


Palmyra 


Pettit, Wm. B., 


Palmyra 


Powell, J. J. A., 


Columbia 


Tutwiler, T. H., 


Palmyra 


Shepherd, J. 0., 


Palmyra 



Merchants and Tradesmen, 

Agee, Stewart C, Colum- 
bia Liquors 

Anderson, Jas. H., Fork 
Union G M 

Bagby, J. W., Central 

Plains Builder 

Belamy, Wm., Hunter's 
Lodge G M 

Bland, C. B., Hunter's 
Lodge GM 

Boston, D. R., Union Mills G M 

Boswell, W. T., Bremo 
Bluff GM 

Brigg, Saml. S., Seven Is- 
lands G M 

Bragg, Wm. J. Jr., Pal- 
myra GM 

Brightwell & Son, Fork 
Union G M 

Burgess & Co., Central 
Plains G M 

Cocke, W. R., Union Mills G M 

Cowherd, T. E. A Bro., 
Columbia G M 

Currin, H. C, Bremo 
Bluff G M 

Glass, Wm., Bremo Bluff G M 

Grant, Beverly, Columbia G M 

Haden, John O., Palmyra GM 

Harris & Shepherd, Pal- 
myra GM 



Schools and Colleges. 

The county is moderately well 
supplied with public schools. Dr. 
P. J. Winn, Superintendent, Pork Hodgson Wakeham, Co- 
Union lumbia G M 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

20 



Hudson, B. F., Hunters 
Lodge GM 

Jackson, E. P., Columbia GM 

Jenkins, P. P., Columbia GM 

Jones, A. M., Bremo Bluff G M 

Kent & Parish, Kent's 
Store G M 

Kent, J. P., Antioch G M 

Kidd, J. T., Central Plains G M 

Noells, J. R., Central 
Plains Tanner 

Norvell, J. M., Bremo 
Bluff G M 

Parrish, Wm. S., Kent's 
Store GM 

Payne, J. S., Columbia G M 

Peers, G. H., Columbia Shoemaker 

Perkins & Bowles, Wil- 
ming^ton G M 

Price, H. M., Antioch 

Real Est Agt. 

Price, H. M., Central 
Plains Vineyard 

Richardson, A. J., Colum- 
bia Vineyard 

Rison, Wm. A., Colum- 
bia Vineyard 

Saddler & Thomas, An- 
tioch GM 

Shepherd, Jno. P., Co- 
lumbia G M 

Smither, Robt H., Co- 
lumbia G M 

Strange, R. C, Palmyra GM 



Taylor, A. J., Central 
Plains G M 

Tutwiler, E. M. & E. E., 
Pahnyra G M 

Tutwiler, Thos. P., Scotts- 
ville, Albemarle Co. G M 

Wakeham W & Co., Co- 
lumbia Merchant Tailors 

Winn, E. A., Fork Union G M 

White & Appleberry, 
Hunter's Lodge G M 

Mills and Owners, 

Palmyra, Tutwiler & Shepherd, 

Palmyra 
Middleton, C. R. F. & A. J. Seay, 

Seven Islands 
Solitude, Martha C. Wills, 

Palmyra 
Virgin, M. L. Tutwiler, 

Seven Islands 
Rivanna, Wm. A. Rison, Columbia 
Union, Union Mill Co., 

Union Mills 
Physicians. 

Anderson, Geo. L., Wilmington 
Bledsoe, Jno. H. Central Plains 
Melton, Jno. F. Wilmington 

Nelson, J. J. Columbia 

Lambert, Wm., Central Plains 
Snead, Geo. H. Fork Union 

Talley, Horace A. Palmyra 

Winn, P. J. Fork Union 

Winn, Jno. F. Kent's Store 



Principal Farmers 

BREMO BLUFF— Gary C, Ck)cke, 1522; Henry W. Wood, 
750; Riley C. Taney, 400; Wm, H Holman, 398; Robt. Alvis, 
620; J. M. Norvell, 308. 

CENTRAL PLAINS— L. A. Luckado, 330; Garland Farrar, 
575 ; Christopher Homsey, 728 ; Jno. H. Bledsoe, 200. 

COLUMBIA— Ro. J. Layne, 328 ; Jno. R. Bryan, 1055. 

FORK UNION— Austin Seay, 404; Wm. P. Snead, 632; 
James M. Thomas, 800; Wm. L. Anderson, 200; Robt. B. 
Hughes, ; Saml. J. Seay, 382; Benj. C. Anderson, 400. 

HUNTER'S LODGE— D. J. Appleberry, 493; St. Geo. F. 
Evans, 408 ; Asa D. Haden, 540 ; Wm. W. Wood, S4(^ooq\q 

21 



KENTS STORE— Jas. M. Kent, Jr. 650; Wm. H. Noel, 380. 
Geo. L. Anderson, 515 ; David S. Baker, 211. 

PALMYRA— M. H. Marshall, 366; L. R. Shiflett, 865; 
John Sclater, 1571 ; Horace A. Talley, 454; Wm. D. Haden, Sr., 
535; R. A. Noel, 400; Rich'd Noel, 476; Wm. C. Payne, 866. 

UNION MILLS— D. R. Boston, 527 ; Jas. T. Jones, 863. 

WILMINGTON— John C. HoUand, 254; Geo. W. Pettit, 200; 
Richd. Omohundro, 377; Thos. H. Perkins, 439; C. 0. Perkins, 
584; Henry W. Baskett, 1154; Benjanain B. Wills, 340; Wm. 
M. Shepherd, 660. 

RICHMOND— Franklin Steams, 1700. 

SCOTTSVILLE, ALBEMARLE— Wm. P. Adams, 628; John 
Shultz, 725 ; Jos. H. Fox, 525 ; Edward Moon, 679. 



Digitized by Vj 005 iC 

22 



VIRGINIA GAZETTEER AND CLASSIFIED BUSINESS 
DIRECTORY 1890-91 

FLUVANNA COUNTY— Fluvanna was formed in 1777 
from Albemarle and is bounded north by Louisa and Albe- 
marle, south by Cumberland and Buckingham, east by Gooch- 
land, and west by Albemarle. The Richmond and Alleghany 
passes through the county on the north bank of the James 
River, which skirts its southern border. The Rivanna River 
extends north and south through the middle of the county, 
dividing it into two nearly equal parts, and plentifully water- 
ing it. This is a fine farming section, and the lands readily pro- 
duce excellent crops of com, oats, grass, wheat and tobacco — 
of the last named over a million pounds annually. The 
minerals are gold, iron, asbestos, soapstone, and granite, and 
the timbers are pine, oak, walnut, hickory, beech, birch, and 
dogwood. Palm3rra, the county seat, is on the Rivanna River, 
twelve miles from Columbia, a station on the Richmond and 
Alleghany railroad, with which it has daily mail communica- 
tion. The county has an area of two hundred and eighty-one 
square miles, or one hundred and eighty thousand eight hun- 
dred and forty-three acres, and the land has an average as- 
sessed value of $4.80 per acre. 



Post Offices 

Antioch 

Bremo Bluff, W. C. White 

Bybee, R. S. White 

Gary's Brook, C. E. Jones 

Central Plains, Haden 

Columbia, Joseph Payne 

Fork Union, W. H. Sadler 

Hunter's Lodge, W. J. Payne 

Kent's Store, G. H. Kent 

Palmyra (c.h.), Joel Haden 

Payne's 

Seven Islands, Tutwiler 

Shore's, A. L. Seay 

Stage Junction 

StiUman, J. W. Rison 

Union Mills, H. C. McDonald 

Vallena, R. R. Pleasants 

Wilmington, R. Omohundro 



Coach and Wagon Builders 

Glass, E. S. Central Plains 

Gillespie, J. D. Bybee 

Gooch, W. C. Kent's Store 

McCullock, Thomas Shores 

Madison, E. L. & Co. Palmyra 



Terrell, W. E. 
Distillers 
Creecy, Jesse 
Diggs, Charles 
Haden, W. H. 
McDonald, W. J. 
Martin, J. H. 
Proffitt, T. J. 
Roberts, H. C. 
Shepperd, C. S. 
Winn, P. J. 



Palmyra 

Central Plains 

Kent's Store 

Palmyra 

Union Mills 

Palmyra 

Hunter's Lodge 

Bybee 

Columbia 

Fork Union 



23 



A ttomeys-at'Law 

Gray, A. A. Palmyra 

Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



King, A. E. 


Palmyra 


Shepherd, J. P. 


Columbia 


Nelson, WUliam 


Columbia 


Smith, R. S. 


Columbia 


Pettit, Pembroke 


Palmyra 


Smither, R. H. 


Columbia 


Pettit, W. B. 


Palmyra 


Snoddy, M. J. 


Central Plains 


Shepherd, J. 0. 


Palmyra 


Taylor, J. R. 


Bremo Bluff 


Parrish, J. Samuel 


Richmond 


Weaver, W. J. 


Pork Union 


Henrico County 


White, R. S. & Co. 


Hunter's Lodge 






White, R. S. 


Bybee 


Dentists 




White, W. C. 


Vallena 


Wills, T. C. 


Columbia 


Winn, E. A. 


Pork Union 


HoteU 




Zachary, G. T. 


Columbia 


Jenkins, P. P. Nesse, , 


. Columbia: 






Pettis, S. S., Columbia: 


Insurance Agents 




Scruggs, C. L., Mrs., 


Shores 


Jenkins, P. P. N. 




Palmyra Hotel, E. 


L. King, Pal- 


Jones, W. C. 


Fork Union 


myra; 




Powell, J. J. A. 


Columbia 






Richardson, A. J. 


Columbia 



General Merchants 

Bell & Ellett Wilmington 

Brett, W. T. Pork Union 

Brightwell, B. H. (agt) 

Bremo Bluff 



Bethel, G. E. 
Cowherd, T. E. & Bro. 
Cram, O. P. 
Dillard, J. S. 
Poster, W. M. 
Haden, E. G. 
Haden, L. 0. 
Haden, W. H. 
Hodgson, G. P. 
Howard, R. J. (saloon) 
Jenkins, R. T. 
Kent, G. H. & Co 
Kent, J. P. 
Kidd, J. T. 
Kimbrough, N. E. 
McDonald, W. J. 
Martin, J. H. 
Moon, A. P. 
Parrish, W. S. 
Payne, J. S. 
Payne, W. J. 
Phillips, V. W. 
Sadler, W. H. 
Seay, A. L. 
Seay, J. M. 
Shepperd, C. S. 



Palmyra 

Columbia 

Columbia 

Holman 

Columbia 

Palmyra 

Palmyra 

Palmyra 

Columbia 

Palmyra 

Columbia 

Kents Store 

Antioch 

Central Plains 

Bremo Bluff 

Union Mills 

Palmyra 

Gary's Brook 

Kent's Store 

Columbia 

Hunter's Lodge 

Antioch 

Fork Union 

Shores 

Columbia 

Columbia 



Virginia Fire & Marine 
Mutual Assurance Society 
Virginia State 

Iron Founders and Machinists 
Bowers, J. W. Columbia 

MilUnery 
Burgess, M. A. 
Land Agents 
Burgess, D. M. 
Gay, N. B. 
Price, H. M. 
Richardson, A. J. 



Central Plains 

Central Plains 
Columbia 

Central Plains 
Columbia 



Mills-Cotton 

Armstrong, Jas. & Co. Union Mills 

MiUs — Com and Flour 
Boston, D. R. (Crofton) 

Union Mills 
Bragg, G. W. Union Mills 

Haden, L. D. Hunter's Lodge 

Kidd, J. B. Vallena 

McDonald, W. J. Union Mills 

Middleton Mills, Shores 

Seay, A. J. (Solitude) Palmyra 
Tutwiler, M. L. Palmyra (?) 

White, R. S. Hunter's Lodge 

White, R. S. & Co. Bybee 

White & Wright Bybee 



24 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



MilU—Saw 

Anderson, D. W. 
Bragg, G. W. 
Cocke Bros. 
Morris, H. W. 
Omohundro, J. F. 
Payne, Henry 
Stanton, J. S. & 
Anderson, S. H. 



Central Plains 

Union Mills 

Union Mills 

Central Plains 

Hunter's Lodge 

Union Mills 

Co. Shores 

Palm3n*a 



Mines — Gold 

Tagus Milling & Mining Company 
Columbia 
The Edochal Bullion Co. 

Kents Store 
The Columbia Gold Mining Co. 

Kents Store 
Hughes Gold Mine Fork Union 



Millwrights 

Browne, J. D. 
Butler, S. S. 
Duncan, William 
Morris, S. A. 
Walker, J. A. 
Walker, W. T. 

Physicians 

Cleveland, J. H. 
Lambert, Wm. Sr. 
Mayo, E. C. 
Nelson, J. J. 



Hunter's Lodge 

Vallena 

Shores 

Hunter's Lodge 

Union MiUs 

Union Mills 



Central Plains 

Central Plains 

Columbia 

Columbia 



Nelson, R. E. Columbia 

Richardson, J. W. Columbia 

Snead, E. Hunter's Lodge 

Snead, G. H. Fork Unioi^ 

Walton, I. J. Palmyra 

Winn, J. F. Fork Union 

Tobacco Manufacturers 

Bell & EUett Wibnington 

Norvell, D. R. Fork Union 

Newspapers and Magazines 

Columbia Bulletin, J. H. W. 

Peploe, Columbia 

Independent (Friday) Columbia 

Sadlers and Harness Makers 



King, Joab 
Weaver, W. T. 



Palmyra. 
Fork Union 



Schools 

Palmsrra Graded High School 

Palmyra 
Tailors 
Wakeham, W. & Co. Columbia 



Tanners 
McDonald, W. J. 

Undertakers 
Cleveland, Thomas 
Davis, T. A. 
Walker, J. A. 
White, Elias 



Union Mills^ 



Palmyra. 

Columbia 
Union Mills 
Kents Store 



PRINCIPAL FARMERS 

ANTIOCH— L. O. Bramham, Mrs. C. H, Homsey, Mrs. J. C. 
Talbott, B. J. Thomas, G. S. Thomas. 

BREMO BLUFF— Miss S. F. CabeU, Lucy W. Cocke, C. V. 
Cocke, W. H. Holman, S. T. Payne, FrankUn Stems, J. A. 
Snead, R. C. Toney. 

BYBEE— S. A. Adams, E. J. Anderson, A. M. Browning,^ 
W. H. Bybee, W. J. Butler. 

CARY'S BROOK— C. E. Jones, J. W. Lanford, E. Griffin^ 
G. H. Snead, J. P. Snead, J. O. Perkins, G. H. Morris, T. W- 
Shiflett. 



26 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



CENTRAL PLAINS— B. J, Farrar, P. S. Jennings, W. M. 
Sclater, Archer and J- D. Thomas, H W. Wood, H. L, 
Herndon, Mrs. W. P. Jennings, R. N. Johnson, C. T. Kidd, 
E. B. Kidd. 

COLUMBIA— R. J, Layne, J. S. Payne, C. S. Thomas, V. F. 
Argyle, C. E, Cosbey, T. E, Cowherd, F. W, Dillard, P. A. 
Griffin, J. F. Shepherd. 

FORK UNION— W. L. Anderson, D. K. Bordner, J. P. 
Snead, T. F. Bashaw, Mrs. G. S. Kie, J. N. Perkins, W. F., 
G. T., and W. H. Snead, B. H. Snead, C. P. Snead, Gidney 
Underhill, M, J. WooUing. 

HUNTER'S LODGE— A. G. Allegree, J. R. Bourne, 0. W. 
Haden, James and John Holloway, Wm. James, J. O. King, 
J. F. Omohundro, J. B. Winston, Mrs. J. T. Wright. 

KENTS STORE— G. L, Anderson, Jr., D. L. Bryant, W. W. 
Bowles, D. S. Baker, J. P. Baskett, E. W. Crutchfield, N. W. 
Diggs, S. E. Holland, G. H. Kent & Co., R. C. Kent, A. M. 
Kent, George Leigh, W. S. McGehee. 

PALMYRA — ^V. A. and W. A. Anderson, J. H. Anderson, 
S. Jones, T. F. Noel, W. J. Payne, J. W. Bramham and S. E. 
Jones, J. J. Black, J. E. Desper, E. G. Haden, B. J. Haden, 
Mrs. M. H. Marshall, S. M. Noel, J. B. Omohundro, Wm. and 
J. Sclater, W. H. Goodman, L. R. Sheflett. 

PAYNES-^. B. Kidd, D. W. Anderson, J. J. Ballard, E. 
Moon. 

SCOTTSVILLE, ALBEMARLE COUNTY— W. P. Adams, 
R. P. Bledsoe, P. Davis, Joseph Fox, John Schultz, Mrs. Theo 
Staples, G. A. Swope, E. C. Turner. 

SHORES— A. J. Seay, M. F. Seay, R. H. Seay, J, W. Strat- 
ton, M. L. Tutwiler, Mrs. P. S. Jennings. 

UNION MILLS— Dr. D. R. Boston, T. J. Clerk, J. H. 
Harlow, L. F. Stone, M. M. Armstrong, W. C. Burnley, S. M. 
Evans, M. B. Huckstep, J. W. Munday, E. W. Robinson, W. T. 
Walker. 

WILMINGTON— J. S. Bowles, A. O. Bell, R. S. CampbeU, 
H. W. Ellett, E. O. Gooch, H. R. Holland, P. A. Holland, Mrs. 
R. E. Loving, S. A. Loving, Richard Omohundro, S. N. 
Shepherd, Pleasant White, J. H. Wood, J. B. White. 

VALLENA— Aaron Bledsoe, J. N. Butler, J. P. Cleveland, 
E. A. Lucado, R. R. Pleasants. 



26 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



FLUVANNA COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
REPORT FOR 1969 

In the past, reports on the activities of the Fluvanna County 
Historical Society have been given in letters mailed to the 
members at least once a year. Since this bulletin contains the 
membership of the Society, we are including the report for 
1969 as well. 

As you will note, the membership of our Society has reached 
260 with 10 outof-state members and one from a foreign 
country. Those wishing to sponsor new members should sub- 
mit the names to the officers of the Society. 

The three annual meetings of the past year were interest- 
ing and successful. The spring meeting was held at B3rrd 
Chapel Church at Kents Store with Dr. Charles R. Guthrie of 
Richmond showing two reels of film on old Kents Store, espe- 
cially featuring the "vanishing country store." This film was 
shown twice, first to the residents of the neighborhood, and 
then to the members of the Society and their guests. 

The summer meeting featured a talk on Old Mills by Mr. 
David Baldwin, President of the Virginia Society of the Sons 
of the American Revolution, and was planned for the lawn of 
Mountain View at Palmyra, the home of Mr. and Mrs. J. 0. 
Shepherd. Due to rain Mr. Baldwin spoke in the Courthouse 
and refreshments were served at Mountain View. 

