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Full text of "Halifax County, Virginia: a handbook prepared under the direction of the Board of supervisors"

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Prepared under the Direction of the 



Richmond, Virginia 


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The County. 

V. — The Towns. 

VI. — The Business of the Country. 
VII. — Schools and Churches. 
VIII. — Minerals and Mineral Waters. 
IX. — Water Powers. 
X. — Suggestions. 
XI. — Statistics. 


I.— 1676-1752. 

II.— 1752-1776. 
III.— 1776-1830. 
IV.— 1830-1865. 

v.— 1865-1907. 

The writer must tender his acknowledgments to Captain W. G. 
Morton; to Captain M. French; to the Rev. Flournoy Bouldin; to Mr. 
T. E. Dickerson; and to the County Officials. 


County Government in the Ter-Centennial Year. 

Judge (Sixth Circuit) William E,. Barksdale, Houston. 

Commonwealth's Attorney Wood Bouldin, Houston. 

Treasurer Thomas Easley, South Boston. 

County and Circuit Cleric Gran Craddock. 

Sheriff W. P. Shephard, Houston. 

Board of Supervisors. 

H. C. Lacy (Chairman) Koanoke District Scottsburg. 

R. S. Barbour, Banister District South Boston. 

L. W. Rice, Birch District Ingram. 

D W Owen i -^^^^^ Walnut District Denniston. 

T. E. DicKERSON, Meadsville District Houston, R. F. D. 

A. E, WiLKiNS, Mount Carmel District Turbeville. 

R. F. Tuck, Red Bank District VirgiKna. 

Dr. R. P. Thornton, Staunton District, Repubhcan Grove 

Superintendent of Public Schools 
Thos. E. Barksdale, Paces. R. F. D. 

Commissioner of Accounts and Commissioner in Chancery. 
Benj. Watkins Leigh, Houston. 

.Commissioners of Revenue. 

H. W. Quarles, Court House District South Boston. 

T. B. Traynham, Southern District .....Cluster Springs. 

G. T. Card well. Northern District Clay's Mill. 

Superintendent of the Poor 
R. D. Thompson, Houston, R. F. D. 

Examiner of Records for Sixth Judicial Circuit 
William P. Barksdale, Houston. 

County Surveyor 
M. French, Houston. 

Mayors of the Four Corporations. 

R. Holt Easley, Houston. A. Hayes, Virgilina. 

Joseph Stebbins, Jr., South Boston. C. A. Gregory, Clover. 

*Died Feb. 21, 1907 





The County. 

Study the map of Halifax County which accompanies 
this handbook. Compute the area of the county — say, 
27 miles by 30 — some 800 square miles, and then make 
a few comparisons. Halifax county is larger than Saxe- 
Coburg-Gotha, a German State and an hereditary consti- 
tutional monarchy. Halifax county is larger than Buck- 
inghamshire in England; and little smaller than the land 
surface of the State of Rhode Island. The population of 
Buckinghamshire in England is almost 200,000. The 
population of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha in Germany is more than 
220,000. Buckinghamshire and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha are 
both of them agricultural regions. In 1900 the popula- 
tion of Halifax county, an agricultural county, was 37,197. 
Therefore, it is plain that we have room for more citizens. 
This book is in part intended to show that we have more 
than room — that in the great industrial awakening of the 
South there are few sections which should offer more to the 
farmer, the manufacturer and the man of commerce than 
Halifax county offers. 


The County. 

The County of Halifax in Virginia lies in the Middle 
Region of the state and extends over half a degree of 
latitude — from the Virginia-North Carolina boundary 
parallel, 36° 50', to the 37th parallel and a little beyond. 
The 79th parallel of longitude traverses the county. Hali- 
fax county forms a part of the great undulating plain which 
gently rises from the limit of tidewater to the low, broken 
ranges of hills that make the outlines of the Blue Ridge 


Mountains. There is the width of one county between 
HaUf ax and the Piedmont country. The mountains to the 
west protect us from cyclones and tornadoes. The gulf 
stream tempers our climate, our winters are short, we have 
extremes neither of heat nor of cold. Rain is abundant. 
Streams and springs are everywhere. We have health. 
Our lands respond to good treatment and yield wealth. 
Our location makes it practicable for us to raise not only 
one crop a year, but two crops a year or even three crops 
a year. We are re-discovering that ours is a stock country, 
that stock — cattle and sheep and hogs — pay and pay 
handsomely if we give them half a chance. Our tim- 
ber has been culled, but we have timber in plenty, and 
we have wood by the million cords. Although an 
agricultural county we manufacture and we have only 
just begun to see what the possibilities are in the manu- 
facturing line. Our waterpower is such that our two great 
pivers might be half lined with mills and factories; our 
two lesser rivers likewise; and our smaller streams could 
furnish almost as much power again. Although an agri- 
cultural county we have ten banks with deposits aggregating 
a million and a quarter dollars and more. Our county has 
been financed with home capital, and what that means will 
be understood when it is remarked that more than one of 
our bank officials came home after the civil war to face 
ruin. Halifax is an agricultural county, but its mineral 
deposits are of great value. Grain lands, pasturage, to- 
bacco lands, fruit lands — river bottoms and highlands — 
power sites, mines, climate, healthfulness — it is the truth 
that we have much to offer, and the whole within but 150 
miles of the sea coast, direct communication, and Wash- 
ington and the northern cities only a few hours away. 



The County. 

Why is this county of Hahfax, with all its natural 
advantages, sparsely* settled in the Ter-Centenninal 
year, 1907? Simply because more than forty years are 
necessary to make conditions normal after a war that has 
been fought at peoples' doors. Lands which before the 
Civil War were worth four and five times their present 
rating, after the war were thrown out of cultivation, be- 
cause neither capital nor labor was to be had for the proper 
working of them. Plantations before the war were little 
dominions. The extensive system was the only system in 
repute. The war changed the basis of profit from the 
extensive to the intensive system, but it requires time for 
a people to understand fully that conditions have been 

The extensive system still pays well if the investor has 
sufficient capital. For the average farmer in the county 
and for the average settler the intensive, diversified system 
will pay best — that is, the careful handling of an acreage 
not exceeding 200. Thoroughly fence 200 acres, work 
each part of the place to the best advantage, keep enough 
stock to make manure, raise hogs and good forage crops, 
confine the money crop to an area small enough to be 
handled with high efficiency, keep eternally busy, and 
Halifax county is the place for you. Your surplus may 
be invested on the spot. The years will bring dividends 
of various sorts. Soil-exhaustion is a worn-out term. 
And there is no soil that responds more quickly than this 
to intelligent management. Fields need no rest. The 5^ 

*It miist not be forgotten that by the last census Halifax stands third 
in population (not including city population) among the counties of 


need variety. They like to work. Keep them at it. 
Keep a roof on them. They will smile at you and you will 
smile at them. Some time ago a farmer in the eastern 
part of the county had planted his tobacco crop — four 
acres. A man came along and wanted to buy the field. 
The farmer said he would sell for the value of the crop, no 
more, no less. The other man said he would see about it. 
That crop brought $426, after paying warehouse charges. 
Those were four average acres of upland, recently cleared 
of small pine. Next year they will be in wheat, and the 
following year in grass or clover, according to the rotation 
we practice. 

This four-acre, $426 crop suggests something on the 
tobacco side, a very important side. On the other hand, 
read the following statement of a settler who left the North- 
west for Halifax county: ''I am a German farmer who 
lived about twenty-five years in the Northwestern states. 
I left the Northwest on account of the cold and long 
winters and also because the land was too high priced to 
make farming pay. About thirteen years ago I moved 
to Halifax county, near South Boston, Virginia. I bought 
an 800 acre plantation. I kept about sixty head of cattle 
and began to improve with stable manure, green crops 
(crimson clover, and cowpeas), and good plowing. Now 
I have a fine farm, cost me only about k what it would 
in the Northwestern states, and I can grow about the same 
amount of grain to an acre as in the Northwestern states. 
I sowed last year an upland field in German millet. Har- 
vested 2i tons of hay to the acre, sold at South Boston 
market for $20.00 a ton. Another field I sowed in the 
fall with crimson clover, after the oat crop was harvested. 
I mowed this field May 12th and had ih ton of clover hay 
to the acre. Soon after I plowed the land again, and 
planted to corn the middle of June. Harvested about 50 


bushels of corn to the acre. So the clover hay and corn 
crop value in one summer was about $35 per acre. We 
have about twelve months the year to work the land, a 
fine mild climate, plenty of firewood, clear soft water, 
springs and streams all over, good neighborhood, schools 
and churches. 1 think this is the best country now in our 
United States for immigrants, especially German farmers."* 


The County. 

Halifax county lies in the bright tobacco belt of Southern 
Virginia, which means that a man has the choice of being 
a general farmer, or of concentrating upon one of the most 
highly specialized branches of farming to be found in the 
world, or of being both general farmer and specialist. 
Roughly, the county is triangular in shape, the Staunton 
River forming the longest side — from northwest to south- 
east. The Dan River flows through the southern part 
of the county, making a junction with the Staunton at a 
southeastern angle of the county. From this point to 
Tidewater (only 70 miles distant) the united rivers are 
known as the Roanoke. Besides the Dan and the Staun- 
ton, Halifax county is watered by two other rivers, the 
Banister and the Hyco. The basin of the Banister lies 
between the valleys of the Dan and the Staunton. The 
Hyco flows into the Dan from the South. An inspection 
of the map will show, how the numerous tributaries of 
these larger streams , furnish water and water power 
throughout the county. 

A division of the Southern Railway (Richmond and 
Danville) runs through the county of Halifax, fromx the 
northeast curving to the southwest. Another division 

*Johii Cramer, South Boston, E,. F. D. 


of the Southern Railway (Norfolk and Danville) skirts 
the southern boundary of the county, between the Virginia- 
North Carolina line and the Dan River. The Norfolk 
and Western (Lynchburg, Va., and Durham, N. C, Divi- 
sion) bisects the county from north to south. The Tide- 
water Railroad, from Norfolk to the coal fields, will 
parallel the Staunton River to the north. Few counties 
in Virginia have more railroad mileage than Halifax. 

The four towns of the county are: (1) Houston, the 
county seat, at the centre of the county on the Norfolk 
and Western Railroad. (2) South Boston, the county 
metropolis, a little south of the centre, at the crossing of 
the Southern and the Norfolk and Western. (3) Virgilina 
a mining town, in the southern part of the county on the 
Norfolk-Danville division of the Southern. (4) Clover, 
in the eastern part of the county on the Richmond-Dan- 
ville division of the Southern. 

The county of Halifax is divided into eight magisterial 
districts as follows: (1) Banister, 'honnded on two sides 
by rivers, the Banister and the Dan. (2) Birch, with the 
Dan as its southern boundary. (3) Black Walnut, 
bounded on the north by the Dan and traversed by the 
Hyco. (4) Meadsville, through which runs the Banister. 
(5) Mt. Carmel, lying between the Dan and the North 
Carolina line. (6) Red Bank, of which the Dan forms the 
northern boundary and through which the Hyco runs. 

(7) Roanoke, between the rivers Banister and Staunton. 

(8) Staunton, with the Staunton river for northern bound- 
ary. Every district has a river and a railroad. In addi- 
tion, every district has its telephone line and on the average 
three rural mail delivery routes. 

Red Bank is a mining district. There is enough power 
at the Hyco Falls to smelt copper and refine gold at many 
points in the Red Bank district of the Virgilina Belt. The 


Buffalo Lithia Springs, (its waters a world-famous pre- 
scription for the uric acid diathesis) are less than five miles 
to the east. The Talley Falls are sufficient to dot Roanoke 
district with manufacturing plants. Banister is a com- 
mercial and manufacturing district. Its products go to 
states from Connecticut to Texas. Its wholesalers keep 
men on the road throughout the South and the Southwest. 
Its tobacco market is in magnitude the second of its type 
in Virginia. Meadsville is a typical bright tobacco dis- 
trict — light, quick soils that make the texture and the 
coloring. Staunton district produces a tobacco quite as 
good, that is, the best; and the same is true of all eight 
districts though not so emphatically as of these two. 
Birch, Black Walnut, Mt. Carmel, Roanoke, Staunton, 
Banister are excellent grain farm districts and the men 
who care for stock and give stock care are not failures in 
these districts. In Mount Carmel and Birch districts 
cattle are being raised extensively and with conspicuous 

The Towns. 

South Boston. — South Boston, besides being the 
second bright tobacco market in Virginia (and therefore 
in the world, no doubt), is a manufacturing and a jobbing 
town. After some research the writer cannot find its 
parallel in Virginia, not simply for rapid growth but for 
solid enterprise. In 1870 there was nothing but a house 
or two where South Boston now stands. The place was 
incorporated in 1884. Within twenty-two years there 
have grown up here great warehouses and factories and 
mills; five banks; w^holesale houses (dry goods, groceries, 
hardware, clothing); exceedingly well-equipped private 


residences; and the concomitants of these, churches and 
schools. The business men of Hahfax count}^ were not 
long paralyzed by the war, and with every day the oppor- 
tunities for business in the county are becoming more 

The town of South Boston lies on the north bank of the 
river Dan, at the crossing of the Norfolk and Western 
and Southern Railways. Approaching the place from 
the hills to the South, the view offered is an excellent one. 
The great county bridge that spans the river here is a con- 
spicuous feature. Just above it is the long steel trestle 
of the N. & W. road which curves finely over the flats. 
To the west of that is the dam and power house that fur- 
nish electricity to light the town and run the greater part 
of its machinery. The town extends up from the river 
and along the slight blufP that overlooks it. One catches 
only a glimpse of the residence section. But the factory 
plants are in full view, flanked by rows of tenants' houses. 
Stemmeries and prizeries loom up. A reservoir overtops 
the whole. Even a traveller passing through by train is 
given some index of the extraordinar}^ activity of this 
Hub of Halifax.* 

South Boston has the advantage of a competitive freight 
rate, which enables manufacturers and jobbers to ship 
products and goods to all points of the compass as cheaply 
as other towns of greater size. The manufacturing con- 
cerns and the big wholesale houses are shipping goods to 
the Southwest at the same rate as the same goods are 
shipped from New York. 

'Trom its earlier days South Boston has been a market 
for tobacco. The amount of bright leaf sold during the 

* During March, 1907, the town voted a bond issue of $85,000, the 
greater part of which will be apphed to water supply and street im- 


tobacco year ending August 31st last in the seven ware- 
houses here, was: 13,277,873 pounds of leaf for the sum 
of $1,314,968.54, being an average of $9.90 per hundred; 
1,103,236 pounds of scrap for $38,060.83, or an average 
of $3 . 45 per hundred; total pounds sold 14,381,109, which 
brought to the farmers marketing here the sum of $1,353- 
019.39. From August 31, 1906 to January 1, 1907 the 
sales were 8,027,306 pounds— $640,987.09. 

There is no town known as a tobacco market that is 
better equipped for handling the weed than South Boston. 
All of the leaf is sold in seven large and well-lighted ware- 
houses, the proprietors of which have an enviable reputa- 
tion among the farmers of the surrounding country for 
liberality, fair dealing and accommodating spirit. 

There are four large and splendidly equipped stemming 
establishments here besides a dozen prizeries for handling 
the leaf tobacco. The stemmeries are owned and con- 
ducted by the American Tobacco Company, the R. J. 
Reynolds Tobacco Company, the Imperial Tobacco Com- 
pany, of Great Britain and Ireland, and C. W. Walters 
and Company respectively. In addition to these tobacco 
firms there are eight or ten private buyers who reprize 
the weed and ship it to the tobacco manufacturing centres 
of the world. 

