The Albemarle of Old

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The Albemarle of Old


The writer of these slight sketches wishes to express her indebtedness
To Mr. H. R. Boswell, of the Peoples National Bank, for the suggestion of the work, and for cordial cooperation:
To Mr. John S. Patton of the University Library, for the unrestricted use of the Library's Virginianna;
To Mr. Thomas S. Watson, for access to his historical library and the unpublished Bracketts papers;
And to many friends for their patience in furnishing information, among whom may be mentioned;
Dr. Edward M. Magruder; Miss Lucy M. Davis; Miss Cornelia Taylor, Formerly of Lego; The. Hon. Wm. R. Duke of Sunnyside; Miss Nannie M. Hill of Scottsville; Mrs. Charles Harper Anderson of Ivy; Jennie Thornley Grayson (Mrs. J. C. Grayson); The Rev. Roberts Coles; Mr. Nicholas M. Black of Crozet; Commander Robert Woods.


    The settlement of Piedmont was long delayed. As the water courses were the natural arteries of travel, civilization at first clung to the streams and bays of the lower country. For more than a century the Commonwealth had no town of importance, and even in the tide-water counties, where rich plantations stretched for miles along the banks of creek and river, roads into the interior were few and primitive. Under these conditions, the falls and rapids of the upper streams were effectual barriers to colonization.

    Of the wanderers who first drifted to our hills, we have no more record than of the wild fowl which at the that time darkened our waters. Probably, the especially daring trapper, or the fugative from justice, reached the high lands at an early date, but it was not until 1717 that white men made a recorded passage of the Blue Ridge. The records of Governor Spottiswoode's gay and chivalrous company show that these explorers followed the valley of the Rapidan, thus passing to the north of Albemarle. It was probably by ascending the head-waters of the Rivanna that they reached Swift Run Gap, in Greene County, by which they descended into the Valley.

    After this expedition, the tide of population set rapidly westward, and adventurers and frontiersmen were soon penetrating the dense forest tracts of upper Virginia. The first patents within the present boundaries of Albemarle were made in 1727, hut before this the region had been entered, up the streams of the South Anna, the James, the Rivanna and the hardware, and the log hut of the hunter had begun to rise in sheltered hollows or beside bold springs.

    The life of these early comers was similar to that of the frontiersmen of other States. The streams swarmed with fish of many kinds, including shad and herring in their season; water-fowl, wild tur- keys, pigeons and (loves were incredibly plentiful, and deer, elk and bear were abundant. From the buffalo trails which crossed the Blue Ridge at Simon s Gap, Jarman s Gap, Beagle s Gap and Rock- fish, we can infer that these creatures had formerly been numerous, and that they perhaps were still to be met with. Dr. Edgar Woods, in his valuable History of Albemarle, calls attention to the many local names Turkey Run. Buck Mountain, Buffalo Meadow, Beaver Dam, Bear Creek, Pidgeon Top, Elk Run, etc. which hear witness to this profusion of animal life. Edgehill Mountain was formerly known as Wolf Trap Mountain, from a large pit near the mountain s top, on the farm of Elisha Thurman, which was used for this purpose.

    In a community where money was rarely handled, and the recognized mediums of exchange were tobacco and skins, hunting was regarded as a profession requiring great skill. Kercheval tells us that:

    "The fall and early part of the winter was the season for hunting the deer, and the whole of the winter, including part of the spring, for bears and fur-skinned animals. It was a customary saying that fur is good during every month in the name of which the letter R occurs.

    "An important part of a boy s education, at this Hunting time, was the imitating of the calls of bird and beast. By the gobbling and other sounds of wild turkeys, these keen-eyed and ever watchful fowl were often brought within reach of the rifle;[1] the bleating of the fawn brought its dam to her death in the same way, or a wolf-howl would draw response from a concealed but near-by pack."

    Miss Margaret Rogers, of Greenwood, gives this incident, which she heard irorn her uncle, Mr. Wm Wallace:

    One of the old-time mountaineers, who was a famous hunter, was never known to purchase bullets for his rifle, or lead for casting them. When questioned, he was evasive, but at length in confidence he told Mr. Wallace that he dug all the lead he wanted from the mountain-side, "as his father had, fore him." In proof of this assertion, on a later visit to civilization, he brought with him a chunk of lead the size of a man's hand and the thickness of his finger, and showing it of the axe with which it evidently had been chopped He intimated that he would bequeath to Mr. Wallace of this vein, but at his death nothing could be his relatives concerning it.

    During the early years of the County, the scalps of wolves were reported in large numbers. One hundred and forty pounds of tobacco were allowed for the scalp of an old wolf, and seventy-five for that of a young one, that is, one under six months Wolves old. Later, the awards were made in money. These reports are preserved in the County records, and continue with more or less regularity down to 1849, when Isaac W. Garth was awarded twelve dollars for killing an old wolf. Jonathan Barksdale, Samuel Jameson, William Ramsey and Ryland Rodes are the names which appear most frequently in this connection. [Woods' History of Albemarle] As to Indians, though there is no record of their holding land within Albemarle boundaries at the Indians time of the first patents, their withdrawal must nave been recent, and they doubtless continued for some time to use her hills as hunting-grounds, and her streams as highways. The Indian relics which are scattered over the County, and are still occasionally turned up by the plough, show that they once made general use of this region. It is known that there was a large Indian village on the William Short place, opposite Morven,and others near Greenwood and on the Rivanna above its fork. Indian mounds are common through the County, a number being on the mountains in the Sugar Hollow neighborhood.

    Mr. Jefferson gives the following interesting account of his investigation of one of these mounds:

    "It was situated on the low grounds of the Rivanna, about two miles above its principal fork, and opposite to some hills, on which had been an Indian town. It was of a spheroidical form, of about forty feet diameter at the base, and had been of about twelve feet altitude, though now reduced by the plough, having been under cultivation about a dozen years. Before this it was covered with trees of twelve inches diameter, and round the base was an excavation of five feet depth and width, from whence the earth had been taken of which the hillock was formed. I first dug superficially in several parts of it, and came to collections of human bones, at different depths, from six inches to three feet below the surface. These were lying in the utmost confusion, and directed to every point of the compass. Bones of the most distant parts were found together, as for instance, the small bones of the foot in the hollow of a scull ; so as, on the whole, to give the idea of bones emptied promiscu- ously from a bag or a basket, and covered over with earth, without any attention to their order. There were some teeth which were judged to be smaller than those of an adult; a rib, and a fragment of the under-jaw of a person about half grown; another of an infant; and a part of the jaw of a child which had not cut its teeth.

    "I proceeded then to make a perpendicular cut through the body of the barrow, that I might examine its internal structure. This passed about three from feet from its centre, was opened to the former surface of the earth and was wide enough for a man to walk through and examine its sides. At the bottom, that is, on the level of the circumjacent plain, I found bones; above these a few stones, brought from a cliff a quarter of a mile off, and from the river one-eighth of a mile off; then a large interval of earth, then a stratum of bones, and so on. At one end of the section were four strata of bones plainly distinguishable; at the other three; the strata in one part not ranging with those in another. The bones nearest the surface were least decayed. No holes were discovered in any of them as if made with bullets, arrows, or other weapons. I conjectured that in this barrow might have been a thousand skeletons. Every one will readily seize the circumstances above related, which militate against the opinion that it covered the bones only of persons fallen in battle; and against the tradition also, which would make it the common sepulchre of a town, in which the bodies were placed upright, and touching each other. Appearances certainly indicate that it had derived both origin and growth from the accustomary collection of bones, and deposition of them together; that the first collection had been deposited on the common surface of the earth, a few stones put over it, and then a covering of earth, that the second had been laid on this, had covered more or less of it in proportion to the number of bones, and was then also covered with earth; and so on.

    "But on whatever occasion they may have been made, they are of considerable notoriety among the Indians; for a party passing, about thirty years ago, through the part of the country where this barrow is, went through the woods directly to it, without any instructions or inquiry, and having staid about it for some time, with expressions which were construed to be those of sorrow, they returned to the high road, which they had left about half a dozen miles to pay this visit." The manufacture of arrow-heads was apparently carried on in localities vhere the flint was suitable. One of these veins was near Ridgeway, and a quantity of perfect and partly cut heads were found there, together with the chips. At Covesville, a bushel of stones were found together. Following upon the heels of the forgotten pioneers, the region was soon entered by the great land owners.

    Authorities: Woods History of Albemarle; Kercheval s History of The Valley; Scott s History of Orange County.


    In 1727 the County of Goochiand, which included present Albemarle, was founded. On June 16, 1727, George Hoomes obtained a grant of thirty-one hundred acres, and Nicholas Meriwether one of. thirteen thousand seven hundred and sixty-two acres, "at the first ledge of mountains called Chesnut." This was the first appropriation of the soil of Albernarle. These grants lay east of the Rivanna. Two years later, Dr. George Nicholas obtained a grant for 2600 acres situated on the James, and including the present site of the village of Warren.[1]

    These investors in wilderness lands were wealthy men who already had large holdings in the eastern counties. During the next ten years they were followed by others of the same class, many of whom regarded their great patents as speculation, or a provision for younger sons, and did not expect imediately to occupy the land. Secretary John Carter whose name is still attached to his first holding, Carter s Mountain Col. Thomas Carr, John Minor, Peter Jefferson whose name is perpetuated in Peter s Mountain Charles Hudson, Wm. Randolph and the Lewises were among these earliest patentees, and they, or their descendants, were in the region s development. These large followed by many of more moderate size, whose owr ers at once cleared and cultivated their holdings.

    Settlers also soon pushed in from the West, and in 1734 Michael Woods and his son-in-law William 'Wallace patented large tracts near Woods Gap, they having been the first to enter across the Blue Ridge from the Valley.

    During the first years of the County, its activities, both social and political, were centred in a few plantations, whose owners were men of Statewide or greater prominence. It is only through acquaintance with these typical homes that we can understand the life of that day.

    Among the earliest of these was Shadwell, the plantation of Col. Peter Jefferson, and the birthplace of his illustrious son. It consisted of a patent of a thousand acres, and was joined on the east by the estate of his friend William Randolph, from whom he soon obtained, "for the consideration of Henry Weatherbourne s biggest bowl of arrack punch," an additional four hundred acres. This jolly bargain provided the site for the mansion, which was built in 1737, and named Shadwell after the parish in London where Mrs. Jefferson Thomas Jefferson tells us that his father was the third or fourth settler in Albemarle, meaning, of course, among those whose lands were Dr patents. (The adventurers who had squatted" in the wilderness, and who rarely cleared the fifty acres requisite cur ownership, were a shifting population, little mentioned in the early records.

    Randall gives the following description of the old house:

    "Shadwell was a farm-house of a story and a half in height, and had the four spacious ground rooms and hail, with garret chambers above, common in these structures two hundred years since. It also had the usual huge outside chimneys, planted against each gable like Gothic buttresses, but massive enough, had such been their use, to support the walls of a cathedral, instead of those of a low wooden cottage. In that house was born Thomas Jefferson."

    In the spirit of Virginia hospitality, this home was thrown open to constant guests. Being near the public highway, it was also the stopping-place for all passers-by, including the great Indian chiefs on their visits to and from the Colonial Capital.

    We are told that:

    "Col. Jefferson was a man of gigantic stature and strength. He could simultaneously 'head up (raise from their sides) two hogsheads of tobacco, weighing each nearly a thousand pounds He once directed three able-bodied slaves to pull down a ruined shed by means of a rope. After they had failed in the attempt, he seized the rope and dragged the structure down in an instant. Traditions have come down of his continuing his lines as a surveyor through savage wildernesses, after his assistants had given out through famine and fatigue; subsisting on the raw flesh of game, and even of his own carrying mules; sleeping in a hollow tree amidst howling beasts of prey and thus undauntedly pushing on until his task was accomplished." [Randall's Life of Jefferson]

    He was a distinguished surveyor, and was engaged in a number of important expeditions. Politically also he was prominent, having served as sheriff and magistrate in Goochiand, and having represented Albemarle in the House of Burgesses. He was also Lieutenant of the County.

    After the death of Col. Jefferson in 1757, the family continued at Shadwell until its destruction by fire in 1770. Thomas Jefferson was unfortunately absent from home at the time, and his father s library and papers were a total loss. Mr. Jefferson used to relate that the slave who was despatched to inform him of this misfortune, haying detailed the general destruction, concluded with genuine thankfulness: "But, Marster, we saved the fiddle."

    The present dwelling at Old Shadwell, the home of Mr. Downing Smith, is near the site of the original house, which stood nearer to the road. The old sycamore trees still standing there were planted by Jefferson on his twenty-first birthday.

    Another famous house is Viewmont, which is believed to be the oldest building still standing in the County. We do not know the date of its constuction, but its owner, Col. Joshua Fry, was living there prior to Situated near Carter's Bridge, in a group of fine trees, and surrounded by out-buildings of great age, it is a true picture of old-world simplicity. Mr. Wm. Duke of Sunny-side states that the frame house was originally loop-holed, [The present windows are high, but only two square panes in width, suggesting widened slits] and that a depression still to be seen in the lawn, and which leads towards the woods, is supposed to have been a tunnel by which water was obtained, or communication secured, during attack. On the east gable, a great chimney, standing sixteen and a half feet at base and a yard deep, is a beautiful and perfect example of Colonial masonry, the large and mellowed brick being laid in true Flemish bond. And within the house, the carved wainscoting and mantels, and the graceful stair, show it to have been the home of a family of dignity and position. Writing in 1781, Jefferson says of the Virginia architecture of his day:

    "The private buildings are very rarely constructed of stone or brick. It is impossible to devise things more ugly, uncomfortable, and happily more perishable. There are two or three plans, on one of which, according to its size, most of the houses in the State are built. The genius of architecture seems to have shed its maledictions over this land."