The fall meeting was held at the Courthouse and Mrs. Henry 
McGehee presented a program of slides to show ''Homes Flu- 
vannians Built." The collection of these slides of Fluvanna 
homes has been a project of the Society for the past year. 
We have now taken over 200 slides of Fluvanna homes. Since 
Mrs. McGehee's program was a survey of Fluvanna homes 
and their unique features, we plan to use the rest of the slides 
for the spring program when Mr. Randy Lanford will pre- 
sent the histories of some of the homes. From the inception 
of this project, it has been our aim to put a set of these slides 
in the Fluvanna schools with a tape recorded commentary. 

Another project of the Society this year has been the res- 
cue of an historic marker from the banks of the eld James 
River-Kanawha Canal near Bremo. This marker was in the 
way of the new water system plant so it was moved to the 
Museum grounds where we hope to provide a proper setting 

27 



-for it in ccmjunction with the paddles of the old canal boat. 
As planned, this exhibit should be an asset to the Museum 
and an attractive addition to the grounds. The marker is in- 
scribed: ''Jan. 8, 1888, Sands O'Brien, Contractor, broke 
.ground for the James River Kanawha Canal Co.'' 

In October we were asked to present a report of the activi- 
ties of our Society at the annual meeting of the Virginia His- 
tory Federation in Fredericksburg. We were especially asked 
to tell how our young Society in a rural county has so success- 
fully operated a Museum in the Old Stone Jail. 

We are happy to report that, with the cooperation of many 
organizations, the Old Stone Jail Museum had another suc- 
cessful summer season. Opening day was a huge success, fea^ 
turing new exhibits, antique cars, and special entertainment 
provided by the high school band and choir. 

Among the new acquisitions of the Museum this year are 
many interesting items from the estate of Mrs. Sallie Gray 
Perldns, formerly of Fluvanna, given or lent by Rice Univer- 
sity of Texas. We also wish to thank Mr. Willie Ripley for 
his gift of old newspapers, Mr. Harold Haislip for the Indian 
arrows and Mrs. Russell S. Proctor of Richmond for pictures 
and documents on Rivanna Mills which she has lent the Mu- 
seum for an indefinite period. 

The Fluvanna Chamber of Commerce has been most gen- 
erous and civic minded in granting the Museum fifty dollars 
a year. 

The first special exhibit of the summer featured pictures, 
account books, artifacts and other memorabilia of Fluvanna 
mills. The Point of Fork Chapter of the Daughters of The 
American Revolution provided a Fourth of July exhibit, and 
Mrs. Margaret Charlton graciously provided an exhibit of her 
art work. Plans are already afoot for the first special exhibit 
next summer: a spinning and weaving exhibit. Those who 
have handwoven articles they would be willing to exhiUt 
should contact the president of the Society. 

We wish to thank all those who made this season a success, 
including Mrs. H. F. Browning, Chairman of the Museum; 
Ifiss Minnie C. Jones and her committee of ladies who were 
in charge of the Family Room ; Mrs. W. W. Bercaw and Mrs. 
B. W. Seay who refurbished the Documents Room — and Mrs. 
J. O. Shepherd who lent material from Mountain View for 
4q>ecial esdiibits; Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Fleming who worked 

oj> Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



80 hard on the Farm Room, and Mr. George Madison, who 
continued his good work in the Patriots Room. We also thank 
Bfrs. Seay and Mrs. John Wills, the "keepers of the keys;" 
Judge B. W. Seay, our "right-hand man;'' and all those who 
so graciously served as hostesses. 

Our first bulletin of the year, like Bulletin #7, was a lighter 
and delightful account of the past, for it included excerpts 
from "Things I Remember," the memoirs of Mrs. Sallie Sad- 
ler Cleveland, written in her 93rd year. Following this sta- 
tistical Bulletin, #9, we will return to original research in Flu- 
vanna history with the publication of a manuscript on old 
Fluvanna mills. 

This year we have seen some results of our work with sur- 
vesrs done by the Virginia Commissions on Historic Land- 
marks and Outdoor Recreation. We have cooperated in every 
way possible with these agencies, answered letters, furnished 
written or published information, sent them pictures, and 
guided their personnel in their tours of our county. You have 
probably noted in the newspapers that several sites and struc* 
tures in Fluvanna have been designated historic state land- 
marks, and the Rivanna River was included in the Scenic Riv- 
ers Report. 

We hope in the future to, in some way, share with you the 
correspondence which we answer from other societies and the 
published material which they have sent us. Their Bulletins 
can be seen in the Museum. We also continue to answer mail 
from researchers from all parts of the globe, for these seekers 
always have something to share with our Society and Museum. 



Digitized by VjOOQ IC 

29 "^ 



FLUVANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY OFFICERS 
1965—1967 

President: Mr. William Siegfried 

1st. Vice President : Mrs. W. W. Bercaw 

2nd. Vice President: Mr. John Walter Holland 

Secretary-Recording: Mrs. Dred Poole 

Secretary-Corresponding: Mrs. E. P. Snead 

Treasurer: Col. John Ajrrault — ^Mrs. W. F. O'Brien 

1967—1968 
President: Mrs. Jay Pendergrass 
1st. Vice President : Capt. John Hunt 
2nd. Vice President : Mrs. Dred Poole 
Secretary-Recording: Mrs. Henry McGehee 
Secretary-Corresponding: Mrs. J. P. Snead 
Treasurer: Mrs. W. F. O'Brien 
Members of Executive Board at Large: Mrs. Burwell Seay, 

Mr. William Siegfried, Mrs. Ellis P. Snead 
Editor of the Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin: Mrs. 

Thomas Forsyth 

1968—1969 
President: Maj. John Hunt 
1st. Vice President: Mrs. Dred Poole 
Secretary-Recording: Mrs. Henry McGehee 
Secretary-Corresponding: Mrs. J. P. Snead 
Treasurer: Mrs. W. F. O'Brien 
Members of Executive Board at Large: Mrs. Burwell Seay, 

Mr. William Siegfried, Mrs. Ellis P. Snead 
Editor of the Fluvanna County Historical Bulletin: Mrs. 

Thomas Forsyth 

1969—1970 
President: Mrs. Ellis P. Snead 
1st. Vice President: Mrs. James 0. Shepherd 
2nd. Vice President: Comdr. Dred Poole 
Secretary-Corresponding: Mrs. W. W. Bercaw 
Secretary-Recording: Mrs. Charles F. Coffey 
Treasurer: Mrs. W. C. Profit 

Members of the Executive Board at Large: Mrs. Burwell 
Seay, Major John Hunt, Mr. William Siegfried 

Digitized by VjOOQIC 

80 a 6 



LIFE MEMBERS 

Mrs. Elliott Averett — Chatham, N. J. 

Central Virginia Electric Co-op. — ^Lovingston, Va. 

Mr. John Creasy — Salem, Va. 

Mrs. Forney Johnston — ^Birmingham, Ala. 

Mr. William H. King — ^Richmond, Va. 

Bfrs. Peter Koch — ^Beme, Switzerland 

Mrs. Warren O'Brien*— Bremo Bluflf, Va. 

Miss Elsie Pinckney — Charleston, S.C. 

Mrs. Russell S. Proctor, Sr. — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mr. E. H. Snead— Northfield, N. J. 

Mr. Harry L. Snead — Colonial Heights, Va. 

Miss Sadelew White— Stage Junction, Va. 

Mrs. John Laidlaw — ^Hinsdale, 111. 

Monticello Development Corporation — Charlottesville, Va. 

ANNUAL MEMBERS 

Mrs. Ruth Alexander* — Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. Sidney Allen — Greensboro, N. C. 

Mrs. Gordon Ambler — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Jaquelin Ambler IV — ^Richmond, Va. 

Miss Cora Anderson — Charlottesville, Va. 

Miss Mary Alice Ankers* — Columbia, Va. 

Mrs. Catherine Armstrong — ^Bremo Bluff 

Mrs. John Ayrault* — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Armistead Bajme — ^Norfolk, Va. 

Mrs. Cecil B. Bell*— Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. Henry Bell — ^Wilmington, Va. 

Mrs. C. T. Benjamin — ^Mechanicsville, Va. 

Mrs. Frank M. Benton — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Bercaw* — ^Wilmington, Va. 

Bfrs. Mattie Bowles Black — ^Pamplin, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Milo Blauvelt — ^Bremo Bluff, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Alfred M. Boggs — ^Richmond, Va. 

Miss Louise Boggs* — Columbia, Va. 

Mr. J. Robert Bond — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mr. T. Russell Bowles — ^Plainview, Texas 

Mrs. F. A. Bramham — Scottsville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Bransford*— Cohasset, Va. 

* Charter Members 

gi Digitized by VjOOQ IC 



Mrs. Harry Browning — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Ifrs. Virginia M. Bugg — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. Ethel Campbell* — ^Palmjnra, Va. 

Bfrs. Samuel Campbell* — ^Wilmington, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. H. W. Charlton*— Fork Union, Va. 

Bfrs. Pe3rton Chichester — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. J. W. Clark*— Troy, Va. 

Mr. George L. Cleveland — ^Asheville, N. C. 

Bfrs. C. H. Cocke*— Bremo BlufF, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Guy Cocke — Columbia, Va. 

Mr. W. Ronald Cocke, IV— Erie, Penn. 

Mr. William Cocke, Jr. — ^AsheviUe, N. C. 

Mrs. Charles E. Coffey — ^Palmjrra, Va. 

Mrs. C. C. Conrad — ^Palmjrra, Va. 

General and Mrs. Edwin Cox* — ^Aylett, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. George Coyle — ^Warrenton, Va. 

Mrs. James R. Cranford — ^Arlington, Va. 

Bfrs. Wilson Cropp — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Crouch — ^Arlington, Va. 

Dr. Walter Daniel— Charlotte, N. C. 

Mrs. Allen Davis, Sr. — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. G. M. Diggs — ^Trevilians, Va. 

Mr. Robert Drumwright* — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Floyd Edmister— Chapel ffill, N. C. 

Mr. and Mrs. Richard Faix — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Miss Edith Farrar— Palmyra, Va. 

Miss Pauline Farrar* — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. George Ferguson — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. J. Alfred Figg*— Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Fleming— Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. William Forstbauer-Pahnyra, Va. 

Mrs. George Forsyth— Bremo Bluff, Va. 

Miss Annie Gannaway — Cumberland, Va. 

Mrs. Sally Wood Grant — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. A. Russell Gray, Sr.— Wilkesboro, N. C. 

Mrs. A. Conrad Haden — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. Wesley Haden — ^Kents Store, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. G. Foster Hagan— Palmyra, Va. 

Mr. L. H. Halliburton— Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. John Hamner— Ashland, Va. 

Mrs. William Hannah — ^McLean, Va. 

Mr. Kenneth L. Hardesty — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Sidney P. Harland*— Pahnyra, Va. 

Mrs. D. B. Harris — ^Richmond* Va. 

♦ Charter Members Digitized by dOOQ Ic 

32 



Mrs. J. B. Hasher— Troy, Va, 

Miss Anne M. Hajmes — ^Troy, Va, 

Mrs. R. B. Holberton — C!olumbia, Va. 

Mrs. R. E. Holland— Richmond, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. John M. Hunt* — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. C. R. Irving— Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. Charles E. Jones — ^Waco, Texas 

Mrs. G. H. Jones — Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Henry Campbell Jones* — Carysbrook, Va.. 

Miss Minnie Jones — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Betty Runk Kayan — ^Troy, Va. 

Mrs. Jack Kennan — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. Ola Kent — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. John Laidlaw — Hinsdale, HI. 

Mr. and Mrs. A. A. Lanford* — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Miss Katherine Lecky* — ^Louisa, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas LeVines— Spotsylvania, Va. 

Mr. Fred Liockwood — Scottsville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Matthew London — ^Richmond, Virginia 

Mrs. T. J. Loving — Stage Junction, Va. 

Mrs. Floyd Lmn — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Mr. Ben H. McGehee — ^Newport News, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Henry McGehee* — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Mr. Charles McKenna — Scottsville, Va. 

Mr. M. Q. Madison — ^Palmjrra, Va. 

Dr. and Mrs. John Manahan— Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. David C. Mangum — ^Manassas, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles C. Manning — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. Katherine Shiflett Manry — Courtland, Va. 

Mrs. Maury H. Massie — Richmond, Va. 

Miss Judy Melton* — Cohassett, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert A. Meyer — ^Fork Union, Va^ 

Dr. and Mrs. D. J. MeiUer— Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Frances G. Moon — Cumberland, Va. 

Mrs. Theodore Murphy — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. George Myers — Chesterland, Ohio 

Mr. Thomas D. Neal — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. J. M. Odom — Moultrie, Ga. 

Mrs. Maude Omohundro* — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Orange County Historical Soc. — Orange, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Payne* — ^Bremo Bluff, Va. 

Mrs. Bertha Peacock — Cohasset, Va. 

Mrs. A. A. Pegau — Charlottesville, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Pendergrass* — ^Fork Union, V^ 

♦ Charter Members Digitized by GoOglc 

33 



Mrs. Cecil J. Perkins — ^Kents Store 
Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Perkins, Jr. — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mr. I. Paul Perkins — ^Houston, Texas 
Mrs. J. H. Perkins — ^Kents Store 
Mr. Robert C. Perkins — ^Fork Union 
RAdm. W. B. Perkins— Hinsdale, HI. 
Mrs. Clyde Pittman— Great Falls, S. C. 
Mr. and Mrs. D. W. Poole*— Wilmington, Va. 
Mr. Wallace Poore — East McKeesport, Penn. 
Mrs. Margaret Proffltt — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Mr. Henry Pulliam — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. Sophia Rogers — ^Williamsburg, Va. 
Mr. B. F. D. Runk— Charlottesville, Va. 
Mrs. Sue Bowles Rustay — Houston, Texas 
Miss Frances Sadler — ^Palmyra, Va. 
Miss Marion Sadler — ^Palmyra, Va. 
Mrs. R. L. St. Sauver — ^Kents Store, Va. 
Miss Caroljm Sclater — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. Burwell W. Seay* — ^Palmyra, Va. 
Mrs. Loutrelle Seay — ^Palmyra, Va. 
Mrs. Armstrong Shepherd— Gloucester, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Shepherd* — Charlottesville, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. J. 0. Shepherd* — ^Palmyra, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Siegfried*— Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. Viola C. Small — ^Long Beach, Calif. 
Mr. and Mrs. M. S. Smart — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. George P. Smith, Jr.* — ^Pahnjrra, Va. 
Mr. Charles Snead — ^Alexandria, Va. 
Mr. Edloe Snead — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. Ellis P. Snead*— Fork Union, Va. 
Mr. Harold Snead — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mrs. Isabelle Snead — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. J. P. Snead* — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Mr. Roswell P. Snead — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mrs. Tapscott Snead — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Adm. and Mrs. William 0. Snead — Greenway, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. P. L. Staley — Scottsville, Va. 
Mr. Melvin Lee Steadman — ^Dun Loring, Va. 
Mrs. Charles A. Stone— Scottsville, Va. 
Louis H. Stoneman, Jr. — ^Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. Louise P. Strathy — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mrs. W. A. Talley*— Pahnyra, Va. 
Mrs. H. M. Taylor*— Richmond, Va. 
♦ Charter Member 

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Mr. R. Steve Thomas — Hopewell, Va. 

Mr. and Bfrs. Edward W. Tibbott— Palmjrra, Va. 

Mrs. Harrison Tillman — Crozier, Va. 

Mrs. Howard Timberlake — ^Mechanicsville, Va. 

Miss Elizabeth Tompkins — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. E. R. Trapnell — ^Arlington, Va. 

Mrs. Norma Thompson — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Paul Thompson — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mr. J. W. Tutwiler— Fort Wayne, Ind. 

Mr. and Mrs. John S. Tyng* — ^Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. Thomas W. Valentine — ^Bowling Green, Va. 

Mrs. Robert Walsh — ^Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. Augusta Smith Watkins* — Charlottesville, Va. 

Miss Marguerite Watkins — Culpeper, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Ryland Watts — ^Wilmington, Va. 

Mrs. E. B. Weaver*— Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. Hartwell White*— Fork Union, Va. 

Mrs. A. C. Whitley*— Pahnyra, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. G. D. Wilkinson — ^Palm3rra, Va. 

Mrs. Oscar Williams — Scarsdale, N. Y. 

Miss Camilla Wills— Charlottesville, Va. 

Mrs. John W. Wills— Pahnyra, Va. 

Mrs. A. T. Wilshire— Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. White Wilson*— Bybee, Va. 

Mrs. Helen K. Winston — ^Eents Store, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Charles A. Wood — ^Bremo Bluff, Va. 

Mrs. George L. Wood, Jr. — Scottsville, Va. 

Mrs. J. N. Wood — ^Dayton, Va. 

Mrs. Richard Wooling — ^Virginia Beach, Va. 

Mrs. J. M. Wyatt, Jr. — ^Richmond, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. T. Aubrey Yancey — ^Arvonia, Va. 

Dr. and Mrs. Ivan Yonce, Jr. — ^Fork Union, Va. 

NECROLOGY 

1969 

The Reverend J. Alfred Figg*— Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. C. E. Hunter— Scarsdale, N. Y. 
Mrs. Charles McK^ma — Scottsville, Va. 
Mrs. Malcolm Perkins* — ^Asheville, N. C. 
Mr. Warren O'Brien*— Bremo Bluff, Va. 
Mr. H. Magruder Taylor — ^Richmond, Va. 
Mr. Phillip Campbell— Bremo Bluff, Va. 
Mrs. Georgie Snead — ^Bremo Bluff, Va. 

♦ Charter Member Digitized by GoOqIc 

35 "^ 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 
to collect and preserve manuscripts and other documents 
relating to the history of Fluvanna County in Virginia; 
to maintain the Old Stone Jail at the county seat. Pal- 
myra, as a museum where antiquities of the county may 
be exhibited ; and to encourage historical research. 

>- ^ Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. 