The South Boston market draws its leaf tobacco from 
the counties of Halifax, Pittsylvania, Charlotte, Prince 
Edward and Campbell, in Virginia, and from Person, 
Granville and Caswell counties, in North Carolina. 

South Boston has had great success in the matter of 
jobbing and wholesaling. The idea of an inland town of 
4,000 inhabitants doing a jobbing business that runs up 
into the millions per year is something a little unusual in 
the mercantile world. There are here three wholesale 
grocery houses, the R. W. Lawson Grocery Company, 


Easley Grocery Company and Blackwell and Walker, all 
of whom do a flourishing business. 

The Virginia Implement and Hardware Company and 
R. A. Penick and Son are wholesale hardware dealers, and 
they sell goods in several States. The Farmers' Hard- 
ware and Supply Company, a concern with large capital, 
began business in March, 1907. The Keystone Drug 
Manufacturing Company sells its own proprietary medi- 
cines and other drugs to the retailers of several states, and 
they are doing a large business. 

The wholesale dry goods and notion house of the Steb- 
bins, Lawson and Spraggins Company carry a regular 
stock of $300,000, and sell goods from Alexandria, Va., 
to Corpus Christi, Texas. They keep twelve traveling 
men on the road all the time and sell great quantities of 
goods in Virginia, North and South Carolina and northern 
Georgia. They also sell quantities of special goods in 
Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and 
up as high as Tennessee and Kentucky. The total sales 
of this house for a year are beyond the million dollar 
mark. Their immense store is packed from cellar to 
garret with dry goods from the common sheetings to the 
finest silks and dress goods, and with all manner of laces, 
ribbons, notions, etc. 

With such a tobacco trade and with so many manufac- 
turing establishments, employing large numbers of hands, 
it is but natural that South Boston should have many 
prosperous retail merchants. There are fifty-odd of them 
here in one line and another, and some of the retail stores 
are as handsome establishments as are to be found in any 
town of three times the size of this. 

South Boston has already made its mark as a manu- 
facturing town, and I am inclined to the opinion that in 
years to come, and a very few years at that, it will be one 


of the leading manufacturing centres of the industrial 

The Barbour Buggy Company, with its wagon manu- 
facturing branch and its immense storage warehouse, mak- 
ing three large establishments, and its acres of lumber 
yards, is one of the largest concerns, if not the largest of 
its kind, in the South. The Barbour Buggy Company has 
been manufacturing buggies for many years, and a few 
years ago absorbed the Virginia Wagon Company, of this 
place, which confines its work to the manufacture of farm 
wagons. The combination, now known by the one name 
of the. Barbour Buggy Company, has three very large 
establishments, which, with the lumber yards, drying kilns 
and railway side trackage, cover eight acres of land. 
The establishment is supplied with the latest machinery 
from cellar to garret, and with 250 to 300 hands regularly 
employed they turn out fourteen thousand vehicles 
per year. In 1893 this firm was producing only thirty- 
six buggies a year. 

These buggies, surreys, wagons and drays are sold 
thoroughout the South Atlantic States from Virginia to 
Florida, and as far to the Southwest as Alabama, Mississ- 
ippi, Louisiana and Texas. The timber consumed in these 
factories comes from the forests of Virginia and North 

Another buggy factory in the town is owned and oper- 
ated by R. A. Harrell. Mr. Harrell has a factory supplied 
with suitable machinery, from which he turns out about 
eight hundred buggies and sewing-machine wagons per 
annum. His trade is mostly in the South, but he sells 
some buggies and machine wagons in the West. I saw 
him making a shipment to Colorado today. 


The Century Manufacturing Company makes and sells 
all over the South' the famous ''Century cloth/' (now 
called ''Linonette") known to dry goods merchants far 
and near. They also make other dress goods, linen finish 
waistings, bleach muslins and long cloths. This is a South 
Boston concern, run with South Boston capital, and it 
does an immense business. Their factory is located in 
South Carolina, where they are right on the ground with 
the raw material. 

The Boston Manufacturing Company, of which Joseph 
Stebbins is the president, is simply a shirt factory, but 
something of an unusual one. The company makes only 
one kind of shirt, a negligee that is made to retail at 50 
cents, and the wonder is how it can be sold at that figure. 
The company employs white women and girls and gives 
them profitable employment in a neat and airy factory, 
where every attention is given to health and comfort of 
the workers. ''The Boston,'' the name of the shirt 
turned out, is in demand all over the South, and the com- 
pany cannot keep up with its orders. Plans are now 
being drawn for a larger factory, that will more than 
double the present capacity of fifty dozen garments per 
day. This is the only shirt factory in the South that 
makes negligees for the trade. 

The Century Cotton Mills, established here about ten 
years ago by T. S. Wilson and C. A. Lukins, are now 
leased for a term of years to the Paramount Knitting Mills, 
of Chicago. This company runs a number of first-class 
knitting mills in the West, and they have leased the cotton 
mills here in which to make knitting yarns for consump- 
tion in their own knitting factories. 

The Century Mills employ 125 hands and run 8,088 
spindles. They consume nearly or quite 4,000 bales of 
raw cott9n per year, and turn out about 6,000 pounds of 


knitting yarns per day, all of which are shipped from the 
factory door to the knitting mills in the West. The Para- 
mount Company and the Century Mills Company have 
united to build here a handsome little brick school house 
for the use of the employes of the mill and their children. 
Three teachers, one for the kindergarten and two for the 
common school, are employed and paid by the company. 
There are really three schools, the kindergarten and the 
common school for the children in the day, and a night 
school for the benefit of such of the operatives as wish to 
avail themselves of it. All are well attended. 

The South Boston Lumber Company has one of the best 
equipped plants of its kind in the State. Its capacity is 
50,000 ft. per day, and its output goes to the local trade 
almost solely. Such is the building activity in this region. 

It must not be forgotten that South Boston had a 
$200,000 fire last June that cut a swath right through the 
business centre of the town and destroyed some of the 
largest stores and factories and warehouses, but one might 
forget it if not reminded of it. *Somehow it always happens 
even in as live a town as South Boston, that a good sized 
fire wakes the people up and causes them to throw new 
energy into things. It is certain that the fire of last June 
has made South Boston people do a little more hustling 
than before. For instance, a Business Men's Association, 
another name for a Chamber of Commerce, has been organ- 
ized. It has sixty-odd active members and a splendid 
corps of officers, as follows: T. B. Johnston, president; 
Joseph Stebbins, Jr., first vice-president; R. S. Barbour, 
second vice-president, and Howard L. Edmunds, secretary 
and treasurer. 

*A reminder came, March 28, 1907 — in the shape of another fire, in- 
surance $400,000. The financial sohdity of South Boston has been 
tested within the ten months. This greater fire has also been accepted 
as matter of fact, as only incidental to the growth of the town. 


South Boston has as handsome private residences and as 
substantial and commodious churches as any Virginia 
city of twice or three times its size, and all the Protestant 
denominations are represented. A large new hotel, 
thoroughly equipped, will soon be ready for business. 
The Opera House, which is a part of the Masonic Temple, 
is a handsome hall with a seating capacity of 600."* 

As supplementary to the very adequate summary of the 
larger activities of South Boston given above, there should 
be mentioned the Boston Brick Company, brick and 
cement block manufacturers; the J. A. Mebane Company, 
Inc., manufacturers of electrical supplies; and the South 
Boston Ice Company, Inc.f 

The fraternal orders represented at South Boston, all 
of which are in flourishing condition, are as follows: Junior 
Order United American Mechanics (for information apply 
to A. H. Vaughan); Independent Order of Odd Fellows 
(for information apply to A. P. Gilbert); and two lodges 
of Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, viz: South Boston 
Lodge No. 91, and Shepherd Lodge No. 99. South Boston 
Lodge No. 91 owns the handsome Masonic Temple prop- 
erty, on the third floor of which are the halls where all 
the fraternal orders meet. 

The five banks which are at once the symptom and the 
guarantee of the prosperity of this town are — Planters 
and Merchants Bank, (Henry Easle}^, President); Bank 
of South Boston, (Joseph Stebbins, President); South 
Boston Savings Bank, (Henry Easley, President); First 
National Bank, (R. H. Edmondson, President); Boston 

* Frank S. Woodson: Richmond Times Dispatch, Oct. 7, 1906- 
t The real estate firm of W. D. Hill & Co. should not be over- 
looked. Within ten years this firm has settled in Halifax County 
between 200 and 250 families from the West and the Northwest. 


National Bank, (J. J. Lawson, President). [For Bank 
Statistics, see Sec. XI.] 

In short, South Boston is a striking example of ''that 
realization by the people of the entire South, bankers, 
merchants and farmers, of the power of co-operation in the 
proper handling and marketing of the two great staples 
of the South. Such co-operation has brought about a 
community of interest which is destined to exert a very 
great influence upon the entire business interests of the 
South and of that portion ol the business world which is 
in any way dependent upon these staples or upon the 

general prosperity of the South."* 

i« * * 

Houston. — Five miles north of South Boston is Hous- 
ton, the county seat, which dates from the eightheenth 
century. Population at present 800. The residence 
street of Houston is one of the most beautiful streets in 
Virginia, and like several of the streets of South Boston 
only needs a more efficient macadamizing to make it 
thoroughly satisfactory. Where roads are so good during 
the greater part of the year it is difficult to remember, 
when they are good, that there comes a short season when 
they grow bad. The county and circuit court house at 
Houston is a fine old building in the classic style. It stands 
in a square about which are ranged, after the accepted 
fashion of other days, county officers' and lawyers' sanc- 
tums. The courthouse is equipped with one of the safest 
and most commodious records depositories to be found in 
Virginia. It is a matter to be devoutly thankful for that 
when county records are going up in flames elsewhere, 
these valuable documents (containing data since the 
establishment of the countv one hundred and fifty-four 

Manufacturer's Record Dec. 31, 1905. 


years gone by) are placed beyond the reach of the vandal 
fire. Houston has its electric plant and two banks, those 
other beacons of light. There are at Houston a brick 
yard of good capacity, a flour mill, two corn mills, two 
hotels, two hardware stores, two drug stores, three dry 
goods stores, and four groceries (one wholesale). Houston 
has long been known as a centre of culture and refinement. 
The town has six churches and a high school. Plans are 
being drawn for the erection there of a steam drying house 
under the auspices of the Bright Tobacco Protective Asso- 
ciation of Virginia.* 

* * * 

ViRGiLiNA. — Take the train at Houston, transfer at 
Deniston, go east three stations, and so reach the town of 
Virgilina, aptly named as being a line town. The contrast 
is striking. You have come from an atmosphere of the 
courts, where precedent rules. In Virgilina they think 
of making precedents. The town has a touch of the 
metropolitan. Things are doing. The town is neither 
old nor large, but it looks to a future which science and 
capital are going to make bright. A^irgilina is the centre of 
the Virgilina Belt which has been made known to the min- 
ing world through engineering and mining journals, 
expert reports, etc., as a field of great opportunities, 
especially in copper. Outside the coal areas, there is 
probably no region in Virginia the name of which is more 
familiar to the realm of the high finance. Moreover, 
Virgilina is a tobacco market. Its two warehouses sell 
between a million and a million and a half pounds of 
tobacco a year. The town has a bank, seven com- 
mercial establishments, two hotels, two schools, and 
three churches. Grass does well in this district and as 
many as fifty head of cattle a year are marketed by one of 

*President, Halifax Division, T. E. Dickerson, Meadsville. 


the more progressive farmers of that interesting border 
country. Near Virgihna is found perhaps the largest 
commercial orchard in the county (the Elliott Orchards 
and Vineyards.) Here is a large acreage in pears and 
vines. The Virgilina Belt (Red Bank District) is a mining 
country but it is not necessary to sink shafts there, or any 
where else in the county in order to get money. Sink the 
plowshare ten inches deep and good returns come up. 

* * * 

Clover. — The town of Clover lies in the Roanoke Dis- 
trict on the Southern Railway, six miles from the eastern 
boundary of the county. The tobacco sales at Clover 
approximate 1,250,000 pounds. The Bank of Clover, 
although organized but seventeen months, show^s deposits 
of $20,000 . 00 . It was near by this tov\^n that the farmer 
made $426 in tobacco on four acres of land which the other 
man refused to buy for that price. Clover has five 
churches, two warehouses, seven commercial establish- 
ments, (not including a drug store) a hotel and a graded 

Scottsburg, between Clover and South Boston, although 
not yet a town is an important market village. Scottsburg 
has three warehouses for the sale of tobacco (and much 
tobacco is sold), a bank, two churches, a high school, and 
five commercial establishments. 

Halifax is an agricultural county and one of the best. 
Its commercial life is also very active. 


The Business of the Country. 

''While it is true that the industrial development of the 
South is going forward with amazing rapidity, it is never- 
theless true that, by virtue of the extent of the agricultural 


interests of the South, agriculture is yet the foundation 
of the business of that section. A change from poverty to 
prosperity of the farmers, and a change from land without 
a selling value to land in demand at an advance of 50 to 
150 per cent over the nominal price of one or two years 
ago is the most far-reaching development in Southern ad- 
vancement of the last quarter of a century. It is far- 
reaching in many ways. It means that within the last 
year or two (1903-1905) Southern farm properties have 
increased not less than $1,000,000,000 in value probably 
at least $1,500,000,000." That is true, and Halifax 
county has had its part in this general advancement. 
More of our farmers than at any time previous are realiz- 
ing that the farmer must succeed who practices persistent 
plowing and cultivation of the land throughout the year 
(possible with us); and that this method will not injure 
the crop-producing capacity of the land. Steady improve- 
ment will be the result. In our climate if a farmer only 
plows and breaks his land deeply and finely, he is bound 
to get the results, more particularly if he uses his brains as 
well as his muscle, finds out all that his land is capable of 
doing and makes it do it. Progress means nothing more 
than keeping alive and carrying out intelligently ideas 
that come from observation and reading. It is not every- 
where that plowing can be done throughout the year. 
That is not all. We can raise hogs at three cents a pound 
or less, and cattle at a figure as low in proportion. We 
have the advantages. Nature is alt on our side if we only 
manage her. These things, taken together with the possi- 
bilities from our tobacco lands, make of us an exceptional 
region. There can be no doubt about that. 

One hardware and implement company in South 
Boston says: ''We figure that our trade in improved farm 
implements, etc., has increased in the last four or five 


years at least 100 per cent. The farmers are all buying 
improved tools and of a better quality than they have 
ever done before. " Another firm says: ''We sell two and 
three times as much machinery and five times as much 
wire (at least one half of it woven) as we did four years 
ago. The carload lot is pur unit now. And as for build- 
ing material, nails, iron, etc., we can scarcely get enough. " 
The traveller by road has ample evidence of these state- 
ments as he goes through the county. The old fence is 
going down everywhere and the improved fence is going 
up, the use of which is really an additional capitaHzation 
of the farm far in excess of the actual outlay. One sees 
machinery and wire fencing on exhibit at the country 
store and the stock looks fresh because it is often turned 
over. There are probably thirty grain mills in the county 
today, as any mill operator will tell you if you ask him. 
And there are certainly more than twenty sawmills in 
Halifax county. An average of about four grain mills 
and three sawmills to the district. 