    We do not know if Viewinont, Castle Hill and the Old House at Edgehill were constructed by one of these designs, though they have similarities which suggest a common origin. If they were in Mr. Jefferson s mind at the time of his stricture, we can only wonder that some memory of their roof- lines or gable-ends did not rise to modify the denunciation.

    The builder and owner of Viewmont was Col. Joshua Fry, of whom it has been said that no other person in the State of like social position, wealth, capacity and public service has been so neglected by posterity.

    Col. Fry was born in England, and had the great advantage of an Oxford education. Coming early to this country, his career was one of extraordinary industry and energy, even at a time when the usual life of a Virginia planter was diversified and full. A professor of mathematics at William and Mary, he was a surveyor of note, and served as Commissioner of the Crown on a number of arduous expeditions. He was also one of the Commissioners for Virginia at the Treaty of Logansport, and served in the House of Burgesses.

    Taking a prominent part in the formation of Albemarle County, he was appointed Surveyor for the county, a position which, in an unsettled regio; of virgin forest, entailed severe labor. He was also presiding Justice of the Peace, and County Lieutenant an office which originally was known as Commander of the Plantations, and was one of high authority, the incumbent being virtually Governor of the County, with power to call out the militia and to order courts martial.

    It is, however, upon Col. Fry s reputation as a soldier that his fame is based. Upon the outbreak of the French and Indian war of 1754, he was appointed Commander of the Virginia forces, and served as Colonel of the Virginia Regiment in which the youthful Washington[4] was next in command. Upon this epedition Col. Fry died, after a short illness caused by a faIl from his horse, May 31st, 1754. At this place Wills Creek, near Cumberland, Md he was buried, in what was then a wild and remote region. The funeral was attended by Washington and the army, and on a large oak tree,[5] which in 1880 was still standing, Washington cut the following inscription:

    Under this tree lies the body of THE GOOD, THE JUST AND THE NOBLE FRY.

    Col. Fry was the ancestor of the large Fry connection of this county, and of the Greens, Bullitts and Speeds of Kentucky.

    In 1786 Viewrnont was sold by John Fry to Gov. Edmund Randolph, who spent much time there for twelve years. It was then sold to Wm. C. Carter, and later became the property of John Harris.

    Perhaps the largest owner of Albemarle land was Nicholas Meriwether. In addition to large estates in the lower country, he took out successive grants amounting to nineteen thousand acres in Albemarle. In 1735 he was granted 1020 acres west of the Rivanna, and lying along the stream, from Moore s Creek to Meadow Creek.

    For this he paid to George II the sum of "twentyone pounds good and lawful money." (The Colonial pound was not the pound sterling, and amounted only to $3.33 1/3.) He also was required to pay to the Crown, for each fifty acres, a fee rent of one shilling yearly, to be rendered upon the feast of Saint Michael the Arch Angel, it being distinctly stated that he was not required to render Knight s Service.

    On this tract Meriwether built the Old House at The Farm, where he lived until his death in 1744. The location of this first building is not known, but it was probably near the spring, and opposite the hill which bears the present dwelling. This was the first plantation west of the river, and its name is believed to have originated from the fact that as the surrounding territory was still virgin forest, the cleared spot was a conspicuous landmark.

    At Meriwether s death, The Farm passed to his Nicholas Lewis, uncle of the explorer, and its owners play a prominent part in the records of that day. Nicholas Lewis s wife was Mary, daughter of Dr. Walker of Castle Hill, and the following anecdote suggests that she had inherited something of her father s spirit:

    At the time of Tarleton s raid, her husband was absent in the Revolutionary army. Her home was made the British cavalryman s headquarters, an unenviable distinction. Mrs. Lewis is said to have received Col. Tarleton with dignity and spirit, and to have told him that he should meet Virginia's men in the field, rather than war on her defenceless women. Apparently the rebuke was felt, for during the eighteen hours of his stay there was no damage of importance. However, after his departure, she learnt that his soldiers had made way with her fine flock of ducks, leaving only the veteran drake. She promptly ordered a servant to take the drake and ride after Tarleton, presenting it with her compliments and stating that as its comrades were gone, he had better take it too. Appreciating the sting of the message, he accepted it with gracefully ironic thanks and a bow to the saddle-bow, and the little passage at arms noticeably softened Mrs. Lewis s resentment, as was shown by her ever after preserving the chair he had used. (This little episode was immensely popular with the writers of the period it appears and re-appears in accounts of the raid. In affectionate amusement, her family gave her the name of "Captain Moll," by which she is widely referred to.)

    The present house at The Farm was built in 1828 by Mr. John A. G. Davis, of the University. In the same year, and by the same plan, Edgehill was built, the design having been made some years before by Jefferson for the use of his son-in-law, Gov. Thomas Mann Randolph.

    After a number of changes, The Farm is again in the hands of the original owner.

    In 1741 the estate of Castle Hill passed through marriage into the hands of Dr. Thomas Walker of King and Queen County. From this time on he was one of the most prominent men of the region, and as physician, surveyor, planter, importer, explorer, soldier and politician, his life was one of extraordinary activity. He was for years Indian Commissioner, and conducted for the Government many large transactions in the purchase of lands. Copies of these deeds of transfer, with the "marks" of Indian chiefs--rude representations of turtle, deer and wolf--are preserved by a branch of his descendants at the Page home, Keswick. A spot in the garden of Castle Hill is still pointe dout as the scene of his conferences with visiting chieftans. As a planter, he is believed to have introduced into Albemarle from New York the apple since so famous as the Albemarle Pippin.

    Dr. Walker was the first white man to enter Kentucky, his expedition having preceded both Gist's and Daniel Boone's. Having been employed by a London company to explore a huge tract which is had purchased in the Wilderness, he got together a band consisting of six men, eight horses and a pack of valuable dogs, and started West in the early spring of 1750. The expedition covered a period of four months, and was one of thrilling adventure. In the concluding entry in his Journal, Dr. Walker states:

    "We killed 13 buffaloes, 8 elks, 53 bears, 20 deer, 4 wild geese, about 150 turkeys, besides small game. We might have killed three times as much meat if we had wanted it."

    William CabeIl Rives, in his preface to Dr. Walker s Journal, says:

    "Castle Hill was built by Dr. Walker in 1765, and stands to-day in excellent preservation. This house is still the home of some of the descendants of its first owner, who do honor to their lineage. For generations it has been the seat of hospitality and culture. The slow-growing box-trees, with archway cut through their evergreen sides, which border the lawn, have climbed to the height of more than thirty feet, and tell the story to the most casual observer of the long years of their gradual ascent. The small panes of glass in the venerable-looking windows, and the large brass door-locks of the house, were brought from London when Virwas a Colony. In the ample hail the youth. music-loving Jefferson has played the fiddle, while the still younger Madison danced. Here the doors have opened to welcome five men who either were to be, or were already, Presidents of the United States, and to many Statesmen, judges, diplomats and soldiers. In this home, in 1794, the old pioneer, near the end of his eightieth year, closed his eyes on earthly scenes."

    Dr. Walker was the father of twelve children, most of whom married into Albemarle families, where they and their descendants have played an honorable part in the history of the County.

    In 1734 Michael Woods,[7] with his wife, Sons and sons-in-law,[8] and their families, entered the County from the west. This little band of twenty-five or thirty persons, young and old, coming from Pennsylvania by way of the Valley, had traveled about 225 miles, and are believed to have been the first whites to cross through Woods Gap now Jarman's by the old Indian trail. Spreading over the adjacent lands, they took up large holdings from Ivy to Greenwood.

    At this time their nearest and only neighbors on the west were at the two year-old clearing of John Lewis, near where Staunton now stands; while to the east the forest was unbroken between them and the plantations around Scott s Ferry and Keswick. Under these primitive conditions it is not surprising that it was riot until 1737 that Michael Woods made formal entry of his lands. In that year be obtained a crown grant of 1337 acres, and also purchased from Charles Hudson 2,000 acres on Ivy Creek.

    The original name of the Michael Woods home plantation was Mountain Plains, the Mountanr Blair Plains Church having been built on a part of the Park land, and named iii commemoration. Unfortunately, with the passing of the property to Chief Justice John Blair, prior to 1788, the name of the home was changed, and it has since been known as Blair Park. It is now owned by a descendant of the first Michael, and a cane, once the property of the old pioneer. is now cherished there.

    Old Michael was the ancestor of the Holkam family of Woodses, of Dr. Edgar Woods, author of The History of Albemarle, and of many other branches, which in Albemarle, Virginia and the West have played a worthy part in the life of their day. It has been calculated that more than 160 of these have been in the ministry of the different denominations.[9]

    With the passage of a few decades, the majority of the great early grants were much reduced. In- heritance and sale had cut them into more numerous plantations, which, however, were still of hand- some acreage. Many of the old County places first came under cultivation about this time. Though the distinguished John Carter (Son of 'King Carter" of eastern Virginia, and Secretary of the Colony), was the owner of nearly ten thousand acres in Albemarle, and as much more in what is now Amherst, he never resided in the upper country. Two establishments, however, were maintained by him on his Albemarle property, both being plentifully supplied with slaves. One of these was the Mill tract on the north fork of the Hardware; the other, known as Clear Mount, may have been the site of Blenheim or of Redlands[10] . In the Letters of a British Officer we are told that Blenheim was named for the battle of that name.! This property was left by Secretary Carter to his second son, Edward, who lived there for many years and represented the County in the House of Burgesses with Dr. Thomas Walker from 1767 to 1769. He also served in the House of Delegates with George Nicholas[11] in 1788. During the time of the presence of the Convention prisoners at The Barracks, Cen. Philips, the British commander, was stationed at Blenheim, and we are told that at that time Col. Carter owned 1500 slaves.

    Redlands was built in 1789 by Robert, son of Col. Edward Carter, on the southern portion of his father s large estate. Mr. Jefferson is said to have influenced the design of this beautiful mansion. Another plantation which was formed from the Carter estate was Indian Camp, now known as Morven. This property was sold by Wm. Champe Carter in 1796 to William Short of Philadelphia, an ex-Revolutionary officer and Minister to the Hague under Washington. The selling price was 1567 pounds, 9 shillings. In 1813 it was sold by Col. Short to David Higginbotham, who changed the name to Morven and built the present brick house about 1820. The plans are said to have been furnished by Mr. Jefferson, who also ordered for it from Paris the mantel of Carrara marble which still adorns the drawing room. The quaint cottage which stands on the grounds is no doubt the "old house." A part of Indian Camp is now the well-known Ellerslie.

    The Nicholas Meriwether grant was soon partitioned. As early as 1739 a large portion east of the

    His brother, 'Wilson Cary Nicholas, was U. S. Senator and Governor of Virginia. The Governor's speculations and disastrous failure involved many of his Albemarle friends, including Mr. Jefferson.

    Southwest Mountain followed the young widow of Nicholas III, and became, upon her marriage to Dr. Walker, the Castle Hill estate. This in turn was subdivided many times, Cismont, Castalia, Music Hall, Belvoir,[12] Kinloch, Merrie Mill, Keswick,[13] Edgeworth, Cobham Park, The Creek and Machunk[14] being some of the resulting plantations.

    Through David Meriwether, another son of old Nicholas, the plantation of Clover Fields is traced. The first dwelling here was built in 1760 by Col. Clovei Nicholas Meriwether, great grandson of the origi- Fields nal owner. This Nicholas was noted for his courage and decision in times of danger. In 1755 he was one of four soldiers belonging to the Virginia Regiment who bore the wounded General Braddock the field after his defeat near Pittsburg. (Col. Meriwether later received from the General s sister in Ireland a gold-laced, embroidered military dress coat, which had belonged to the General, and which was long preserved as a relic in the Meniwether family.) Wrn. Meriwether, "the bridge builder," was a scion of this home. He constructed the first bridge at Rio, and also the first on the stage line near the present Woolen Mills. It is related that upon occasional protest from the stage companies over his toll-rate, he would composedly take up the flooring of his bridge, and allow the difficulties of Secretary's Ford to present his side of the question an argument which was invariably effective.

    The present brick dwelling was built about 1846. Clover Fields is one of the few early plantations which has descended in the original family.

    The Randolph grant of 2400 acres, lying between Shadwell and Belmont[15] was one of the earliest in the County, having been obtained "a few days earlier" than that of Peter Jefferson, in 1735. The family, however, did not have residence here until 1790, when the old house was built by Col. Thomas Mann Randolph, Jr., the grandson of the original owner. Colonel afterwards Governor Randolph, was Jefferson s son-in-law, and though he had large estates on James River he practically lived at Edge-hill, in order to be near Jefferson, whose property he largely directed during his many absences. In 1828 the present mansion was erected by Coy. Randolph, from plans drawn for his daughter by Mr. Jefferson. At this time the old house was moved back to the position it now occupies. For many years it served as the school- house for the famous Edgehill School. Two magnificent leaning tulip trees are said to have been promising saplings at the time of this move, and to have been bent down to permit the building to pass over them. The view at Edgehill is said to be very similar to that at Edgehill, Warwickshire, for which it was named.

    In 1771, Dr. George Gilmer of Williamsburg married Lucy, a daughter of Dr. Walker of Castle Hill, and settled in Charlottesville for the practice of his profession. He was a successful and prominent physician, and counted both Jefferson and Madison among his patients. Following the custom of his age, he was also active in politics, having served with distinction in the House of Burgesses in the stormy years preceding the Revolution. He also served as Sheriff in 1787. We are told that during the War Dr. Gilmer attempted to turn his knowledge of chemistry to account in the manufacof gunpowder. He writes to Jefferson that his powder "is full strong," but he cannot grain it.