^ -^ Annual dues are ^HB; a life membership costs $50.00. A 



bulletin will be published twice a year, to be distributed 
rj ^ forJSBBBi a copy. Readers are requested to contribute 
^ ^ any information of historical interest they may have or 
may be able to obtain. The Society will endeavor to pubr 
lish as much of this information as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: The Edi- 
tor, Bulletin of the Historical Society, Palmyra, Virginia. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 10& 11 



October 1970 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
Built in 1830 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 10& 11 



October 1970 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 

Built in 1830 



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9/73 



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OLD MILLS OF FLUVANNA 



I The Mffls of Yesterday 7 

n Early Records and MiUs 10 

in Wood's Map of 1820 12 

IV Creek Mills 

Ballenger Creek 12 

Byrd Creek 13 

Carys Creek 14 

Bremo Creek IS 

Little Bremo Creek 1 6 

Rockfish Creek - Seven Isles 1 7 

V James River ~ Middleton Mills 1 8 

VI Hardware River -Kidd's Mill 19 
Vn I Remember, I Remember 19 
Vrn They Ground Exceedingly Fine 21 

IX Millers, Mills and Mechunk 24 

X Solitude Stands 25 

XI Rivanna River Mills 26 

The Union Mills 26 

Palmyra MiUs 28 

Carysbrook Plantation Mill 29 

"De Kingfish:" Rivanna Mills 29 



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FOREWORD 

The credit for this buUetin goes to my husband, Henry CorrMcGehee, 
for it is he who has noted the sites of the miOs chronicled here. He has 
walked the farms and creeks of his county and knows them well Without 
him to show us, to explain to us, old mills would never have meant 
anything in our life - unless there remained an interesting old building to 
explore. 

Appreciation and merit are also due Mr. R. E. Harmum and Mrs. E. P. 
Snead who travelled the roads of mill research before us, and passing, left 
trail signs along tiie way. And we wish to thank Ridiard George, Qerk of 
Fluvanna County, for sharing an interest in old mills; his enthusiasm 
opened marry doors to mills of the past. And we want to thank each 
resident of Fluvanna, and each descendant of a Fluvannian, who has 
patiently answered our questions about old mills, and da who have shared 
their memories, pictures and documents. 

And when you read, do not tell us how many mills we have failed to 
record. We know. We could not even mention our favorite old dam on 
Long Island Creek, near the Page Gold Mine. We have not learned all its 
history, but there is the dam ofcarefidly placed rocks, anchored in arbutus 
and lady slippers. 

Minnie Lee McGehee 
March 1970 



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OLD MILLS OF FLUVANNA 

I 
TheMillsofYesteiday 

Here is the mill with the humming of thunder, 
Here is the weir with the wonder of foam, 
(fere is the sluice with the race running under- 
Marvellous places, though handy to home! 

-Robert Louis Stevenson 

The mills of yesterday played a laige role in family and community life, 
and they dwell in the memory of all those who were privileged to listen to 
the roar of the water over the millwheel, and the rumble of the grinding 
stones, or to sniff the satisfying odor of newly ground com meal. 

Today we reach old mills down a dimly defined track, banked in moss, 
littered with years of leaves lovingly covering ancient scan. The sound of 
falling water leads us on to find the sturdy foundations, a half-buried 
millstone, and wooden gears turning to dust. 

Through the very nature and needs of a water mill, it grew in loveliness. 
Despite a litter of rusted iron, womout wheels and discarded logs, it 
still achieved beauty. This was especially true of the creek mills- they 
nestted into their surroundings, covered with vines, shaded by trees. As hk 
business prospered, the miller would extend the roof to add a lean-to, 
adding grace and slanting lines. And there was the greatest wonder, the 
water wheel— to provide music, a perfect circular symbol of Time and 
Eternity. 

Many peopte believe the old mills worth saving, and sleepy old buildings 
are waking to a new life of usefulness. Mill enthusiasts are led by a 
nostalgia for lost beauty, for their lost youth when, they believe, a man 
put all his heart into his work, finding it a joy and not a nerve-racking 
grind. 

Alexander Percy has put it into words for us all: 

There was the dam, and the mill-pond above and behind it; 
there was the huge water-wheel which sloshed and turned 
when the sluice was opened; there were the great 
millstones. . .between which the com filtered to its golden 
doom; and there was the miller, a bit sweaty and covered with 
a lovely creamy dust of meal, especiaUy his eyebrows and 
mustache. Sometimes I was allowed to ride behind Reuben 



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when he took a sadc of corn to be ground. We would wait tiD 
the resulting sadc of meal was ready to be put over the 
pommel and jogged home. . .to be manipulated into 
oom-pones of unspeakable crunchiness and savor. The meal 
wouM be still damp and warm when it was turned over to us, 
and it was hard not to eat it raw, like chickens, so rich and 
really fundamental it smelled.^ 
One of the first aims of man was to find some kind of power to relieve 
his good right arm of some of its work. Thus the first mills were bom. The 
creek, the tide, or the wind— these were the servants of our forebears, 
grinding their grain, sawing their timbers, carding their wool. 

Man had no control over the winds and tides, intangibles free to come 
and go, so pioneers pushing westward in this new country gladly turned to 
the numerous creeks for power. Except in flood or drought, they were a 
more stable and predictable source of power. As soon as the pioneer miller 
had erected a shelter for his family, he turned about to find a fall upon a 
stream. 

Mills were the first processing plants, the eariy industries of this new 
country. As the Fluvanna area attracted early settlers, eveiy landowner 
with a suitable stream soon had a grist mill to turn out ""the staff of life.** 
Later, larger mills were built which could also grind wheat for flour, or saw 
timber. Some of the water power was used to card wool. 

The Indians had taught the early settlers to grow com, and com bread 
was the staple food for settlers in this Piedmont of Viiginia. It remained a 
favorite hot bread, and com batter bread was served at least once a day. 
Com was custonumly taken to the neighborhood mill in small batches,'* 
usually once a week, so the meal would always be fresh. (This was still true 
in the early decades of this centuiy . Every family had a meal chest in the 
kitchen— and a flour barrel in the pantry.) When the level of the meal in 
the chest was low, someone was dispatched to the comcrib to shell some 
com to be taken to the local mill for grinding. 

The mills played an important part in the social, economic and political 
life of the community. In the early settlements there were but two social 
centers, and all roads led ""to Mill or to Meeting.** The mill was the chib, 
the favorite gathering place for sharing news and debating the issues of the 
day. Here the henpecked husband could regain his self-esteem, the local 
statesman find an audience, and the farmer ascertain how his neighbors' 
crops were standing the drought. There might be but one or two backless 
chairs around, but there were ahvays bags or piles of lumber of some sort 
to lean on. Many jests and contests displaying feats of strength helped to 
while away the time as the com was ground. 



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The ''jolly miller'' was not only the kingpin of all social life for miles 
around; he was a gifted man, designing and setting up his own mill in all its 
parts. He was a leader in the conununity / with a steady income derived 
from a large circle of friends and acquaintances. However, no money was 
passed at the small mills; the miller took his toll from the finished product. 

The grist mill was a family affair, with the miller's home and family at 
the end of the path. Here, beneath cobwebs heavy with dust and the 
yellow mist of meal, was the diildren's first school. And when the sun 
slipped below the treetops, and the farmer had reached home with his 
meal and enough news for a week's talk, and the miller had stopped the 
wheel and dropped the latch on the door, the mill became a meeting place 
for young lovers. 

The mill met the local needs in so many ways. When the miller ground 
for the surrounding neighborhood, though that neighborhood might have a 
radius of ten miles, his mill was a ''custom mill." When he ground meal or 
flour to be sent to a distance, his mill became a "merchant mill" At the 
larger mills, the mill owner became a buyer, seller, conunission agent, 
counselor, price-setter, lawyer and banker— extending credit, making loans 
with interest, writing his own notes and mortgages. 

The beaten paths to the early mills became roads and towns were built 
around mills. The first reference we can find to Palmyra, the county seat 
of Fluvanna County, is the name 'Talmyra Mflls" on a map of 1820. The 
town grew because of the mill. The millowner wanted the Courthouse 
Road to pass by his mill, and gradually the mill and the clustering shops 
and homes lured the county seat across the Rivanna River. (In 1828 plans 
were made to erect new court buildings at Palmyra.) 

There are three ways to garner information about old mills: by talking 
to older residents of each neighborhood, from county court records, and 
by walking along the streams of Fluvanna. 

On the banks of the creeks and rivers can still be seen fascinating 
physical evidence of sturdy dams and lodes, earthen races, and enduring 
rock foundations. Some mills ceased operations so long ago that there is 
not even a family descendant left in the county to tell their history. But is 
was difficult to dispose of those huge rocks and leave no mark, and equally 
hard to smooth off the race which threaded the hillside. 

For instance, our best information about one mill on Byrd Creek is 
determined from the physical remains. By local memory, the millhouse has 
not existed since 1830, but the mile-long millrace still curves around the 
hillside from the dam site on Kents Branch to end on the slope above the 
lowgrounds of the Big Byrd near route 630, the old White Hall Road. It is 
believed to be one of the mills built about 1800 by John Adams, who 



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received an early patent for hundreds of acres of land on Byrd Creek. 

Mr. R. E. Hannum once pinpointed a mill that was built, that ground 
meal for the neighborhood, and that passed from existence, before 
September 1775. He not only found the remains on ""My chunk Creek** 
near its confluence with the Rivanna River, but he found a deed in which 
James Adams of Albemarle sold SO acres of land to Thomas Rountree, the 
land lying on the north side of the Rivanna and Mechunk Creek, the 
boundaries ending as follows: ""to a branch that runs into Mychunk Creek 
where the old mill stood.** 

Finding mill sites by names given in records, or handed down by word 
of mouth, is sometimes difficult, for the name by which local people 
called a mill changed with each change in ownership or millers. The mill 
was most often known by the miller's name. For instance. Solitude MiH on 
Cunningham Creek, long owned by the Wills family, has been known as 
Wills's Mill, GrifTm's Mill, Anderson's Mill, Tihnan's Mill, and Roger's Mill. 

n 

Early Recofds and Mills 

There is a wealth of records of early mills in the county clerk*s office. A 
mill dam could not be built on a stream without permission from the 
county justices. The Court appointed a group of men to view the site and 
report to them. 

The earliest writ of aquod damnum we could fmd recorded after the 
formation of the county in 1777 was dated January 22, 1793, permitting 
James Hopkins to build a dam on Driver's Creek. The mill stood on the 
west side of the creek as it flowed down to the James River near Scottsville 
(later, the site of a cannery). 

The court record for the Hopkins mill is typical of the writs found on 
pages of yellowed deed books: 

The Commonwealth of Virginia To the Sheriff of Fluvanna 
County Greetings: You are hereby commanded to summon 
and inpannel twelve fit persons of your County by whom the 
truth of the matter may be the better known to meet on 
Tuesday the twenty-second day of this Instant (January) upon 
the Lands of James Hopkins situate on both sides of Driver's 
Creek the ^ James Hopkins is desirous of erecting a 
Water-Grist Mill and Saw44ill. And that you chaige the s^ 
Freeholders impartially to view the place proposed by the s^ 
James Hopkins for the purpose aforesaid, and the Lands 



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adjacent thereto, and diligently examine what Lands may be 

overflowed, and say to what damage it will be to the several 

proprietors, and whether the Mansion House, of any such 

proprietor, or the Offices, Curtilage or Garden whereto 

immediately belonging or Orchards will be overflowed; also 

whether, and what degree fish of passage; and ordinary 

Navigation be obstructed thereby; whether by any, or by what 

means such obstruction may be prevented, and whether in 

their opinion the health of the Neighbors will be annoyed by 

the stagnation of Waters: And the Inquisition there upon 

openly and distinctly made to us. . . 

The examiners were "duly sworn on the Holy evangelists," and "In 

obedience to an Order made by the Worshq)ful County Court of 

Fluvanna'' they met on the land and made their report at the next court. 

Thus the applicant received permission to build his dam. 

In many cases they did find that the dam would flood a small area 
belonging to a neighbor and decided upon a just payment: "(we) find that 
about one Acre of Land the property of John Scott, Esq. will be 
overflowed. . .and that the damage which in consequence thereof to the s^ 
John Scott will be four pounds two Shillings.'' 

Impartial judgments were sought, and a 1794 writ instructed the 
inspectors: 

. . .these freeholders taking nothing on pain of being 
discharged from the Inquest, and immediately imprisoned 
(by the Sheriff) either of meat or drink from any person 
whatever from the time they shall come to the said place until 
their inquest is sealed. . . 
It is impossible to even list all the early mills which once operated in 
Fluvanna, but a few very early ones shoukl be mentioned. A deed dated 
1793 proved that a Mr. Haden had a mill on Cunningham Creek at that 
time. In 1794 Michael Atkisson built a water grist mill on Shepherd's 
Creek near its junction with the Hardware River. In 1805 Laricin Bransom 
built a 7H-foot dam on Briery Creek, a branch of the Hardware, north of 
Scottsville. 

The Austin Seay Mill stood on Crook's Creek as early as 1803, the dam 
18 feet high. James Blade built a mill on the north fork of the 
Cunningham Creek by 1815. Allen Bamerd, a county justice, was quite 
enterprising, for in 1803 he was operating a mill on Adrian's Creek 
(Boston Creek), for the new town of Bamerdsburg on the Rivanna. (This 
river crossing is now called Crofton and nearby is the new dam for Lake 
Monticello. In building the new dam the last trace of the old mill and dam 



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was destroyed.) In 1804 Bamerd opened a tanyard, and in 1805 William 
Jones built a sawmill on the same creek to fiimish lumber for the new 
town. 

in 

Wood's Map of 1820 

Wood listed 14 mills on the county map drawn in 1820, but records 
indicate that others did exist at that time: 
Magruder's Mill on Beaverdam Creek 
Union Mills on the Rivanna 
Moon's Mill on Briery Creek 
Virgin's Mill at Seven Ishuids 
Scott's Mill and Canal near Bremo Creek 
Wiim's Mill on Bremo Creek 
Cocke's Mill on Little Bremo Creek 
Wood's Mill and Canal on the Rivarma near Colimibia 
Ashlin's Mill (Rivanna Mills) on the Rivanna 
Strange's Mill on the upper reaches of Ballenger Creek 
Strange's Mill near mouth of Ballenger Creek 
Payne's Mill on Phill's Creek (Branch of Byrd) 
Venable's Mill on east branch of Byrd 
Palmyra Mill on the Rivanna 

IV 

CieekMOls 

Balleqger Creek 

The number of documents in the county offices detailing information 
about Fluvanna mills is amazing, but more amazing to us, are the number 
of dams and mill sites that can be seen today on the bank of any creek in 
the county. 

On Ballenger Creek alone, in a seven-mile stretch, can be seen the 
remains of seven or eight dams, some in very good shape. On the upper 
reaches was Haden's Mill, and by 1830 Walker Timberlake had a mill on 
the north branch. Flanagan's Mill stood near Wildwood until after 1900, 
and a little farther downstream stood a mill named for Gideon Alloway 
Strange. It seems Strange was the presiding genius of mills on Ballenger, 
and in 1833 he had two mills just a mile apart. 

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He had a storage dam just below route 632» and if you foDow the 
crooks of the creek you will come to another of his mills. By 1835 
Edmund George had a mill here on '^Alloway's Millsite'' and for his mill he 
had a 15-acre lake. (Standing on the handsome rode dam today, you do 
not see a large lake spread before you, but if you will look down at your 
feet, you will find you are circled in a whirl of nuiidenhair fern.) 

Below route 601 across Ballenger's Creek were at least two mills. At 
one time the upper one was called McKeand*s Mill and it stood on land 
owned by the George family in mid-nineteenth centuiy. The 1820 map 
shows another '*Strange's Mill** farther downstream near the mouth of 
Ballenger. (Strange also built a h>ck at his proposed mill site on the 
Rivanna above Carysbrook in 1830.) 

Byrd Creek 

A mill still alive in the memories of Fluvanna folk is the okl Holland 
Mill on Kents Branch of the Byrd. The dam washed out in an 1858 freshet 
and it was never rebuilt. The large quarried stones from the abutment of 
the 20-foot dam were placed around the cemetery of the Holland and 
Perkins families. 

Hezekiah Holland built the millhouse of huge heart-pine timben to 
endure, possibly trying to ensure food for the long line of descendants he 
envisioned. The rock waUs of the basement were three feet thick. Soon 
after 1816 flour was ground as well as com. Before this, Ashlin's Rivanna 
Mills was the only flour mill in the area. 

In 1805 John Kent built a mill to grind com and card wool on Kents 
Branch, a mill which ran for many, many years, and is best remembered as 
Bragg'sMiU. 

Gray's Mill on Byrd, not far from route 659, near Wihnington, was 
important in the lives of people still Uving. Sam and Clifton Wright are 
remembered as the able millers at this mill once owned by a Gray. Could 
this have been the site of one of the three mills erected by John Adams 
between 1805 and 1810? Mr. Vest Payne has a plat dated 1838 which 
shows this mill, and his neighbor Henry Bell tells of an incident whidi 
happened about 1856. His uncle Branch Bell remembered that he and his 
brother, Henry, rode down to the mill one winter's day to get the meal 
ground. The snow was so deep the youngsters took two horses, so the first 
horse could break a track for the second, laden with bags of corn behind 
the rider. (Henry BeU was later killed in the battle of Gettysburg.) 

Gray's Mill operated until around Workl War 11. The millpond 
remained, a favorite fishing spot, until high water broke the dam about 



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1948. Even then much of the wooden crib dam remained, as did the small 
millhouse. The flood of August 19, 1969 is the villain of this story; with 
water over 35 feet high, it swept away the millhouse and the last vestiges 
of the dam. 

Thomas Anderson Hughes had a mill on Byrd a fraction of a mile 
downstream from the old covered bridge on the Stage Road from Stage 
Junction to Kents Store. It is believed that this mill washed out about the 
time of the War Between the States. One of the millstones was given to the 
county by William Ronald Codce, III, and it was placed in the garden at 
the Old Stone Jail Museum in Palmyra. 

In 1830 Benjamin Bowles asked permission to build a mill lower down 
the Byrd to grind com and wheat and card wool. The mill was known by 
his son's name: 'The Jesse Bowles Mill." One diary records that the 
Yankees under Dahlgren burned this mill near the end of the war. 

Jesse Bowles was a millwright and still operated the mill after he sokl it 
in 1840 to Alexander and Duncan McRae of Columbia, who owned many 
thriving enterprises there. The mill was rebuilt following the war, and in 
1868 a business directory stated that Duncan McRae owned carding 
machines and a flour mill. On December 31, 1849 Philip St. George Codce 
wrote them from Bebnead: "I send you my check. . .for fifty and 20/100 
dollars as full of your bill for carding wool and making wookn doth-the 
Cloth was quite good.'" 

Caiys Creek 

Records of mills on the branches of Carys Creek are a bit confusing, 
and no one knows for sure how many there have been. This is another 
example of how many mills existed in a small area of the county, and how 
important they were to the community. 

There was a mill on Martin's Creek, one branch of Carys, even before 
1796, for a permit of that year to John Ford provided for a water grist 
mill on Martin's Mill Creek; so, you see, Martin had a mill years before 
Ford. In 1832 Richard B. Payne dedded to build a 20-foot dam on 
Martin's Creek for the purpose of running a water grist mill and other 
engines and machines. (Richard B. Payne was a prosperous man, bom one 
month after the 1776 Declaration of Independence.) 