The country merchant is a very important factor in the 
business of the country. His place of business is the local 
news exchange and that of itself entitles him to the warm 
affections of the community. Any social centre in the 
country, if good will and good morals prevail there, is worth 
all it costs. But the country merchant needs no defence. 
His position is secure as one of the most useful of citizens. 
His store is a focus 'of information as well as of gossip. 
His business, if he uses his opportunities, may redoimd 
greatly to the benefit of his neighborhood as well as to his 
own legitimate profit. He may frequently offer fresh 
meats for sale. He may take orders for the handsome 
clothes advertised in the magazines. He may even keep 
magazines — a well chosen stock — and set up something 
of a book stall. He may and does become an agent for 


farm macliinery and a buyer of eggs for shipment. From 
sixty to ninety dozen eggs are ' shipped several times a 
week from country stores in the county of Hahfax. There 
are considerably more than a hundred country merchants 
in the county of Halifax. The claim of completeness is 
not made for the list given below. These names were 
secured from two wholesale dealers in the town of South 
Boston, and in conjunction with a list of farmers (Sec. X.) 
will be useful to the intending settler. Who knows more 
about the significant facts in regard to a neighborhood 
than the busiest men in the neighborhood? The list 
follows : 

S. F. Adams, Turbeville; W. 0. Atkins, Black Walnut; 
W. J. Anderson & Son, Loftis; J. H. Boyd & Son, Jones; 
Blane and Bass, Alton; W. W. Blane, Alton; J. I. Bray, 
Nathalie; Hubert Blane, Mayo; W. M. Bates, Repubhcan 
Grove; E. L. Blackwell, Mt. Carmel; C. C. Bass, Basses; 
J. G. Bates, Repubhcan Grove; W. B. Cumby, Mountain 
Road; Chaffin Bros., Clay's Mill; Crenshaw Bros., Hous- 
ton, R. F. D.; E. H. Cruse & Son, Bayonne; T. B. Clai- 
bourne, Wolf Trap; F. W. Chaney, Sutherlin; W. W. 
Crenshaw, Stebbins; J. W. Canada, Lennig; C. C. Chaney, 
Birch; E. L. Canada, Cross Roads; H. C. Cotes & Son, 
Houston, R. F. D.; Chaney & Owen, Paces; R. C. Carring- 
ton, Mt. Laurel; Crutchfield Bros., Mayo; N. G. Davis & 
Co., Stovall; Henry G. Daniels, Barksdale; C. R. L. 
Gravitt, Black Walnut; J. E. Green & Son, Mt. Laurel; 
C. E. Guthrie, Nathalie, R. F. D. ; J. W. Glass, Vernon Hill, 
R. F. D.; R. C. Hih, Lennig; E. 0. Hubbard, Leda; 
R. A. Henderson, High Point; J. H. Haynes & Son, Elmo; 
G. T. Holland, Hermosa; J. M. Irby, Vernon Hill; Jen- 
nings Bros., Cody; J. H. Jordan & Co., Republican Grove; 
J. M. Lacy, Scottsburg; J. T. Lacks, Noland; N. B. Lacks, 
Cross Roads; R. L. Lacy & Co., Scottsburg; S. A. Lacks, 
Lennig; Le Prad Bros. & Co., Stovall; J. E. Mitchell, 


Alchie; B. S. McCraw, Nathalie; J. W. McDowell, Loftis; 
G. B. Martin, Carrington; Mickle & Co., Nathalie; D. E. 
Moorefield, News Ferry; A. E. Newhill & Co., Lennig; 
W. J. Pierce, News Ferry; Powell Bros., Plato; W. H. 
Powell, Terrell; J. H. Puryear, Deimiston; W. L. Ray, 
Meadsville; J. E. Redd, Sutherlin; J. E. Ragland, Hyco; 
C. J. Robertson, Christie; R. L. Roarkes, Nathalie, R. F. D. ; 
W. R. Roarkes, Noland; T. C. Rodden, Roddens; Stebbins 
& Hankins, Ingram; J. J. Salmon, Mt. Laurel; Short & 
Yates, Nathalie; Tate & Carr, Republican Grove; Trayn- 
ham Bros., Black Walnut; Traynham Bros. & Thompson, 
Harmony; Tune & Henderson, Vernon Hill; M. F. Willard, 
Moffett's; W. W. Weatherford, Houston, R. F. D.; E. Y. 
Wimbish & Co., Nathalie; E. B. Wimbish, Paces; J. P. 
Wilkins & Co., Mt. Carmel; G. D. Wilbourn, Houston, 
R. F. D.; Wirt Wilbourn, Clarkton; Wilkins Bros. Co., 

The country merchant, naturally, could not live without 
the farmer. At this point it will be understood why the 
banks of Halifax county show $1,360,000 in deposits. 


Churches and Schools. 

Education is not second to commerce in the life of a 
people, if for no other reason than because education 
advances commerce. But it is certainly true that with 
any people the chronological sequence stands: Agriculture, 
Commerce, Education. Therefore it is not suprising that 
in a county such as Halifax, where both agriculture and 
commerce flourish, the county's receipts for schools should 
figure well up in the list (9th) among the 100 counties of 
Virginia, for the year ending September 30, 1906. The 
following is a statement from the Superintendent of Public 


Schools, who for more than twenty years has given his 
time and his energies to the upbuilding of the system under 
his care — 

Public Schools and Teachers of Halifax 

High Schools — 3. One at Houston, one at Scottsburg, 
and one at South Boston. Besides these, there is a first 
class incorporated High School at Cluster Springs* (Black 
Walnut District), not under State control. Also, there 
is one colored High School at Houston under church con- 
trol; and one independent colored High School at 
Meads ville. 

Graded Schools— White, 13. 
Colored, 15. 
Teachers — High, Graded, and Common Schools. 
White— 130. 
Colored— 76. 
Pupils— High, Graded, and Common Schools. 
White— 3552 
Colored— 3033.t 

OutHne of what is now on foot — 1st. Consolidation of 
the schools. At a recent meeting in the Birch Creek 

* Cluster Springs has been an educational centre for this region 
for many years. There was a well-known school here before the 
war. Halifax County is within only a few hours' distance of the 
University of Virginia, the State Female Normal School, the Vir- 
ginia Polytechnic Institute. Besides these State institutions the lead- 
ing denominational colleges are very accessible. 

fin this coimection it is important to observe the figures for the 
assessed valuation of property in Halifax County, Auditor's Report, 
year ending Sept. 30, 1903. Realty— white, $3,455,064; colored, 
$255,239; Personalty— white, $2,010,923; colored, $157,340. 


District it was decided that six schools be put into one 
building by the 1st of October. Other districts are asking 
for consolidation. By means of consolidation and trans- 
portation the methods of teaching will be vastly improved. 

2d. We are looking to local taxation and loans from the 
State Literary Fund at 4 per cent to enlarge, repair, and 
equip our school buildings and grounds. 

3d. We are inviting distinguished educators to put 
before our people the great importance of improving the 
rural schools. 

Lastly. The clerk of South Boston's Schools, in his last 
monthly report, stated that the High School building at 
that place would be renewed or greatly enlarged by the 
opening of the next school term. (Bonds in the amount 
of $20,000 have been authorized for immediate issuance.) 

The people are begininng to show that they are willing 
to submit to such an increase in the school tax as will be 
for the best advantage of our school system. [For further 
School Statistics, see Sec XL] 

* * * * 

The Churches of the county are numerous and faithfully 
administered. Six denominations are represented — the 
Baptist, the Methodist, the Presbyterian, the Episcopal, 
the Christian, and the Mennonite. What has been 
said of a neighboring county is equally true of Halifax — 
''The Sabbath is universally observed, and the people 
almost without exception attend upon the ordinances of 
divine worship. It is due to the colored people to say 
that, while their religious instruction was not neglected 
before the war, nearly all the churches owned by them 
have been built since they were emancipated, and mainly 
out of their own resources." [For Church Statistics, see 
Sec XL] 


Minerals and Mineral Waters. 

Halifax county lies in the great Virginia area of crystal- 
line rocks in which are found many of the most important 
minerals and ore deposits in the state. Halifax forms 
one of the most interesting sections of this area, particu- 
larly in regard to copper and gold. There should be good 
opportunities for the mining and manufacturing of kaolin 
in the eastern part of the county. On Buffalo Creek, in 
the northwestern angle of the county, a valuable light 
colored trap occurs. This is a gneiss formation and makes 
an excellent building stone. Iron is found in the northern 
part of the county, about Brookneal. There are slate 
deposits near Christie, in the southern part of the county. 

The Virgilina Copper Belt, of which half lies in Halifax 
county, has recently been described as "sl district of unu- 
sual advantages, whose opportunities are neglected."* 
The writer, an expert, continues: '' Copper properties never 
had a better opportunity than the present one for profit- 
able operation. With the present demand for copper, 
the Virgilina district deserves serious consideration as a 
potential source of the metal. Its ores are rich and abund- 
ant, admirably suited for concentration, and some of them 
self-fluxing, and they lie only 160 miles by rail from a 
copper smelter on Atlantic tidewater. A hundred camps 
in the Southwest are mining ore not half so rich, and are 
paying smelting charges in no way less onerous, while 
their output has to travel 2,000 miles to market." The 
accompanying sketch map shows the lay of the land. 

*Edward K. Judd: Engineering and Mining Journal, Dec. 1, 1906' 
See also: 1. Copper Bearing Rocks of Virgilina Copper District, Thomas 
L. Watson; Bull. Geological Society of America, xiii pp. 353-376, 1902; 
2. Virginia Copper Deposits, W. H. Weed and T. L. Watson. [Eco- 
nomic Geology, I, No. 4, 1906.] 




Of these mines the High Hill property is operated by 
the Virginia Copper Company of Virgilina and 136 Liberty 
St., New York. The company is about to install a reduc- 
tion plant. The process is one devised especially for the 
treatment of these ores. The plant will have a capacity 
of 200 tons. 

An official of the Seaboard Mine states: "The Sea- 
board Copper Co., is an Incorporated Company under the 
laws of the State of New Jersey, capital stock $300,000 
shares at $1.00 par value. The property owned by this 
Company consists of 155 acres of mineral lands in Halifax 
County, Va. The underground development work con- 
sists of three shafts 115 ft., 120 ft., and 260 ft. deep respec- 
tively. Levels aggregating 350 feet have been driven from 
these shafts opening up a valuable body of copper ore. 
The mine is well equipped with the best of mining machin- 
ery suitable for working the property to a depth of 500 
feet. During the present year a Concentration plant to 
handle 50 tons of material per 24 hours is to be installed, 
a large part of this machinery already being on the 
grounds. The railroad is only three miles distant and 
this property should be making regular shipments to a 
smelter by July 1st next." 

The Goldbank Mine, (Inc.), which began work three 
years ago, owns 178 acres, has gone 156 feet and deeper, 
runs ten stamps and will shortly add ten more to the plant, 
works twenty-five hands, and has milled already a large 
amount of paying ore. The expense of working totals not 
more than $5.00 per ton, and the ore will average $10- 
$15 per ton — amalgamation process. On the same vein 
as the Goldbank Mine, Howard Bros, and Luce, of Buffalo, 
have begun operations. A third gold mine, not now in 


operation, is the Gills Mountain Mine, about two miles 
from the Goldbank. 

It is interesting to note that in the latest report of the 
Auditor of Virginia Halifax County stands ahead of such 
counties as Augusta, Montgomery, Bedford, and Smyth in 
the assessed valuation of mineral properties. 
* * * * 

As has been stated, the Buffalo Lithia Springs are three 
miles from the eastern boundary of the county of Halifax. 
Halifax, that is to say, lies within the Lithia Water Belt. 
No doubt an analysis of many unanalyzed springs of the 
county would show therapeutic proportions of the lithium 
carbonates. The Wolf Trap Well (Roanoke District) is 
seventy-four and one-half feet deep. The water has an 
extensive sale. Its composition is shown by the following 
analysis, by Prof. M. B. Hardin: 

One United States gallon of 231 cubic inches contains: 

Sodium Carbonate 0.24027 grains. 

Lithium Carbonate 0.01726 

Ammonium Carbonate 0.00128 " 

Calcium Carbonate 7.41222 " 

Magnesium Carbonate 5 .09221 " 

Strontium Carbonate 0.38489 

Iron Carbonate 0.06007 

Manganese Carbonate . 0134 " 

Copper Carbonate . 0.001234 " 

Sodium Chloride 2.62956 " 

Sodium Bromide 0.00630 " 

Sodium Iodide : . . . . 0.00065 

Sodium Nitrate 2.62548 " 

Potassiiun Sulphate . 06356 " 

Sodium Sulphate 0.06007 " 

Alimiinum Phosphate 0.04432 " 

Silica • 2.01780 " 

Barium Carbonate trace 

Zinc Carbonate. trace 


Magnesium Borate trace 

Calcium Floride trace 

Titanic Oxide trace 

Organic Matter (yielding ammonia) trace 

Total 20.66836 grains 

Carbon Dioxide associated with the above carbonates 

in the so-called bi-carbonates 6.06682 " 


Carbon Dioxide, free 12 . 38 cubic inches 

Nitrogen 3.60 " " 

"Oxygen 1 .70 " '' 

Total 17.68 " 

The waters of the Cluster Springs (Black Walnut dis- 
trict) have been known locally for years. These springs 
are literally clustered and several of them are valuable. 
The Calcic-Lithia spring is of a class ''in repute in the 
treatment of certain disorders of the bladder, and of some 
varieties of chronic dyspepsia." The Sulphur spring is 
valuable medicinally. An analysis of the Cluster springs 
Lithia Water is given, made by Prof. J. W. Mallett, M. 
D., Ph. D., LL. D., F. R. S., University of Virginia. 

Composition — Parts per MiUion. 

Potassium 1 . 132 

Sodium 9 . 185 

Lithium . 045 

Calcium 4.829 

Magnesium 5 . 074 

Aluminum . 110 

Iron .494 

Manganese .034 

Chlorine 5.106 

Flourine Trace 

Radicle of Sulphuric Acid 2 .056 

Radicle of Phosphoric Acid . .639 


Radicle of Nitric Acid Distinct Trace 

Radicle of Carbonic Acid 27.296 

Radicle of Meta-Silicic Acid : 67.938 

Hydrogen Meta-Silicic Acid 1 . 786 

Hydroxal Alum. Hydroxide .206 

Organic Matter Minute Trace 

Total 125.930 

GASES: — Cubic centimeters per liter (at 0° C. and 760 mm.) Oxy- 
gen, 4.14; Nitrogen, 10.31; Carbon Dyoxide, 16.57. 

So useful a neighbor as the Buffalo Lithia should not be 
undescribed. This is one of the best known mineral 
waters in the United States, and has a very large sale in 
this country and abroad. The water is of great medicinal 
value, and is regarded almost as a specific in the treat- 
ment of uric acid diathesis, gout, and rheumatism. It is 
also used with great benefit in cases of renal calculus, 
stone in^the bladder, and in nervous and intestinal disor- 

Residents in Halifax county have been known to say 
that no medicines are needed there. A slight exaggera- 
tion perhaps. Certainly, if abundant and pure water 
was ever an absolute preventive anywhere, there should 
be no sickness here. Man is mortal, but he has as fair a 
chance for a long life in this region as in any on the top 
side of the globe. 


Water Power. 

A man of large business affairs in the county, quite 
familiar with the conditions, states that Halifax County 
is the best watered county in Virginia and has more unde- 
veloped water power than any other county in the State. 
"For instance," says this gentleman, "there are the Hyco 



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Plan and Profile of Staunton River from Clarksville to Green Hill Ferry. 


Falls, eight miles east of South Boston on Dan River, 
where 6,500 horse power can be developed. Three miles 
across, northeast, there are the Talley Falls where the 
river Staunton descends 18 feet in about two miles. The 
Brookneal water power is good for 5,000 horse power, and 
the Mclver Falls, seven miles above Brookneal come down 
18 feet in less than two miles. Besides these great powers, 
the Banister and the Hyco, with their tributaries furnish 
many smaller ones. And at the present time the only 
development on anything like a large scale is found at 
South Boston (South Boston Electric and Power Com- 
pany), and at Houston (Banister-Dan Mills Company). 
The county of Halifax, instead of being left behind in the 
industrial race, is going to be right in the front. The 
county is built that way." 