    Mrs. Gilmer, a younger sister of the widely known "Captain Moll" of The Farm, seems to have been endowed with at least an equal share of their distinguished father's spirit. In the early years of the War she is said to have given her jewels to Jefferson, to be used for certain expenses of the cause. At the time of Tarleton's Raid Dr. Gilmer was not at home. When the British troops entered Charlottesville a guest of the Gilmers, doubtless a member of the Legislature, mounted his horse and attempted to escape. He was shot down and carried off by the enemy, and was at first reported to have been killed. Learning a few hours later that he was still alive, Mrs. Gilmer at once determined to go to his aid. Accompanied only by a maiden sister, she made her way perilously through the streets of the village, then filled with drunk and disorderly troopers, and forced her way into the presence of Tarleton himself. The Colonel was so impressed by her courage that he send his own surgeon to dress the bleeding and insensible man, and then restored him to her care. He recovered, to serve gallantly his country.

    From Jefferson's letters we learn that in 1786 Dr. Gilmer purchased from John Harvie the plantation of Pen Park[16] Here he spent the remainder of his life, his home being noted throughout the State for the charm of its social intercourse and the elegance of its hospitality.

    Among the Sons of Dr. Gilmer was the brilliant young lawyer, Francis Gilmer, whose name will always be associated with the birth of the University. Another son was Dr. John Gilmer of Edgemont, on the Barboursville road. He was a successful and progressive practitioner, and was the first in this region of the State to attempt the treatment of smallpox by inoculation, about 1802. At this time the method was not fully developed, and there was an element of danger which stirred the terrors of the unscientific. Dr. Gilni er established a hospital for the relief of this disease, presumably on his own plantation, and proceeded with his experiments until a death among his patients brought the popular antagonism to a head. There were threats of summary action, and it was thought best to carry the difficulty into the County Court, where the humane physician was put under bond for three months "for his good behavior, especially in not alarming the neighborhood in which his hospital is established, unless he fist obtain the consent of the citizens." Descendants of Dr. Gilmer still occupy this old home.

    The great Coles estate in the Green Mountain neighborhood was not an original grant. About 1769[17] John Coles II, of Hanover County, purchased from the Eppes grant a tract of 3000 acres corthy which he named Enniscorthy[18] in memory of the family seat in Leinster, Ireland. Here he maintained at first a hunting lodge. Converting this into a permanent home, he lived there in great style and comfort for the remainder of his life. Becoming, during the War, a Colonel of militia, he was made Commander of the Convention Troops during their imprisonment at The Barracks. Col. Coles was an enthusiastic turfman and owned one of the finest stables in Virginia. The partitioning of the property among the Coles sons resulted in the erection of three other beautiful mansions. A brick removed from the Woodville yule chimney bears the workman's initials, and the date 1796, suggesting that the oldest son, Walter, was settled here at that time. Estouteville first known as Ccalycanthus Hill, but afterwards renamed in honor of the Baron d Estouteville, a Norman ancestor is said to have been first built about 1800. The present beautiful dwelling was begun about 1815, and shows the Jeffersonian influence. Estouteville was noted for its magnificent conservatories, which during the Civil War furnished the Confederate hospitals in Charlottesville an abundance of fine lemons. The fourt of these estates was Tallwood, the home of Tucker Coles, who also represented the County in the House of Delegates.

  • The Formation of Albemarle County

    This county was created by act of Legisilature in September, 1744, from a part of Goochiand County. The act of establishment ordained its existence to begin tile first of January, 1745, and the reason alleged was tile "divers inconveniences attending the upper inhabitants of Goochland by reason of their great distance from tile courthouse and other places usually appointed for public meetings."

    Its present length is 35 miles, its mean width 20, and its area 700 sq. miles, but the original boundaries of Albemarle embraced the county of Buckingham, parts of Appomattox and Campbell, and the counties of Amherst, Nelson and Fluvanna, the Blue Ridge being the western line. The northeastern portion of the present County remained in Louisa sixteen years longer, and there is a tradition that this later re-adjustment of boundaries was the result of political rivalry-Dr. Thomas Walker of Castle Hill (which lies in the region ceded,) and William Johnson of Louisa, ancestor of Chapman Johnson, finding one county too small for their conflicting ambitions.

    In accordance with a custom already begun of commemorating the Governors of the Commonwealth, the name of Albemarle was given to the new county from the title of William Anne Keppel, second Earle of Albemarle, who was Governor-in-Chief of Virginia from 1737 to 1754. This nobleman probably was never in America, as no record of such a visit exists. A godchild of Queen Anne, as his second name commemorates, he was a gallant soldier and successful statesman, having served as Lord Justice of the Realm and Embassador to France. He died in middle age, a Knight of the Garter, and the father of fifteen children. In his brilliant and crowded life, we may suppose that the giving of his title to a back-woods county appeared to him more of a condescension than an honor.

    The organization of the county took place in February, 1745, doubtless on tile plantation of Mrs. Scott,[1] near tile present Scottsville. Those present were Joshua Fry, Peter Jefferson, Allen Howard, William Cahell, Joseph Thompson and Thomas Ballou. The oaths taken were those of a Justice of the Peace, and a Judge of a Court of Chancery, and the Abjuration and Test oaths were subscribed-the former renouncing allegiance to the House of Stuart, and the latter affirming the receiving of the Sacrament according to the Church of England.

    Scottsville, or Scott's Ferry, as it was originally called, was, until the advent of the railroad, the most important settlement in the County. Even at this early date its natural advantages had attracted the pioneers, who found in its smooth water and sheltering hills a promising location. Then, too, it commanded a wide view of the adjacent low-grounds, and of the James for several miles. This, at a time when the river was the thoroughfare for hostile Indians or undesirable settlers, was of the first importance.[2] Thus it was natural that the first courthouse should have been placed at Scott's Ferry. Here a courthouse, prison, stocks and pillory were erected, and their location is still pointed out, about a mile west of the present Scottsville, on the estate originally called Belle Grove, but since 1822 known as Valmont; now the property of Hon. D. H. Pitts. It was ordered that this building should be an exact copy of the Goochland courthouse, which, as recorded in the Goochland Order Book No. 2, was "thirty-six feet long and twenty feet wide from outside to outside." The cost of the Goochland building was ten thousand pounds of tobacco in Cask. It is said that the tenant's house at Valmont is the Old Courthouse, which was partly demolished and changed to a dwelling (but with the use of the original timbers), a few years after the Revolutionary War.

    In accordance with the laws of the Colony, there were at once selected nine magistrates, "of the most honest and discreet inhabitants," who acted without reward. These magistrates had jurisdiction both civil and criminal. If the question before them was one of law only, they decided on it themselves, but if it was of fact, it must be referred to a jury.[3] That they were not slack in the discharge of duty is indicated by the following reports:[4]

    "Eleanor Crawley was sentenced to receive fifteen lashes on her bare back, well laid on, for stealing linen of the value of eleven pence-a little over fifteen cents-and Pearce Reynolds to receive twenty-one for stealing a handkerchief of the same value. James, a negro of William Cabell, for stealing twelve pence, was burnt in the hand and given thirty-nine lashes at the whipping post. The Grand Jury presented George McDaniel for profane swearing-two oaths in two months."


    Woods' History of Albemarle; Hardesty's Hist. & Geog. Enc.


    In 1761 the County was partitioned, land on the south being relinquished for the formation of Buckingham and Amherst counties. This left Scottsville on the extreme southern border of Albemarle, and it was decided that the location of the court-house was no longer suited to the needs of a majority of the population. A thousand acres were secured in the centre of the County, and in November, 1762, an Act of Assembly was passed, creating the town of Charlottesville, and authorizing the removal of the County seat to this place. Its name was bestowed in honor of the little Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg Strelitz, the young bride of George III.

    The new courthouse, pillory, stocks and whipping post were duly erected on the present Court Square, and fifty acres of adjoining land were laid off in lots and streets. The prospective town consisted of four tiers of squares, each tier running east and west and containing seven squares; the four tiers extending from Jefferson St. to South St. The Courthouse Square was exterior to the town. Building, however, for some years was slow and scattered, and during this time the infant village was of small importance in the history of the County. The country planter continued to control the social and business life of the community, and its business interests were still centred in the thriving villages of Milton and Scottsville. As late as 1779, Capt. Anburey, a British prisoner, writes:

    "On our arrival at Charlottesville, this famous place we had heard so much of consisted only of a Court-house, one tavern,[1] and about a dozen houses."

    After the Revolution, the number of taverns increased rapidly, the town's location on the main State road to the West making it a halting place for stage lines, and for much private travel.

    The present Courthouse building was not erected until 1803, in which year George Divers, William D. Menwether and Isaac Miller were appointed to draw a plan for the edifice. The cost was not to exceed five thousand dollars. In 1859 a contract was entered into with George W. Spooner to construct a front addition designed by Wm. A. Pratt, a former Proctor of the University. This addition was flanked with towers and crowned with gables, but some years later, upon the prevalence of a more restrained standard, it was removed, and the present pediment, with its supporting pillars, was erected by Mr. Spooner. We do not know when the instruments of correction, which were formerly necessary associates of a courthouse, were removed. In 1820 they were repaired, and as late as 1857 James Lobban and Andrew Brown were appointed to select a place for the whipping-post.

    As the old building now stands, the wing to the north is that in which Jefferson worshipped, and about which center the associations of more than a century. We are told that in early days it was no unusual sight to observe here a President and two Ex-Presidents, with perhaps a U. S. Senator or a Governor in attendance. An old anecdote relates that upon one such occasion, as the three Presidents stood on the green, one of them remarked that if there only were a fourth they would all cross over to the tavern and take a drink. With characteristic bonhon2ie, the late Mr. Jesse Maury, then a youth of seventeen, stepped forward and offered to fill the gap-he being the president of the Albemarle 'Possum Club.


    Woods' History of Albemarle.


    In war, Albemarle, by her location, has been spared the disastrous distinction of great battles within her borders. Her share, however, in its sacrifice and loss has always been ardently assumed. At the approach of the Revolution her populace was deeply aroused. Her public men took active part in the momentous events which preceded the great rupture, and her hardy farmers were prompt to form companies of volunteers. One of these, a band of eighteen men, upon news of the removal of the powder by Lord Dunsmore [sic] in the spring of 1775, marched hastily to Williamsburg. How long they remained under arms is not known, but two months later, against the advice of the Speaker of the House, twenty-seven men under Lieut. George Gilmer proceeded again to the Capital. Dr. Woods tells us that soldiers from Albemarle fought in all the important battlefields of the war, and he also gives from the county records a valuable list of officers and privates.

    It is true, however, that throughout the Colonies there was widespread disaffection during the Revolution-more than we now realize. In the lower counties of the State, wherever the British colors appeared men flocked, often by hundreds, to swear allegiance. Then, when the British passed on or retreated, these men or their families were exposed to the patriotic resentment of their neighbors. Many would recant for the second time. If the British then returned to that locality, their fate was a hard one. In some captured orders to Col. Balfour, Cornwallis says:

    "I have ordered, in the most positive manner, that every militia man who has borne arms with us and afterwards joined the enemy, shall be immediately hanged."[1]

    Albemarle, of course, had her share of these Tories. Though their names have not been generally preserved, we know that Thomas Meriwether of Clover Fields, who was married to Washington's cousin, was British in his sympathies, and so was the celebrated Parson Douglas[2] of Louisa, whose descendants are still prominent in this County. Chiles Terrell, too, and Francis Jerdone were suspected of this feeling. It is interesting to reflect that had the Revolution terminated in defeat for the Colonies, these and other forgotten men would now be our Colonial heroes.

    In January, 1779, British and Hesian troops were sent by Congress as prisoners of war to an encampment near Charlottesville. Their route in Virginia lay through Little London, Fauquier Court House, Carter's Plantation, Orange and Walker's Plantation. Upon arrival the men were settled on the north bank of Ivy Creek, upon the plantation of Col. Harvie, the farm which they occupied having ever since been known as Tize Barracks. The superior officers sought quarters among the neighboring gentry for a distance of twenty miles around.

    From Jefferson's correspondence we learn that in a short time the presence of these four thousand aliens caused excitement that amounted to panic among the populace. It was believed that the community could not furnish the needed quantity of food, and rumors of famine drove the inhabitants to petition Gov. Henry to remove the troops. This Jefferson warmly opposed, and he was successful in his representations of the desirability of the location. Lossing tells us that the paroled officers were kindly received and entertained in the neighborhood, and that at This Barracks they constructed a theatre, a coffee house and a cold bath.

    In the distribution of these officers, Gen. Philips, the English officer-in-charge, was quartered at Blenheim, the plantation of Col. Carter in the Green Mountain neighborhood; and the Hessian General, Baron de Riedesel, doubtless on account of the presence of his family, was allowed to lease a plantation and settle himself in comfort. This plantation was Colle,[3] adjoining Monticello, where for some years an Italian gentleman named Mazzei had been experimenting with vine growing and wine making. He was just starting on a political mission to Europe, and his establishment was at once taken over by the Baron, who is said to have grazed his horses in the vineyards and demolished them within a week.