A dam on Able Creek is interesting, for the portion remaining shows 
slate rock mixed with field stone-a dam built so long ago that it defies 
local memories. It is near abandoned slate quarry pits, but the dam broke 
many years before prospectors scarred the hillsides. 

Benjamin and George Anderson planned a mill on a branch of Carys in 



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1812, and in 1817 John Snead built a dam on the south fork of Carys 
Creek, the dam not to be so high '*as to overflow the ford between Fork 
Ordinary and Bryant's Ford Road.'* 

Another mill stood on Carys Creek not very far from the Rivanna 
which evidently served Carysbrook Plantation. Plantation records mention 
the purchase of a new saw in 1827, and in 1828 George W. Wright was 
paid $19.50 for 19H days work on the mill, probably repairs. The Gay 
family bought the mill in the 1830's and began an imusual industry. They 
supplied mill spindles of heart pine for overshot water wheels. 

A plat, c. 1840, shows the grain mill, the separate building whidi 
housed the saw mill, and the public road. When the dam at Rivaima Milk 
was raised, boats could enter the mouth of Carys and load crossties and 
other produce at the wharf which can still be detected just below the 
present George P. Griffin Bridge. This millpond was a noted fishing place, 
for it abounded with large-mouth bass. We have heard that the dam was 
cut just prior to the Civil War in order to use the bottom land for farming. 

Brano Creek 

Less evident, but well documented, are the nest of early mills on and 
near Big Bremo Creek. In June, 1795, Thomas Winn was granted 
permission to build a water grist mill on the east bank of Big Bremo Creek 
about one mile from its confluence with the James River. Thomas Winn 
had a large tract of land on both sides of this creek. 

Less than one year later, in February 1796, Thomas Henley received a 
permit to build a grist mill on the land of John Hartwell Codce, the elder, 
deceased. The water would also back on Winn's land. This was a small mill 
set in the midst of bigger mills, for besides Winn's mill, in 1795 Joseph 
Wooling had built a water grist mill on a branch of Big Bremo Creek. In 
1802 John Hartwell Cocke, the younger, built a milldam to the east on 
Little Bremo Creek, and the same year Thomas Shores received permission 
to build a 21 -foot dam to the west on Rockflsh Creek. 

Then in 1810 Charles A. Scott erected a big mill at the mouth of Big 
Bremo Creek. This mill could almost be classifled as a river mill, as he was 
permitted to use water from the James River, ""taking 8 feet of water in 
wedth out of James River at the place called the Falling Rock" through a 
canal Capt. John Ware had cut by "blowing away" rock. 

The millhouse was on the west side of the mouth of Big Bremo Creek, 
and according to an old map the canal was about one-half mile long. The 
dam did not span the James, being only from one of the islands to the 
north bank, so it did not interfere with the passage of flsh either in the 
creek or the river. After Ware had cut the canal, the James River boats 



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used it, but the investigating commissioners for Scotts Mill decided the 
boats could use the ''bull sluice about 60 or 70 yards out in the s^ River** 
which they had used prior to the cutting of Ware's Canal. 

Little Bremo Creek 

We have mentioned the mill built by General John Hartwell Cocke on 
little Bremo Creek. A unique stone mill is still standing. When Cocke to6k 
over the management of the estate of Bremo, one of his first considera- 
tions was a good grist mill, which he built on 'Tittle Brimmo Creek** 
about 1802. The dam was 20 feet high. His private records show that 
repairing and rebuilding his grist mill continued for many years. 

Part of the dam collapsed after a heavy rain in 1806, was repaired, but 
gave away again in 1807. A year later he had the dam rebuilt and in 1809 
he replaced the mill machinery. Five years later he needed new millstones, 
and by 1819 Cocke began to plan an entirely new mill. It is this mill, with 
the date 1822 above the door, which stands today in good repair, the 
stones weathered to beautiful soft shades of blue, gray, rose and brown. 
The upper windows have handsome arched stone "eyebrows** and other 
windows and doors have decorative stone lintels. 

When we first saw the old mill we were enchanted, not realizing that 
the enchantment would linger for many years and include many mills, 
though none of them would be as lovely. The wooden circlet of the 
overshot wheel was stiU clinging to the sun-warmed stone wall, waiting for 
some hand from long ago to open the sluice and to start its slow turning, 
setting the wooden cogs creaking. The long millrace is clearly visible today 
as it winds around the hillside. The mill dam has been recently repaired, 
and the beautiful stones still gracefully arch the race to form culverts 
under the old carriage road. 

Cocke hoped to make this mill, completed in December, 1822, the 
most "elegant" in Virginia. "I must warn you," he wrote Joseph Cabell, 
"that I go not only for comfort & convenience in this improvement but 
for some fame in the Bargain. . .You may have the best Horse Mill & 
welcome, but I mean God willing, to have the best water Mill."^ 

There is proof that Cocke had mills turned by oxen or horses, too. In 
the big bams at Upper and Lower Bremo you can still see the circle in the 
floors made by oxen as they turned the shafts of mills. The wooden 
cogwheels are still in place. 



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Rockfish Creek - Seven Ides 

Thomas Shores buflt Virgin's Mill on Rockfish Creek about 1802 for 
the neighborhood centered at Seven Islands. As a settlement, '"Seven Isles'' 
must date back before the Revolution, but its beginning is lost to today's 
researdier. It was named for the islands in the James River which vary in 
number according to the latest channels cut by flood waters, so the 
magical number of '*Seven" was chosen. 

There must have been a mill here before Shores built Viigin's Mill, for 
there is a well-founded tradition about this millpond on Rockfish. During 
the Revolution the Continental troops were camped near the spot when 
they heard the British were coming. The local forces, being greatly 
outnumbered, threw their equipment into the millpond to thwart the 
enemy, and beat a hasty retreat. The truth of this story is borne out by the 
fact that George Seay foimd many pieces of guns of the Revolutionary 
period, some metal from swords and other equipment, in the millpond. 

A stone marker at a fork of two old roads still points 'To 7 Ides Mill." 
Nestled near the James were the mill, a store, a boat landing, a blacksmith 
shop, and later, a post office. On the highland stood Seven Isles Church, 
which, by 1832, was used by the Methodists. 

We do not know why the mill at Seven Isles was called Viigin's. It was 
later called Tutwiler's Mill, for Martin Tutwiler married the daughter of 
the builder, Maria Shores, on October 30, 1817. He bought the mill from 
his father-in-law between 1820 and 1830. Tutwiler, it is sakl, came from 
the western part of the state to Seven Isles to build Middleton Mills on the 
James to the east. 

Virgin's Mill was a five-story frame building with a heavy rock 
foundation, the overshot wheel on the east side. The Museum has a picture 
of the old building, with people gathered round. This was the meeting 
place for the community-an important stop for packet and freight boats 
on the James. After the railroad was laid on the towpath of the canal, a 
spark from a passing train fell on the roof one night in 1893. The roof 
caught fire, and, the mill being built of heart pine, the flames spread so 
fast that nothing could be done to save it. Some of the rocks from the 
foundations were moved to build a retaining wall about the yard of the 
Tutwiler home, and in 1912 a millstone was broken to provide a 
foundation for an addition to the house. 



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The James River - Middkton Mflb 

Middleton Mills was probably the only James River Mill in Fluvanna. 
Early records mention Middleton Mills as being at Seven Isles, but that 
settlement faded away, and the center that grew around Middleton was 
called Shores. 

The first mill here was built for Charles A. Scott, the same man, wc 
presume, who had built the mill on Ware's Canal at the mouth of Bremo 
Creek in 1810. Viigin's Mill was upstream at the mouth of Rockfish; 
Scotts old mill, downstream at the mouth of Bremo. Could this mill have 
gotten its name because it was in the '^middle?*' 

Again Scott used a partial dam in the James and a canal to bring water 
down for power. The James River-Kanawha Canal Company bought the 
property from Tutwiler and John B. Hart just before the Canal was built, 
about 1838. Did the canal engineers make use of Scott's feeder dam and 
canal? Evidence on the ground leads one to believe that they did. Part of 
an inlet gate lies half-buried in the bank of the James today at the site of 
an old dam, just upstream from Shores, but so much was obliterated in 
buOding the railroad that any conclusions drawn are open to question. 
A U.S. Geological Survey of 1897 lists dams on the James. It includes 
Middleton Mills and describes a low feeder dam, spanning only part of the 
river below Seven Islands. This description fits Scott's dam. 

Middleton Mills burned about 40 years ago and today two beautifiil 
rough keystone arches mark the site. A picture in the Old Stone Jail 
Museum shows a tremendously tall brick building reached by a bridge over 
the canal. The east side of the mill boasted 12 windows which looked 
down on a crowd of people around the mill and on the bridge. Patient 
oxen doze before the wagons, waiting their masters' pleasure. Just so the 
people must have gathered to watch the young men in gray embaric on a 
canal boat to travel down the James River4Canawha Canal to Richmond, 
and so to war. The men of the Fluvanna Light Artillery had drilled daily. 
Dr. Cary C. Cocke their Captain. One veteran remembered: 

On Sunday, August 4, Rev. A. C. Bledsoe preached to us at 
Fluvanna Church, an appropriate sermon, and on Tuesday, 
August 6, we bade a sad farewell to home and loved ones with 
tearful eyes and well-filled haversacks. We assembled at 
Middleton MiDs where a freight boat was in waiting to convey 
us to the Confederate Capital. 



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VI 
Hifdware River - Kidd*8 Mffl 

Another important mill in this area, but nearer Scottsville, stood on the 
east bank of the Hardware River and was last known as Kidd's Mill. The 
last owner was Mrs. A. B. Maxey, daughter of John B. Kidd. Mrs. Maxey 
thought the first mill there was built prior to 1750 and that each 
successive owner changed or enlarged the mill. The overshot water wheel 
which provided the grinding power was removed and a turbine installed 
about 1900. 

It was a flour and grist mill and most of the machinery was still in place 
in 1937, though the mill had not operated since the dam broke about 
1911. A blacksmith shop once stood nearby. It was always convenient to 
have the smithy near the mill, so the horses could be shod while the miller 
ground the grain and the farmer "^killed two birds with one stone.'' The 
last building was a three-story structure of beautiful heart pine framing, 
held with wooden pegs, and the steep roof was covered with hand-riven 
shingles. Today only remnants of the dam exist, but a picture in the 
Museum shows that the construction of the wooden part of the crib dam 
was unusual: It did not go straight across the river. The picture shows a 
gently curving dam, convex on the downstream side. 

vn 

I Remember, I Remember. . . 

One can only listen and marvel— how vivid are the memories of these 
old mills! When a Fluvannian tells you about an old mill, you feel that it 
was operating no longer ago than yesterday. But research may tell you that 
the mill was destroyed before the Civil War. So clear, so vivid, is the 
inherited memory, handed down from generation to generation; the oM 
mill is still so much a part of the old homeplace. It is not that these people 
"'live in the past;" it is just that past and present blend to make a larger 
existence for today. 

But the chain of memory has broken, and with the passing of the older 
generation of today, the mills will truly disappear. For today's families are 
more mobile and the old homeplace is no longer the family center— and 
the youngsters are ''glued to the tube." No longer do they sit, curled up in 
a chair by the fireplace on long winter evenings, listening to the old folks 
spin yams from "the good old days," when they, too, were young. 



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Norella Jennings Wood has written about trips to Kidd's MSI, where she 
went with her grandfather, Benjamin Anderson Soweil, when visiting in 
Fluvanna: 

Each week we sheUed the hard white com in the ancient 
upright wooden-cased com sheUer. The large iron disk against 
which the corn ears moved scattered the grains impartially 
over the unshelled corn and the comhouse floor, but the bulk 
of the grain fell in the hopper where the kemels belonged. This 
machine was hand-operated and took only an ear of com at a 
time. 

We poured the shelled com into the cloth sack kept for that 
particular purpose, dumped the sack into the body of the sort 
of spring wagon we called a "jersey," and off we went with the 
good bay named 'Tlanet'' clip-clopping along the dirt road. 

Inside the mill presided the miller, Mr. Littleberry White, 
his eyebrows and hair always powdered with the grain dust— a 
fascinating adornment, I felt. He dumped our com into the 
great hopper, and stood at the bin where the meal came 
dribbling slowly out from between the millstones. Mr. White 
constantly tested the texture of the meal in his hands and also 
tested to see that it was not too hot from grinding. I loved the 
smell and taste and feel of all this, and the high upper stories 
of the mill were eerie and mysterious with the shrouds of the 
bolting cloth which were used to sift the flour. Kidd's Mill 
ground wheat in season. 

The river was wonderful. A place to float small ships made 
of the large leaves from the sycamore trees which shaded the 
ford. I played there often while my grandfather and his friend 
the miller talked. Then off we jogged for home. Grandmother 
made corn pone for midday dinner and batterbread for supper. 
Ambrosia for the gods! 

My grandmother made the delicious com pone by simply 
mixing the freshly ground meal with milk or water and a little 
salt. She patted out the resulting stiff batter in her hands and 
popped the pones in a hot oven to bake, where they came out 
with the marics of her Angers on top. With "slathers" of butter 
and good buttermilk this was GOOD. The supper batterbread 
was made using a turkey egg (if we were successful in finding 
the nest) and mixed with buttermilk and soda. She could tell 
by the sound, when the buttermilk was stirried, just how mudi 
baking soda to add. That sound I remember now. 



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Stories about mills abound, passed down father to son. Mr. Guy Cocke 
told us such a tale: 

A country man was very proud of his new mill and was 
showing it to an elderly neighbor. The owner bragged and the 
neighbor demurred, 'it's a mighty small mill/' he ventured. 

"'But it can run all day every day and grind a lot of meal/' 
the owner persisted. 

'*Why, man, I could lick up what meal that little ol' mill 
could grind!" 

"Ye-ah? But for how long?" 

''Wal, I guess, until I starved to death!" 
Our favorite tall tale is about a mill: 

The miller's two sons brought the midday lundi and 
decided to while away an hour by Ashing in the rifHes 
downstream. They soon hooked the proverbial ""big one." It 
was so big that both of them took hold of the pole and pulled. 
It was just too big for them to pull ashore, so one boy headed 
home to get the mule to pull that fish out. While waiting, the 
second boy pushed the pole into the bank and held on for dear 
life. And do you know, that big fish got sideways across the 
stream and water started backing up the creek, running 
through the mill backwards. And before they coukl stop it, the 
mill unground twenty barrels of com! 

vra 

They Ground Exceedingly Fnie. . . 

These mills were not your modem contraptions, spotless and intricate 
and unintelligible. You saw how it worked when it ran, usually on certain 
days each week. 

To furnish water power, some sort of dam was built to consolidate or 
increase the amount of waterfall at a millsite, creating a millpond, a 
reservoir which could store at least part of the flow of the stream to be 
drawn on as desired. The amount of this storage varied, and sometimes a 
smaller dam upstream augmented the supply. Some dams were on very 
small streams-a dam so small that only enough water could be 
accumulated ovemight '"to grind the meal for breakfast." 

Most early mills in Fluvanna were powered by overshot wheels, so the 
sluices leading directly from the pond and miUdam had to have 
considerable height, to let the water pour down at the top of the wheel. Or 
there would be a canal, or race, that carried the necessary water to a 



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millsite where the mill could be constructed lower than the race level. 

We do not know of any instances of undershot or breast wheels in 
Fluvanna; our steep creek bluffs lent themselves to high dams for overshot 
wheels. The large mill wheels were expensive. The turbine required less 
fan, and this may explain why many older mills converted to turbines. The 
river mills installed turbines, for it was not practical to build such a high 
dam on the rivers— they washed out often enough built to a lower level. 

Undershot wheels, depending on the flow of the tides, were used along 
the coast. Here, too, the settlers built windmills whidi depended on 
vagrant winds for power. Perhaps the small mule-drawn mills-the patient 
animals plodding round and round— were the windmill equivalent for the 
hill country. 

These water wheels, regardless of type, all revolved rela- 
tively slowly, say ten to twenty tiroes a minute, while the 
millstones required much greater speed. Gearing made almost 
entirely of wood furnished the additional speed required. . . 
wood gear tooth meshed with wood gear tooth and furnished 
quiet and efficient transmission of power. When a tooth wore 
out or broke, it was a simple matter to shape up a new one and 
wedge it in place. These wooden gears were easy to construct 
and to maintain. The machinery could be built with nothing 
but a few common hand tools of the day— axe, saw, chisel, 
plane, auger, and mallet-yet it served its purpose admirably 
and was easily repaired.^ 
Many owners of the early mills built, operated, and maintained their 
own mills, though there must have been millvmghts who became travelling 
artisans. In 1890 the Virginia Gazetter listed some millwrights in 
Fluvanna: J. D. Brown and S. A. Morris at Hunters Lodge, S. S. Butler at 
Vallena post office (Kidd's Mill), William Duncan at Shores and J. A. and 
W.T.Walker at Union Mills. 

A bill presented to Duncan McRae for work done on his mill in 1857 
included much work and totalled S487.87. We will list a few of the items: 
Taking Out Old Wheel $20.00 

Taking down Old Forebay, 93 Ft. 69.75 

20 feet Wing Wall 42.00 

65 feet Forebay 97.50 

Making 3 Water gaits S5. 15.00 

Making Bridge 130 ft. 1.62 

1 Sliding Gate 1.00 

Repairing Water Wheel 25.00 

Making 3 Trussels S7 21.00 

Casing and Banding Shaft 30.00 

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Hanging Crown Wheel 10.00 

Hanging Speer Wheel & Cleeting 10.00 

Making Master Wheel 7HFt. 22.50 

Building 1 Privy 10.00 

The neighborhood mill usually had only a single pair of millstones. 
Some of the stones were quite small, sudi as the stones found on Spring 
Garden Creek and Little Byrd. 

Two kinds of millstones have been seen in Fluvanna. The large granite 
stones, about five feet in diameter, were made from local quarries. Stone 
masons spent hours shaping the stones to the required thickness, making 
them circular, and cutting the furrows for grinding. Also used were burr 
stones, imported, probably from France, composed of separate blocks 
fitted together and bound with iron hoops. These imported stones were 
used to grind wheat. 

Most stones seen in Fluvanna today are solid granite, deeply furrowed 
in a pattern, a series of straight lines, the furrows radiating from the center 
hole so they led the grist away from the center. Almost all old milktones 
have now been removed from the mill sites to grace the lawns of Fluvanna 
homes, or they serve as unique doorsteps. 