The Dan River has not yet been mapped by the United 
States hydrographers, but the charts here given for the 
Staunton River (Roanoke Basin) will substantiate the 
claims made above, if there could be any doubt about 
them. It should be added that the fall of the Dan River 
in the five miles above its first junction with the Staun- 
ton must be quite forty feet. 

"In most cases where there is a power site on Staunton 
River, there is suitable rock for masonry, and the bed of 
the river is suitable for foundations. From Clarksville to 
Randolph, as will be seen, the section is 25 miles long. 
Fall from Randolph about 49 feet, average about 2 feet 
per mile. The width varies from 300 to 600 feet, banks 
low, bottom of river bowlders and rock, valley i to 1 mile 
wide. The large falls in this stretch is Tallej^'s, near 
Abbyville, about 8 miles above Clarksville. The total fall 
is some 18 feet in a distance of 24 miles. Remainder 
of a comparatively uniform slope, with an occasional fall 
of a foot or two. 

''The section from 
Randolph to Brookneal 
is in length about 32 miles. 
Total fall from Brookneal 
48 feet, average per mile ^ 
1 . 5, width about 400 feet, Jyj 
banks high, bottom bowld- |^j 
ers and rock. Neither ifli' 
falls nor ripples of any |Jg 

extent. Just above Brook- .fji|i ,„ 

neal there is a fall of 18 " 1 ""^ I 
feet in If miles. From 
Green Hill Ferry to 
Brookneal, a distance of 
8 miles, there is a fall of 
64 feet."* 

In this day of vast pro- 
jects, it is very comforta- 
ble for a county to know 
that great water powers 
are on two sides of it; in 
its southeastern district; 
and that throughout its 
extent water powers are 
found on a lesser but en- 
tirely practicable scale. 

^Hydrography of Virginia. 
N. C. Grover and R. H. Bolster 
(Geological Survey of Virginia) 
1906. p. 166. Hydrographic 
Stations were established at 
South Boston and at Randolph, 
Aug. 27, 1900. 




It is believed that this handbook will be read by many 
people who may become interested in Halifax County as 
a section in which to live and be prosperous. The exact 
value of advice is questionable, but the adviser may at 
least be tolerated if he is sincere and not a fanatic. It is 
the object of this short chapter to offer a few intelligent 

Our country as a whole, thanks to democracy, is more or 
less homogeneous. But there must exist in every section 
of it certain local peculiarities. For example, there are in 
the United States many different ways of calling cows. 
On coming into a new region it is certainly well to observe 
keenly — lands, people, manners, customs, everything. 
Every community has its long established customs, the 
result of the commonsense of its people acting and re-acting 
upon the conditions around them. The experience of a 
man's neighborhood is very valuable to him. Observe, 
and digest the facts that come in your way. 

In order that you may be able to see beyond the horizon 
in your business and get the best from the experience of 
many people, subscribe for some good agricultural pap'r^r. 
No apology is offered for advising every settler in Halifax 
County to take the Southern Planter. ^ We listen to a wise 
man talk and we are helped by what he says. How can 
we fail to be helped by following the wise remarks of many 
successful farmers? Suppose you read in such a paper 
but one paragraph a year that points the way to reducing 
expenses or saving trouble or increasing profits — you 
have been paid for the outlay. It is very likely you 
will find a paragraph or a page or an advertisement of that 


sort in every month's issue of a good agricultural paper 
which makes a specialty of the business of your section. 
Just as with manners and customs, so with farming opera- 
tions in a new region — Go Slow. Keep the brain busy. 
You will find great assistance to brain work in the South- 
ern Planter and in the Bulletins of the Agricultural depart- 
ments both at Washington and at Richmond.* A short 
list of useful Bulletins is given below. These reports are 
prepared solely to assist the farmer in his work and are 
sent on application to the Secretary of Agriculture at 
Washington — 

U. S. Department of Agriculture: 

Farmers' Bulletin No. 126. Practical Suggestions for 

Farm Buildings. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 150. Clearing New Land. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 192. Barnyard Manure. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 44. Commercial Fertilizers, 

Composition and Use. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 199. Corn Growing. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 81. Corn Culture in the South. 
■ Farmers' Bulletin No. 100. Hog Raising in the South. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 272. A Successful Hog and 

Seed Corn Farm. 

^Halif ax county lies between two Experiment Stations — the one at 
Chatham, Pittsylvania Comity, and the other at Saxe, Charlotte Comi- 
ty. The Station at Chatham devotes its attention to tobacco; that at 
Saxe to the best methods for the general farmer. Every com-tesy is 
extended the visitor and a great deal may be learned by a personal ex- 
amination of what is being done at these stations. In the County of 
Halifax (at Hyco, Black Walnut District) is found the largest tobacco 
seed farm in the world, where 100 bushels of tobacco seed are produced 
a year. The product goes to Australia, Italy, South America, Canada— 
wherever tobacco is grown in this country or abroad. 


Farmers' Bulletin No. 82. The Culture of Tobacco. 
Farmers' Bulletin No. 71. Some Essentials in Beef 

Farmers' Bulletin No. 141. Poultry Raising on the 

Farmers' Bulletin No. 161. Practical Suggestions for 

Fruit Growers. 

North Carolina Dept. of Agriculture. ( Raleigh, N. C. ): 
Alfalfa Growing. 

To this list must be added one other title : Civil Govern- 
ment of Virginia. By William F. Fox, Superintendent of 
Schools, Richmond, Va. Published by Richardson, 
Smith & Co., New York and Chicago. [Price 50 cents.] 
Especially Chapters VIII and IX, on County and Dis- 
trict organization. It is a good thing to understand thor- 
oughly the government of the county in which you live. 

Pardon so many suggestions. The average farmer 
knows about these things. It is the hundredth man who 
is the target of these remarks. When you have once got 
settled and have begun operations, you will find it well to 
make a rough map of your place, sufficient to show the 
distribution of your fields and woodland, and the acreage 
of each division of the place. By this method you will be 
able to know accurately what goes into each field (culti- 
vation, manure, etc.,) and what comes off of each field. 
This manner of handling a place is essential for economy 
and the most intelligent application of your capital. You 
will do well, that is, to keep a farm book, charging up 
everything in its proper place — a new book for each farm 
year so that there may be a complete record of what has 



been done in the way of rotations and results. It has been 
said that the man who knows what he is doing is generally 
doing pretty well. 

In conclusion, another list is given. These men know 
what they are doing, and they will be very pleased, (the 
writer is sure) to answer letters of inquiry. After you 
have settled near them, they will be among your best 
possible advisers: — 

A. J. Green, Alton. 

J. F. Davis, Birch. 

Thos. B. Clark, Clarkton. 

Edward Butts, Clover. 

J. H. Walton, Clover. 

E. R. Monroe, Crystal Hill. 

Theodore Frederickson, 

S. S. Brandon, Delila. 

W. H. Edmunds, Houston. 

W. C. Slate, Hyco. 

R. H.-Walton, R. F. D. No. 
1, Ingram, Va. 

Dr. S. T. A. Kent, Ingram. 

W. C. Carrington, Mayo. 

R. C. Dodd, Meadsville. 

Stephen Ferguson, Mead- 

W. Banks Wilkins, Mt. Car- 

W. H. Dorin, Mt. Laurel. 

C. W. Roller, Mt. Laurel. 

T. S. Wilson, News Ferry. 

R. G. D. Pottage, News 

J. H. Boelte, News Ferry. 

L. W. Rice, Paces. 

D. Overby, Red Bank. 

G. T. Dodson, R. F. D., 
Republican Grove. 

J. E. Thomas, Republican 

S. S. Wyatt, Republican 

H. J. McCormick, Scotts- 

D. B. Easley, Scottsburg. 

J. A. Anderson, South Bos- 
ton, R. F. D. 

John Cramer, South Bos- 
ton, R. F. D. 

A. E. Wilkins, Turbeville. 

A. A. Owen, Turbeville. 

J. M. Irby, Vernon Hill. 

T.J. McDowell, Vernon Hill. 

Elliott Bros., Virgilina. 


It is the object of this handbook to furnish information. 
If in general so much has been accomphshed, it now only 
remains to suppl}^ certain statistical data in regard to the 
county of Halifax and to give a brief statement concerning 
its history. 



Halifax county belongs in the 6th Congressional District, 
(Carter Glass, Lynchburg, Virginia, Representative in 
Congress); the 6th Judicial Circuit; and the 21st Senato- 
rial District, (H. 0. Kern, Sutherlin, Virginia, State Sena- 
tor), of the State of Virginia. Among the thirty-nine 
Senatorial Districts of Virginia, Halifax and Rockingham 
are the only counties which form of themselves Senatorial 
Districts. The representatives from Halifax in the House 
of Delegates of Virginia for the term ending in January, 
1906, were J. A. Glenn, South Boston, and M. B. Booker, 
South Boston. 

By the U. S. Census of 1900 the population of Halifax 
was 37,197. In population the county stands third among 
the counties of Virginia, exclusive of the cities. Although 
third in population, the criminal charge account of Halifax 
for the past year has been the 16th from the top of the list. 
For the j^ear ending September 30, 1906, warrants for 
free school purposes to the amount of $20,740.07 were 
drawn on the State Treasury by the county of Halifax, 
and only two counties can show a larger figure for that 
item. With not a city within its limits, the assessed 
valuation of personal property for Halifax the past fiscal 
year stood 9th in the list for the counties of the state. 
And as showing the business activity of the county, the 
tax on deeds, etc., in the county of Halifax amounted to 
more, during the past fiscal year, than in any other county 



in Virginia. Halifax stood second in the amount of 

capital of incorporated joint stock companies, — after 

Henrico county. 

* * * * 


By the census of 1900, Halifax, Pittsylvania, Fauquier, 
Loudoun, Caroline and Accomac counties report nearly 
1-7 of the total acreage in corn for the State of Virginia. 
Halifax, Bedford, Franklin and Pittsylvania report 1-5 of 
the total acreage devoted to oats. Halifax, Pittsylvania, 
and Mecklenburg counties contributed 34.7 per cent of 
the total acreage for tobacco in Virginia. The value of 
the farm property operated by colored farmers in Virginia 
was 7 . 6 per cent of the total value for the State. 

Statistics for Halifax County from U. S. Census, 1900, are as 


Number of 

Acres in Farms. 

Values of Farm Property. 




Land and 
ments (ex- 
cept build- 








Values of Farm Property. 



(not fed to 

live stock) , 




Live Stock. 



$174,180 $564,189 







The State Auditors Report 1906, supplies the follow- 
ing figures for Halifax: 

Live Stock. 

Horses, Mules, Asses 
and Jennets. 










A. Personal Property.* 

White $2,010,923 

Colored 157,340 

Total $2,168,263 

B. Real Property. — Land and buildings, town lots and 

White (522,070 acres) $3,455,064 

Colored (34,163 acres) 255,239 



[State Auditors' Report, 1906.] 



A. Planters & Merchants 

Bank, South Boston $100,000 

B. Bank of South Boston 50,000 

C. South Boston Savings Bank 10,000 

D. First National Bank, South 

Boston 25,000 






♦There were taxed in the county of Halifax during the past year 2,537 
sewing machines valued at $26,686. The sewing machine is a consider- 
able factor in'^domestic life. Only two counties in Virginia can show 
more sewing machines than Halifax. 


E. Boston National Bank, 
South Boston (organized in 

1906) 50,000 52,600 

F. Bank of Halifax, Houston.. 13,000 88,400 

G. Peoples Bank, Houston. ... 11,100 163,000 

H. Bank of Virgilina 10,000 65,000 

I. Bank of Clover (organized, 

1905) 10,000 20,000 

J. Bank of Scottsburg (organ- 
ized, 1906) 10,000 7,800 

Total $289,000 $1,365,700 

[January, 1907, Bank Statements.] 


Baptist Church. 

Churches. Pastors. 

Aaron's Creek J. K. Faulkner 

Arbor W. W. Reynolds 

Beth Car J. M. Luck 

Bethel J. A. Beam 

Black Walnut • W. W. Reynolds 

Catawba B. D. Thames 

Childrey J. H. Bass 

Crystal Hill J. M. Luck 

Clover T. H. Binford 

Clover Bottom J. W. Barbour 

Cross Roads W. T. Creath 

Dan River C. A. Woodson 

Ellis Creek C. A. Woodson 

*It is to be regretted that, although every effort was made to secure 
the figures, no reports could be had showing the Su.itus of the colored 
churches of the county. 


Churches. Pastors. 

Fork T. H. Binford 

Halifax B. D. Thames 

High View H. G. Crews 

Hunting Creek C. A Woodson 

Millstone W. T. Creath 

North Fork Wm. M.Hudson 

Republican Grove W. T. Creath 

Rodgers Chapel H. G. Crews 

Scottsburg J. M. Luck 

South Boston P. A. Anthony 

Winn's Creek J. H. Bass 

Number Churches, 25. Total Membership 3666 

[Minutes, DanRiver Baptist Assn'., 1906.] 

Christian Church.* 

Ingram Church, Ingram 8o 

Pleasant Grove Church, News Ferry 220 

Union Church, Virgilina 162 

Number Churches, 3. Membership 462 

A fourth church is contemplated near Nathalie. 

Episcopal Church. 

Antrim Parish. 

St. John's Church, Houston 145 

St. John's Chapel, near Houston 

Roanoke Parish. 

St. Thomas's Church, Clarkton 32 

Christ Church, Mt. Laurel... 25 

St. Lukes Church, Clover 58 

♦Statistics furnished by tho Rev. Mr. Newman, Virgilina. 


Randolph Parish, 

Trinity Church, South Boston 108 

Grace Church, News Ferry 49 

Number Churches, 7. Membership 417 

[Report, 1906 Council, Diocese, oL Southern Virginia.] 
Methodist Episcopal Church^ [South.]* 
Halifax Circuit. — Rev. B. E. Ledhetter, 

Union Church, near '. News Ferry. 

Asbury Church, near Vernon Hill. 

McKendree Church, near Meadsville. 

Republican Grove Church, near. . .Republican Grove. 

Clover Bottom Church, near Republican Grove. 

Cedar Forest Church, near Pittsylvania-Halifax 


Number Churches, 6. Membership, 473 

East Halifax Circuit — Rev. J. T. Moore, 

Clover Church Clover. 

Mt. Laurel Church Mt. Laurel. 

Scottsburg Church Scottsburg. 

Concord Church Crystal Hill. 

Number Churches, 4. Membership 301 

South Halifax Circuit— Rev. W.T.A. Haynes, Mt. Carmel 

Olive Branch Church, near Mt. Carmel. 

Cedar Grove Church, near Residence. 

Calvary Church, near Delila. 

Harmony Church, near Harmony. 

Number Churches, 4. Membership 413 

Hyco Circuit — Rev. B. S. Herrink, Virgilina. 
Virgilina Church Virgilina. 

♦Statistics furnished by the Rev. W. T. A. Haynes, Mt. Carmel. 


Mt. Canaan Church Virgilina. 

Shady Grove Church, near Hyco. 

Cherry Hill Church, near Cluster Springs. 

Number Churches, 4. Membership 411 

South Boston and Houston Circuit — Rev. W. T. Williams, 
South Boston. 

Main St. Church South Boston. 

Cotton Mill District Church South Boston. 

Houston Church Houston. 