    The following interesting glimpse of their life in Albemarle is taken from the letters of Madame de Riedesel, who for three years, with her three small daughters, had braved the severities of life in the field; having followed the army from Canada to its defeat at Saratoga, and then on the long march which brought them to Virginia. Of their arrival she says:

    "It snowed so much that we were obliged to have four men on horseback, before our carriage, to clear Their the road.-The travelling was dangerous, the roads Arrival being almost impassable, and we suffered besides not only from cold but from want. When only a day's journey from the place of our destination, we had, for our last meal, tea, and a peace of bread and butter for each. This was tile end of our little stock, and we could here procure nothing except some fruits which a peasant gave us. At noon we reached a house, where we begged for some dinner, but all assistance was denied us. Our hostess said that she needed the maize for her black people. 'They work for us,' she added, 'and you come to kill us.'

    "The place of our destination was Colle, in Virginia. We had travelled, in about three months, six hundred and twenty-eight miles.-The troops were at Charlottesville, three hours ride from us, and the road thither ran through a fine wood. At first tiley suffered many privations; they were billeted in block houses, without windows or doors, and but poorly protected from the cold.[4] But they went diligently to work to construct better dwellings, and in a short time tile place assumed the appearance of a neat little town. In the rear of each house they had trim gardens and enclosed places for poultry. They wanted nothing but money."[5]

    Of her life at Colle she writes:

    "We had turkeys weighing fifty pounds, and perfectly tame, but on the approach of spring they flew off to hatch their eggs, which they had laid in the woods. We had given them up for lost, when suddenly they returned with a numerous brood.-We had a large house built for us, which cost us a hundred guineas and was quite elegant.-The negroes sold us their little stock of poultry and vegetables. Every week we seilt an ox and two swine to the slaughter house. Thus with respect to provisions we had nothing to wish for, but we suffered much by the heat during the summer; we lived in contumal apprehension of rattlesnakes, and our fruit trees were destroyed by three kinds of insects.

    "Sometimes also we had tremendous thunderstorms. The woods were, besides, often wasted by the fires of negroes and herdsmen; indeed, nobody here seems to care much for trees- Whole forests are sometimes burnt down to redeem land for the purposes of agriculture.-The heat was so great, even during the night, that we were obliged to sleep with open windows."

    According to tradition, at the time of her life in Albemarle Madame de Riedesel had much embonpoint, and a handsome face. She rendered herself an object of wonder to the long-skirted and beplumed equestriennes of the neighborhood by riding in boots and astride, in what then was delicately called "the European fashion." A sun-stroke which Baron de Riedesel suffered, in consequence of working in his garden without a hat while the thermometer was at 103 degrees, resulted in their being sent to a health resort in Maryland. From there they were ordered north, spending several years as prisoners in America and Canada. Two daughters, born during this period, were named America and Canada, in honor of their places of birth.

    A diary kept by Capt. Anburey, of the British forces, gives in spirited fashion his opinion of the region.

    "Never was a district so destitute of every comfort, provisions were not to be purchased for ten days; the officers subsisted upon salt pork, and Indian corn made into cakes; not a drop of any kind of spirit: many officers, to com fort themselves put red pepper into water, to drink by way of cordial.

    "The fences and enclosures in this province are different from those to the northward; here they are composed of what is termed fence rails.-From a mode of constructing these enclosures in a zig zag form, the New-Englanders have a saying, when a man is in liquor, he is making Virginia fences.

    "The country is so much covered with woods, that you travel a long time without seeing an habitation. You can hardly conceive the difficulty in finding the proper roads; when one is bad, they make another in a different direction; added to which the planters, sans cerenzonie, turn a road to suit their own convenience, and render it more commodious to their plantation. If perchance you meet an inhabitant and enquire your way, his directions are. if possible, more perplexing than the roads themselves.

    "Having given a pretty good sketch of these back settlers, I am going to Richmond to purchase some liquor and necessaries to render our situation a little comfortable in this dreary region of woods and wretchedness."

    However, the private troops (and in especial the Hessians, who as mercenaries had no consoling prospect of peace,) liked the district so well that desertions were a constant anxiety to their officers. At one time nearly four hundred eluded the vigilance of the guards, and escaped. Many of these are said to have reached the fastuesses of the Ragged Mountains, where by intermarriage they became an integral part of our mountain population.

    In the fall of 1780, when the British occupied Portsmouth, great uneasiness was observed among the British prisoners, and it was feared that they miglit rise upon the guards and attempt to join their countrymen. Jefferson wrote from Richmond:

    "Some deserters were taken yesterday, said to he of the British Convention Troops, who had found means to get to the enemy at Portsmouth, and were seventy or eighty miles on their way back to the Barracks, when they were taken."

    For these reasons, the camp was broken up in November of that year. The British officers had purchased "some of the finest horses within the State," which they took with them. The men were niarclled, by way of Woods' Gap and the Valley, to Winchester and Maryland. Death, desertion and exchange had reduced their numbers to about twenty-one hundred. Afterwards they were taken north for shipment, but the ranks gradually melted away, until there were none left to embark.

    Among the paroled officers quartered in the neighborhood of the prisoners was a young Englishman who was billeted at The Farm. He was in declining health, and had become a great favorite with the townspeople. It was his habit to take a daily walk on the hills above the Rivanna, and upon returning from one of these he remarked that he had seen a magnificent tree and a view of surpassing beauty. "I have stuck in the ground a stick there, and if I should die while here that is the place where I should like to be buried." A few weeks later he died, and was buried in his chosen spot. Around this grave the Lewis burial ground, now on the western edge of Riverview Cemetery, was made, and more than a century later the site was selected as a cemetery by the City, doubtless for the same reasons that had attracted the young stranger. Though the soldier's tree has now fallen, and no stone marks the spot, our older citizens can remember when a walk to the "British Soldier's grave" was popular with the young people of the village.

    Some six months after the removal of the Convention troops, the people of Albemarle were again brought into contact with the enemy-though in a painfully different fashion. Owing to the invasion of Virginia by the British under Cornwallis, it was considered unsafe to continue the government at Richmond, and on May 24, 1781, the Legislature was adjourned to meet again in Charlottesville. It was in pursuit of this distinguislied prey that Cornwallis despatched his "hunting leopard," Tarleton, with a troop of 180 cavalry, and 70 mounted infantry under Captain Champagne. This dreaded legion bore a name for treachery in the field, bloody inhumanity in action, and wild excesses in the hour of victory, it being Tarleton's policy to reward valor in the field by a shocking license toward the populace. British historians, statesmen and officers protested with generous horror against this conduct, which, however, continued to he tolerated by his superior officer.

    Leaving the British encampment on the North Anna, near Hanover Courthouse, on June 3rd, 1781, Tarleton advanced swiftly towards Charlottesville, reaching Louisa Courthouse at eleven P. M. of the same day. Here he halted for only three hours, and pushed on again through the night. His route lay near Castle Hill and Belvoir; the residences of Dr. Thomas Walker and of Mr. John Walker, his son. These gentlemen were entertaining members of the Legislature; the houses were surprised and surrounded in the early morning of the 4th, and host and guests were alike taken prisoner. We are told that the commander of the troops at Belvoir? was a Captain Francis Kinloch, and among his prisoners was his American cousin of the same name. A halt of a few hours was made at Casile Hill[6] for breakfast, and to this slight detention the Legislature is said to have owed its escape.

    As it chanced, John Jouett, captain in the militia and a citizen of Charlottesville, was in the Cuckoo tavern in Louisa when the legion swept by on the main road. Suspecting their destination, he quickly mounted his fine horse, and riding furiously by a disused and shorter route, he covered the forty-odd miles in time to give warning several hours before the arrival of the enemy. This was the famous "Jack Jouett's ride," which in dash, courage, and political importance surpassed that of New England's Paul Revere.

    Randall says that Jouett stopped at Monticello "a little after sunrise," and gave information to the Governor of Tarleton's approach. The speakers of the two Houses and several other members were guests there. They "breakfasted at leisure," and the members then went in to Charlottesville, where the House hastily adjourned to re-convene in Staunton.

    In the mean time, Tarleton and his legion pushed on with their accustomed speed.[7] Before reaching the Rivanna, they met and destroyed twelve wagon-loads of clothing. destined for the American army in North Carolina. On reaching the river, a company was despatched, under a Capt. McLeod,[8] to surprise Monticello by way of the Secretary's Ford, while the remainder dashed through the river and up the hill by the road which then led from near the present Woolen Mills, along the general course of the C. & 0. tracks. They expected to find the Legislature in morning session. The retiring members had barely left town,-they were pursued and seven of them were captured.[9]

    Among those who fled was Gen. Stevens, who had been compelled to retire from the army by a wound, and who had then become a member of the House of Delegates.

    "Attired as usual in the plain dress of a Virginia farmer, and mounted by chance on a shabby horse, he was soon overtaken by the dragoons. But a little way ahead was more attractive game-a horse-man in a scarlet coat and military hat and plume, and probably therefore an officer of rank. The soldiers spurred on without noticing Stevens, who soon turned aside and escaped. The showy gentleman was no officer, but the same Mr. Jouett, who had an eccentric habit of wearing such habiliments. After he had coquetted with his pursuers long enough, lie gave his fleet horse the spur, and was speedily out of sight."[10]

    At Monticello, all had been hastily arranged for flight. The family had collected their possessions, and Jefferson had secured his most important papers. After nearly two hours of this activity, a Mr. Hudson rode up and stated that the British were ascending the Mountain. At once Jefferson sent off his wife and children by carriage, under the care of a young gentleman, and escorted by servants. Their destination was Enniseorthy, fourteen miles distant, the seat of Col. Coles in the Green Mountain neighborhood. Jefferson then took his telescope and proceeded by a cross path to a point between Mnticello and Carter's Mountain.

    Hearing no tramp of approaching cavalry, he walked a short distance up Carter's Mountain to a rock from which he could obtain a good view of Charlottesville. Observing nothing unusual in the town, he supposed the alarm premature, and concluded to return to his house to complete the care of his papers. After walking a few rods, he discovered that his light ivalking sword had slipped from its sheath. Returning for this, another glance showed him the streets of the village swarming with dragoons. (The uniform of the legion being white, faced with green, and the infantry's being red, they would have been easily distinguishable at that distance.) His horse had been brought to the gap between the mountains; he mounted and rode swiftly off to overtake his family, learning later that Captain McLeod was already at that time in possession of Monticello.

    It is said that two trusted slaves were engaged in secreting plate and other valuables under the wooden floor of the portico, at the instant of McLeod's arrival. A glimpse of white through the trees gave Uninjured warning, and the one on the outside hastily closed the opening, leaving his comrade imprisoned below, where with rare fidelity he remained without food or light for eighteen hours. The reason for Tarleton's leniency at Monticello has never been known, but it is a fact that he gave "strict orders that nothing should be injured," and that these orders were scrupulously observed by the troops. "He behaved very genteelly with me," was Jefferson's comment, he having expected that as Governor of the State his home would be the target for especial malice.

    In Charlottesville, also, Tarleton's record was one of surprising restraint. Returning from their futile pursuit of the lawmakers, his men destroyed stores in the town amounting to 1000 new muskets, 400 barrels of powder, several hogsheads of tobacco and a quantity of soldier's clothing. A more serious loss was the destruction of the County records, which were preserved in the Courthouse and covered an interesting period of local history.

    Of Tarleton's stay at The Farm, one characteristic anecdote has been preserved. It was his custom, when on an expedition, to share the hardships of his men, sleeping always on the floor and wrapt in his horseman's cloak, while a saddled horse stood at the door. On the morning of the 5th, he rose early, and clad only in shirt, pantaloons and boots, had begun to shave, when the report of a shot was heard. It came from the direction of Monticello, and was so re-echoed as to sound like an irregular fire from several muskets. Before the sound had half died away, Tarleton, bareheaded, his face well lathered, and with drawn sabre, was spurring fiercely in the direction of the reports, and shouting to his dragoons to mount and follow. "A more soldierly man in action," concludes Randall, "never drew a blade in battle."

    Upon the 5th, Tarleton, with his prisoners, withdrew from the County, his movements being hastened by heavy rains which threatened to flood the Rivanna, and by information of the gathering of the local militia.[11] He joined Cornwallis at Elk Hill, a plantation which was the property of Jefferson at Point of Fork, now known as Columbia. Here the ravage was unchecked-barns and fences were all burned, the growing crops were destroyed in the fields, horses and cattle were carried off, and those too young for use were slaughtered, even the young blooded colts having their throats cut. The place was left a wilderness, but the injury which Jefferson most deeply felt was the fate of thirty slaves who were carried off by the troops. These poor victims were herded with others dying of smallpox and putrid fever. Being later deserted, for weeks afterwards they were creeping home to perish in the comfortable quarters which Jefferson had set aside for them. Five of the negroes who had not been carried off, also contracted the disease and died.

    Capt. John Jouett, Jr., the hero of the Raid, was a son of the proprietor of the old Swan tavern. The site of this building is now occupied by the Red Land club of Charlottesville, and bears a com memorative tablet placed by the Daughters of the American Revolution. The old landlord is believed to be buried somewhere on these premises, but the son emigrated early to Kentucky, where he became a successful politician and the intimate friend of President Andrew Jackson. (His son, Matthew Harris Jouett, the celebrated painter, was a Captain in the War of 1812, and the father of Admiral James Jouett. "Jack Jouett's" twelfth child was named Thomas Jefferson, perhaps in memory of the father's dramatic ride.) Jouett's service to the State of Virginia was suitably recognized by the General Assembly, which in 1786 presented him with an elegant sword.[12] It is an odd fact, however, that popular fancy, at the time, did not seem taken by his exploit. We do not find little Jouetts among the next generation-Tarleton was already an Albemarle name, so that its use as a Christian name has no significance.