The lower stone was bedded flat in the floor of the mill, while the 
upper stone revolved by the machinery of the mill at about 130 turns a 
minute for a four and a half-foot stone. In later days speeds were 
somewhat increased. The upper stone, the runner, was bom entirely on 
top of a spindle, a vertical shaft carrying the weight down to a step bearing 
which could be adjusted vertically. The two stones did not actually touch 
each other while grinding. If they met, excess heat was generated and both 
the meal and stones were damaged. So the miller made minute adjustments 
according to the ancient "'rule of thumb,'* scooping up meal between his 
fmgers. 

The grain was poured into a hopper and entered the upper millstone 
through a hole in the center, called the "'eye.** The meal emeiged at the 
periphery of the stones. These millstones operated inside a wooden casing 
which retained the meal as it collected and guided it to fall down a chute 
into a bin. The average little mill could probably grind about four bushels 
an hour. 

The millstones became dull and too smooth, so they had to be lifted 
and sharpened, or "'dressed.'' The hopper and casing had to be removed, 
and then the upper stone, which we^ed about a ton, had to be raised, 
turned over, and laid on a level floor. This was done by using a crane built 
of huge timbers that somehow resembled a gallows. The arm of the crane 
would swing out over the stone and the miller would attach to the stone a 
pair of great tongs— an arched piece of metal called a ""Lewis." The miller 

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revolved a tumscrew in the crane at the top of the Lewis, lifted the 
millstone, turned it over, and then lowered it to the floor. (Eadi end of 
the Lewis had a socket, and a pair of studs passed through the sodcets to 
fit into holes drilled in the rim of the upper stone.) The miller spent days 
deepening and sharpening the furrows to make the cutting e<^e sharp. 
One of his tools resembled a big sharp hammer and was called a '"millbill.^ 
The bottom stone stayed in place in the floor to be dressed, and one 
watdiing the process was glad only one of these mammoth stones had to 
be lifted. 

DC 

MiOen, MUb and Mechunk 

The men of some families such as Wrjght, Strange, and Flanagan had an 
affinity for mills. They lived long and prospered in an era that has 
vanished, yet renmants of their labor remain for us to know. 

Ambrose Flanagan had a grist mill-and a sawmill~on ^achunk^ 
Creek as early as 1805. Downstream from Payne's Mill is another millsite 
attributed to a Flanagan. There have been so many early mills on Mechunk 
Creek, that it is hard to say which is the ancestor of the last mill, now 
owned by Ted Payne. It is believed that there was a mill at this site as eariy 
as 1792 and tradition states that a Mr. Busby operated a mill here about 
50 years before the Civil War. 

Around 1929 Ted's grandfather stopped operation of a mill on Bjg 
Mechunk and began operations at the present site on Oliver Creek, a 
branch of Mechunk. Ted rebuilt the miUdam in 1959 and began operatk)ns 
on a limited schedule, the only operating water-powered mill in Fluvaima. 
(The millpond provided welcome recreation for fishermen.) Power was still 
provided by an overshot wheel (but not a wooden one), and the grist 
stones used came from a very early mill at Union Mills. About 1939 the 
flour mill was converted to a roller mill and the old imported composite 
millstone that had ground flour was placed at the entrance to the oM 
Payne home. 

Hurricane Camille came on the evening of August 19, 1969 and sent 
torrents of water down the streams. The milldam broke and the Payne 
millhouse was swept from its foundations and left standing forlorn and 
askew. 



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Solitude Stands 

Solitude Mill, on Cunningham Creek near Palmyra, is one of two mill 
structures left in Fluvanna. (Bremo is the other.) Flood and fire are the 
enemies of old milldams and mills. Sons of millers love to tell how ""during 
that big flood, the grist mill was lifted right off the foundations and just 
sailed on down the stream 'til it came to rest against that big sycamore in 
the bend.** Now historic Byrd Mill, the oldest operating mill in this area of 
Virginia and a tourist attraction, has burned to the ground. But a more 
inexorable enemy of the mills is the passage of time and the wheels of 
progress. For instance, the remains of the old Boston Mill succumbed to 
Lake Monticello, but the industrial age destroyed its usefuhiess long ago. 

But, ""there is something romantic about a ruin,** and this is certainly 
true of Solitude Mill. The only brick mill left in Fluvanna, it had 
withstood Sheridan's raiders, floods and time, until Hurricane Camille's 
raging water rushed throi^ the door and windows, carrying the back wall 
away in her fury. Mr. David C. Mangum, the new owner, had done 
considerable restoration, and now hopes to repair the damage. 

In the past, the overflow from the flooded Rivanna backed up the 
creek, gently flooding Solitude. High water marks and dates had been 
carved on the boards near the top steps. The mark for the famous flood of 
1870 is six inches above the second floor; the flood of May 12, 1924, 
twelve inches above. Camille's flash flood on August 19, 1969, covered the 
mill except for the topmost peak of the roof, wetting even the old bolter 
frames that once held the cloth to sift flour. 

Solitude Mill operated until about the beginning of World War II, so 
except for the break in the dam, the building and its machinery were fairly 
wen preserved. Perhaps this mill had been in continuous operation longer 
than any other in Fluvanna. 

The Wills family, who owned Solitude for many years, believe that the 
brick mill was built by Albert Gallatin Wills when he bought Solitude 
Plantation in 1859. But perhaps this was not the first mill for Solitude, for 
a plat, dated 1836 shows a sawmill on Cunningham Creek near the present 
mfll. The land was once owned by the legendary David Ross who owned 
thousands of acres. When his daughter Eliza married Jacob Myers about 
1800, he gave them the 2S00-acre tract known as Solitude. 

Water power at the present Solitude was used to run a sawmill, and it is 
said the water power was even used to crush gold-bearing quartz from the 
sunounding area. (Later a cannery was built beside the brick mill.) The 



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Solitude Mill served a laige area. A daybook entry of 1881 mentions that a 
farmer took his grain to Carysbrook Mill and found the race dry because 
of a summer drought, so he tried Talley^s Mill the next day with no better 
results. The next day he travelled considerable distance to Solitude. 

The flour ground from Fluvanna wheat had a particular distinction; it 
would stand shipment across the equator— most flour would not. So boats 
were loaded at the landing just below the mill on Curuiingham Creek to 
start the flour on its journey to South America. 

Old Solitude Mill barely escaped destruction during the Civfl War when 
Yankee raiders burned so many mills. The women of the neighboiiiood, it 
is said, pleaded on their knees that the mill be spared. With all able men at 
the front, food was becoming scarce, and the commeal was their mainstay. 
Records for the last years of the war give the in^)ression that the 
Confederacy required the mills to furnish meal and flour to families whose 
menfolk were in service. With the horses also gone to war, the women and 
children often walked miles to receive rations. For instance, in December 
'64 Solitude Mill furnished meal to a family whose father was **home on 
sick furloi^." In January, 1865 the mill furnished 40 pounds of flour for 
sick sons. 

XI 

M3b on the Rivanna 

The milldams on the Rivanna River were an integral part of the 
navigation system maintained for transport of freight and passengers. All 
mills on the Rivanna were required to have a lock at their damsite for the 
passage of boats, and the millponds provided slack-water navigation for 
many miles, one dam backing water almost to the next dam upstream. 
Navigation on the Rivanna was flrst improved in 1763 under the leadeiship 
of Thomas Jefferson, and the Rivanna Nav^ation Company was oiganized 
in 1805. Disputes between the Navigation Company and the mill owners 
were frequent, for though the Rivanna ran more water than it does now, 
there was not ahvays enough water for both the mill and the locks to 
operate. 

The Union Milb 

The community called Union Mills has an interesting history. There was 
the feeder canal, the grist mill and the sawmill, the famous and profltable 
Union Factory, the store, blacksmith shop, post office, dwellii^ on the 



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^^ 



hillside, and long barracks-or row houses-for the miUworkers. 

Early in 1792 John Bowin Magruder acquired land on the north side of 
the Ri^ranna River adjoining Adams Falls and by October 1796 he received 
permission from the Court to partially dam the river and build a water 
grist mill. The water was to be drawn ""from the said River at or near Sly 
Falls by means of a canal, a dam to be erected some distance into the said 
River slantwise. . .'' In December 1798 he was ready to erect a dam all the 
way across the river '*from his canal for the purpose of working several 
miUs on said canal." In 1807 the Court gave spedHcations for the dam and 
canal and Magruder was required to build a lock in the dam to provide for 
the passage of boats and fish. 

In 1816 Magruder's daughter inherited the estate. John Timberlake, Jr., 
had married Wilhemina Jones Magruder in 1813, and soon the business 
came under the name of Magruder and Timberlake. (By 1831 Timberlake 
and John B. Magruder, Jr. had purdiased Shadwell Mills in Albemarle from 
the estate of Thomas Jefferson.) 

Union Mills Thrived and an 1835 publication describes it as being **in 
the midst of beautiful mountain and river scenery" and states: 

At this place there are located a merchant mill, grist mill 
and saw mill, and a cotton factory called the Virginia Union 
Factory. 

This factory owned by Messrs. Timberlake and Magruder is 
a large and commodious brick building; it runs 1500 spindles, 
besides the necessary machinery for carding, etc.— it contains 
12 power looms, in whidi several hundred yards of substantial 
ctoth are made per day. The cotton yam of this establishment 
is in high repute throi^out the State. More than 100 
operatives are employed by the enterprising proprietors in the 
different departments of their establishment. 

The {dace contains comfortable houses for the accomoda- 
tion of 18 or 20 families, a tan yard, and a Methodist house of 
worship, besides the elegant dwellings of the proprietors. 
On October 30, 1862 the Virginia General Assembly passed an act to / 
incorporate the Union Manufacturing Company in Fluvanna, mentioning 
the names of several Magruders, Dudley Boston, and a Mr. King. The 1890 
Business Directory states that James Armstrong and Company owned the 
cotton mill. It operated until about 1900 when the operation moved to 
Charlottesville. 

The Magruders built a large brick house near the Rivanna now called 
**Cumber." It has been restored by Mr. and Mrs. James T. Griffin, present 
owners. The Timberlakes built a handsome brick house near the mills after 



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y 



their marriage. It was later called ^IJnion Hall.*' In recent yeais. Capt. 
Charles Irving of Union Hall moved some of the tremendous stones of the 
early lock and built gates to his driveway. The Union is now the property 
of Dean B. F. D. Runk and his sister, Mrs. Elizabeth Kayan. 

The remains of the old dam and mills and other buildings are still there 
near the River. The general store foundations tell of a building about 30 
by 50 feet. The factory, a two-story brick building with a tower at one 
corner, was taken down about 1937. If you *iook sharp," the stone walls 
of the barracks can still be seen from the old Stagecoach Road in winter 
when they are gilded white with snow. 

Palmyra MUb 

The Hrst mill on the Rivanna at Palmyra was buOt as early as 1813, the 
first dams a bit upstream of the present remnants of a crib dant At one 
time, after the covered bridge was built in 1829, the dam rested against the 
huge stone piers. The mill was owned and operated by the Timberlake 
family, who were prominent in county life— ministers, lawyers and county 
officials. 

An account book of Pabnyra Mills of 1843 records sales of fine flour (3 
cents a pound), superfine flour (S5.50 a barrel), bran, middlings, shorts, 
and shipstuff. They ground white wheat, red wheat, and com, and in 
August 1843 over 500 barrels of flour were shipped down the Rivanna. 

Also, river boats brought the gypsum-limestone to Palmyra to be 
pulverized and sold as ""ground plaster,'* as a soil conditioner. In March 
1844 the mill ground and sold 49^71 pounds of ground plaster. In April 
they sold a total of 44,269 pounds. 

Walker Timberlake maintained a busy wharf near his tall mill house and 
it was he who supervised the building of the beautiful stone lock at the 
end of his dam. One deed best illustrates the bustle around his mill: In 
1826 Timberlake and his wife Sarah gave Robert S. Jones permission to 
erect on Timberlake's land "on the margin of his mfll-tail-race a workshop 
in which said Jones contemplates working at his trades of carpenter and 
willwright and other mechanical trades to run by water." Jones wished to 
conduct water from the "foreba" of Timberlake's milldam by means of a 
trunk or conveyor to the shop. However, he could use water only when 
there was enough left over from operating the mill. Timberlake allowed 
him to have his workshop between the public road, the mill race, the 
Rivanna and the coopers shop, and allowed him a road from his home to 
his shop, the roading following the Stillhouse Branch. He expressly 
forbade Jones to "keep a store, a grocery, or any kind of Tavern" — 



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probably because the Timberlake family already had stores and a tavern. 
Diaries state that the Yankees burned the Pabnyra Mill in April 1865, 
but we presume it was rebuilt, for a brick and stone mill stood until after 
1940. The rock portion remains today. It had an interesting comer 
fireplace and the two-piece *T>utch doors" typical of mills. 

CaryAiook Plantation MiD 

According to records, Carysbrook milldam was one of those dams built 
primarily to improve the Rivanna navigation system. In June 1850 a dam 
was planned, seven feet above the usual water level. In a deed of 1853 the 
Rivanna Navigation Company, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, Preskient, 
paid John Randolph Bryan for damages to land flooded and gave Bryan 
permission to erect a mill and use water from the millpond. 

Old paintings of the mill show a shining waterfall pouring over the dam. 
There are huge stones in the dam abutments, and here can be seen the 
remains of the wooden crib dam which was buHt of heartpine, held 
together with wooden pegs, and filled with rock and dirt. The sloping 
front of the dam was covered with plank to make it more watertight. How 
did they control the flow of water while they built these crib dams, 
without the aid of modem machinery and equipment? The remains of 
these dams can be seen at most miDsites, symbols of native ingenuity. 

John Randolph Bryan was well known for his generosity to the 
Confederate cause, and one notation states, ""IH Bus. Meal to family, 2 
children died in ten days past & other 3 sick. Father home on furlough." 
Carysbrook Mill, like many others in Fluvanna, was not destroyed during the 
Civil War. (A directory of 1868 lists 22 mills still operating in the county.) 

De Kingfish: Rivanna Mills 

Rivanna Mills was once one of the most valuable properties in 
Fluvanna-in 1888 five roads conveiged on the mills on the banks of the 
Rivanna, five miles above Columbia. If one foUows the old Bryant Ford 
Road to the River today and listens to the roar of the water as it thrashes 
through the shattered dam, above the boom he may think he hears echoes 
from the past: the thunder of falling water, the rumble of machinery in 
the mills, the ringing of hammers in the shops, the whistle of an 
approaching boat, and the stamping and snorting of the waiting teams. 

People from all over the county flocked to this commercial center; 
from the Stagecoach Road they came in wagons and buggies, by river on 
packet or freight boat, and through the woods or up the towpath bestride 



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a mule or blooded mare. The center included the grist mill, flour mill, large 
store, cobbler's shop, cooper's shop, lumber house, tobacco bam for 
storage and shipment, and, at one time a post office called StSlman's. 

Rivanna Mills has been a correlathig thread running through the 
research on mills in Fluvanna. Just so, Rivanna Mills in its hey-day was a 
pipeline of industry threading its way into the commercial and agricultural 
life of the county; and by supplying the needs of the home and serving as a 
port of embarkation and transportation, the thriving center threaded itself 
into the very warp and woof of Fluvanna life. 

In documents the property was ahvays called Rivanna Mills, but to the 
local people it was known as Ashlin's Mill, StiDman's Mill, and Rison's 
Mill, according to the successive operators. 

John Ashlin (1762-1823) first received permission to dam the Rivanna 
to operate a mill in 1809. He built up a fine estate of farms, store and 
mills. From the operation of the lock for the Navigation Company, and 
from the boats and boatmen on the River, he received additional income. 
Tolls from the boats travelling on the Rivanna were collected at Rivanna 
Mills. The River also made possible a large export of wheat and flour, very 
profitable because Virginia flour then had a monopoly on the South 
American market. 

Mr. Ashlin was devoted to his orphan nephew, Robert, but he did not 
think it wise to leave so large a property in the hands of such a young man. 
He had met Mr. Geoige Stillman in Richmond, and being much impressed 
with Stillman's diaracter and ability, he proposed to make Stillman joint 
heir, with Robert, to all his property. MnStillman declined the proposition 
but was willing to act as managing agent or steward. 'Though young," 
wrote Col. Robert Ashlin's son-in-law, ^Robert saw the wisdom of the 
proposed partnership and prevailed upon Mr. Stillman to accept it.** They 
soon took Mr. Stillman's brother, Samuel, into the business. For 45 years, 
under these three men, this large and various business went on to prosper, 
**without one word of serious difference." 

Each man took special oversight of one particular branch— one the 
farm, another the mills, and the other the store. Meticulously kept account 
books for the flour and grist mills, store, blacksmith shop, etc., span many 
years, the names of dients throi^out Fluvarma handwritten with 
beautiful Spencerian flourishes. 

The account books for the mills, store, blacksmith shop and cooper's 
shop make interesting reading. One entry: On Christmas Eve, 1858, a fond 
father bought daughter Fanny a new pair of calf shoes at $2.85, and paid 
her fare by packet boat to Manakin's Ferry on the James River Canal, 
$1.50. The average pay for tending the lodes and collecting the tolls was 



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$75 a quarter. Tolls collected in 1860 averaged about $250 a month; in 
1864 they averaged $ 1400. The inflation of the Civil War years is reflected 
in the accounts on navigation tolls, the sales of doth, potatoes and other 
foods, flour and com. The cooper's shop did a big business during the war, 
the prices of barrels, staves and nails steadily rising. The accounts bring to 
mind items no longer used: Yoke for oxen, single trees, calico, 
"^porcelane" buttons, lamp chimneys, coffee beans and assafetida. 

The descendants of Col. Robert Ashlin have generously shown us 
pictures, letters and documents which vividly tell of life at Rivanna Mills. 
Col. Ashlin built a beautiful home, Rivanna HaU, overlooking the mills, 
millpond, lock and boat basin, and there he and his family, many relatives, 
and the StiUman brothers lived. When the house was taken down, folks say 
the fine flooring went to Colonial WiUiamsbuig. The timbers of the house 
were used to build a house in Louisa. 

No village grew up around Rivanna Mills, but the large household, for 
the most part self-sustaining, required a variety of buildings— a family 
village. Besides the commercial buildings aheady listed, there were th^ 
miller's house, two other cottages, the office building, weU-house, stables, 
carriage house, smoke house, ice house, com crib and other bams for hay 
and machines. 