Number Churches, 3. Membership 348 

Total No. Churches. .. . 21 Total Membership.. 1946 

Presbyterian Church [South.]* 

Providence, Church, [organized, 1831] 27 

(Large Sunday School.) 
Mercy Seat Church, Sutherlin [organized, 1837] 92 

(Large Sunday School.) 
Spring Hill Church, Cluster Springs [organized 1838] . . 38 

(Good Sunday School.) 
South Boston Church, [organized, 1842.] 190 

(Large Sunday School.) 

Mt. Carmel Church, Turbeville, [organized, 1867.] 65 

(Sunday School.) 
Oak Level Church, Stebbins, [organized, 1880] 83 

(Good Sunday School.) 
Meadsville Church, [organized, 1887.] 62 

Number Churches, 7. Membership 557 


''Farm products are wheat, corn, rye, oats, hay, and 
tobacco. This county ranks sixth in the production of 

*Dates given here for the reason that material could not be secm*ed 
in time for inclusion in the historical section. Statistics furnished by 
the Rev. T. S. Wilson, News Ferry. 


corn, and third in oats of the counties of the State. Fruits, 
vegetables and dairy produce are of importance and prove 
valuable with proper care and attention. The raising of 
fine stock, horses, cattle and sheep, is a source of profit, 
especially sheep raising, which is being conducted very 
successfully. Timber: hickory, oak, pine and poplar." 
[Commissioner of Agriculture, 1906.] 


By rail from South Boston to — 

Miles. Hours. 

Richmond, Va 109 3.50 

Lynchburg, Va 63 2. 50 

Charlottesville, (University of Virginia) . . 123 4.45 

Danville, Va 32 1 . 00 

Norfolk, Va 180 7.30 

Washington, D. C 236 8. 15 

Philadelphia 11.00 

New York 14. 00 



Alton 800 

Barksdale 354 

Clover 486 

Denniston 640 

Houston 370 

News Ferry 337 

Scottsburg 339 

South Boston 318 

Virgilina 710 

Wolf Trap 574 

Average of County 600-700 






Per hundred in car load lots : 



Cattle per car of 20,000 lbs 

(Rate on sheep and] hogs, same 
as cattle.) 

Vegetables, per hundred in car load 

Lumber per hundi'ed car lots . 

Fertilizers per ton in car load lots . . 















South Boston 




Wf^ \> 

(O o 

1 = 




I ^r 




Richmond . 
Norfolk . . . 








S30. 00 $18.20 


$35.00 $35.00 





South Boston 


Fertilizer, car loads: Minimum 
20,000 pounds. 

Rinhmonfl . . 

$1.70 per ton. 
$2.40 per ton. 
$1.35 per ton- 




Farm labor: $10 per month on the average, and rations — 
twelve pounds of bacon and a bushel and a half of corn 
meal. Good farm hands can frequently be had for less. 

Domestic Servants: $4 . 00 to 5 . 00 per month, and board. 


A. Every male citizen of the United States, twenty-one 
years of age, who has been a resident of the State two 
years, of the county, city, or town one year, and of the 
precinct in which he offers to vote, thirty days, next pre- 
ceding the election in which he offers to vote, has been 
registered, and has paid his State poll taxes, shall be en- 
titled to vote for members of the General Assembly and 
all officers elected by the people. 

B. For registration a person must own property upon 
which, for the year next preceding that in which he offers 
to register, state taxes have been paid aggregating at least 
one dollar; or, must be able to read any section of the 
Constitution submitted to him and give a reasonable 
explanation of the same ; or, if unable to read such sec- 


tion, able to understand and give a reasonable explana- 
tion thereof when read to him^by the officers of registra- 

C. The General Assembly may levy a tax on incomes 
in excess of six hundred dollars per annum. 

D. Whenever a franchise tax shall be imposed upon a 
corporation doing business in this State, or whenever all 
the capital, however invested, of a corporation chartered 
under the laws of this State, shall be taxed, the shares of 
stock issued by any such corporation, shall not be further 

E. The General Assembly shall levy a State capitation 
tax of, and not exceeding, one dollar and fifty cents per 
annum on every male resident of the State not less than 
twenty-one years of age; one third of which capitation 
tax shah be paidby the State into the treasury of the county 
in A^hich it was collected. The other two-thirds to be 
applied exclusively in aid of the public free schools of the 

F. Every householder or head of a family shall be 
entitled to hold exempt from levy, seizure, garnishment 
or sale under any execution his real and personal property 
to the value of not exceeding $2,000, to be selected by him — 
Provided, that such execution be not for the purchase of 
said property; or for services rendered by a laboring person 
or mechanic; or for a lawful claim for taxes; or for rent. 
[Extracts from Constitution of the State of Virginia, 1902.] 



Halifax Record- Advertiser, B. E. Hedderly, Editor. 
South Boston: 

Halifax Gazette, W. W. Ward, Editor. 

South Boston News, R. H. Beazley, Editor. 




Banister District 6,678 

Birch Creek District 4,859 

Black Walnyt District 4,016 

Meadsville District 3,013 

Mt. Carmel District 2,486 

Red Bank District 2,563 

Roanoke District 7,879 

Staunton District 5,703 

Total 37,197 


Office. District. 
Alchie, Meadsville 
Alton, Mt. Carmel 
Basses, Birch 
Birch, Birch 
Carrington, Roanoke 
Christie, Black Walnut 
Clarkton, Staunton 
Clover, Roanoke 
Cluster Springs, Black 

Cody, Staunton 
Crystal Hill, Meadsville 
Danripple, Black Walnut 
Delila, Mt. Carmel 
Denniston, Black Walnut 
Dryburg, Roanoke 
Elmo, Birch 
Greendun, Birch 
Harmony, Black Walnut 

Office. District. 
Hermosa, Staunton 
Houston, Banister 
Hyco, Black Walnut 
Ingram, Birch 
Jones, Banister 
Leda, Staunton 
Lennig, Staunton 
Maxwelton, Roanoke 
Mayo, Black Walnut 
Meadsville, Meadsville 
Moffett, Red Bank 
Mount Carmel, Mt. Carmel 
Mount Laurel, Roanoke 
Nathalie, Staunton 
Neathery, Banister 
News Ferry, Birch 
Noland, Roanoke 
Omega, Red Bank 
Poolville, Red Bank 



Office. District. Office. District. 

Ramble, Red Bank Stovall, Staunton 

Republican Grove, StauntonTurbeville, Mt. Carmel 
Residence, Black Walnut Vernon Hill, Birch 

Scottsburg, Roanoke 
Sinai, Banister 
South Boston, Banister 
Stebbins, Birch 

Virgilina, Red Bank 
Volens, Staunton 
Watkins, Roanoke 
Wolftrap, Banister 

Rural Mail Delivery Offices. 

No. OF 


Post Office. 

Alton 1 

Clarkton 1-2 

Clover 1 

Cody 1 

Crystal Hill 1 

Houston 1-2 

Ingram 1 

Lennig 1 

Meads ville 1 

No. OF 

Post Office. Routes. 

Nathalie 1-2-3 

News Ferry 1-2 

Paces 1 

Republican Grove . 1 

Scottsburg 1-2 

South Boston 1-2-3 

Vernon Hill 1 

Virgilina 1-2-3-4-5 



A. Southern Railway 63 

B. Norfolk and Western R. R 39 

Total 102 


A. Money available for schools in Halifax 

County (Session, 1906-1907) $46,918.94 

[More than 15 per cent increase over the preceding year.] 

B. Seating capacity of schoolhouses: 

White 4895 

Colored 3735 


C. Number of schools by districts. 

Districts, White. Colored 

Banister 9 9 

Roanoke 24 17 

Staunton 29 9 

Meadsville 9 7 

Birch Creek 18 12 

Mt. Carmel 8 3 

Black Walnut 11 H 

Red Bank 10 3 

Houston 3 2 

South Boston 9 3 

Total 130 76 

[State Superintendent of Public Instruction.] 


Mean temperature, Spring 56; Summer, 76; Autumn, 
58; Winter, 39; Annual, 57. Highest temperature ever 
recorded 102 in July; Lowest temperature ever recorded 
6 below zero in January. Average precipitation. Spring, 
11.2 inches; Summer, 12 inches; Autumn, 10.1 inches; 
Winter, 10 . 7 inches ; Annual 44 inches. Average monthly 
depth of snowfall during winter 4.1 inches. 

Prevailing wind direction, Spring N. W. ; Summer S. W; 
Autumn S. W.; Winter, N. W.; Annual, N. W. 

Throughout Halifax County, the rolling contour of the 
land, together with its elevation and distance from the 
sea, cause ranges in the monthly and seasonal mean 
temperatures as well as in the daily range and variability 
of temperature. Sharp and sudden temperature changes, 
though not frequent, occur and most often in the autumn 
and winter. 


An increase observed in the daily range of temperature 
seems to be due to a convectional circulation of the air, 
caused mainly by the physical conditions of the region. 
It is greatest in the western part of the county. 

[U. S. Weather Bureau, Richmond, Va.] 
E. A. Evans, Director, 
Climatological Service. 


[See Laws for capitation tax.] 

A. $1 . 15 on the $100, (Red Bank District |1 . 25.) 
Apportioned as follows: 

a. For State purposes $0. 35 

For County purposes, [schools . 10; other purposes 

.45.] 55 

For District purposes, [schools . 10; Roads . 15.] . . 25 

Total $1.15 

B. Incomes taxed 1 per cent on amounts over $600. 

C. Corporations liable as under A. 


A . Dan River Telephone Company. — Operating between 
the Dan River and the Virginia-North Carolina line. 
Head office. South Boston. 

B. South Boston Telephone Company. — South Boston.* 

C. Virginia-North Carolina Telephone Company. — 
Operating mainly along the line of the Norfolk and West- 
ern R. R., the middle region of Halifax County from North 
to South. 

D. Virgilina Telephone Company. — Virgilina. 

*The South Boston Company has been absorbed by the Dan River 


E. West Halifax Telephone Company. — Operating 
in the West and North of Hahfax County. Head office, 


By the census of 1900 tobacco was reported as grown 
in Virginia by 44,872 farmers who obtained from 184,334 
acres a yield of 122,884,900 pounds. This shows an 
increase in production of 74,362,245 pounds, or 153.3 
per cent in the ten years from 1890 to 1900. The average 
area for each farm upon which tobacco was grown was 4. 1 
acres. In the production of tobacco, by the census of 
1900, Halifax, Pittsylvania and Mecklenburg counties 
contributed 34 . 7 per cent of the total acreage for the State 
and 30 . 5 per cent of the total production. 

The following table is interesting, giving the per cent 
of gross income from the farms in Virginia on the total 
investment in farm property: 

Hay and grain, (not fed to live stock) 18 . 2 per cent. 

Vegetables 33 . 5 '' 

Fruits 25.8 " 

Live Stock 17.6 " 

Dairy Produce 18 .8 " 

Tobacco 43.2 '' 

While the capital invested in tobacco lands is relatively 
not excessive and while allowance must be made for ex- 
penses, the figure 43 . 2 is startling. 






The River Dan flows through the Land of Eden. That 
is what Colonel Byrd called this country a hundred and 
seventy-five years ago. It must be remembered that 
Pittsylvania and Franklin and Henry were only districts 
of Halifax in the beginning. Colonel Byrd had gone 
through this country in 1727, as Virginia Commissioner 
to run the line between the colony of Virginia and that of 
North Carolina. As reAvard for his distinguished services 
the Council of the Colony of North Carolina presented him 
with 20,000 acres of land lying just on the border, to the 
south of what was to be Halifax County twenty-five years 
later. In 1733 the Colonel came surveying on his own 
account. He was so greatly pleased with the land, as one 
of plenty and promise, that he called it Eden. 

The red, untutored savage had disappeared from the 
south side of Virginia before 1733, or if he was found there 
in that year and later he was harmless. Young Nathaniel 
Bacon had broken the power of the tribes of Meherrin, 
Appomattox, and Nottoway in 1676.* Bacon and his 
men solved the problem, notwithstanding the gallant, 
touchy old Sir William Berkeley. After 1676 the Indians 
were never strong enough in the region south of the James 
to molest the planter. Such security enabled the pioneer 
to get farther and farther away from the pleasant tide- 
water shires. After 1720 the establishment of counties 
to the west went forward rapidly. When Colonel Byrd 
pitched his tent on the Dan and the Hyco those were no 
mean rivers of Brunswick County. 

This was Colonel William Byrd of Westover, compan- 
ion of the mad Lord Peterborough, the witty, sprightly, 

*Bacon came as far as the banks of the Staunton. See, Campbell's 
History of Virginia, p. 307. 


travelled, Colonel Byrd, most cultivated of Virginians. 
The Colonel took along with him in the expedition of 1733 
Major William Mayo,* who' had been the Surveyor for 
Virginia in the Commission of 1727. Major Mayo came 
also on his own account, for North Carolina had endowed 
him as well as the Colonel. He was to survey first Colonel 
Byrd's land and then his own — a goodly estate of 10,000 
acres. The surveying party was made up of Colonel 
Byrd, Major Mayo, and some ten assistants. The Colonel 
writes: ''The weather now befriending us, we despatcht 
our little affairs in good time, and marcht in a Body to the 
Line. After a March of 2 miles we got upon Cane Creek 
whejre we saw the same Havock amongst the Old Canes 
that we had observed in other places, and a whole Forest 
of Young Ones springing up in their Stead. [No doubt 
the work of a freshet]. We pursued our Journey over 
Hills and Dales till we arrived at the second ford of the 
Dan, which we passed with no other Damage than sopping 
a little of our Bread and shipping some water at the Tops 
of our Boots." 

They came within sight of a great body of Indians, 
Catawbas so they thought. Along the Irvin River they 
found grass as high as a man on horsebaek. Keeping 
west the party reached Hatcher's Creek. ''Near the 
Banks of this Creek we found a large Beech Tree wdth the 
following Inscription cut upon the Bark of it — 'J. H., H. 
H., B. B. lay here the 24th of May, 1673.' It was not 
difficult to fill up these initials with the following names, 
Joseph Hatcher, Henry Hatcher, and Benjamin Bulling- 
ton, 3 Indian Traders, had lodged near that place 60 
years before, in their way to the Sauro Town." 

■'^The Mayo River was named for Major Mayo, and the village of Mayo 
in therefore called after him. 


Coming back, the party followed the Hyco for some 
distance, a branch of which they called Jesuit Creek 
because it misled them. " We encampt upon Hyco* River 
pretty high up and had much ado to get our House in order 
before a heavy Shower descended upon us* ***** 
* * About a mile below the Mouth of Hyco lives Aaron 
Pinston,1| at a quarter belonging to Thomas Wilsonf upon 
Tewahominy Creek. This man is the highest Inhabitant 
on the South side of the Dan, and yet reacons himself 
perfectly safe from danger." And he would be safe, the 
Colonel adds, if bears and wolvesj were as harmless to 
stock as the Indians. 

Some where in this region the Colonel lost a pair of gold 
buttons. He says: ''I paid for violating the Sabbath by 
losing a pair of gold buttons." This classic party of 
explorers appears to have forded the Staunton about 
McClean's Mill. Colonel Byrd's Land of Eden began at 
the southwestern corner of the present Halifax County. 
The bounds of that Eden w^ere: in length 15 miles — 3 
miles broad at the west end — and 1 mile broad at the Est. 
The Colonel spelt as he pleased. § 



During the nineteen years that followed after the Survey 
of Eden great progress was made in the settlement of the 
country west of the Staunton — Aaron Pinston began to 

*Hyco must be an Indian name. 