    For safety, a large quantity of valuable stores had been collected by the State government at Albemarle Old Courthouse, near Scott's Ferry (the present Scottsville). In order to destroy these, Cornwallis again despatched Tarleton to invade Albemarle. To Lafayette belongs the honor of its protection,. and it is interesting to picture these youthful officers engaged in a struggle in which some personal rivalry may haye added to their professional zeal. There was but four years' difference in their ages, Lafayette having been only nineteen when in 1777 he landed on our shores and was made a Major-general. His idealistic and enthusiastic type of mind suited well with his years, and perhaps helped to fasten upon him the nick-name of "The Boy," by which he was generally known in the British army. Tarleton, on the other hand, with his boundless ambition, callous temper and cynical heart. was the complete man of the world, and it is only through the calendar that we perceive his youth. (We are told that in appearance Banastre Tarleton was below middle size, strong, stout and heavily built, and that at will he could assume the elegance of manner to which he was born.)

    Hastening to the rescue, Lafayette moved cautiously from Culpeper through Orange and. the upper part of Louisa, to Boswell's Tavern, near the Albemarle line. Tarleton, however, swiftly obtained a position of such strength that it seemed for Lafayette a choice between a hopeless battle and the aban donment of the stores. But The Boy was equal to the crisis.

    "There was a rough road, long disused, leading from a few miles below Boswell's to a point on Mechunk Creek; forthwith Lafayette set to work his pioneers and axmen; the road was opened, the army passed along it, and the next morning, to the astonishment of Tarleton, his adversary was encamped in an impregnable position on the Creek, and just between the British army and the stores at Albemarle Courthouse! The enemy was once more baffled, changed his front, and marched slowly towards the eastern coast.

    "An incident during the opening of 'The Marquis's Road,' happily illustrated the commingled geittlenian and soldier of Lafayette's character. Full of zeal, he was dashing at a swift gallop along the line, when his horse struck a private at work, and felled him to the earth. The Marquis instantly dismounted. 'Soldier, are you hurt?' he said. The man, who had risen uninjured, replied that he was not. 'I ask your pardon,' said Lafayette, and waving his hand with a smile, he was soon out of sight."[13]


    Gilmer Genealogy; Woods' History of Albemarle; Jefferson's Correspondence; Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution; Madame de Riedesel, Letters and Memoirs: Anburey's Letters of a British Officer; Randall's Life of Jefferson; Howe's History of Va.; Washington Irving's George Washington; Howison's History of Va.


    George Rogers Clark, the great conqueror of the region northwest of the Ohio, was born in Albemarle, and spent the first five years of his life in the County. (His distinguished younger brother, William Clark, of the Lewis and Clark expedition to the Pacific, was born after the family's removal to Caroline, and though closely associated with Albemarle, is believed never to have lived within its borders.) The following information as to the Clark home was furnished the author of Conquest of the Regions Northwest of the Ohio by S. V. Southall, Esq.:

    "General Clark was born al)out two miles east of Charlottesville, in a plain house which stood on a knoll near to and overlooking the eastern bank of the Rivanna River. His birth-place is about one and one-half miles north of Monticello, atid about two and one-half miles north-west from Shadwell. There is no vestige left of the house. Near its site, (and I presume on the farm to which it belonged), there stands quite a handsome brick residence, the home of Captain McMurdo, a retired English officer."[1]

    In the early years of the Revolution, a band of Albemarle men went West in an attempt to join Gen. Clark. This is a partial account of their tragic experience:[2]

    "About the year 1778 or 1779, seventy or eighty persons, in five keel boats, were ascending the Ohio River. Among them were a Major Rogers, Mr. John Watson,[3] and Mr. Robert Benham. Between Cincinnati and Columbia they fell in with a party of Indians, engaged in making a raft or crossing the river upon it. The Major observed, 'those fellows must be disposed of, before we can proceed,' and the whole party, excepting one man in each boat, went on shore to attack them. Just as they were advancing towards the raft, a heavy fire was poured in on their rear. Finding themselves surrounded, they deenied it prudent to turn upon their assaults and to endeavor instantly to regain their boats. This however, though the Indians retreated, they were unable to effect. One of the boats was taken off by the five men left in them, arid the rest fell into tile hands of the enemy. The party on land drove the savages before them, nearly as far as the Licking river, when it began to grow dark. Bloody There were iiow but ten men left, the rest, including Major Rogers, having fallen. A short council was held, and it was resolved to make a desperate effort, by charging the enenly's line, to make a way through it. The plan succeeded beyond expectation. Two, one of which was Mr. Benliam, were badly wotirided in its execution, but the rest, Mr. Watson and seven others, escaped unhurt aud readied Harrodsburgh some days after, but without any clothing except the wristhands arid collars of their shirts and the waistbands of their trousers.

    Very different was the fate of the wounded. Benham, being shot through the hips, was unable to proceed. He concealed himself therefore amidst the boughs of a fallen tree, where he remained two days. Late on the second day a raccoon came near him, and he shot it. Instantly some one called out. Supposing it to be an Indian, he reloaded his piece and remained silent. The same voice much nearer to him soon called out again. He now concluded he should be killed, but resolved to sell his life as dearly as possible. He was however happily relieved by the exclamation in plain English, 'whoever you are, for God's sake answer me!' Being now convinced that the applicant was not a savage, he answered without further hesitation and was soon approached by his unfortunate companion, with both arms broken. After their mutual joy at meeting had subsided a little, Benham desired his friend to kick him the raccoon. which, being thus obtained, was skinned and cooked; and Benliam fed his companion as well as himself. They now became very thirsty, and Benham, still unable to move, expected to die of thirst; but his companion, having been to Licking river and waded iii so far as to be able to stoop and drink, returned and desired Benham to put his hat in his nioutli that he might bring him some water, which he did.

    "Captain Benham made use of their shirts to dress their wounds, which recovered surprisingly. They remained at this spot two weeks. Benham shot game and his companion pushed it to him by his feet, as he also did the fuel necessary for cooking. When turkeys were seen, the broken-armed man would walk around at a considerable distance from them and drive them, so as to make them come within reach of Benhain's shot. The hat continued to supply the place of a drinking vessel. In two weeks Benham could, by using his gun as a crutch, move forward a little. They then proceeded to the mouth of the Licking, about one mile, where they arrived in two weeks more. One of the broken arms getting so as to be of use, and Benham being able to walk a little, they fixed themselves a kind of shelter by the side of a large log fronting the Ohio river, where they remained, subsisting in the way described before, until late in November, when they saw a flat boat descending the Ohio. They made signals of distress, but tile boat began to row off, supposing them to be Indians. At last however, two men, (one named Nicholas Welch) jumped into a canoe, resolving at all hazards to ascertain who and what they were, and, if their countrymen, to bring them off. For this purpose they landed below Licking and took such a position as enabled them to ascertain that these unfortunate men were friends; after which they took them on board and brought them safe to the falls. Here fortunately their clothing was found, having been saved in the boat which had escaped with the five men."

    (An old Richmond paper, containing the action of the General Assembly upon this incident, is now unfortunately lost. Trusting to memory, the writer recalls that upon the loss of the officer Mr. Watson assumed command. For several nights he was creeping up and down the river banks collecting the badly scattered and disorganized men. At great risk he and others revisited the battlefield. There they discovered life in Major Rogers, and brought him off, carrying him back to civilization, where he recovered. Mr. Watson and two others were thanked by the State for their services.)


    On Aug. 18th, 1774, Meriwether Lewis was born at Locust HilI, near Ivy Depot.[1] The son of Wm. Lewis of the Belvoir family, a Revolutionary officer, and of Lucy Meriwether, descendant of Nicholas Meriwether of The Farm, he was by birth and rearing a true son of Albemarle. As Wm. Lewis died in 1780, it was the mother's influence which formed the boy's early years. Of this exceptional woman Gov. Gilmer, in The Georgians, says: "She was sincere, truthful, industrious, and kind without limit.- Meriwether Lewis inherited the energy, courage, activity and good understanding of his admirable mother."

    Anecdotes of her still survive in the neighborhood. It is told that during the war, and while her husband was absent with his command, a party of British officers from the prison camp at Tire Barracks made a visit to Locust Hill. Becoming somewhat uproarious, they as a joke extinguished the lights, whereupon the young matron took down her grin, called her servants, and in person expelled them from the premises.

    Upon another occasion her home was the gathering place for a party of hunters. All was in readiness: in the early morning the dogs started a fine deer, and the guests were off in great form. Later in the morning Mrs. Lewis was interrupted in her household duties by the news that a deer was in sight of the house. With dogs, gun and servants she drove it into the yard against a corner of the chimney, and, the servants being frightened, shot it herself. She also cut its throat with her own hands, and superintended its preparation for the meat-house. At evening the hunters returned despondent. having met with no success. Mrs. Lewis made no comment, but at the supper table the guests were greeted with a smoking venison haunch!

    With this background, it is not surprising that Meriwether Lewis, at the age of eight, was a seasoned hunter. It is said that on winter nights at this age, being waked by the baying of his hounds, he would slip from the house, and pursue his game through forests and over frozen streams, alone.

    After Mrs. Lewis's second marriage, to Capt. John Marks, she removed with him to Georgia. taking with her the future explorer. Gov. Gilmer gives this account of one of Young Lewis's adventures there:

    "From 1790 to 1795, the Cherokee Indians were very troublesome to the frontier people of upper Georgia. During the restless, uneasy state of the people. created by the constant apprehension of attack, a report reached the Virginia settlement on Broad River that the Cherokees were on the war-path for Georgia. Men, women and children collected together. It was agreed that the house where they were could not be defended. They therefore sought refuge in a deep secluded forest. Whilst they were assembled round a fire at night, preparing something to eat, the report of a gun was heard. Indians! Indians! was heard from every tongue.--All was confusion and dismay. There belonged to the company a boy who alone retained any self-possession. While every one was hesitating what to do, the light of the fire was suddenly extinguished by his throwing a vessel of water upon it. When all was dark, the sense of safety came upon every one. That boy was Meriwether Lewis."

    It was probably during this Georgia residence that the Markses made a temporary move to another State, the journey requiring a considerable period. and being made in pioneer fashion, with cattle and a line of wagons containing the household goods. Upon the way Capt. Marks, meeting with convivial friends, remained behind for some hours, leaving the control of the expedition to his overseer. Mrs. Marks soon discovered that this man was intoxicated; so sending him to the rear, she mounted the lead horse of the foremost wagon, and herself conducted the party, selecting and making the camp at night before the Captain overtook them.

    Young Lewis was sent back to Albemarle to complete his education. It is known that be was a pupil of the famous Maury school, then taught by the old Parson's son. During this period. and while visiting his relatives at Clover Fields, it is said that he was attacked by a savage bull, which he promptly shot in its tracks.

    At the age of seventeen or eighteen he assumed the management of Locust Hill, having inherited the estate by the law of primogeniture. Some years later, upon the death of Capt. Marks, he went to Georgia and brought back his mother and half-brother, making the long journey in a carriage built for him at Monticello by Jefferson's skillful artisans.

    Of the short but brilliant life of Meriwether Lewis, Gov. Gilmer gives this summary:

    "When he arrived at maturity, his love of action led him into the regular army. He was the private secretary of President Jefferson when the government determined to have the territory of Louisiana explored, which had shortly before been purchased of France. His known intrepidity and perseverance pointed him out as the fittest person to bead an expedition for that purpose. He selected for his aid and companion his friend Capt. Clark of the army. He passed from St. Louis, through difficulties which few men would have undertaken, and still fewer could have overcome, and acquired for his country tile title to a vast region, having taken possession of the Pacific coast.-As he was traveling from St. Louis, the seat of government of the Missouri Territory, of which he was then Governor, to Washington City, he stopped for the night at a little inn on the roadside, somewhere in Tennessee. In the morning his throat was found cut.[2] and he dead; whether by his own hand or others is not certainly known."

    The family always believed that Lewis was murdered by the keepers of the inn, and greatly regretted Jefferson's published statement in favor of the theory of suicide. This opinion, they held, was formed before the full facts were made public.[3] And certainly the depositions taken by Alex Wilson, the famous ornithologist, who visited the spot to inquire into the tragedy, cast strong suspicion upon that household. The account which he received was as follows:

    "The house or cabin, kept by a man and his wife named Grinder, was 72 miles from Nashville, and the last white man's as you enter the Indian country. Grinder was present at this examination, but is not quoted. Apparently he had been absent on the night of the death. The woman's testimony was that Gov. Lewis arrived (Oct. 10, 1809) about sunset, followed by two servants. As was then customary, he called for spirits, but drank very little. Tliough she said that his mental state greatly alarmed her, she only described his walking up and down with flushed face, which was followed by kind and gentle conversation. It now being dusk, he lay down on bear skins and a buffalo robe on the floor, and his servants retired to the barn. Mrs. Grinder stated that she heard him walking about and talking to himself for several hours, then two pistol sliots and a fall. In a few minutes she heard him at her door calling out: 'O Madam! give me some water, and heal my wounds!' The logs being open and unplastered, she saw him stagger back and fall. He crawled some distance-and once more got to his room. Afterwards he came to the kitchen door but did not speak; she then heard him scraping the empty bucket with a gourd. When day broke she sent two of her children to the barn to bring the servants; and on going in all together they found him lying on a bed, and wounded in the side and the forellead. He begged they would take his rifle and blow out his brains, and he would give them all the money in his trunk. (No money was returned to his family, but it is certain that a man in his position, and starting on a long journey, would have been handsomely provided for.) His quoted speech was 'I am no coward; but I am so strong, so hard to die!' He expired in about two hours, and was hurled near the common path, with a few loose rails thrown over his grave. "

    In a woman accustomed to the rough life of the frontier such cowardice is incredibe, while her callous conduct shows a nature too degraded for belief under oath. It is local tradition that the Grinders soon moved to another county and bought land and slaves, having previously been poverty-stricken.