Plats of the 1840's show the old dam and the early lock, and the new 
dam, lock and boat basin built around 1850. Some of the most beautiful 
stonework in Virginia can be seen at Rivanna Mills lock and dam and on 
the canal leading to Colimibia. Some of the stones were quarried from the 
bluffs upstream at Buzzard's Rock and holes of the drillers can still be seen 
on giant boulders. Part of the stone was beautifully dressed, such as those 
blocks used to outline the eye or ^forebay" in the dam. This opening in 
the dam was opened by lifting a gate whenever water was needed for 
grinding. A canal or race carried the water to the mills where it poured 
between the flour mill and grist mill to set the machinery in motion. 

Wooden machinery gave way to metal and by 1905 the flour mill had a 
Victory 18-inch wheel in an iron cyclinder and a Wolf system of 30-barrel 
capacity. The com mill had a 36-inch CroweU wheel installed in a wooden 
penstodc. The mills continued to operate until about World War I. 

George Stillman was a distinguished dtizen, a magistrate, who 
represented Fluvanna in the General Assembly. He was instrumental in 
forming laws in 1828 for improvement of the Rivanna Navigation 
Company, and tried to settle the feuds for available water which often 
flared between the mill owners and the Navigation Company. 

Though bom a Yankee, he became a dedicated Southerner and 
supported the Confederacy by buying bonds and in other ways. A receipt 



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for 420 pounds of com is dated January 26, 1864 and states '^on account 
of Tax in Kind. . .for the year 1863,*' and is signed by **Capt. R. W. 
Gaillard, Ass't Collector of tax in kind, for A. P. Hill Corps.*" But this did 
not spare the Ashlings and Stillman*s when Yankee raiders came. Though 
they dkl not bum the mills, the soldiers took supplies, and an Ashlin 
descendant tells that the flour and molasses they did not take they threw 
on the ground to mix with pillow feathers, a typical raider pudding. 

The Stillman brothers never married, but evidently they were dearly 
k)ved by the Ashlin children. A little book given to the Museum by Mrs. 
"Millie Ashlin** Wyatt is lovingly inscribed to Wilhemina Ashlin from 
Samuel Stillman, and Wilhemina returned to Rivanna Hall to nurse the two 
men in their old age. She and her brothers and sisters named their children 
for the Stillman brothers and the name is still given descendants. 

Is it possible to leam to love a man who has been dead one hundred 
years? Our introduction to Geoige Stillman was made by an imposing 
tombstone flanked by blue-eyed periwinkle and green boxwood, enclosed 
by a wall of mellowed rosy brick, not far from the mills. The epitaph for 
George especially intrigued us. From local people and Ashlin descendants 
we learned about him. Such a fascinating man! Tracts, letters and memoirs 
tell of his integrity, his tolerance, his wisdom and kindness, his intellectual 
interests and business acumen. Finally into our hands Mrs. Proctor (nee 
Rison) laid a daguerrotype in a most handsome gold and ebony case. There 
sat George Stillman in his beautiful brocaded vest and blade coat, 
silver-haired and erect, one hand resting on his gold-headed cane - a 
handsome, dignifled oM gentleman. But his tombstone had really told it all 
at our flrst meeting: 

In Memory of 
Geoige Stillman 
He was born in Machias, Me., Nov. 13, 1788. Moved to 
Richmond, Virginia in 1810, served in the War of 1812, settled 
in Fluvanna County in 1815, was a magistrate 30 years, and a 
member of the Legislature 13 years. 

Died June 28, 1868, honored for his moral worth and 
virtues. He was a son of Gen. Geoige Stillman of the 
Continental Army of the Revolution. 
On the reverse side of the stone is an inscription forGeoige's brother: 
Samuel Stillman 
was born Dec. 4, 1795 
and died Aug. 7, 1874 
In connectk)n with his brother Geoige and Col. Robt. W. 
Ashlin, he conducted a mercantile business for more than 45 



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years at Rivanna Mills and inspired and retained the confi- 
dence and respect of all men. 
Bricks from the flour mill were taken to Palmyra to build the present 
School Board office, but the stone basement and foundations of the 40 by 
3S-foot flour mill still stand, its walls four feet thick. A gently curving 
stone wall connects the mill to the beautiful stone dam. Spring is the time 
to walk through the white violets that line the lock to sit on the high dam 
above the roaring water as it tumbles through rock and broken timbers. 
That is the spot for dreaming and reading Samuel Stillman's 'Veather 
diary:" 

Tuesday, 66^, wind S.W., Fair - This morning the peach 
trees on the island are in bloom and the redbud can be seen on 
the hill. 

Thursday, 42®, N.E., Cloudy - Today the packet boat 
came to the landing and returned. . . 

Saturday, 55®, N.E., Rainy — Two days of steady rainfall — 
The River is rising. . . 



FOOTNOTES 

^William Alexander Percy, Lanterns on the Levee, copywr^ght 1941, Alfred A 
Knoff, Inc., New York 

^From "John Hartweli Cocke of Bremo. . .'• by M. Boyd Coynw, Jr. 

^ward P. Hamilton, The VUlage Mm in Early New England, Old Sturbridge Village 
Booklet Series, Stuibridge, Massachusetts. 



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Names of mcmben omitted in Bulletin No. 9 

Mrs. Janie Rhodes Bowles, Thomasville, N. C. 

Mrs. William Ronald Cocke, in, Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. Charles D. Drummond, Richmond, Va. 

Mr. Chester Jennings, Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. Harry Loving, Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. T. Kent Loving, Palmyra, Va. 

Mrs. Richard T. Morenus, Washington, D.C. 

Mrs. W. S. Scott, Richmond, Va. 

Mrs. Mollis Pettit Snead, Sr., Great Falls, S. C. 

Dr. and Mrs. Russell Snead, Cohmibia, Va. 

Mr. and Mrs. Norman E. Thompson, Richmond, Va. 

New Members 

Rev. and Mrs. Henry W. Burruss, Palmyra, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Clifford, Pahnyra, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Conrad, Richmond, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. G. C. Cosner, Kents Store, Va. 
Mrs. James Gentry, Jr., Charles City, Va. 
Mrs. Jean Hall, Richmond, Va. 
Mr. Frank W Jleindl, Richmond, Va. 
Mr. William W. Kmbb, Baltimore, Md. 
Mr. J. Richard Morris, Richmond, Va. 
Mr. and Mrs. James F. Perrin, Pabnyra, Va. 
Mr. C. A. Rhodes, Sr., Winston Salem, N. C. 
Mrs. Maigaret G. Shepherd, Troy, Va. 
Mrs. Louis H. Stoneman, Jr., Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. R. P. Zehler, Sr., Palmyra, Va. 

Necrology 

Miss Cora Anderson, Charlottesville, Va. 
Mr. Hunter M. Bransford*, Cohasset, Va. 
Mr. James Shepherd*, Pabnyra, Va. 
Mr. Ellis P. Snead*, Fork Union, Va. 
Mrs. E. B. Weaver*, Fork Union, Va. 

*Charter Member 



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FLUVANNA HISTORICAL SOCIETY 
OFFICERS: 1970-1971 

President: Mrs. Ellis P. Snead 
1st Vice President: Mrs. James 0. Shepherd 
2nd Vice President: Comdr. Dred Poole 
Secretary<k>rresponding: Mrs. W. W. Bercaw 
Secretary-Recording: Mrs. Charles F. Coffey 
Treasurer: Mrs. W. C. Proffit 

Members of the Executive Board at Large: Mrs. Buiwell Seay, Major John 
Hunt, Mr. WiOiam Siegried 



The Fhivanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 to collect 
and preserve manuscripts and other documents relating to the 
history of Fhivanna County in Virginia; to maintain the Old Stone 
Jail at the county seat, Pabnyra, as a museum where antiquities of 
the county may be exhibited; and to encourage historical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. Annual dues 
are $2.00; a life membenhip costs $50.00. A bulletin is published 
twice a year, distributed to members free of charge. Copies can be 
purchased for $2.00 single copy, $3.00 double copy. Readers are 
requested to contribute any information of historical interest they 
may have or may be able to obtain. The society will endeavor to 
publish as much of this information as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: Mrs. Henry C. 
McGehee, Chairman of Publications, Fluvanna County Historical 
Society, Box 132, Palmyra, Virginia. 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 12 



April 1971 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
BuUtinlSSO 



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The Bulletin of the 

FLUVANNA COUNTY 

Historical Society 



Number 12 



April 1971 




COURT HOUSE, PALMYRA, VIRGINIA 
BuUt in 1830 



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a 



■73 



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HIGHWAYS AND BY-WAYS OF FLUVANNA COUNTY 



Highways and By- Ways of Fluvanna County S 

The Secretary's Road 8 

The Martin King Road 9 

The Marquis* Road 10 

Bybee'sRoad 11 

The Columbia Road 1 1 

The Woodson Road — Venable*s Road 1 2 

The Mountain Road, Route No. S3 13 

The Stage Coach Road 13 

The Three Notched Road 1 7 

The White Hall Road 19 

The Bryant Ford Road 20 

The River Road 21 

The Cocke Road 23 

The James Madison Highway 24 



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THE HIGHWAYS AND BY-WAYS OF FLUVANNA COUNTY 

In 1634, the Colony of Virginia was divided into eight shires, of 
which Henrico was the most distant from Jamestown. Later, foUow- 
ing the English custom, counties were formed as the need arose, 
i.e., to suit the convenience of the inhabitants in the area. Ulti- 
mately, the county became the basic unit of local government in 
Virginia. 

The county of Henrico in the early days spread along both sides 
of the James River, in 1728, that part of the county lying above the 
James was divided by **a line beginning at the mouth of Tuckahoe 
Creek, thence up the said creek to Chumley's Branch, thence along a 
line of Marked Trees, North Twenty degrees East, to Hanover 
County. That part of the County lying above the said line shall be 
called and known by the name of Goochland County.** (Act of March 
6, 1727) Goochland was named for Sir William Gooch,, Lieutenant- 
Governor of Virginia from September 8, 1727 to June 30, 1749. 

The land in the western part of Goochland was settled rapidly, 
and in time the people, finding the inconvenience of attending court 
at Goochland unreasonable, petitioned for the formation of a new 
county. The Act establishing Albemarle County was passed by the 
General Assembly in September, 1744. 

The line of division was from the Point of Fork of the James River, 
north thirty degrees east to the Louisa line, and from the same 
point in a direct line to Brookes Mill, below the James. This land 
area covered a large section of Virginia, obviously. 

Although the courthouse for the new county was erected at Scotfs 
Ferry (Scottsville), about twenty years later Charlottesville became 
the county seat. This worked a hardship on the inhabitants in the 
lower part of the county by adding many miles to necessary trips to 
and from court. 

In time the people petitioned for relief; an Act of the General 
Assembly of the Conmionwealth of Virginia divided the county of 
Albemarle by a line drawn from the most western part of Louisa 
County to the lower edge of Scott's Ferry, the part of Albemarle 
below the line becoming a new county called Fluvanna. In addition, 
the Act of July 1, 1777 provided that a part of the parishes of St. 
Anne's and FredericksvUle lying in the area of the new county 
should be formed into a parish called Fluvanna Parish. 

The main argument advanced for the formation of the county of 
Fluvanna centered around the roads, which were bad in smnmer and 
worse in winter, a situation comparable to the conditions in Tide- 
water Virginia a century before. Mrs. Annie Lee Jester gives an 
eloquent description in her Domestic Life In Virginia, from which the 



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following is quoted verbatim: 

In the latter half of the century (1650-1700), travel by horse- 
back to centers to attend funerals, or to visit friends, if not too 
far distant, became populftr, especially as horses bred in the 
country had multiplied . . . The absence of vehicles, except for 
a coach, a calabash, or a cart was due perhaps not so much to 
cost and to the necessity for importing them as to the com- 
plete lack of passable roads in the Colony. Cartways, which 
were the worn and widened Indian trails over wUch oxen 
hauled heavy loads, were open ways over which travel by land 
could be undertaken. The bodies of the carts were made in the 
colony usually, and attached to wheels imported from England. 
The Indian, long before the days of Columbus, made his way 
through the forest to various Indian towns, and the footpaths over 
which he trod served his purposes and brought him to his desired 
destinations. The footpaths in time became horse paths of the early 
settlers, paths which led from the scattered cabins to the churches, 
the courthouses, or other public meeting places. Oftimes these were 
simply by-paths that led from one plantation to another, or to a 
store or miU within a few miles of the plantei^s home. 

As the settlements increased, the conunon necessity for travel to 
the places of meeting focused the attention of the planters on a need 
for roads; among the early entries in the vestry books of the seven- 
teenth century were the appointments of surveyors for certain 
roads and the assignments of male tithables to work the roads and 
keep them in repair. These provisions for improving the roads 
engaged the whole conununity as the need for travel to meeting 
centers continued to grow. Often these specified roads led to a new 
mill or a warehouse recently erected within the parish. It was a slow 
and tedious improvement that has been extended to the present 
day. Roads did not happen; they served a definite purpose — they led 
to a destination. 

It was during the time that Goochland County included Fluvanna 
of today that the General Assembly recognized the need for laws 
providing for the development of roads and their repair. An Act was 
passed in November, 1738 which gave the county courts authority 
"^to appoint surveyors of the several roads witUn a county, and 
to erect signs at the cross roads or where the highways meet, at 
the most convenient place, a stone marker or post with inscriptions 
thereon in large letters, directing travellers to the most noted place 
to which the said roads lead.** It also gave the surveyor the riglit to 
use any tree or wood or stone from adjacent lands for making and 
setting up such sign posts. (There is a place in Fluvanna near the 
junction of Routes No. 626 and No. 696 knows as '"The Signboard** 



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for well over a century. Could *The Signboard** have been a marker 
on the early road connecting the courthouses of Fluvanna and 
Louisa?) 

The county court was also given the authority to keep the roads in 
repair, and the General Assembly did not for^ to fix a penalty of 
five shillings if the surveyor was negligent or failed to perform 
his duties. 

The keeper of a mill was required by an earlier act in 1736 to 
see that the miUdams were ten feet wide. This act directed that 
rails should be put up on each side of the bridge over a dam*s flood 
gates which, in case of freshets, would relieve the keeper of a 
penalty. It seems the dam was used as a bridge, an improvement over 
the fords. 

Ten years later, in October 1748, the General Assembly passed a 
new law concerning the roads of the Colony. The new act provided 
that the county court have the power to aker roads, to open new 
roads for passing to and from the city of Williamsburg to the court- 
house in every county, to the parish churches, and to all public mills 
and ferries. It gave authority to have the roads cleared "Yor thirty 
feet broad at the least,** and it provided for the extension of roads 
into counties adjoining and for building and maintaining bridges. 
The roadways over the miUdams were widened two feet at the top to 
twelve feet and were railed; sign posts were erected at the cross- 
roads, maintained, and kept in repair. Penalties were set for failure 
to comply with the provisions of the law. 

Laws controlling the roads in the Fluvanna County area were 
administered by the county of Albemarle from 1744 to 1777, and 
before that by the court of Goochland County, from 1727 to 1744, 
a fact which in part accounts for the neglected state of the roads in 
the area. The major part of the early road work took place during the 
time Fluvanna was part of Albemarle; records of Albemarle County 
would prove this if they were extant, for the court was responsible 
for viewing ways for roads, opening roads approved, and appointing 
surveyors and tithables to care for the roads, when once established. 

At the first court held for the county of Fluvanna at the house of 
Thomas Napier below Pabnyra in August, 1777, near the site of the 
first courthouse, the court approved the surveyors of the roads in the 
county, who had been approved previously by the court of Albe- 
marle. Albemarle had appointed Conunissioners to view a road 
leading from Fork Ferry to Louisa Courthouse; the Fluvanna Court 
reviewed the order, approved it, and ordered the road opened and 
established for the public. 

At the second court Benjamin Martin requested the court to open a 
road *^Tom the Old Road near Mrs. L^e*s (Wibnington) along a 



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path leading by Elias Wills (Chatham Plantation) to Amos* Falls on 
the North River (Rivanna), and from thence along another path to 
the Fork Road near the millpath of Wilson Miles Cary, Gent.** 
(Records indicate his mill was on Gary's Creek.) 

Certainly, court orders such as this confirm the fact that the 
one-time foot paths were converted into roads by order of the 
court. 

The Secretary's Road 

The Secretary Road took its name from the Secretary of the 
Council of Colonial Virginia, the Honorable John Carter, son of 
Robert Carter (King Carter) of Corrotoman, who in the early days 
of Goochland was granted a large tract of land about ^^Geute^s 
Mountain** on the branches of the Hardware River (Albemarle 
County). Parts of the tract became large estates such as Blenheim 
and Redlands. John Carter was Secretary of the Council from 1721 
until his death in 1742 at his residence, Shirley, in Charles City 
County. 

Also from John Carter came the name of Secretary's Ford and 
Secretary's Mill. He never lived in this area, but developed the land 
and farmed it as Quarters. 

The road designated as the Secretary's Road was abo referred to 
as **the Secretary's Rolling Road.** The first roads were built to get 
the tobacco to market, tobacco being the main source of revenue. 
The round hogsheads of tobacco were rolled to market either by 
slaves or by equipping the hogsheads with axles so they could be 
drawn by oxen. 

From Carter's Mill on the north fork of the Hardware River, the 
Secretary Road ran in a southeasterly direction along the north side 
of the Hardware to Woodridge, and from there followed the ridge be- 
tween the Rivanna and Hardware Rivers to Bremo on the James 
River. It was also called the Bremo Road. 

The route of the Secretary Road can be traced on old land plats 
on record in Albemarle. An interesting plat, dated 1755, for land of 
Joseph Fitzpatrick ""on the branches of the Hardware River and 
Buck Island Creek," shows the junction of several roads similar to 
the junction at Woodridge today. The plat shows the junction of 
the Martin King Road, the '^Bremo or the Secretary Road," 
•*Colo. Jefferson's Road," and **Anthony's Road." 

Today the Secretary's Road enters Fluvanna County near Antioch 
and follows Route No. 620, until it enters Route No. 6 (the old 
Scottsville-Columbia Road) at Kidd's Store, close to where the old 
Lambeth Tavern stood. There is nothing left here to indicate that 



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an ordinary ever stood on this site, but a lone gravestone for a 
member of the Kidd Family may be seen in the graveyard near the 
road. The Lambeth Tavern is described as a gray ghost of a building, 
which had not been used for years. It was pleasing to Mr. and Mrs. 
W. T. Reed, and they purchased it and moved it to their home at 
Sabot on the James River in Goochland County where it was rebuilt 
and tastefully restored. 

There are several places of interest along this road after it 
enters Fluvanna. The Antioch Baptist Church is an important build- 
ing in the community, and farther down is the Wesley Chapel, which 
was an outgrowth of Goodman*s Chapel, probably named for old 
Parson Goodman. The old Browning home is also on this road. 

Traditionally, an attempt to mine magnesium was once made on 
the Cleveland farm not far from the road near Kidd's store, but 
it was of such poor quality that it proved unprofitable to the opera- 
tors and folded in a short time. 