^jAaron's Creek doubtless gets its name from Pinston the Pioneer. 
tThomas Wilson was a member of the surveying party. 
jPinston may have had a Wolf Trap south of the Dan, in those days. 
|See, Westover Manuscripts. — Journey to the Land of Eden, pp. 14 ff. 
September, 1733. 



have neighbors and the bears and wolves moved farther 
west.^; In 1746 Lunenburg County was set off from Bruns- 
wickjfand six years later the populations along the Dan 
and the Staunton had increased sufficiently to warrant a 
division of Lunenburg. Pinston may have lived to see his 
frontier cabin successively in the counties of Surry, Bruns- 
wick, Lunenburg, and Halifax, as the genealogical table 
for the county of Halifax will show: — 

Isle of Wight (1634, one 
of the [eight orig- 
inal shires of Vir- 

Surry (1652) 

Brunswick (1720) 

Lunenburg (1746) 


Halifax (1752) 

Halifax was named for the Earl of Halifax, one of the 
distinguished family of Montagu, who was First Lord of 
the Board of Trade about that time and as such interested 
himself greatly in the welfare of the Colonies. The ear- 
liest records are not only valuable but are good reading 
also. They beign — ''At a meeting of the Justices appointed 
for Halifax County at Hampson Wade's House the XlXth 


day of May in the XXVth year of the Reign of our Sov- 
ereign Lord King George the Second, and in the year of 
our Lord Christ one Thousand seven hundred and fifty- 
two^a Commission of the Peace was produced from the 
Honorable Robert Dinwiddie, His Majesty's Lieutenant 
Governor and Commander in Chief of the Colony and 
Dominion of Virginia bearing date at Williamsburg the 
twenty-eighth day of April in the year of our Lord one 
Thousand seven hundred and fifty-two and directed to 
William Byrd,* William Wynne, Peter Fontaine, Jun^, 
James Terry, William Irby, Nathaniel Terry, Robert 
Wade, Hampton Wade, Andrew Wade, Hugh Moore, and 
Sherwood Walton, Gentlemen." 

At this first Meeting the usual oaths were administered. 
Nathaniel Terry was sworn Sheriff; George Currie, Clerk 
of the Court; Thomas Nash, Surveyor; and Clement Read 
(of Lunenburg, later of Charlotte) King's Attorney. John 
Light, Joseph Paris, and Abel Lee were appointed Con- 
stables. Nicholas Hayle, Robert Jones, and James Irwin 
were recommended as Justices. A deed from John Owen 
to Thomas Stovall was acknowledged, and a license from 
Lunenburg County was produced by John Boyd to 
keep at his house a ferry over Dan River. It was 
prayed of Lunenburg County, through Clement Read, 
that the bonds for a bridge over Banister River be assigned 
to Halifax County. Further, it was ordered that William 
Irby and Andrew Wade take lists of Tithables from the 
Point of Fork (Dan and Staunton) up to Buffaloe upon 
Staunton ; James Terry to take the lists from the mouth of 
Buffaloe Creek up Stanton River to the extent of the 
County (i. e. as far as the Piedmont Country); and Hugh 
Moore from the mouth of Miery Creek up Dan River. 
Ordered, that the Sheriff forthwith agree with workmen to 
build a prison twelve feet square at the place appointed 

*Soii of Colonel William Byrd of the Survey of 1733. 


for the next Court to be held. Ordered, that the next 
Court be heldat Richard Dudgeon's ''where Thomas Wilson 
now lives." 

At the July Court, 1752, ''George Currie came into Court 
and proposed to Run a Line from the mouth of Aaron's 
Creek a dew west course twenty-five miles up and to 
strike the centre of the County* as near as can be estimated 
and as the convenience of water will admit of, at his own 
cost and charge, and that he will also at his farther cost 
and charge build a Court house, prison, stocks, and pillory 
as soon as conveniently he can." Sworn as Justices: 
Richard Eckhols, Thomas Calloway, Richard Brown, 
William Irby, Merry Webb, Peter Wilson, William Wynne, 
John Guilligtine; and John Owen. 

In 1753, at the March Court, the" Honorable Justices 
fixed important rates. "Pursuant to an Act of Assembly 
the Court set and rate the following Prices of Liquors, Diet, 
Lodging, Fodder, Provender, Stablage, and Pasturage at 
and for which the several ordinary Keepers in this county 
are to entertain and sell the ensuing year — viz: — 

For Good West India Rum pr. 

Gallon £0-10 shillings-0 pence 

New England Rum pr. Gall 0- 2 -6 

French Brandy pr. Quart ... 0- 5 -0 

Virginia Peach or Apple 

Brandy pr. Gallon 0-7 -6 

♦Near CaUands in Pittsylvania. Before 1767 the Court House was 
moved to the east — the name "Court House Branch," near County 
Line Church, indicates the site. The Pittsylvania line, run in 1767, 
came so near this Court House that the seat of "[oVernment was moved 
about 1769 to Faulkner's Crossing about three miles N. N. E. of Houston. 
In 1792 the Coiu-t House was placed at Banister which became Houston 
in 1890, with the advent of the Norfolk and Western Railway. There 
is little in a name, but there is less in some names than in other names. 


Whiskey pr. Gallon [undecipherable] 

French Claret pr. Quart .... 0- 1 -0 

Portugal or French White 

Wine pr. Quart 0-3 -6 

Madeira Wine pr. Quart 0-2 -6 

English Strong Beer, pr. 

Quart Bottle 0-1 -6 

Virginia Strong Beer pr. 

Quart ^. . . [undecipherable] 

Diet the Meal for a Break- 
fast 0-0 -8 

A Hot Dinner 0-1 -0 

liodging in Clean Sheets, 

for each man 0-0 -6 

Stablage and Fodder for a 

Horse, 1 Night 0-0 -6 

Pasturage for each horse, 

24 hours 0-0 -6 

Indian Corn pr. Gall 0-0 -4 

We pay a little less today for a gallon of corn than was 
by law demanded in the year 1753. John Boyd's Ferry 
charges at this time were, four pence for a man; four 
pence for a horse; wheel carriages, four pence for each 

At the 1753 March Court a Grand Jury was appointed, 
''good and lawful men of the county,' 'whose names are inter- 
esting — John Bates, Foreman; John Kerby, Edward 
Parker, William Lawson, Edmund Floyd, Hance Hen- 
drick, Robert Wilkins, Robert Moore, Francis Kerby, 
Peter Wilson, William Armstrong, Daniel Green, Daniel 
Smith, Richard Dudgeon, John Hanna, David Lawson, 
Alexander Irvin. 

The following May (1753) Court was'^held at Punch 
Spring which is called the Court House. This is probably 


Callands, but during these years Court was frequently 
held at ''Hilton's/' which is confusing. From 1753 to 
1755 several Captains of foot companies were appointed: 
Thomas Calloway, Thomas Dillard, Andrew Wade, Francis 
Lawson, Hugh Moore, and Peter Wilson. 

In 1763 the Justices present at a Court were: George 
Watkins, Thomas Green, James Roberts, Robert Wooding, 
Theophilus Lacy, John Coleman, George Boyd, Matthew 
•Sims, Elijah Hunt. There were present at the March 
Court, 1774: Nathaniel Terry, Thomas Yuille, Walter 
Coles, and Isaac Coles. 

It is remarkable how persistent names have been in the 
county, only corroborating the statement so^often made 
that the South is the genuine America — where the English 
stock is to be found. Observe the names of the Burgesses 
from the county— 1753-1776: 

^' / ^„^^ \ . . . .John Bates, WiUiam Harris. 

May 1, 1755 J 

,^ , ^' ^„^^ [ . . . .Samuel Harris, John Bates. 
March 0, 1758 i ' 

Sept. 14, 1758 1 

Jan. 12, 1764 J 

Oct. 30, 1764 Nathaniel Terry, Edward Booker. 

1765 Edward Booker, 

1765-1768 Edward Booker, Walter Coles. 

May, 1769 Nathaniel Terry, John Lewis. 

Nov. 1769-1772 Nathaniel Terry, Walter Coles. 

Feb. 10, 1772 ] ^t .i. • i ^r t n ^ 

,, ^ ^„„A . . . .^Jathaniel lerry, Isaac Coles. 

May 5, 1774 J '^' 

June, 1775 Nathaniel Terry, Micajah Watkins. 

ifi ifi :^ ifi. ^ i: -^ 

There was a time when all of Halifax belonged to the 
Established Church. " When Halifax Countv was divided 

Robert Wade, Nathaniel Terry. 


from Lunenburg in 1752 it comprehended all that is now 
Pittsylvania, Henry, Franklin, and Patrick. Antrim 
Parish was coextensive with the county".* There were 
probably no chuiches or chapels in 1752 within the limits 
of the county. Several gentlemen were allowed to have 
services in their own houses, doubtless for the benefit of 
their neighbors as well as for that of their own families. 
Pigg River, Franklin County, was a reading station. 
William Chisholm, a candidate for orders, was given title 
to Antrim Parish in 1752, but Mr. Chisholm set out for 
London to be consecrated by his cUocesan, the Bishop of 
London, and nothing more was heard of him. The Rev. 
Mr. Proctor was allowed 2,000 pounds of tobacco, in 1753, 
for services by him done and performed for Antrim Parish. 
The Rev. Mr. Foulis was in the parish until 1759, when he 
went away and was not heard from thereafter. In 1762, 
Thomas Thompson, a very old man, served in the parish 
for a few months. The next spring Alexander Gordon 
a* Scotchman, was inducted. He continued until 1775, 
when being disappointed with the new order of things he 
retired and spent his old age near Petersburg. 

Wars are commonly thought to be a great part of 
history. History is made more in peace than in war. 
The following is a list of old vestrymen of Antrim Parish, 
from 1752— James Terry, Richard Echols, Thomas Dillard,^ 
Thomas Calloway, Richard Brown, William Irby, Merry 
Webb, Peter Wilson, William Wynne, John Guilligtine, 
John Owen, Nathaniel Terry, George Currie, Samuel 
Harris, Andrew Wade, James Dillard, Robert Wooding, 
Archibald Gordon, John Bates, Edward Booker, Hugh 
Junis, George Watkins, Alexander Gordon, Thomas 

*Bishop Meade: Old CTiurches and Families of Virginia, Vol. II, ch. 


Tunstall, John Donaldson, Evan Ragland, Benjamin 
Dickson, William Thompson, George Boyd, Moses Terry, 
William Sims, Walter Coles, Edward Wade, Isaac Coles, 
John Coleman, William Terry, Michael Roberts, John 
Ragland, Armistead Washington, Joseph Hobson, George 
Carrington, Thomas Davenport, John Faulkner, Edmund 
King, Joseph Sandford, Thomas Theawt, John Ervine, 
Daniel Wilson, Thomas, Clark, Evan Ragland, Jr., Joseph 
Haynes, Thomas Lipscomb, John R. Scott, Francis Petty, 
Daniel Parker, George Camp, William Thomas, John 
Wattington, Achilles Colquett, Hansom Clark, John A. 
Fowlkes, Charles Meriwether, Adam Toot, Edward Boyd, 
Thomas Clark, Beverly Sydnor, Joseph Hewell, Samuel 
Williams, Littlebury Royster, Benjamin Rogers, Chilton 
Palmer, John Haynes, Screevor Torian, Robert Crute, 
Granville Craddock, Edward Carlton, William Fitzgerald, 
Isham Chasteen, Icare Torian, Isaac Medley, John R. 
Cocke, William Scott. 

Bishop Meade cites, as influential in the revival of the 
Episcopal Church in Halifax, the Bruces, the Ligons, the 
Greens, the Wimbishes, the Leighs, the Banks, the Logans, 
the Borums, the Edmundsons, the Fontaines, the Carring- 
tons, the Baileys.* 



...The Rev. Alexander Gordon, Parson of Antrim Parish 
for thirteen years, a Scotchman, being disappointed with 
the new order of things in 1775 retired from the Parish. 

*An old Episcopal Church at Meadsville was sold some twenty years 
ago; an old church stood at Catawba, which was moved to Clarkton. 
When St. John's Church was built at Houston, old St. Mark's Church was 
sold to the Methodists. 


Other natives of North Britain retired. The hand of the 
Scotch merchant was hard upon the planter before the 
Revohition. The Magistrates were upright and judi- 
cially minded men. It must have given more than one of 
them great pleasure to sit in judgment upon a factor, 
reasonably charged with disaffection to the cause of the 
colonies. At a court held for Halifax County in 1776 — 
Present, Nathaniel Terry, James Baker, Walter Coles, 
Isaac Coles, John Coleman, Elijah Hunt, John Arrell 
Tunstall, and William Terry — ''for the purpose of exam- 
ining several natives of North Britain (subjects of George 
the Third, King of Great Britain) residing within the 
county and being supposed to come within the Statute 
Staple of Twenty-seventh of Edward III, Chapter the 
seventeenth — 

The Resolution of the Assembly and Statute Staple 
aforesaid was read: 

Donald McNichol (a native of North Britain and Factor 
for James Murdoch and Company, Merchants in Glasgow, 
and was so at the first day of January, 1776) appeared and 
on considering the disposition and conduct of the said 
Donald, touching America and Great Britain, the Justices 
are of opinion that he ought to depart as directed the said 
Resolution". Also, James Steven, John Calder, Hector 
McNeil, John Smith, Walter Robertson, Thomas Hope, 
and James Calland,"^ all Scotchmen, were found "of a dis- 
position and conduct" to make their departure salutary. 

This exodus of the Scotch merchants meant business. 
It meant that George the Third (no longer our ''Sovereign 
Lord"), so many of whose counsellors were Scotchmen, was 
being defied by his American possessions. The Clerk of 
Halifax County in 1776, Paul Carrington, Sr., was one of 

♦Perhaps CaUands in Pittsylvania, where the first Halifax Court House 
stood, gets its name from James Calland. 


the foremost men of the colony in adopting the measures 
that looked to a separation from the British Empire. 
Paul Carrington's estate, "Mulberry Hill'' lay partly in 
Halifax and doubtless that is the explanation of his Clerk- 
ship of Halifax from 1764 to 1776. Judge Carrington was 
a member of both Committees of Safety (1775 and 1776) ; 
and a delegate to the Conventions of 1774, 1775, 1776, and 
1788. He was a member of the first General Court of 
Virginia and became its Chief Justice. In 1779 he was 
elected a Judge of the Court of Appeals, which position he 
held until his resignation in 1807. In his letter of resig- 
nation, written to Governor Cabell, he says: ''I think it 
time for me to retire from public business to the exalted 
station of a private citizen." Judge Carrington's house 
at ''Mulberry Hill" presents almost the same appearance 
today as when it was built in the year 1755. He was a 
public man from his youth. During his time, he was 
King's Attorney of four several counties, and he held any 
number of offices besides. 

George Carrington, a son of the elder Paul Carrington? 
succeeded his father in the Clerkship of Halifax. George 
Carrington held the office from 1776 to 1797. He lived 
at ''Oak Hill," an estate just across the Dan River from 
South Boston, In the Revolutionary War, he was 1st 
Lieutenant of Armstrong's Troop 'Cavalry]. -He and 
Armstrong won the battle of Quimby Bridge, a fierce skir- 
mish where the British cavalry charged across the bridge, 
part of which had been taken up, and had a desperate 
battle with the colonial troops.* George Carrington was a 
General of militia and a brilliant man. He was a delegate 

*See, Washington Irving: Life of Washington; and Hugh Blair 
Grigsby : Virginia Convention of 1776. 


from Halifax in the Convention of 1788, and was later a 
member of the State Senate, of great popularity and influ- 

A^hij^her son of Judge Paul Carrington, Sr., Edward ^/t u^f 
Carrington was an officer of Lee's Legion. General Lee 
speaks of him in the highest terms.f It is still remem- 
bered in this region how Major Carrington got Greene's 
army across the Dan on the retreat before Cornwallis, 
preceding the battle of Guilford Court House (1781). On 
the 15th of February Greene had just succeeded in 
crossing the river Dan when Lord Cornwallis appeared 
on the opposite bank. At this point Cornwallis gave up 
the pursuit and turning to the South established himself 
at Hillsborough, North Carolina. The battle of Guilford 
Court House, one of the decisive battles of the Revolu- 
tion, followed on March 25th, after which Lord Corn- 
wallis retreated across North Carolina towards Wilming- 
ton. His next important engagement was at Yorktown, 
where he surrendered to General Washington, Oct. 19th. 