    Meriwether Lewis was thirty-five years old at the time of his death. In 1848 a monument was erected to him by the Legislature of Tennessee. Mrs. Marks continued at Locust Hill, "serving everybody whom she could, who stood in need of her assistance." In her old age she is described as having refined features, a fragile figure and a masterful eye. From her garden she bore medicinal herbs to rich and poor, and had a great reputation for her cures. When she was between seventy and eighty a relative arriving from a distance found that the old lady had ridden eight miles off on horse-back to minister to the sick. The site for Old Shiloh, the Methodist church still in use near Ivy, was given by Mrs. Marks.


    Gov. Gilmer's The Georginans; Jefferson's Note On Virginia; History of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. For the anecdotes and much of the information in this chapter we are indebted to Mrs. Charles Harper Anderson of Ivy.

  • THE WAR OF 1812

    This was a conflict in which the County must have felt a partisan concern, since Madison and Monroe by virtue of office, were responsible for its declaration and conduct.

    Though Mr. Madison was never a resident of Albemarle, he was, from youth, intimately associated with its social and political life. A long and unshaken friendship with Jefferson and Monroe had given him authority in local councils, and in a day when politics was the first interest of the country gentleman, and party feeling ran high, his name was a power in County conclaves. In later years, as President of the Agricultural Society of Albemarle and member of the Board of Visitors of the University, his figure was a familiar sight on the streets of the little town.

    Monroe was born in the lower country, but settled in Albemarle in 1790, two of his brothers also making the same choice of residence. His home was a part of the house on Monroe Hill now occupied by Mr. Thornton, and the quaint brick building adjoining it to the west was his law-office. In 1793 he bought and built on the east side of Carter's Mountain, calling his estate Ash Lawn, and spending there the working years of his life. During this period he was three times Governor of Virginia, served as Minister to France and to England, and was twice President of The United States. (It is said that he rode on horseback from Ash Lawn to Washington for his inauguration.)[1]

    In 1812 he was Secretary of State under Madison, and in 1814 he also assumed the duties of Secretary of War. That during these years he was not forgetful of his County friends is shown by the following extract from a letter to his brother Joseph:[2]

    "--The government is resolved, if Great Britain does not revoke her orders in council in a short time, to act offensively towards her. I have sent several friends copies of the correspondence,- yourself and Dr. Everett, Mr. Divers, Mr. Jefferson, Col. Lindsay, Mr. Watson at Milton, and to Col. Yancey. Enclosed you will find one for the use of Mr. Shelby and other friends in Charlottesville." (Dec., 1811, Washington.)

    Little is now known of Albemarle's participation in this 'var. A company each of infantry and militia left the County, but their rosters are not presented, and only a few of the names have escaped oblivion. It is known that the militia was commanded by Capt. Triplett T. Estes with James Michie, Jr., as corporal, and that Wm. Wertenbaker was a private under them. The infantry was commanded by Capt. Achilles Broadhead.[3] A company of cavalry under Col. Samuel Carr of Dunlora, with Dr. Frank Carr for Surgeon, was raised in 1813, and another, commanded by Col. Charles Yancey of Yancey's Mills, left in 1814. In this troop Wm. F. Gordon of Edgeu'orth volunteered, along with Dabney Carr, Tucker Coles, "and other genteel persons." A command was also raised by Thomas Mann Randolph of Edgehill, afterwards Governor of the State; and in the fall of 1814 Col. Carr's conipany, with the Richmond Blues and several others of the finest troops, were formed into the First Light Corps, and placed under the immediate command of Col. Randolph.[4] In a letter dated September, 1814, Wm. Wirt, who commanded an artillery company in camp on York River, says:

    "Frank Gilmer, Jefferson Randolph, the Carrs and others, have got tired waiting for the British, and gone home."

    The following hitherto unpublished letters of Col. Carr give us a glimpse of conditions with the cavalry, and of the diversions of an officer:[5] Norfolk April 23rd 1813

    Dear Peter

    --I should have written to you before I left Richmond, but the time I spent there was entirely taken up with dancing attendance on one great man or other, or in the settlement of accts and getting the money I had advanced for the troop in our march to Richmond and in pitching the tents and procuring something for them to eat. We had scarcely time to blow after we arrived at Richmond before we were ordered to pitch our tents in ye old fields near Bacon's Branch, our horses tied to stakes and fed upon the bare ground and that wet and miry. Not a nosebag or halter. If it had been the intention of the Governor to destroy the horses arid disgust the men with the service, he could not have pursued any course niore likely to have attained that end. Governor B. seems to care little for the men or their horses-to dash on and keep moving seems to be the sort with him, he appears to do things merely to be adoing as Sam Crown said when he fit his friend. We were hurried from Richmond before we were properly equipped and all the tents we had drawn were left for the Troops which were to follow.

    I have been down to Lyn Haven Bay and had a peep at the British fleet. I was one of a detachment of cavalry who attended Major General Hampton and Brigadier General Taylor. We had a very pleasant day down to the pleasure House about fifteen miles from this place near Cape Henry. From there we came up the shore about eight miles where we had a very pleasant fish dinner arid returned to town in the evening. We had all the pride, pomp and circumstance of glorious war, advanced and rear guard-in fine every thing conducted agreeably to military parade and etiquette. About an hour after we left the shore a schooner from Burdeau sailed up the bay. She ran through the whole fleet which kept up a constant fire upon her without receiving any injury, was then attacked by their barges which by a well directed and constant fire she succeeded in beating off, but after running the gauntlet she had the misfortune to ground on Willoughby's point and was taken. The British fleet now in the bay is said to be nine or ten sail strong and more are expected from the West-Indies.

    Accept the best wishes for your health and happiness from your friend,

    Samuel Carr

    (To Peter Minor of Ridgway.)

    Norfolk May 18th, 1813.

    My dear Friend

    --It is impossible to say when I shall be able to come up as since the arrival of the reinforcements to the British squadron in Lin Haven Bay, all absentees from the army have been recall'd by a general order and no furlouglis have been granted under any circumstances whatever.

    By the general orders of the 13th of May "The Commandants of corps will cause all absentees to be called in immediately." In conformity to the foregoing order you will on the receipt of this direct Lieutenant Craven and John Barksdale to repair without delay to the cavalry quarters in Norfolk.-The duty of the cavalry at this time is excessive. For some time past more than one half of the whole number of effectives have been on duty every night.-Believe me, without variation of compass or shadow of changing.

    Your sincere friend

    Samuel Carr

    (To Peter Minor of Ridgway.)


    Woods' History of Albemarle; A. C. Gordon, Wm. Fitzhugh Gordon; Tyler's Quarterly Hist. and Gen. Magazine.


    From the earliest years of the County, the education of his sons wag one of the first interests of the settler. Having known himself, or observed in his friends, the limitations due to youthful privation, it naturally became his anxiety and pride to provide advantages for his sons. To the best of his ability this was generally done. (The daughters of the period were carefully trained for the duties of the home, and became notable managers and housewives, but an intellectual woman, during these first decades, was the exception.)

    A few school-houses were built at an early date. It was customary for the Colonial clergyman to add to his usefulness-and his salary-by teaching. Thus, the Rev. James Fontaine Maury, resident rector of Walker's Parish, (1754-1769), conducted a classical school on the borders of Albemarle and Louisa, the log building in which he taught having been situated in a corner of the lawn at Edgeworth, later the home of Gen. Wm. F. Gordon. Among his pupils were Jefferson, Madison and Monroe. This school was continued by the founder's son, the Rev. Matthew Maury (died 1808). About the same time, The Rev. Samuel Black of Pennsylvania, who had first entered Virginia as a Presbyterian missionary, conducted a school on Mechum's River, below the present Miller School. Other early teachers were a James Forbes, who in 1760 bought land on the head of Ivy Creek, and a Wm. Coursey, Jr., who taught in the northern part of the County.[1] Such small and scattered academies, however, were not the only, nor indeed the chief, source of instruction.

    It has been said that the schools in early AlbemarIe were as many as the plantations, and it is true that there are few of the old places which have not at some time sheltered a little group of tutor and pupils. It was usual for one family to secure a teacher, who resided in the household, and to whom the neighboring boys were sent, either as day or boarding pupils. In many cases, this would of necessity be a temporary arrangement, and after a few years the tutor, or his successor, would shift to a near-by plantation.

    These early teachers were either graduates of William and Mary, from Princeton or Yale, or of English or Scotch origin, the Scotch being especially sought after because of their superior char- acter and deportment. Lively anecdotes have survived of an English tutor at ~ the home of the Pages, whose powers of mimicry and flowing wit made him for a season the social sensation of the County. It is stated that upon one occasion his conversation at a supper table threw a young negro maid into laughter from which she died. Unfortunately, a closer acquaintance with this hero disclosed traits not in harmony with his profession, and his stay was brief. A teacher of a far different calibre was the Scotchman John H. Robertson--father of the late Judge Wm. J. Robertson-who for some years conducted a school in Albemarle, and whose will, on record in the Clerk's Office, disposes of what was perhaps the most complete classical library in the State. After the opening of the University, these tutors were quite generally drawn from her Alumni.

    A number of these plantation schools developed, in succeeding generations, into highly successful preparatory schools, with a more than local reputation. Among these were Brookhill, under Charles Minor, Keswick, the home of Dr. Mann R. Page, and Bloomfield, under Broun and Tebbs. From about 1848, until the outbreak of the Civil War, one of the most prominent schools, with extended patronage throughout the South, was that taught by Franklin Minor, first at The Rigory and then at Ridgway. Another of the best-known was the "Brookland School" at Greenwood, which was conducted by the Rev. William Dinwiddie in the decade before the War. At the time of its closing it had enrolled about 100 pupils, of whom some sixty were boarding pupils from widely scattered States. An idea of the quality of its instruction may be gained from its faculty, which contained among others T. E.-afterwards Bishop-Dudley, James M. Garnett, later Professor at The University of Virginia, A. K. Yancey, afterwards President of Hardin College, Mo., and the writer widely known as "Porte Crayon." Writing in the forties of these schools, Dr. Wm. S. White says: "Albemarle far exceeded any other County in the State in its literary advantages.

    In 1836 Mrs. Jane Nicholas Randolph, wife of Col. T. J. Randolph and daughter of Goy. Nicholas, established at Edgehill a school for the benefit of her daughters, and those of her relatives and friends. This was one of the first boarding schools for girls in the State and was the beginning of the famous school which for long held a unique place in Southern life.

    There were also, from early days, numerous schools in Charlottesville, including several for small children. Of these, the best known was probably that taught in the fifties by Miss Lizzie Poore on Park St. Music was a feature of the curriculum, and the number of pupils averaged about twenty.

    There were numerous boy schools in Charlottesville-- "Classical and mathematical schools, amirably conducted and liberally supported." Dr. Woods states that in the twenties there was a Charlottesville Academy for Boys, taught by a Mr. Gerard Stuck. Allen Dawson also taught, first on his farm on the Scottsville Road, then on Main St., and finally on Park St., on the lot now occupied by the residence of Mr. Wm. J. Rucker. Near the east end of Main St. a small brick building was used as a school, the teachers being successively George Carr, Thomas W. Maury and the Rev. Mr. Hatch.

    In 1820 the Charlottesville Female Academy was opened, on the southwest corner of High[2] and Third Sts., with a succession of prindpals, the first being a Mrs. George. In this building, a little later, a school was conducted by the Misses Wydown, daughters of an English clergyman. (One of these ladies, as renowned for her beauty as her culture, became the wife of Mr. Alexander Rives.)

    Perhaps the most successful girls' school in the forties was the Presbyterian Academy, founded 1838. It was conducted for ten years by the Rev. Wm. S. White, a brilliant and much loved man, who during his life in Charlottesville did much for the welfare of the community. A building for this school was erected on North Second St., now the Preshyterian manse. The attendance reached almost one hundred, and averaged seventy, of whom about one-half were boarders.

    In many of these early schools the instruction, as far as it went, was solid, and the character-- forming influences were of the higliest. But for the man desiring a wider education there were, before 1825, only two alternatives-a northern college, with its disadvantages of expense and differing standards, or William and Mary in Virginia. This institution was the Alma Mater of a great majority of the prominent men of the State, including Jefferson, and was widely influential; but being at that time under Church influence, it was unsuited to the needs of the large non-conformist element in the State, and was otherwise hampered in development.

    From early manhood Jefferson had written and worked for successive educational schemes. After his retirement from political life in 1809 this interest was renewed. An Albemarle Academy for boys had been long planned and chartered, but had not materialized. In 1814 Jefferson was appointed a trustee, and at once seized the opportunity to develop his larger plans. The Academy was merged, before opening, into Central College, and the corner stone for this institution-now the Colonnade Club at the University-was laid Oct. 6th, 1817.