The Martin King Road 

The Martin King Road is one of the oldest roads in the County. 
After its junction with the Secretary's Road in Albemarle, it ran to 
the east. Today this road can be traced near the course of Route No. 
618 from the county line to the Rivanna River. After crossing the 
Rivanna, traces can be seen in field and woods along the general 
course of Route No. 600 in the direction of Louisa. The road once 
stopped at the county line near Zion Cross Roads, but Fry and Lynch 
applied to the Louisa Court, and the road was continued to Louisa 
Courthouse. 

A plat of 1793 clearly shows the Martin King Road fording the 
Rivanna downstream of the site of the Union Mills dam. (It was 
this ford that Lafayette and his men used going from the campsite on 
Mechunk Creek to Bamardsburg.) Later, when Bamardsburg be- 
came a town, a new crossing was made a few miles down the river. 
Still later, when Union Mills became a thriving place, another 
crossing was made upstream, just below the dam on the river. Today, 
both the Union Mills crossing and the Martin King Ford (on the Ivan- 
hoe Morris farm) are abandoned, and the bridge at old Bamardsburg 
is called Crofton. Here at Crofton is the dam fqr the new Lake 
Monticello. 

The identity of Martin King for whom the road took its name 
has passed into the limbo of forgotten things, but Woods says in his 
History of Albemarle County, that the Court was mindful of its own 
dignity and for some form of misbehaviour in its presence, not men- 
tioned, the said Martin King was ordered into custody and bound 



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over for a year. At the same time his son, Martin King, Jr., and 
James Feniey were placed in stocks 

Many Albemarle plats of land now included in Fluvanna show the 
Martin King Road as early as 1755. And in 1748, a patent was issued 
to the Bumleys for a grant, a tract of land containing 5,000 acres, 
lying on the North River (Rivanna) and Hardware River and on both 
sides of Bremuesh (sic) and Martin King Road in Albemarle County. 

The area now called Crofton was formerly the chartered town of 
Bamardsburg, which was incorporated in 1796. The second state 
warehouse for the inspection of tobacco in the county opened here, 
and the town became a considerable center of trade. The militia 
had a parade ground; there was a jail — and a gallows tree, which 
added eerie atmosphere, if no more. It was to this place that 
l^ifayette moved his army to put an end to the Britbh inclusions in 
1781. 

The Martin King Road is a good illustration of the fact that the 
routes of early roads were changed frequently to meet the needs of 
the conununity. Demands for new or better roads continue to this 
day, but the wider divided highways, and the earth-moving, earth- 
shaking equipment, combine to make a new road a mixed blessing. 

The Marqub Road 

The road long known as the Marquis' Road began at Old Raccoon 
Ford, where it crossed the Rapidan River into Orange County and 
ran across Orange to Brock's Bridge over the North*Anna River into 
Louisa County. It then passed through the upper end of Louisa and 
entered Fluvanna a few miles west of BosweU's Tavern; here a new 
road was cut through the woods by French Engineers, and it led to 
AUegre's on the Three Notched Road and Mechunk Creek. This was 
a new road to Mechunk Creek which was named in honor of the 
Marquis. It was this road to which William C. Rives alluded in his 
address to General Lafayette at the county line on his visit in 1824. 

As Lafayette moved through Orange, Louisa and Fluvanna, he was 
joined by the forces of General Anthony Wayne and other Conti- 
nental forces. Old traditions hold that Lafayette and the troops 
camped one night as Boswell's Tavern, one night near Allegre's 
Tavern, and one night at Bamardsburg as they gathered forces to 
march to Yorktown. 

During the summer of 1781 the roads of Fluvanna were used by 
both armies in bits of major strategy involving Charlottesville and the 
Arsenal at Point of Fork. Lafayette's route from Bamardsburg 
eastward is not recorded, but some of the Contmental forces must 
have travelled the Three Notched Road for one soldier reported 



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that the route he travelled was very dry and dusty, and there were 
no streams crossing the way, which suggests that he was on the 
Three Notched Road. Tarleton*s route to join Simcoe is not certain. 
He was a tempestuous man, and was distraught at his failure to 
capture the General Assembly. His anxiety and confused state of 
mind are evident in a report that he made to Comwallis: 

"*! believe that Lafayette passed the South Anna or Pamunkey 
this morning for the Old Mountain Road at Bird's Ordinary. He 
lay at Bird's Mill yesterday evening. I have been on the Three 
Notched Road all day. I shall strike again tomorrow morning and 
go to Napier's or Pier's Mill. I cannot learn what water it stands 
on." 

It does not appear that Tarletoh was posted on the whereabouts 
of Lafayette or the geography of Fluvanna and Louisa counties. 

Bybee's Road 

Today Route No. 613 follows the early road called •^Bibee's" 
which led from the Courthouse Road, past Bibee's Race Ground, 
to the Three Notched Road on the eastern side of the county. This 
road passed Flanagan's Mill and today it leads to Bybees Road 
Church and Bybee store and post office. The settlement around 
the store included a school called Center Hill. 

It is rather strange that a race track and a Baptist Church should 
both have been named for the same family, but history reveals 
many odd frailties that only the genus homo sapiens can provide. 

In December, 1777, the Court ordered that the hands of George 
Thompson, Gent., be added to 'Hhe company under John Buck- 
ley, overseer of the Road from Bibee's Race Ground to the Three 
Notched Road." In 1779 John Alloway Strange was appointed 
surveyor of this road, from Napier's Ford (Courthouse) to Bibee's 
Race Grounds, which undoubtedly was the place where races were 
then run, and John Martin was named surveyor of the road from the 
Race Ground to the Three Notched Road in the room of John 
Bickley. 

Near the junction of the two roads stood a large blacksmith shop 
presided over by Captain Bill Diggs. This was a busy smithy, a shop 
of sturdy build, a popular gathering place for the men of the 
neighborhood when the raceground had faded into history. 

The Columbia Road 

The Columbia Road from Louisa entered Fluvanna County at 
present-day Ferncliff and passed in a southerly direction parallel to 



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Venable and Byrd Creeks, similar in pattern to the present Route 
No. 659. 

This road passed the junction once caUed Jordan's Store, and then 
at Kents Store it crossed Venable Road and continued due south to 
cross the White Hall Road. After crossing a branch of the Byrd Creek, 
it ran parallel to a section of present Route No. 604, crossed the Big 
Byrd and came to today's Route No. 602. There was a covered 
bridge over the Byrd at Greenwood Planatation until the flood of 
August, 1928. Sections of this old Columbia Road are abandoned 
today. It joined the Stage Coach Road at Stage Junction. 

Writing in 1795-1797, a traveller described his adventures as he 
rode his horse northward on this road. He related his experience 
with lightning bugs; there were so many he found their light mis- 
leading. He described the way as lonely and through a pine forest. 
He was on his way to the Green Spring in Louisa where he spent 
the night at a tavern; next day he pursued his way onward to the 
Southwest Mountains. 

Woodson's Road~ Venable Road 

Another very early road that threaded its way through the wooded 
hills of Fluvanna was the Woodson's Road. Yellowed plats on record 
in Albemarle show the Woodson's Road in 1755 in the area of Wil- 
mington. We do not know where it crossed the Rivanna, but a plat 
of the same year shows it crossing the branches of Gary's Creek. 
Later the road crossed the Rivanna at Napier's Ford at the old Court- 
house and passed southeast to Carysbrook. A court order of 1779 ap- 
pointed Alexander Moss surveyor of the road leading from L^e's to 
the county line (Louisa) called Woodson's Road. 

Later, Venable's Road must have taken the place of Woodson's. 
The present Route No. 601 has been called the Venable Road for 
many years; it is evident that it is a continuation of Venable's 
Road in Louisa County, a road which ran from the vicinity of Yancey- 
ville on the South Anna River where Abraham Venable had a large 
tract of land, across the Three Notched Road, thence into Fluvanna 
County in the manner of the present road to Wilmington. 

Abraham Venable, a member of the first Commission of Justices 
for the County of Louisa in 1742, was in the same year elected 
Burgess to the General Assembly, a position he held for several 
years. There appears to be little doubt that this family had land in 
Fluvanna and gave Venable Creek its name; this creek originates in 
the eastern part of the county. 

On this road stood the Hughes Meeting House, later Byrd Chapel, 
and a branch of this road must have led to old Bowlesville, the first 



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post oflFioe for this section of the county. 

On its way to Kents Store the Venable Road passed the mineral 
springs which were patronized by the older generations. The biggest 
spring is at the home of Mr. Hughes Holland, whose place has been 
long known as Mineral Springs. 

The Mountain Road, Route No. S3 

In October, 1777 the new county court ordered a Mr. Fitzpatrick, 
John Napier, Gent., Henry Haislip, and Rainy Woodson to view a 
way for ••a road from the Place where the County line crosses the 
Secretary Road to the place agreed on for the Courthouse.** This 
road could have connected the Cunningham neighborhood to the 
county seat. When the Cunningham settlement grew, a road to 
connect with the Old Martin King Road (near Nahor) became neces- 
sary, and this was doubtless the beginnings of Route No. S3, a road 
parallel to the Rivanna on the west side. The Oki Stage Road had 
long been a thoroughfare on the east side. 

Court minutes of 1778 reveal more plans for early roads on the 
branches of the Cunningham Creek. In August the court received a 
report on a way viewed from the Albemarle County line, down by 
Fitzpatrick's Mill, to the place fixed upon for a courthouse. 

In September the road was divided into three segments. Richard 
Napier, Gent., was appointed to survey the road from "Sphere Capt 
Napier's Road turns out of the Courthouse Road, continuing up the 
Ridge to Richard Burton Payne's Land on the South Fork of Cun- 
ningham Creek.** John Hancock was appointed surveyor from 
Payne's land to Joseph Fitzpatrick*s Mill Creek, and Robert Right 
(sic) was surveyor from there to the county line. 

There is no record to prove the statement, but it seems most 
likely that Col. Tarleton took a road on the west side of the Rivanna 
when he returned from his raid to Charlottesville, for it is the most 
direct and follows the ridge below the Rivanna in the direction 
of the point. 

The Stage Coach Road 

The Stage Coach Road was the route over which passenger 
coaches moved by stages from the east to Columbia, through the 
county to Charlottesville and westward. The present secondary 
roads follow its general route through Fluvanna-, starting on Route 
No. 659 from Columbia to Johnston*s Store (Shepherd*s Store), 
then on Route No. 608 to Route No. 613. The section across Ballenger 
Creek b abandoned, but Route No. 616 again follows it past old 



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Sconsvius, 




Digitized by 



GoogI 




COLUMBIA 



OLD ROADS 

FLUVANN^ cotinf 



Union Mills to the Albemarle County line. 

The stage coaches made regular stops at places along the route to 
change teams and aUow the passengers to rest and secure refresh- 
ments at the various hostehies. After leaving Columbia, the first 
stop was at Weavers Tavern at Stage Junction, thence to Wihning- 
ton, a place blessed with two taverns, still standing today. Large 
stables maintained here allowed the coaches to change horses and 
secure a fresh team before continuing their journeys. 

Some accounts place Linse/s Ordinary near the old Evergreen 
School above Wilmington. The next big stop was the Rising Sun 
Tavern at the junction of the old east-west road. Next the travellers 
came to Morris Tavern near Union Mills, the last stop in Fluvanna. 
Boyd Tavern stood just over the county line where the road perhaps 
inerged with the Three Chopt Road. 

The road followed by the stage was the route over which the 
Marquis de Lafayette, escorted by the militia, made his way to visit 
Mr. JefTerson in 1824. General Lafayette, coming to America to 
visit some of the scenes of his exploits and old friends who had 
survived the forty-four years following the Revolution, left Richmond 
on November 2 to visit Monticello. 

Late in the afternoon the entourage reached Goochland Court- 
house where the General was entertained in the home of Major 
Isaac Curd. After a dinner in honor of the General, there were 
speeches and toasts. He spent the night at Goochland and the next 
morning he resumed his journey. 

He arrived at Columbia at two-thirty in the afternoon, where he 
was met by a company of militia under the command of Col. 
Joseph Stephen Perkins; he was escorted up the Stage Road, after a 
big meal at the Columbia Tavern. He stopped at Coles Tavern at 
Wilmington, which at that time was owned and operated by Horatio 
Wills. 

There was another sumptuous dinner, attended by the elite and a 
few of the old soldiers. After more toasts and speeches, the guests 
and the whole company enjoyed a ball and other entertainment at 
Lyle's Brick Tavern across the road. 

The next morning, November 4, the General returned to his place 
in the coach, which was lent by General Cocke, and the company 
moved on. In the early afternoon the French General was met at the 
Albemarle County line by another company of soldiers, the Lafayette 
Guard under command of Capt. John H. Craven, sent at the sugges- 
tion of Mr. JefTerson to honor the distinguished guest and to conduct 
him to Monticello. 

It was here, near Boyd's Tavern, that the carriage halted and 
William C. Rives addressed the General. In the course of his remarks, 

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he mentioned another road which had been used by the General in 
178 1, and said that the road was still known as *^The Marquis Road** — 
a name it bears to this day. 

The coach in which Lafayette rode the entire length of the Stage 
Coach Road through the county, a gracious loan from General John 
H. Cocke of Bremo, is today on exhibit at Stratford, the home of 
the Lees. 

The Three Notched Road 

An Indian trail which followed the ridge between the South Anna 
River and the James River was, traditionally, the forerunner of 
the well-known Three Notched Road, or Three Chopt Road. It is 
reasonable that it was an Indian trail, for it was a fact that Indians 
travelled a long way to avoid crossing a stream and getting wet feet; 
certainly this route was a safe one, for there is hardly a stream 
across it. 

The Three Notched Road got its name from the three blazes, or 
chops, on the tree trunks along its course to mark its way, and it is 
believed that the three blazes were marks to represent the three 
Roman numerals of George III. There were other roads of the period 
called Three Chopt, and since aU the roads were the King's High- 
ways, this marking during the time of George III was probably done 
to honor the King. One of the earliest records which mentions the 
Three Notched, or Chopt, Road appears in a patent to one E>aniel 
Harris for land on Camp Creek and the Three Chopt Road in Louisa 
County in the year 1756. 

An Act of the General Assembly passed in 1803 authorized the 
counties of Louisa and Fluvanna to determine what part the road, 
commonly caUed Three Chopt Road, lay in each county; it was 
designated as "^the road from Richmond to Rockflsh Gap, called the 
Three Notched Road.** It passed through the main street of Char- 
lottesville and beyond. This Act of 1803 provided for the appointment 
of overseers and the assignment of hands to work the road and keep it 
in repair. 

Petitions to the General Assembly in 1808 from the inhabitants of 
the counties along the Three Notched Road asked that it be made a 
turnpike, in order to keep the travelling public away from develop- 
ment along the James River. It was a century and a half before this 
dream was realized in the building of the super highway, Interstate 
64. 

During the colonial period the traveller usually found accommoda- 
tions with food and lodging about every seven miles along the way. 
A traveller on horseback rode about twenty-five miles a day, and it 



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was easy to find three meals at appropriate intervab of time and 
distance. George Washington, who was one of the great travellers 
of his time, made an early start in the morning and covered as much 
as forty miles in a day, but his experience has been rarely duplicated, 
for he knew the roads, the stopping points, and the ability of his 
horse as well. 

The places for lodging and dining in Virginia during the seven- 
teenth century were not remarkable for lavish entertainment, since 
the patronage for the most part was men on horseback or on foot. The 
meals, from reports of travellers, were cold and unappetizing. The* 
drinks were commonly such beverages as ale, rum, brandy and 
whiskey and mixed drinks such as punch, club, and rarely, Maderia 
wine, the latter served more frequently in Tidewater. The beds were 
-in keeping with the hostelries — good, bad and indifferent; however, 
not all were like the one Chastellux described at Louisa Courthouse 
as the worst in America. 

Route No. 250 took the place of the Three Notched Road as a 
**big highway", but old Three Notched crosses Route No. 2S0 and 
enters Fluvanna County at Goom's Tavern, the home of Mrs. Lin- 
wood Payne. This was also known as the Moccasin Gap Tavern, 
and Parrish's Tavern, for it was operated by the Parrishes for many 
years. It is not far from the intersection long known as Mocassin Gap. 

North of this section of the Three Notched Road (Route No. 653) 
the county line follows a straight line, but the road passes over into 
Louisa County until it swings back across the line into Fluvanna 
again along the present Route No. 607. At Zion Cross Roads the 
Three Notched Road continues into Louisa, but is close to the county 
line. It re-enters Fluvanna as Route No. 627, follows present-day 
Route 250, disappears, and then appears as Route No. 759 at Lafay- 
ette Hill, crosses No. 250, and continues to the site of Boycfs 
Tavern. 

Hackney's Tavern stands at the intersection of Route No. 615 and 
No. 689, just over the county line near Zion Cross Roads on the 
Three Notched Road. In 1820, this tavern was shown on the map 
made by Wood as Hackney's Tavern, but it was sometimes called 
Hackney's Old Stand. The well in the yard was a welcome sight to 
dusty, thirsty travellers. The stop was later called Halls's Tavern 
and is today a private residence, the home of Mr. and Mrs. James 
Martin. 

Lindsay's Tavern was also recorded on Wood's Map. William 
Wrenn conveyed this property by deed dated March 1, 1805, to 
Robert Lindsay. The early buildings were described as a large 
house, a carriage house, and a stable of logs. There remains a trace 
of the cellar where the tavern apparently stood. 



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AUegre's, as it was commonly called, was the best-known tavern on 
the Three Notched Road and had its beginning when Giles Allegie 
was granted a license to operate a tavern by the Court of Albemarle 
in 1745. 

It seems certain that Allegre had purchased land on Mechunk's 
Creek prior to this time, for he had patented several tracts of land in 
1732 when the western land was called Goochland County. Giles 
Allegre lived among the Huguenots at Manakintown and prospered 
financially and socially for a time. The* first marriage record in the 
Goochland Register is that of Giles Allegre and Judith Cox, June 
27, 1739. 

Giles Allegre, the younger, changed the name of the tavern after 
he served during the Revolution in Lafayette's Army; in honor of 
the Marquis he called it Lafayette Hill Tavern, for it was here that 
Lafayette spent a night in June, 1781 while his troops were encamped 
across the road. There is a story still current that Lafayette found the 
water from a spring nearby especially palatable; later when he moved 
his army toward Barnardsburg, he sent a detail back to bring some 
of the water to him. 