Thus, it appears that Greene and Cornwallis passed 
through Halifax County twice in the month of March, 
1781. The armies followed what is known as thej' River 
Road," from Milton to Blank's Ferry [Irwin's Ford?]— 
wherel Greene seems to have crossed and then recrossed, 
on the track of the southward moving noble lord. There 
is a tradition that Cornwallis made his headquarters at an 
innj(the building is still in existence) which stood on the 
River Road, about two miles to the east of Turbeville. 

fSee, Henry Lee : Memoirs of the War in the South. 
Jit is possible that both Colonel Byrd and Lord Cornwallis crossed the 
Dan at the old Skipwith Ferry, above Clarksville, at the lowest point of 
union before the j&nal junction of the two rivers. Again, it is reliable 
tradition that Irwin's Ford was a mile or two above South Boston, and 
that here the armies crossed. This was where Major Carrington lived. 


In 1781 Tarleton raided the country along the Staunton 
River very near the Halifax line, just above Brookneal. 
Tarleton took much the same course as that followed by 
the Tidewater Railroad and for much the same reasons. 

Only a short time ago a penny was found on Dan River, 
in the county, dating from 1730 in the time of ''Our Sover- 
eign Lord George the Second." 

There is vague talk of a roster of soldiers furnished by 
Halifax in the Revolution. This lacking, more peaceful 
records must be employed to supplement the brief account 
given above, in filling out the Revolutionary and post- 
Revolutionary period. Follows a list of delegates from the 
county to the General Assembly, from 1773 to 1830, when 
the new constitution went into effect: 

Session of 1778 Nathaniel Terry and Micajah Watkins. 

Session of 1779 Micajah Watkins and John Coleman. 

May Session 1781 James Bates 

May Session 1781 1 ^ ,tt , , • 

^ ^, ., . ,„„. George Watkins 

Ocotber Session 1781 I ^ 

May Session 1782 

^ X 1 CI • -,^Too 1 John Coleman I 

October Session 1782 

October Session 1782 1 ^ 

Sessions 1806-07 j 

May Session 1782 Daniels and Walker 

June Session 1788 

Oct. Session 1788 

Oct. Session 1791 

Oct. Session 1792 ...... 

May Session 1813 

Sessions 1813-14; 1841-2 

October Session 1789 Henry E. Coleman 

October Session 1791 1 .^^ . , ^, , 

^ ^ , o • -. ^rr^o \ David Clark 

October Session 1792 j 

November Session 1794 Thomas Roberts 

Thomas Watkins 



December Session 1799. . . . 

January Session, 1800 1 

December Session, 1800. . 
January Session, 1801 .... 
December Session, 1800. . 
January Session, 1801 .... 
December Session, 1802. . 
January Session, 1803 .... 

Sessions, 1809-10 

Sessions, 1810-11 

Sessions 1806-7 

Sessions 1808-9 

Sessions 1810-11 

Sessions 1808-9 

Sessions 1809-10 

Sessions 1824-25 

Sessions 1812-13 

Sessions 1813-14 

Sessions 1814-15 

Sessions 1814-15 

Sessions 1812-13 

Sessions 1817-18 

Sessions 1818-19 

Sessions 1817-18 

Sessions 1818-19 

Sessions 1820-21 

Sessions 1822-23 

Sessions 1834-35 

Sessions 1820-21 

Sessions 1822-23 

Sessions 1823-24 

Sessions 1824-25 

Sessions 1826-27 

Sessions 1835-36 


Richard Howson 
John B. Scott 

WiUiam Terry 

Wilham Terry 

Joseph Sandford 

WilUam B. Banks 
Melchizedeck Spraggins 

John Hill 

Isaac Medley 
Williamson Price 

Howson Clark 
James Sneed 

Richard Logan 

Clement R. Carrington ^ 

John B. Carrington 


Sessions 1826-27 ] -^ u r. r^v. ^ 

o • ir,o^ no John G. Chalmers 

Sessions 1827-28 

Sessions 1828-29 , ^ ,-, ^ ,, 

ci • -.oo^ or^ Heniv hj. bcott 

Sessions 1829-30 j *^ 

It was in the Convention of 1829 that John Randolph 
of Roanoke made his famous remark/' Call them horned 
cattle/' which did nothing to increase his popularity. 
John Randolph, William Leigh, Richard Logan, and 
Richard N. Venable were the delegates to that Convention 
from the 8th district, in which Halifax was then included. 
In the spring of 1827, Mr. Randolph made a great speech 
at Halifax Court House on the issues of the proposed 
convention. It was estimated that from six to ten 
thousand people had gathered to hear him. — " As the 
hour approached every countenance beamed with antic- 
ipation or was grave with anxiety, for the weather 
was a little inauspicious and Mr. Randolph's health was 
bad. It was known that he had reached Judge Leigh's, 
but fears were entertained that he might be deterred by 
the weather. About 10 o'clock, however, the thin clouds 
vanished, and about 11 o'clock news passed like an electric 
current through the vast multitude that he was coming. 
In an instant the crowd began moving slowly and noise- 
lessly towards the upper tavern. Scarcely had they 
reached the summit of the slope between the courthouse 
and the tavern when they saw him coming on horseback, 
his carriage in 'the rear, driven by one of his servants. 
As he drew near, the crowd simultaneously divided to each 
side of the street, making a broad avenue along which he 
passed, hat in hand, bowing to the right and to the left, 
until he reached the lower tavern. The people with 
uncovered heads silently returned the salutation. As he 
passed on to the lower tavern, the multitude followed in 
profound silence. Alighting and going in for a few mo- 


ments he soon reappeared, crossed the street, ascended the 

steps leading over to the court house, and began by asking: 

"Fellow citizens. — why in my feeble state am^I here? 

Love of your liberty as well as my own compelled me to 

come."* And after the Convention Mr. Randolph 

returned to Halifax Court House, very feeble, to give an 

account of his stewardship. Judge William Leigh, of 

Halifax, was John Randolph's sole executor by his will 

of 1821. Judge Leigh and Henry St. George Tucker were 

the final executors by the will of 1832. 
-^ "1^ -^ ^ ^ i(i 

After the Episcopal Church, the Baptist Church is the 
oldest in Halifax County. Baptist Churches were estab- 
lished in the county from 1773 to 1803 as follows: 

Catawba, 1773; Buffaloe, 1776; Mayo, 1774; Wynn's 
Creek, 1773; Hunting Creek, 1775; Musterfield, 1779; 
Childrey, 1783; Millstone, 1787; Arbor, 1785; Polecat, 
1790; Miry Creek, 1803; Liberty, 1802; Dan River, 1802; 
Twelve Corner, 1803.t 

Of these churches Catawba, in the northern part of the 
county, occupies the site of the original meeting house. 

Buffaloe Church became extinct during the war. The 
meeting house was of stone, near PannelPs Bridge, almost 
on the Halifax-Pittsylvania line. 

Mayo was once one of the largest churches in the old 
Roanoke Association. The meeting house was situated 
near Mayo, on the road leading from Carrington's Bridge 
to Clarksville, and about a mile from Mayo Creek. The 
church was absorbed by Black Walnut on one side and 
Bethel, in Person County, North Carolina, on the other. 

♦See, Home Remniscences of John Randolph of Roanol-e, by Powhatan 

tSee, Semple's History of the Rise and Progress of the Baptists in Virginia. 
Richmond, 1894. 


The congregation of Wynn's Creek Church worshipped 
at first in a meeting house situated two and a half miles 
north of Houston. Hunting Creek still flourishes and is 
situated in the northeastern section of Halifax. On the 
formation of the Baptist Church at Scottsburg, in 1884, 
Musterfield Church was dissolved. The church stood to 
the northeast of Houston, on the road to Scottsburg. 
The Childrey Church joined the Dan River Association in 
1872 and is vigorous. Childrey is near Brookneal. The 
congregation of Millstone Church worships on the original 
site — near Meadsville, on the road from Houston to 
Republican Grove. Arbor Church is active. Polecat 
Church declined. A new meeting house was erected in 
1836 and the name changed to Mount Vernon, on the Moun- 
tain Road. Miry Creek and Liberty are now extinct. 
Miry Creek united with Arbor Church before 1840. Dan 
River Church is active today and on the original site, 
about three miles from South Boston. Twelve Corner 
derived its name from the log building of twelve corners 
in which the church long worshipped. June 2, 1810 
the name of the church was changed to Republican 
Grove. Dr. A. B. Brown was for years the pastor of 
the Republican Grove Church. 

;{: ^ :}: •{: 'is 5j« 

Dr. William W. Bennett's Memorials of Methodism in 
Virginia gives few facts in regard to the Methodist Church 
in Halifax County. Methodism grew rapidly in Virginia 
after 1775, when there were not as many Methodists south 
of the Potomac River (955) as there are in Halifax County 
today. In 1781 there were 3,239 Methodists reported in 
Virginia. Bishop Asbury, the father of the church in 
Virginia, must have ridden often through Halifax on his 
long circuits. Speaking of his rides through the country 
lying on the Meherrin River, he says, "In this country 


I have to lodge half my nights in lofts, where light may 
be seen through a hundred places; and the cold wind at 
the same time blowing through as many.'* 

In 1784 Halifax was a part of the ''South District of 
Virginia:'' Halifax, Mecklenburg, Bedford, Cumberland, 
Amelia, Brunswick, Sussex, Greensville, Bertie, Camden, 
Portsmouth, Williamsburg, Hanover and Orange. In 
1784 the official title Presiding Elder first occurs. At 
the first Council of the Methodist Church in Virginia, 
James O'Kelly sat for the South District. In 1792 O'Kelly 
began to be greatly antagonistic to Bishop Asbury, and 
by 1801 the O'Kellyan Schism had made such advances 
as to take a distinct name— "The Christian Church.'' 
It is not stated whether O'Kelly's Church was much 
recruited in the Halifax section of his District. It is to be 
regretted that Dr. Bennett's book gives so few local statis- 
tics. How difficult it is to remember that what everybody 
knows today is precisely what nobody will know to- 

H: ii^ H: H: H: * 

The Rev. Alexander Hay, of Scotland, was inducted 
into the parish of Antrim in 1790. After the Revolution 
measures were taken for the erection of churches. Several 
of the old ones had fallen upon evil times. In 1794 it 
was reported that one church had been converted into 
a dwelling because there was no title to the land; another, 
out of repair, had been made over into a Baptist Church; 
a third, which had been put to the double purpose of a 
stable and a tobacco barn, was demolished and the timbers 
used for a store; a fourth was burned. The Revolution 
left the Episcopal Church greatly crippled in Halifax as 
in most counties. 

In 1816 a small church was built some three miles from 
the Court House, in which Mr. Hay preached a few times 


before his death in 1819. Here also Mr. Ravenscroft 
(later, first Bishopof North Carolina) occasionallypreached. 
This church v/as afterwards converted into a Methodist 
Church. Evan Ragland died in 1814 leaving a large 
estate to the Episcopal Church. There was a cause in 
chancery, and by 1830 $2,000 was/ealized by the church. 
Mr. Steel preached at Mt. Laurel Church from 1825 to 1830. 
The church had been built largely by Episcopalians, 
but was free to- others. The Rev. Charles Dresser became 
rector of the Church at Halifax Court House in 1828. He 
was succeeded in 1838 by the Rev. John Grammer. It is 
owing to Mr. Dresser's energetic interest that the facts 
contained in Bishop Meade's book have been preserved. 
Mr. Dresser went to Illinois and in that state became 
President of Jubilee College, Peoria.* It is an interesting 
fact that Mr. Dresser, while rector of a church at Spring- 
field, Illinois, officiated at the marriage of Abraham Lin- 
coln and Mary Todd, November 4, 1842. The house 
occupied by Mr. Dresser in Springfield was later bought 
by Mr. Lincoln and is often mentioned as the home of the 
President. Halifax County was made possible as a place 
of settlement by the thorough work of Nathaniel Bacon; 

*Mr. Dresser was succeeded by the Rev. Dr. John Grammer, father 
of Dr. John Grammer, Captain of Company A, 53d Virginia Infantry. 
Dr. Grammer was rector until his death in 1870. Dr. O. A. Kinsolving suc- 
ceeded Dr. Grammer and served the parish until his death in 1894. 
Four of his sons became clergymen — Rt. Rev. George Herbert Kinsolving, 
Bishop of Texas; Rt. Rev. Lucius Lee Kinsolving, Bishop of Brazil; 
Rev. A. B. Kinsolving, D. D., Rector of St. Paul's Church, Baltimore, Md., 
(and for some years rector of Christ Church, Brooklyn, N. Y.); Rev. 
Wythe L. Kinsolving, Rector of the Church of the Epiphany, Barton 
Heights, Virginia. Mr. Shackelford followed Dr. Kinsolving, and in 1900 
the present Rector, the Rev. Flournoy Bouidin succeeded Mr. Shackel- 
ford. It is interesting to know the succession in the oldest church of the 
county, reckoning, that is, by the parish name. 


on the soil of Halifax the Surrender at Yorktown was fore- 
shadowed; Halifax supplied the clergyman who married 
Abraham Lincoln, and it has been thought that Lincoln 
would not have become President if he had failed in his 
suit for the hand of Miss Mary Todd of Kentucky.* 



Martins' Gazetteer of Virginia is a valuable source of 
information about the State as it was before the war. The 
book was published in 1834 and its facts are therefore to 
be referred to 1830. The minuteness of Martin is wonder- 
ful. He writes about Halifax County: The county is 
well watered and has an excellent soil. Much first rate 
tobacco is raised. Taxes paid in 1832 on 5,769 horses, 
20 studs, 78 coaches, 81 carryalls, 102 gigs. Expended 
on educating poor children in 1832, $704.21. Towns, 
villages, post offices, etc. — Barksdale, P. 0: This village 
contains several dwelling houses, one Baptist house of 
public worship, one common school, a Sabbath School, 
a Missionary andTemperance Society, an apothecary, wheel- 
right, boot and shoe factory, and a blacksmith. The 
post office located at this place is perhaps the oldest 
establishment in the county. The land of the surrounding 
country is light and sandy, remarkably free and produc- 
tive. Banister: Post Village. Besides the usual county 
buildings, this village contains 25 dwelling houses with 
a number of outhouses, mechanics shops, etc., two spacious 
houses of public worship, one Episcopalian and the other 
Methodist, a large and handsome Masonic Hall (which 
has lately been erected of brick, in an elevated and advan- 

*See, Abraham Lincoln, by John G. Nicolay, p . 69 . 


tageous situation, about the middle of the village.) several 
handsome and commodious taverns, three general stores 
and one grocery. The mechanics are a saddler, coach 
maker, two wheelrights, three blacksmiths, two tailors, 
one cabinet maker, and two boot and shoe manufacturers. 
There are in this vicinity two extensive flour manufactur- 
ing mills, two saw mills, and two cotton gins. The face 
of the country on each side of the village is very much 
broken, which causes it to be very long and narrow, and 
the houses to be built in a scattering manner, except 
immediately around the court house where all the stores 
and mechanics shops are located. The village is remark- 
able for its health, being well elevated by a gradual ascent 
of three quarters of a mile from the river. It is situated on 
the main road from Fredericksburg to the South. Seven 
stages pass through weekly and eleven mails are received 
at the post office. There is a race course in the neighbor- 
hood over which races are run once a year.* Population, 
250 persons, of whom three are attorneys and three physi- 
cians. County courts are held on the 4th Monday in 
every month. Quarterly, in March, June, August and 
November. Judge Leigh holds his Circuit Superior 
Court of Law and Chancery on the 1st of April and Septem- 
ber. BenneWs Store, P. 0: 146 miles S. W. of Richmond 
and 236 from Washington [It has been suggested that this is 
Mayo.] — Bentleysville,P. 0: 115 miles from Richmond and 
230 from Washington. Black Walnut. Bloomsbiirgh: 
situated two miles south of Dan River, and eight miles 
from the North Carolina line, on the main S. W. stage 
road leading from Washington City to Salisbury, N. C, 
and Milledgeville, Georgia. There are located here a 
dweUing house and a mercantile store; and in the vicinity 

*Imported Margrave, Imported Sarpedon, and Fly-by-Night were 
famous names in the coimty before the war. 


two houses of public worship, one Baptist and the other 
Presbyterian. The country around is densely settled, and 
the land fertile, producing in abundance wheat, Indian 
corn, tobacco, etc. Brooklyn: Post Village. Contains 21 
dwelli-ng houses, one mercantile store, one druggist shop, 
one tanyard, one boot and shoe factory, one coach and 
wagon maker, one tailor, two blacksmith shops, and one 
house carpenter. The situation is high and healthy. 
Population 60 persons; one of whom is a physician. 