    By the next spring. and before Central College had begun to function, the political activities of Jefferson and Joseph C. Cabell resulted in legislative action in favor of a State University. Commissioners were appointed, one from each Senatorial district, to meet in Augrist of that year at the tavern Mountain Top,[3] to select a site and organize a University. Those present were Thomas Jefferson, Creed Taylor, Peter Raudolpli of Dinwiddie, William Brockeubrough, Archibald Rutherford, Archibald Stuart, James Breckenridge, Henry E. Watkins, James Madison, A. T. Mason, Hugh Holmes, Philip C. Pendleton, Spencer Roane, James M. Taylor, John G. Jackson, Thomas Wilson, Philip Slaughter, W. H. Cabell, N. H. Clalborne, W. A. G. Dade, and William Jones. Four Commissioners, representing the section of the State most interested in William and Mary, failed to attend.[4]

    Only three places were seriously considered, Central College, Staunton and Lexington. The vote stood two for Staunton, three for Lexington, and the remainder for Central College. In Jan. 25, 1819, the charter of Central College was converted into that of the University of Virginia.

    Jefferson then, with all the zeal of youth, entered upon his double duties as Rector of the institution and architect of its boildings. For seven years he wrote, interviewed and counseled, thus shaping the spirit and policies by which the University is still animated. At the same time he was procuring funds, assembling materials and workmen, drawing plans, and actively stiperintending the multitudinous details of his great undertaking. Though feeble in health, he rode in daily, and from an arm chair gave personal supervision to overseers and workmen. A telescope placed on a terrace at Monticello enabled him still further to oversee the building.

    The inhabitants of Charlottesville and Albemarle generally subscribed to the University fund, many of them making their payments in material, food for the hired slaves, or oats for the horses. Dr. Bruce tells us that W. D. Garth furnished lumber, Reuben Maury and Garland Garth large quantities of farm products, J. H. Terrell corn, and Dr. J. C. Ragland medical services. Perhaps the greatest quantity of lumber was purchased from the Hydraulic Mill,[5] then owned by John M. Perry, who was at this time a prominent contractor. Transportation was one of the large expenses, for though the fundamental materials were procured in AlbemarIe, much else came from a distance, and lines of wagons were regularly in use between the University and Richmond whenever the roads permitted. The heavier goods were shipped by river, and either poled up the Rivanna to Milton, or unloaded on the bosy wharves at Scottsville. The marbles for the columns, which had been procured at Carrara, Italy, were shipped in sixty-one cases, weighing from three to five tons each, and were sent up from Richmond to Scottsville in batteaux, and from there hauled by wagon to their destination.[6] This was a difficult and anxious task, ancl was much talked of at the time. The cost of the complete institution is calculated to have been less than $400,000.

    The selection of the first faculty of the University was one of Jefferson's chief anxieties. Being determined that they should be of a quality that would mark the rank of the institution, he in 1824 advised the Board of Visitors to send abroad an agent to make personal choice among European scholars. The man selected for this responsible duty was one of Albemarle's youngest and most brilliant sons-Francis Walker Gilmer, of Pen Park. Having died early, his name now is only a pathetic echo, but by the distingtiished men of his day he was acclaimed with surprising enthusiasm, and through the promise of his great endowments he was widely known as "the hope of Virginia." Five men were brought by him from England, and three more were secured in America.

    Upon March 7th, 1825, the first session opened with forty students. By its close in September, one hundred and forty had matriculated. We are told that "in these early days the students wore a uniform. It consisted of a suit of grayish cloth, called Oxford mixed, specially imported from year to year by John Cochran, the coat braided on the collar, and the pantaloons striped at the sides. This badge of distinction gave rise to an extensive industry in Charlottesville. From a hundred to a hundred and twenty journeymen tailors were engaged in its manufacture, and the firm of Marshall and Bailey, Shoemakers, employed from thirty-five to forty hands in their business."[7] The following extract from an old farm-book gives the expenditure of the son of a wealthy planter of Louisa, who matriculated in January, 1826:

    A/c of expenses
    By advance to Warner Minor[8] for 1/2 a year. 73.41
    By matriculation fees 23.00
    By fees to two professors 60.00
    By Taylor's bill for making coat & panta's... 17.50
    By cash 10.00
    By pocket money 6.00
    To buy summer clothes &c 20.00
    To pay Mrs. Blackborne for making clothes 1.83

    At the same time the father paid nine dollars for a hat for himself, and five for having a clock cleaned.[9]

    The influence of the University soon was felt profoundly by the entire community. Business was stimulated and the tone of society was raised and refined by the intercourse between faculty and town and County families; and social life was diversified-if sometimes agitated-by the presence of so many, and such animated young men. In the interesting pages of Dr. Bruce's History of the University of Virginia we obtain an extraordinary impression of these early student years, and of the recurring riots which down to 1842 were a source of mortification and alarm to the University's friends. An outbreak in 1836, which lasted for three days and nights, required the grand jury, the Sheriff and a military guard to restore order; and in 1840 there occurred the tragedy--shocking in its unprovoked and callous character-of the murder of Professor John A. G. Davis, chairman of the faculty, by an enraged student. With true magnanimity, tile family of the victim requested that there should be no prosecution, but the criminal-a young man from the far South named Semmes-was apprehended. Being released, however, on twenty-five thousand dollars bail, he escaped, and was never recaptured.[10] In time, these excesses brought their natural reaction, while the inestimable advantages to the community of this great institution have grown with its growth.


    Authorities A Huguenot Family; Mead, Homes of the Southwest Mountains; Woods' History of Albemarle; Randall's Life of Jefferson; Bruce, History of the University of Virginia.


    During Lafayette's American tour in 1824, much enthusiasm was aroused in Albemarle by the news of his intended visit to Mr. Jefferson at Monticello. The community as a whole was eager to do him honor, and elaborate preparations, were made for his reception. Accompanied by his son, George Washington Lafayette, a secretary and staff, he arrived on Thursday, Nov. 4th,[1] and was met at Boyd's Tavern, on the Fluvanna line, by a company of horsemen, named in his honor the Lafayette Guards. The officers of this troop were John H. Craven, Captain; George W. Kinsolving,[2] First Lieutenant; Richard Watson, Second Lieutenant; and Thomas W. Gilmer, Cornet. In an address of welcome delivered at this point by W. C. Rives, graceful reference was made to the grjtitude of the populace for the military protection Lafayette had afforded them at the time of Tarleton's threat against Scottsville, and he was informed that the road which he had then cut in that vicinity was still called the "Marquis's Road."

    Refreshments were served at Boyd's Tavern.[3] Attended by Mr. Rives and Thomas Jefferson Randolph, General Lafayette then ascended the Monticello landau. The Guards followed, and next came a large body of citizens marshalled into order by Major Clark.[4] In this manner they proceeded to Monticello, where at two o'clock in the afternoon their approach was announced by bugle. A touching re-union took place between the two old patriots in the presence of the crowds which had gathered on the Monticello lawn. Having entered the mansion, Lafayette was re-called to the porch and addressed "with appropriate gesture"-by the late Judge Fgbert R. Watson, then a boy of fourteen, who was in command of a company of Junior Volunteers. This troop contained the youngsters of the community, among them being the late Mr. Jesse Maury and Col. R. T. W. Duke.

    On the next day there were an address and a public reception at the Central Hotel in Charlottesville[5]. Escorted by the Guards, General Lafayette, Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Madison arrived in the landau drawn by four bays. At the steps of the Hotel the General alighted, and was "received in a handsome manner" by Mr. Randolph. In replying to this address, General Lafayette, in rather quaint English, made the following reference to Tarleton's Raid.[6]

    The recollections you are pleased to allude to are on your part very kind, Sir-I may add, they are very generous. I still with regret remember that owing to the necessity of our operating a junction which an active enemy endeavored to prevent, the town of Charlottesville was exposed to momentary invasion. Yet that very circtinistance has given fresh proof of the patriotism of the citizens of this and neighboring counties, as to their spirited assistance we were in great part indebted to the happy return of our military operations.

    The General was then introduced to a large crowd in the reception room. He was evidently grateful at the glow of feeling. It was not constrained respect to renown or power, it was deep and grateful affection.

    At twelve o'clock a procession was formed to escort him to the University. Here a thousand women were waving their handkerchiefs from the terraces, while three large flags floated on the Rotunda, the largest bearing the inscription, "Welcome, our Country's Guest." A dinner in the Rotunda was served at three o'clock, the tables being arranged in three concentric circles, with a laurel bower above the seat of Lafayette, and four hundred seated guests. "The meats were excellent," and the toasts called forth re-echoing cheers. Mr. Jefferson was present, but was unable to deliver his speech, which was read for him by one of the officers. In this, he referred to the invaluable support he had received from the General during his Ministry to France: "In fact I only held the nail, he drove it,"-a simile obviously suggested by the uncompleted building and his architectural labors From the Page Genealogy we obtain an account of some of the other participants:

    "Ex-President Madison responded to the regular toast, 'James Madison, the ablest expositor of the Constitution,' and ended by proposing the following toast: 'Liberty, which has Virtue for its guest, and gratitude for its feast.' Volunteer toasts were proposed by Thomas J. Randolph, W. C. Rives, Th. Walker Gilmer, Dr. Maim Page, Wm. F. Gordon, V. W. Southall, N. P. Trist, Col. S. Carr, Richard Duke and others. Mr. Soutliall presided with great dignity."

    President Monroe had been expected, but was detained by official business.

    It being customary for each community to make a distinctive gift to the hero or his party, tradition states that at some time (luring the ceremonies a living-but fangless-rattlesnake was presented to the younger Lafayette. At six o'clock Lafayette returned to Monticello, where he remained until Monday, when he was escorted by the Guards as far as Gordonsville, on his way to Montpelier.

    It is not generally remembered that in August, 1825, Lafayette returned to Monticello for a farewell visit, and was again dined at the University. Upon this occasion Jefferson, Madison and Monroe were all present, and Wm. Wirt sat at the right hand of "The Nation's Guest."


    Woods' History of Albemarle; A. C. Gordon's Wi1liam Fitzhugh Gordon; The Page Genealogy; Niles' Register; Randall's Life of Jefferson; Richmond Enquirer, Nov. 16, 1824.


    At the time of the burning of Shadwell, in 1770, Jefferson had already begun the improvement of the wooded mountain of Monticello[1] which was a part of his father's estate. A brick building of a story and a half-now the southeastern "pavilion" of the present mansion-had been completed, and he at once took up his residence there. For the next thirty years, in the intervals of wider labors, he planned and altered and re-built this dwelling.

    The building of a mansion on a mountain-top in a primitive community was a tremendous undertaking. It was necessary for Jefferson to make roads, train and oversee his workmen, and to prepare on the place the greater amount of material-lumber, brick and nails. (The chimney of the "nail factory," where the nails were wrought by hand by negro boys, still stands.) An examination of the heatitiftil workmanship of walls and floors[2] will illustrate the degree of skill attained by Jefferson's slaves.

    It is pleasant to note the enthusiasm which this house, "elegant, in the Italian taste," produced in the foreigners who approached it through the forests of a back-woods region. "Mr. Jefferson is the first American who has consulted the fine arts to shelter himself from the weather," declares Major-General, the Marquis de Chastellux, who visited Monticello in 1782, when the structure was not complete. The Duke de Ia Rochefoucauld-Liancourt, who was Jefferson's guest for a week in 1796, writes as follows:

    "Monticello, according to its first plan, was infinitely superior to all other houses in America, but at that time Mr. Jefferson had studied taste and the fine arts in books only. His travels have supplied him with models; he has appropriated theni to his design, and his house will certainly deserve to rank with the most pleasant mansions in France and England."

    The exterior of this famous home is familiar to all Albemarle. Of its interior, in Jefferson's day, Mr. Mead gives the following description: "Entering from the eastern portico with its lofty Corinthian pillars and arched door, the visitor was ushered through double glass doors into a spacious semi-octagonal hall with its wide fireplace at one end, as is usually found in old English mansions. Opposite the door is a small gallery, while on one side of it stood a fine bust of the patriot himself, and on the other one of Washington. Along each side of the hall were many Indian relics which Mr. Jefferson had himself collected.

    "From this hall opens another glass door leading into the drawing room or salon, being the largest and most handsome room in the house, and situated immediately under the dome. This room is also octagonal, its floor being laid in parquetry of octagonal blocks, which were cut and fitted by his own colored workmen. The walls of this stately room were adorned with portraits of Columbus, Vespuci us, Andrea Doria, Castruccio-Castracani, Raleigh, Cortez, Bacon, Newton, Locke, Washington, Adams, Madison, and Monroe, while on either side of the door stood the bust of Alexander and Napoleon.

    "Leading from this room on the west side was the dining-room, and beyond this the octagonal tea-room. Here were to be seen busts of Franklin, Voltaire, Lafayette, and Paul Jones. Adjoining this were the bedrooms for guests.

    "On the east of the entrance hall was the bedroom of Mrs. Martha Randolph, Jefferson's daughter, who resided there permanently after the death of Mrs. Jefferson. Mr. Jefferson's bedroom was next to that of Mrs. Randolph, beyond which was his library, from which opened an arched conservatory; beyond this was Mr. Jefferson's celebrated workshop.

    "The upper part of the house was gained by a very narrow, tortuous stairway; the rooms above were quite small, of low pitch, and badly lighted or ventilated; all of them were of many shapes, in conformity to the octagonal design of the house; alcoves let into the wall served in the place of bedsteads, their small dimensions being hardly suited to the comfortable repose of an ordinary-- sized person.

    "The dome over the parlor was covered with thick glass; this was called the "ladies' drawing-- room," and at one time was used as a billiard room until the laws of Virginia prohibited the game."