The AUegres lived here until 1824, when the property was sold by 
W. T. Allegre, a descendant of the first owner. Another Allegre, Dan, 
was mentioned in the records of 1777 when he was appointed sur- 
veyor of the Three-Notched Road "^rom the Louisa line to the 
Albemarle line, as much as lies within the County of Fluvanna . . . 
The hands of the sd. Allegre, Anthony Haden, Wm. Howard, James 
Adams, Thos. Denton, Wm. Denton, George Haggard, and Archd. 
Napier** were alloted to maintain the road. 

A 1777 plat of the land of Giles Allegre reveals the names of 
other old roads of lesser importance. It shows the junctions of 
Valentine Wood's Rolling Road and Adams Road with the Three 
Notched Road. Perhaps the Adams Road was an early version of the 
Stage Coach Road and led to Adam's land on the Rivanna (at 
Adam's Falls), later the site of Union Mills. 

The White HaU Road 

U. S. Geological Survey maps giving -1927 North America datum" 
clearly define the old White Hall Road across Fluvanna County, 
Goochland, and Hanover. 

It ran with the Stage Coach Road in the northern section of 
Fluvanna, and then lay parallel to present day Route No. 630 from 
the Bybee area to the site of Byrd Grove Church. Then it crossed a 
branch of the Byrd Creek, perhaps at the same place as the Columbia 
Road. In early days it scaled a rocky cliff above the present bridge, 



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and it is pleasant to follow this shady old track over the rock 
ledges, the face of the cliff decked in maiden-hair fern. The White 
HaU Road entered Goochland abnost as Route No. 610 does today, 
and continued through Goochland to cross the White Hall Creek. 

Until recent years a home called White HaU stood facing this 
road as it neared the Goochland line on **Pea Ridge." Here lived 
County Surveyor, C. E. Watkins. Not far from his home stood the 
one-room log school house caUed White Hall. 

This route was a middle road between the Stage Coach Road, 
River Road and the Three Chopt Road. Many sections have been dis- 
continued, perhaps because it crossed so many streams. 

The White HaU Road is identified on Gilmer's war map of 1863 as 
it crossed the main body of the Byrd Creek and continued eastward. 
The Harpers Weekly Magazine of October 14, 1865 states, *The 
'Belzoro* and 'Marks' (gold) mines, which confront each other and 
are divided by the White HaU Road, are situated only seven miles 
from Columbia . . ." 

The Bryanf 8 Ford Road 

An Act of the General Assembly, passed in April 1757, estab- 
lished a crossing for a road over the Rivanna River from the land of 
John Bryant to the land of Edward Pye Chamberlayne (later site of 
Rivanna Mills). It foUowed that this crossing became known as the 
Bryant's Ford, and the road which crossed here became known as the 
Bryant's Ford Road. 

The Bryant family had been established on their land here prior to 
1757 when the legislature established the crossing. Silvanus Bryant 
was appointed Surveyor of the road from his ford to the Goochland 
line, and the hands of Samuel Martin, WiUiam Martin, Benjamin 
Martin, and EUas WiUs, Gent., were assigned to work on this road. 

Later, in December 1777, the Court ordered the **hands of Colo. 
Cary at his lower plantation on the east side of the River be added to 
the company under Silvanus Bryant, overseer of the said road from 
Bryant's Ford to the Goochland County Une." 

In 1798 the Bryants sold a part of their land to John Ashlin who 
received permission from the county court in 1809 to build a miU dam 
on the Rivanna River and erect a miU on his land at this place. As 
the miUs prospered, new roads were opened. A map of 1888 shows 
three roads, besides the Bryant Ford Road, branching from the Stage 
Coach Road to converge on Rivanna Mills. (The Mills were also 
known as Ashlin's, Stillman's, and Rison's Mills.) 

To the west of the Rivanna the Bryant Ford Road joined a road 
from Columbia at Fork Tavern and continued north towards Carys 



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Creek. In March 1827, the county court appointed Robert W. Ashlin, 
in the room of John A. Stone, to be surveyor of the road from 
Bryanfs Ford to Gum Creek, from Gum Creek to Liddle*s FoUy, and 
on to the Stage Coach Road. The male tithables of Humphrey Belt, 
Thomas Appleberry, John M. WiUs, Miss Sarah Stone, James Currin, 
Miss Sarah Lewis, Samuel Wood, William Pettit, Jr., Peyton Shelton, 
Valentine Thomas, George Stillman, Samuel Stillman, Robert W. 
Ashlin, Carter Chandler, Robert Appleberry and Duncan McRae 
were required to work the road. 

In 18S0 when the canal was buih from Columbia to the Rivanna 
Mills, a bridge was built over the canal at the Ford. Later, the canal 
was bridged below the boat basin to lead to a new bridge over the 
Rivanna. The remains of this unique water-level bridge can still be 
seen in the river below the dam. 

This low bridge, 16 feet wide with a slanting floor, withstood 
floods better than the high bridges or the old fords — submerged cribs 
filled with rocks. Chastain Cocke devised this bridge at the miUs, and 
W. W. White loved to tell of furnishing lumber for a new floor. Cocke 
built three more of these bridges: at Milton, Union Mills and Bar- 
nardsburg. The County paid him $500 each f (M* his bridges. 

A little of the Bryant Ford Road remains in the county road 
system as Routes 624 and 606. There were several old estates of 
interest near this road: Meanwell, the home of Joseph Bruce; 
Fairplay, now owned by a lumber company; and a home called Rose 
Hill. And where was Liddle's Folly? 

The River Road 

**The River Road^ is still used today, passing through Goochland 
parallel with the James River, and entering Fluvanna County at 
Columbia. In its present course, it is designated Route No. 6. 

One of the earliest roads to this area must have been a road that 
followed the James. We know that by the time the Albemarle 
Courthouse was set at Scotts Ferry, a road must have extended up 
the river that far and beyond. A 1756 plat shows the River Road on 
the southern branches of the Hardware, leading to the Courthouse. 
The Carys, Cockes and other early landowners of this area would 
have followed the River Road to their upland plantations. 

On her first visit to Fluvanna in 1803, Anne Barraud Cocke (wife 
of General Cocke) found the roads from Richmond to Fluvanna 
abominable. It was actually necessary to cut a road into the 
Bremo Plantation to accommodate her four-wheeled carriage. She 
wrote her mother, "^Good heavens, we are so surrounded by woods, 
that it appears we never can make our escape!** 



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Court records of Goochland County as early as 1736 show the 
River Road to Columbia, fcM* the court approved a road leading from 
the Bird (Creek) to **Mt. Misory,** and all the male tithables 
between these places, and those belonging to Miles Cary, Gent., 
(Carysbrook) were ordered to work on the road. 

Ferries were established over the two rivers at Columbia: the 
Rivanna, caUed the North River, and the James, caUed the Flu- 
vanna River above Columbia. In 1745 the Assembly established a 
ferry from the lands of James Fenly to the lands of William CabeU; 
charges were three pence for a man and three pence for a horse. 

In March 1779 the Fluvanna Court ordered that *^the ferries at 
Martin Ferry on the James be raised to six times more than they 
formerly were.** In 1780 the rate for James and Rivanna ferries was 
set at 7/6 for a man and the same for a horse. 

Columbia was founded in 1788 by an Act of the General Assembly. 
Situated at the junction of the rivers, caUed Point of Fork, the 
center grew with an increase in travel. The Point of Fork Arsenal, 
established on the hill called **Mt. Misory** on land of E>avid Ross, 
supplied the Continental forces and contributed to the development 
of Columbia. Then in 1785 the Rivanna Warehouse for the state 
inspection of tobacco was established here, and this brought the 
tobacco crop from the plantations of a large area. The James River 
was navigable for small boats and batteaux, and much of the heavy 
freight was moved down the James to Columbia. 

A later land owner in the Point was William Gait, a Scot and a 
bachelor. He bequeathed his estate to his two nephews, James and 
William. James built the brick house caUed Point of Fork not far 
from the old barracks, and William built a *^twin** house several 
miles up the James River, called Glen Arvon. 

After leaving "Mt. Misory** and the river estates, the River Road 
continued on to Austin Seay's land. According to tradition the road 
crossed Crooks Creek on his milldam, passed his home, and con- 
tinued down Tanyard Hill. It was on Seay*s land that General John 
Hartwell Cocke built the Brick Church, which is now part of Fork 
Union Baptist Church, and from this beginning the community of 
Fork Union developed around the widely-known Fork Union Mili- 
tary Academy, which was established in 1898 through the energy 
and perseverance of Dr. William E. Hatcher, Charles G. Snead, and 
others. 

There were places of lodging and entertainment at intervals along 
the River Road between Columbia and Scottsville. Travellers stopped 
at Winnsville (west of Fork Union) at the home of Capt. Thomas 
Winn; there was an ordinary at Central Plains with the unusual name 
of Frog Ordinary, and Lambeth's Tavern stood at the junction of the 



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Secretary Road. Between this and the ferry at Scottsville was an 
ordinary with such a reputation for riotous patronage that it was 
caUed ^Bledsoe's Onery.- 

During the late colonial period, and well into the next century, this 
road was the main route of travel from the upcountry, and over this 
road the produce of that area passed on its way to market. The sheep 
were driven in droves, the cattle in herds, and the hogs by the 
hundreds to the head of navigation for the markets in Tidewater. 
Traffic diminished with the development of the James River — 
Kanawha Canal which carried produce on its boats aU the way from 
Buchannan. 

The Cocke Road 

The Cocke Road was named for General John Hartwell Cocke, a 
crusader for the betterment of Fluvanna. His road leads from 
Bremo on the James River to the courthouse at Palmyra. 

General Cocke was born on September 19, 1780 in Surry County, 
son of John Hartwell Cocke and Elizabeth Kennon Cocke. He was 
graduated from William and Mary College in 17^8, served in the 
war of 1812, and was commissioned General in command of Virginia 
troops at Camp Carter and Camp HoUy. 

General Cocke was a great advocate of temperance and served as 
vice-president of the American Temperance Society; he also was 
vice-president of the American Colonization Society. He was one of 
the original members of the Board of Visitors of the University of 
Virginia and held that honor from 1819 until 1852. 

Amid all his other duties, he became a leading advocate of build- 
ing improved roads and used his own engineering skill to do so. 
He was instrumental in building the road which bears his name, and 
which must have replaced the old New Canton Road. Often his 
efforts angered people, opposed as they were to cutting roads 
through their lands and appropriating their hands to do the work. 

The grading along the Cocke Road is still visible after a century 
and a half; it was an unusual feature of roads of that day. He also 
placed stone mile posts marking each mile. The marker with a figure 
one chiseled on it is located a miled south of Palmyra, on Route No. 
IS, which follows the old Cocke Road. Here the ladies of the 
Fluvanna Garden Club have landscaped a ""model mile," and it is 
marked with a General Cocke milestone at each end of their plant- 
ings. The surviving milestones on this road are indeed unique. 

The section of the Cocke Road which crossed Little Mountain Hill 
is abandoned. Near the New Fork Church there were two large stone 
markers at the intersection. One marker facing south read: ""Right to 



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Columbia/ Left to Fluvanna Courthouse.** On the back of the stone in 
large letters was inscribed ""J.H.C./O.R./ISIS.** (This marker has 
been moved.) On the opposite side of the Cocke Road is another tall 
stone marker with these directions: ""To Scottsville/Left to 7 Isles 
Mills," and on the reverse side, **J.H.C./O.R./1828.- We believe 
-O.R." stands for **Overseer of Roads.** 

The lower section of the Cocke Road leading to Upper Bremo be- 
came a CCC Road in the thirties. There is another marker on this 
section with points "'Right to 7 Isles Mills** and ""To New Canton/ 
via Bremo.** 

Richard Cocke, a century before in 1725, placed a marker in the 
woodland near this road — where a road may have run in 172S — which 
bears this legend: ""R. C. 1725/ Remove not the/ ancient landmarks/ 
which thy fathers/ have set. Prov. 22:28.** 

General Cocke became concerned with roads about 1814, and after 
this date there are numerous court orders concerning him and road 
work. In 1821 the court ordered the male tithables to work under 
Cocke*s supervision on the Middleton Mills (Shores) Road and to 
continue as required for maintenance. The order included the tith- 
ables of John G. Hughes, Jesse Hughes, Sr., Jesse Hughes, Jr., 
Richard Mandley, George Anderson, John Anderson, Benjamin 
Anderson, John Champion, Minor Winn, Richard McCary, George 
McCary, Richard B. Payne, Charles Clements, Harris K. Clements, 
James B. Baltimore, John Winn, John Bryant, Nathan Lowry and 
John Bashaw. 

General Cocke contracted to build a bridge, which he caUed Tem- 
perance Bridge, over the Hardware River on the Scottsville Road; 
for this work he was paid $943.62 by the county. Then in 1827 he 
was named surveyor for the road which later bore his name. 

One story about General Cocke's role that has survived in the 
county involves a toast to that stalwart gentleman. The toaster 
expressed himself like this: "^Here's to the great State of Fluvanna. 
May she be delivered from sheep-sorreD and the Timberlakes, from 
the Hession fly and John Hartwell Cocke, and by God's help old 
•Flu' will come through all right." 

The James Madison Highway 

The James Madison Highway (Route No. IS) crosses the county 
from Zion Cross Roads to the John Hartwell Cocke Bridge over the 
James River at Bremo. It has taken the place of a succession of 
early roads that led to the courthouse at Palmyra. 

Long before Fluvanna was formed, the building of roads to the 
courthouse was a law of the land, as shown by acts of the General 



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Assembly, so that nearly every county seat was the center from which 
roads radiated to the remote areas. 

From Zion Cross Roads to Pabnyra, Route No. IS runs paraUel to 
earlier courthouse roads. In 1775 this north-south road was called 
""Haden's Road," and on Joseph Thompson's land the ^'Church 
Road** joined it. Perhaps the old Broken Back Church stood at this 
junction. In 1778, on the motion of Turner Richardson, Gent, the 
court ordered that George Thompson, Gent., Henry Haislip, William 
Moody, and William Haden view the most convenient way for a 
road from the Broken Back Church, crossing the North River at the 
*^Said Turner Richardson*s Fishing Place** to the road leading to 
Fork Church. Since this road crossed the Rivanna, it could have been 
a forerunner of the James Madison Highway, or it could have been 
an early version of the old Flanagan Road which the 1863 map traces 
from Flannagan's Landing on the Rivanna to the juction near the 
site of Broken Back Church. 

Another landmark on the old Courthouse Road north of Pahnyra 
was the log Hunter's Lodge. It stood near its successor, the Hunter's 
Lodge store and service station, but was moved to The Union on 
Route No. 616. 

South of Palmyra the James Madison Highway replaces the old 
Woodson Road and the later Cocke Road. As far as Dixie, it also 
replaced the early road that ran from the Oki Fork Tavern to the 
Courthouse. In the minutes of 1777 and 1779 this road is mentioned 
when Archibald Snead requested a road from the Forks to Fork 
Ordinary, and from there to the Courthouse. 

Route No. IS from Dixie to Bremo Bluff is a newer road, surveyed 
after Fork Union grew into a village, drawing trafific from the Old 
Cocke Road. 

When the county was formed, Patrick Woodson lived between 
Wilson Miles Gary's Carysbrook Plantation and the first courthouse. 
Hb deed of 1803 gave part of his land to his son, and mentioned 
"Hhe Race Paths and the Flooding Spring.** Many people still 
remember the old home on Route No. IS near Carysbrook called the 
Race Path House, and recall that the level stretch of road leading 
past the house was called "Hhe race path.** Early deeds refer to 
"Hhe Race Paths'* for boundary purposes, just as they referred to 
Bibee*s Race Ground. Fluvanna had two race tracks! 

The north-south routes in Fluvanna have been abandoned, moved, 
combined, and straightened. There came a day when the James 
Madison Highway was hard-surfaced, but still the engineers con- 
tinued to survey and eliminate steep hills and sharp curves. Mr. 
Madison*s Highway became a main thoroughfare for the nation, a 
main artery for north-south traffic. Then Route No. 1 was improved 



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to carry those bound for Florida sunshine; in turn it was over- 
shadowed by Interstate 95, and winding, two-lane Route No. IS 
became back-country once more, while relentless Time, masquerad- 
ing as Progress, marches on. 



The writer wishes to thank Mrs, Henry C. McGehee and 
Mrs. Ellis P. Snead, not only for their courtesies while he 
^was visiting Fluvanna, but also for the many notes and 
records which they made available to him. It would have 
been an impossible task to do anything with the many roads 
under study without the knowledgeable help of these ladies. 



Malcolm H, Harris, M,D., President 
Louisa County Historical Society 



West Point, Virginia 
January 1971 



The Fluvanna Historical Society was founded in 1964 to collect 
and preserve manuscripts and other documents relating to the 
history of Fluvanna County in Virginia; to maintain the Old Stone 
Jail at the county seat. Palmyra, as a museum where antiquities of 
the county may be exhibited; and to encourage historical research. 

Meetings of the Society are held three times a year. Annual dues 
are $2.00; a life membership costs $50.00. A bulletin is published 
twice a year, distributed to members free of charge. Copies can be 
purchased for $2.00 single copy, $3.00 double copy. Readers are 
requested to contribute any information of historical interest they 
may have or may be able to obtain. The society will endeavor to 
publish as much of this information as may be possible. 

All communications should be addressed to: Mrs. Henry C. 
McGehee, Chairman of Publications, Fluvanna County Historical 
Society, Box 1 32, Pahnyra, Virginia. 



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REFERENCES 

Agee, Helene Barrett, Facets of Goochland County's History, 

Albemarie County Records. 

Bulletin of the Virginia State Library, 1916. 

Fluvanna County Records 

Fluvanna County Sketchbook, 1777-1963. 

Goochland County Records 

Henning, William Waller, The Statues at Large, Volumes S, 9, 12, 

and 13. 
Jester, Annie Lee, Life in Virginia in the Seventeenth Century. 
Journal of the Executive Council of Colonial Vu-ginia, Volumes I 

andV. 
Harris, Malcolm H., History of Louisa County. 
Hatcher, Mrs. W. E., Sneads of Fluvanna. 
Land Patent Book, Volume 33. 
Louisa County Petitions, Vu-ginia State Library. 
Morrison, A. F., Travellers in Virginia in Revolutionary Times. 
Richmond Inquirer, November 2-9, 1824. 
Richmond Times-Dispatch, April 6, 1970. 
Scott, W. W. History of Orange County. 
Shepherd Statues at Large, Volumes 2 and 3. 
Tarleton, Lt. Col. Banastre, "Campaigns of 1780 and 1781 in the 

Southern States of North America." 
Virginia History Magazine, No. 30. 
W. P. A. Historical Inventory, 1936-1937. 
Woods, Edgar, History of Albemarle County. 
Writings of Washington, Vol. 23. 



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