Centreton P. 0: Plainly Centerville. Meadsville: situ- 
ated at the head of navigation on Banister River. Con- 
tains 12 dwelling houses, two general stores, one tobacco 
warehouse, one iron foundry and plow manufactory, one 
cabinet maker, one tanyard, one blacksmith, two extensive 
flour manufacturing mills, a wool carding machine, and a 
cotton gin. Population 70 persons; of whom one is a 
physician. Mount Laurel, P. 0. Rtpuhlican Grove. 
Scottshurg: Post Village, contains several dwelling houses' 
one tavern, one mercantile store, and one smith's shop. 
Population 40. Warren's Store P. 0: 115 miles S. W. by 
W. of Richmond and 205 miles from Washington, situated 
in the western part of the county. 

The population of Halifax* in 1830 was 28,034; in 1840, 
25,936; in 1850, 25,962; and in 1860, 26, 520. From 1830 
to 1860 there was much emigration from Virginia to the 
West and the Southwest, and Halifax certainly contributed 
its share, as will be seen by an inspection of the figures. 
Hence Martin's summary for 1830 probably holds good 
for the thirty years preceding the war — an agricultural 

*In 1790 the population was 14,722; 1800, 19,377; 1810, 22,133; 
1820, 19,060. Pittsylvania was set off from Halifax in 1767; Henry 
from Pittsylvania in 1777; and Franklin from Henry (with a part of 
Bedford) in 1784 


county and one of the best. For that very reason Hahfax 
suffered extremely by the war. Where there was an 
industrial life before the war activity could be more readily 
resumed. Therefore the county's achievement since the 
war has been all the more remarkable. Halifax did not 
produce many general offices from '61 to '65. But the 
county furnished companies to all three arms of the 
service, as many as thirty-three it has lately been guessed, 
certainly twenty companies. Twenty companies from 
an arms bearing population of not much beyond 2000 is 
to say the least, a good showing. What is given here on 
the historical side professes to be merely a sketch through- 
out. It must be less than that for the war period. Bureau 
methods were distasteful to the Southerner. There was 
little of the speculative in his fighting. It has generally 
been admitted that he fought. Card catalogues are used 
now. We have learned that commercialism is war. The 
records are being collected and will after a time be pub- 

The Infantry roll is long: 

1. 8th Regiment, Company G. Capt. James Thrift and 
Capt. J. O. Berry. 

2. 14th Regiment— Company K. Capt. D. A. Claiborne, 

" Dan River Company. " 

3. 17th Regiment — Company D. Capt. Wm. H. Dulany. 

''Halifax Rifles." 

4. 38th Reigment — Company F — Capt. Jonathan Carter 

and Capt. Lafayette Jennings. 

5. 53d Regiment — Company A — [Armistead's Brigade, 

Pickett's Division.] Capt. John Grammer. " Halifax 

Light Infantry Blues." 
Lieutenants: P. C. Edmunds, Ransom B. Moon, Thomas 
F. Barksdale, H. A. Edmondson, James D. Clay, Evan J. 
Ragland, A. B. Willingham. Orderly Sergeant: A. R. Green. 


This company was mustered in service on the 24th of 
April 1861. Ninety-four men and officers passed inspec- 
tion. Captain Grammer was advanced to the Colonelcy 
of a West Virginia regiment (Breckinridge's Brigade). 
Later he was wounded and afterwards acted as a surgeon. 

6. The Brooklyn Grays — Capt William Haymes. 

7. Capt. John C. Coleman's ''Company.^y[Dr. Cole- 
man.] This company, under Garnett, was captured in the 
Luray Valle}^ and disbanded. The*menjoined]other Com- 

8. Captain Richard Logan's Company — Lieutenant, 
Charles Bruce. 

9. Captain W. S. Penick's Company. 

10. Captain Young's Company — [Dr. Young.] 

11. Captain D. B. Easley's Company. 

12. Captain West's Company. 

13. Captain William B. Hurt's Company — [Reserves.] 

At least four companies of artillery were made up of 
Halifax men, to which must be added the Staunton Artil- 
lery, half from Halifax. 

1. 4th Regiment, Heavy Artillery — Battery F. Capt. 
Richard H. Edmondson. 

2. Light Artillery— {Poague's Battalion.] Capt. Lewis 
(Milton, N. C), and Capt. Nathan Penick. 

1st Lieutenant. — Armistead Barksdale. 
2d Lieutenant. — James Cobbs. 

3. Captain Sam. Wright's Battery. 

4. Captain H. H. Hurt's Battery. 

After one year's service this company was formed into 
an infantry company [Wise's Brigade.] 

5. Staunton Artillery — 6 Gun Battery. Capt. Charles 
Bruce and Capt. A. B. Paris. 


Lieutenants: Thomas Tucker, Wood Bouldin, Jr., R. V. 
Gaines, C. A. Hamner, Flavins Gregory, Thomas E. Mar- 

Orderly Sergeants: C. C. Read, H. A. Walker, T. C. 
Watkins, John Fore, Wyatt Paris, George Bruce, William 
Walker, J. A. Roberts. 

Halifax was a racing region before the war. The County 
furnished its quota to the Cavalry — 

1. 3d Regiment— Troop C. ''Black Walnut Cavalry." 
Capt. William Easley, Capt. J. O. Chappell, and Capt. 
Thomas H. Owen. 

Subalterns at the first organization: 1st Lieutenant, 
Thomas H. Owen; 2d Lieutenant, J. W. Hall; 

Lieutenants: J. M. Jordan, Thomas Hall. 

Sergeant: Thomas Traynham. 

Captain Owen was advanced to a colonelcy, and just 
before the close of the war received a commission as 
Brigadier General. 

2. 3d Regiment — Troop H. Capt. William Collins,. 
''Catawba Cavalry." [The 3d Regiment was in Wickham'& 
and Fitzhugh Lee's Brigade, Stuart's Division.] 

3. Captain Thomas S. Flournoy's Troop. Captain 
Flournoy later became Colonel of the 6th Cavalry. 

4. Captain Mustain's Company. A part of this com- 
pany was from Halifax, whether in the infantry or the 
cavalry the writer is uncertain. 

Company A. 53d Va. Infantry, Armistead's Brigade, 
Pickett's Division, may serve as a typical Halifax Com- 
pany. This was an organized company before the war, 
and was the first to be mustered in from the county. The 
company fought from North Carolina to Pennsylvania: 
at Bethel Church; Seven Pines; the Seven Days (includ- 
ing Malvern Hill); Second Manassas; Harper's Ferry; 


Sharpsburg; Fredericksburg; Suffolk; Gettysburg (where 
Gen. Armistead was killed); Newbern, N. C; Drewry's 
Bluff; Fort Harrison (here Captain Henry Edmunds was 
greatly distinguished, June 18, 1864)* the Petersburg- 
Richmond lines; the Howlett House; Five Forks; Say- 
ler's Creek; Appomattox Court House, where Capt. 
Ednmnds, as Senior Captain was in command of the regi- 
ment. A letter written by a memberf of the Company 
after Fort Harrison gives a notion of what war meant to 
the Halifax soldier: ''Sandy (orderly sergeant Green) 
carried us on night picket duty through the battlefield of 
the day before, over dead bodies of men and horses and 
within a hundred yards of the main fort. We were placed 
at a spot where there had been a cabin, and when the 
lightning flashed I could see all around me as plainly as if 
it was day. There was a fearful cloud rising. I took a 
seat on the remains of an old chimney and as I looked over, 
there stood, within ten feet, two Yankees on the same 
errand as ourselves. Sandy gave me orders not to fire 
unless there was an advance in force. These Yankees 
heard m}- orders and after a while one of them said, ''John- 
ny, don't shoot. If you do, we will all be killed. Both 
armies will fire and we have no way to protect ourselves." 
"Agreed. I shall not fire unless you all advance.'' We 
chatted for some time, until an officer came around and 
stopped them. * * * * Our orders were to come in at 
daybreak. We started as soon as the camp mules began 
to bray, but just before we reached our works, that had 
been built that night, our artillery opened on the fort and 

*The Confederate Monumeut at Randolph, on the Halifax side, in the 
form of the breastworks there, is a relic of July 1864, when the boy 
General Polk Jennings, checked Stoneman's advance. A brisk skirmish. 
The Confederate forces were old men and boys. 

fCapt. Morton of Clover, Halifax County. 


we sought shelter in an old rifle pit some 100 yards in front 
of the works and there we spent the greater part if not 
the whole day, without water or food, between the fires 
of the opposing batteries. Pieces of brimstone would 
fall in our pit from the schrapnel of the enemy and the dirt 
in our front would be knocked on our heads. We moved 
out just about dark and joined our Company in time to be 
marched nearly all night, and early next morning I went 
with Major Fairfax on a reconnoissance to find the enemy. 
The loss of sleep for two nights nearly wore me out, but I 
lived on excitement and went into the fight as cheerfully 
as I ever did. I remember going to Henry SouthalPs that 
night, and we slept in a feather bed, the first time in two 
years under a roof and in a bed. Mrs. Southall filled our 
haversacks and we returned to the Company next morning 
and then moved to our former lines between the Appomat- 
tox and the James. "* 


1865-1907 t 

The haversack, that was the trouble. Not every kind 
lady in 1864 could fill a visiting soldier's haversack. And 
in 1865, how extremely scarce the provender was. 
Quotations for the cereal coft'ees, the long sweetening 
and such articles of commerce stood at a high figure. The 
money market was brisk. But as Mark Twain proved, 
when you have little but money, no matter how good the 
money is, it does you mighty little good. Peoj^le had 
barrels of mone}^ and nothing to eat. The great produc- 
tiveness of our soils was in itself a handicap. Three-fourths 

*There is but oue Camp of Veterans in the county. — Halifax Camp., 
South Boston. Commander: Henry Easley. Adjutant: E.N.Hardy. 
fPopulation: 1870,''27,828; 1880,33,588; 1890,34,424; ^900, 37,197. 


of the land had been going without any proper attention 
and was sending up natural growths everywhere. The 
soldiers got back home to find^ what? It was as if in a 
night — for the war seemed a bad dream — some devil had 
been let loose to change the order of the universe. 

That same devil, or one very like him, kept on hanging 
around for a good ten years. If the war was partial paraly- 
sis, reconstruction was coma. The old timers turned 
their faces to the wall and died. The younger men, dazed 
as they were by the general feeling of insecurity, worked 
as they could and gradually effected some system in the 
chaos. During the past ten years the South at large has 
been able to go forward in a geometrical progression because 
during the years immediately following the war the younger 
men of the South despised not the day of small things. 

Fortunately for Halifax County there was a remnant 
of capital left in the county after the war. This was used 
sagaciously in the up-building of the town of South Boston 
which has done so much for the financial well-being of the 
county. From nothing in 1870 but a store and a station 
at the end of a bridge, (to the bridge also must be ascribed 
a share in the rise of South Boston), the town grew to be 
important enough for incorporation in 1884. In 1885 the 
first bank was established. The finances of the county 
were organized and what the organizers have accomplished 
in a brief space is a matter of record elsewhere. The old 
town of Banister was incorporated in 1874,* changing its 
st3de to Houston^at the approach'of a railway. Virgilina 
and Clover were incorporated in 1899 and 1900 respec- 
tively. God made the country and the country makes the 
town. Halifax could not to-dav be one of the wealthiest 

*First TruHees: Hemy H. Edraondson, N. T. Green, James E. Johnson, 
J. M. Carrington, George C. Holt, Edwin Giubbs, W. W. Willingham. 


counties in Virginia and the third county of the State in 
non-urban population, unless its natural endowment was 

. Some of the ablest men of Halifax have sat as delegates 
from the county to the several State Conventions: 

Convention of 1774 Nathaniel Terry and Isaac Coles, or 

Micajah Watkins. 
Convention of 1775 (March 20) Nathaniel Terry and 

Micajah Watkins. 
Convention of 1775 (July 17) Micajah Watkins. 
Convention of 1775 (December 1) Nathaniel Terry and 

Micajah Watkins. 
Convention of 1776 (May 6) Nathaniel Terry and Micajah 

Convention of 1788 Isaac Coles and George Carrington. 
Convention of 1829-30. [From the 8th District] John 

Randolph, William Leigh, Richard 

Logan. Richard N. Venable. 
Convention of 1850-51. [From Halifax, Pittsylvania and 

Mecklenburg.] William M. Tred- 

way, John R. Edmunds, James M. 

Whittle, William 0. Goode, George 

W. Perkins. 
Convention of 1861 Thomas S. Flournoy. 
Convention of 1867 William L. Owen and David Canada. 
Convention of 1901-1902 Wood Bouldin and Joseph 


Character and conduct make greatness. Halifax County 
has produced such men as the elder Richard Logan, Judge 

♦For sketches of the Clerks of the County: See, Johnson's Virginia 


William Leigh, John R. Edmunds,"^ Thomas S. Flournoy, 
William L. Owen, Paul C. Edmunds, James Bruce. Judge 
John W. Riely, Henry Edmunds. 

♦John R. Edmunds, among other conspicuous services, built for the 
Confederate Government that section of the Southern Railway lying 
between Danville and Greensboro. 

The Southern Planter 



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You are perfectly welcome to a sample copy to see if 
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South Boston - - Virginia* 


Fully covers every section of one of the most populous 
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Subscription, So cents the year. Advertising rates upon application. 

Planters^ and Merchants' 
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Halifax County 

Organized May, 1885 

= Resources = 
Half Million Dollars 

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Special Attention to Collections 

Henry Easley, W. I. Jordan, R. E. Jordan, 

President. Vice President. Cashier. 

SEP 28 m/ 





*' Heaven and Earth never agreed better to 
frame a place for man's Habitation,'' — 

Capt, John Smith, 1607,