    A flaw in the superb view, which disappointed his foreign guests, was the absence of any sheet of water. Jefferson himself used to say that if the county of Fluvanna were a lake, and Willis's Mountain a volcano, his scenery' would be perfect. This cone-shaped Willis's Mountain had a peculiar fascination for the Sage; he was fond of pointing out that it possessed the outline and proportions of the greater pyramid, seen from the same distance, and its "loonung" is frequently mentioned in the correspondence of the day. Of this phenomenon Randall gives this account:

    "It occurs only in the morning. Sometimes the conical summit seems to shoot in an immense column to the clouds. At others, it assumes the forms of a hemisphere, a square, a pine tree, a parachute, and others as fantastic. The Blue Ridge, also, though not to an eqtial degree, exhibits this phenomenon when it is seen from Monticello at about forty or fifty miles off. One of its appearances is very striking. The lofty chain seems cloven to its base, by a wooded or bare and rocky gorge. Perhaps a green valley stretches througli, and other ranges of mountains are seen rising beyond. To one unacquainted with these optical delusions they bring unutterable amazement. What must have been the emotions of the former Indian inhabitant as he paused, startled in the morning chase, to witness these tremendous transfigurations of the most massive and immobile objects in nature!"

    Upon Jefferson's retirement in 1809 from public life, Monticello became the gathering-place for a large and brilliant circle. Nieces and nephews, grandchildren and country cousins, made visits of a year or so in duration; the statesmen, soldiers, scientists and authors of this country and abroad were constantly arriving and being entertained; and no great nohle, whose enlightened philosophy attracted him to the new Republic, could count his American tour a success without a stay at the home of the Father of Democracy. Mrs. Randolph, on being asked what was the largest number of guests for whom she had ever been required to find beds, laughingly replied: "I believe, fifty."

    A story connected with the site of the Monticello's burial ground illustrates one of Jefferson's most marked traits-the strength and permanence of his attachments. The closest tie of his early manhood had been his friendship for the Dabney Carr who Ground became his brother-in-law. As boys they had studied together beneath a fine tree on the summit of Monicello, then an uncleared forest. A boyish compact was made that they would be buried there, together; the survivor to execute the pledge. Young Carr died at the age of thirty, while Jefferson was away from home, and he returned to find that the interment had been at Shadwell. Recalling the old promise, he had the body moved to the chosen site, and thus formed the beginning of the family cemetery. The legend that Jefferson and Carr were buried in the same grave is disproved by their separate stones.

    A few years after Jefferson's death, it became necessary for the family to relinquish the famous home, and it was purchased in 1830 by James T. Barclay, who in 1836 re-sold it, with 218 acres, to Commodore Uriah P. Levy for the sum of $2,700[3]. With the exception of the war-period, during which it was confiscated by the Confederate Government, it aftenvards remained in the possession of the Levy family, and by them' was maintained in a high degree of order and beauty. Its recent purchase by the Jefferson Memorial Foundation assures to the nation its continued preservation.


    Authorities Randall's Life of Jefferson; Edward Mead, Historic Homes of the Southwest Mountains.


    The earliest religious services within the present limits of Albemarle were conducted by ministers from other communities, who forded swollen streams and traversed rough trails in true missionary style. Of these, the Episcopal clergy were drawn from lower Virginia, and as members of the established church were entitled to the sum of 320 lbs of tobacco for each sermon. Bishop Meade mentions the Rev. Anthony Gavin, rector of Saint Anne's parish from 1736 to 1749, as zealous in this work, with seven missions "up in the mountians." As the Scotch Presbyterians had entered Virginia from the Valley, it was natural that the majority of their early missionaries should have come from Pennsylvania. Later, however, ministers came at intervals from Hanover-among them being the great Dr. Samuel Davies, afterwards President of Princeton, and whom Patrick Henry pronounced "the greatest orator he had ever heard." The Methodists and Baptists were somewhat later in entering the County, tlieir founders coming from the North-Maryland being a centre of Methodism, and New York of the Baptists.

    These early religious gatherings were held in private homes, until the increase in population made possible the erection of small and plain church buildings, usually of wood. The dates of these first edifices are now not known.

    Two Episcopal churches were early built in St. Anne's parish-the Ballenger Creek, situated on that stream, and The Forge, a mile or two below Carter's Bridge. The early rector in this parish was the Rev. Robert Rose, a man of strong capacity. In Fredericksville parish two churches were erected, "between 1745 and '50,"[1] on either side of the South West Mountain, that on the west being known as the Buck Mountain Church. On the east, and at the gate of the old Walker mansion, Belvoir, (burned 1836), was built, at about the same time, the church first known as Middle Church, then, from its location, as Belvoir or Wa1ker's, and now for many years as Grace. This church had for its rector (1754-'68), the Rev. James Fontaine Maury, whose attainments and strength of character gave him wide influence in his day. During the French and Indian War lie served, upon the request of the men, as chaplain to the Albemarle troops, and bears testimony in his letters to tileir alacrity and spirit.[2] But it was a few years later (1763), in legal conflict, that he attained State-wide notoriety. This was in what was commonly called "The Cause of the Parsons," a suit brought to defend against sweeping reduction the tax levied for the clergy of the established church. Mr. Maury[3] was chosen to bring a test case; he testified sturdily and well in the Hanover Court against an obscure young lawyer named Patrick Henry, and apparently was the only person present unimpressed by his opponent's eloquence. "Mr. Henry," he wrote later, "rose and harangued the jury for near an hour. This harangue turned upon points as much out of his own depth, and that of the jury, as they were foreign from the purpose." Needless to say, the suit was decided against the rector.

    In 1820 the Rev. Frederick W. Hatch came to Charlottesville, and for ten years was an active minister, both in town and County. It was during his encumbency that the original Christ Church was erected (1824-'25), this being the first denominational building in the village. The plan for the edifice was furnished, though not designed, by Mr. Jefferson, and was proof of his fine feeling for ecclesiastical architecture. Being outgrown by its congregation, this building, which stood on the present site, was demolished in 1895.

    The first authentic list of Christ Church Vestrymen, from Court records,[4] is as follows: Robert Sangster, Dabney Carr, Howell Lewis, Rice Morris, Dr. Charles H. Meriwether, George W. Kinsolving, Dr. John W. Garrett, Thomas F. Lewis and John L. Thomas. 1835.

    The beautiful silver communion service in this church, consisting of Flagon, Paten and Chalice, was presented by Francis W. Gilmer in 1826, and in 1837 a second chalice was given by Miss Juliet M. Gilmer. The church also owns the Prayer Book used and autographed by Mr. Jefferson, and containing the whole of a hymn which he copied; this having been presented l)y Miss Cornelia Taylor, Mrs. Wm. Randolph and Miss Eliza Ruffin.

    The Scotch settlers who followed Michael Woods and William Wallace across the Blue Ridge in 1734, soon built a Presbyterian church known, from its location upon Michael Woods' plantation, as the Mountain Plains. (This building, situated near Mechum's River, afterwards passed into the possession of the Baptists, and is still in use by them.) This same Scotch strain in 1746 erected the Rockfish Church and a school, and in 1747 a call was sent to the Rev. Samuel Black, V. D. M.,[5] of Pennsylvania, by the church of Mountain Plains and the inhabitants of Ivy Creek. Dr. Woods gives a copy of this paper, with 57 names attached, and the yearly sum subscribed by each. Among these the eight who contributed as much as a pound each were Michael Woods, William Woods, Archibald Woods, William Wallace, Davis Stockton, Samuel Jameson, Joseph Kincaid and John McCord. Dr. Black was the first Presbyterian minister to settle in Albemarle, having purchased in 1775 from Richard Stockton 400 acres on Stockton's creek. This property is still in the possession of his descedants.

    Presbyterianism in Charlottesville was organized In 1819, and this early church, with three preaching South places and one session which met in rotation at Plains these points, was known for twenty years as the South Plains Church. In Sept. 1839 the Keswick members, numbering 22, petitioned to become a separate organization, but retaining the name of South Plains. This was granted, and the remainder of the church was re-named the Charlottesville Church.[6] An early Session record, dated April 8, 1820, gives this information: "This day the Session of the Presbyterian Church was lield at Mr. John Kelly's in Charlottesville for the purpose of examination and admittance of members,--Present: Rev. James C. Wilson, Rev. Wm. J. Armstrong, ministers; John Rogers, Thornton Rogers and John Kelly, elders. Mem- bers admitted: Mr. Richard Price, Mr. Thomas T. Schoelield, Mrs. Rice Garland, Mrs. Jacob Wimer, Mrs. Wm. Timberlake, Mrs. G. M. Woods, Mrs. E. Callard, Mrs. Win. Watson, Mrs. Jos. Goodman, Mrs. M. Jones, Miss Lucy Fretwell."

    The original Presbyterian church in Charlottesville was built, upon the lot now occupied by the Y. M. C. A., in 1827, the trustees being John Kelly, James O. Carr, Francis Bowman, Thornton Rogers, William Woods, Surveyor, Thomas Menwether and Dr. John Holt Rice.[7]

    In 1809 Semple states that there were only five Baptist churches in Albemarle, these being Albemarle (also known as Buck Mountain or Chestnut Grove) 1767; Totier, 1775; Prethis (or Priddy's) Creek, 1784; Hephzibah, 1802; and Whitesides (or Mount Ed,) 1788.

    One of Albemarle's earliest ministers was Andrew Tribble, who was succeeded by William Woods, better known as "Baptist Billy." This striking character was a grandson of the first Michael Woods. Tall, handsome, well-mounted and attended by his personal servant, he must have presented a somewhat woridy appearance to his country congregations, and that there was some unworthy suspicion of his piety is shown by the fact that he was several times "brought up" on various charges-once for permitting too great freedom in tlie use of spirits. Being invariably acquitted, he continued to preach until the influence of his friend, Mr. Jefferson, persuaded him to leave the ministry for political life. In this new field he refused all remuneration, holding that a man owed his services to his country. (We are told that after the excitement of Tarleton's Raid had begun to subside, Mr. Woods was called before his church on a charge of having worked his slaves at that time on the Sabbath. His defense was that he was collecting provisions for the Virgitiia troops, and that in such a crisis he "knew no difference between his patriotism and his religion.") Being defeated in 1809 by an opponent of whose character lie held a poor opinion, he became disgusted with the ingratitude of the populace and emigrated to Kentucky. His descendants, however, have played an honorable part in the life of the County.

    The Rev. Martin Dawsoti was a prominent early minister in this denomination, and was usually Moderator of the Albematle Association. Mr. Burgher, pastor of Whiteside's, had some poetical talent, and composed "songs and otlier small pieces of poetry." In his later years his corpulence made travel and preaching "not practicable." He was esteemed a sound and able preacher.

    Prethis (or Priddy's) Creek was in 1809 the largest church in Albemarle Association, having 190 members. Its pastors had been Geo. Eaves, H. Goss and Martin Dawson. In the early years of the last century there "'as a large exodus of Baptists to the West, legal persecutions and restrictions being the chief cause. Geo. Eaves at this time emigrated with a part of his flock to Kentucky.

    The Charlottesville Baptist Church was built in 1833, though Dr. Woods states that an organization had existed in tlie town prior to 1820. He tells us that:

    "In 1853 the Circuit Court granted permission to sell the old church property, atid appointed as trustees for the new church, William P. Farish, Lewis Sowell, James Lobban, John T. Randolph, John Sinipson, James Alexatider and B. C. Flannagan."

    The oldest Methodist church in tIle County was built at Whitehall, and was the predecessor of Mount Moriah, having been erected prior to 1788. The first Methodist preacher was Athanasius Thomas, who was licensed to celebrate marriages in 1793.[8] Following him were Bernis Brown in 1794, John Gibson in '97, John Goodman in 1802, and Jacob Watts in 1806. The Charlottesville Church was established in 1834, its trustees being Gessner Harrison, Nathan C. Goodman, Stapleton Sneed, Matthew and Thomas F. Wingfield, Ebenezer Watts and Thos. Pace.

    One of the earlier workers among the mountain whites was Mrs. Joshua Wheeler (later, Mrs. Kirby), whose substantial old brick home long stood on the site now occupied by the poor farm. Settling there ahout 1840, as a bride of fifteen, she soon opened a school in a log house in her yard. To this the mountain children came for many years, their tuition being partly provided by the Indigent Fund for Poor Whites. As the only woman of education within their radius, Mrs. Wheeler attained great influence among tile mountain people at times of marriage, birth and death, she was invariably sent for, it being her kindly habit to provide the wedding cake.

    Through her exertions, a Baptist Church called hickory hill was built on her land, and an early form of University extension work was the Sun day afternoon service which was conducted here by students under her supervision. Upon the construction of the Southern Railroad, Ifickory Hill was demolished by blasting, and the congregation sought a near-by site, naming the new edifice Cedar Grove.[9]

    A few early missiotiaries are known to have gone from this County. Though horn in Spottsylvania, the Rev. Albert Lewis Holladay was closely associated with Albemarle. He was one of the first graduates of the University, arid for several years taught with Mr. Tutwiler in the excellent High School for boys which was then conducted in the old Mud Wall-now the Delavan colored church.He afterwards was for four years professor of Languages at Hampden-Sidney College, and in 1836, having become a Presbyterian minister, he was married to Ann Yancy Minor of Brookhill, on the south fork of the Rivanna, and they shortly afterwards sailed for Persia. This voyage was of Six months' duration. For ten years he worked among the Nestorians, being stationed at Urumia. Upon the failure of Mrs. Holladay's health, they returned to Charlottesville, where their foreign-born and-clad cliudren at first created much com ment. In 1856 Mr. Holladay was elected President of Hampden~Sidney, brit died before taking office.

    From a family long prominent on the South-side a little group of missionaries went out to the Holy Land. This consisted of Dr. James T. Barclay, with his wife and children; his niece, Dr. Oriarina Moon of Viewmont, afterwards married to Dr. John S. Andrews, joining them a few years later.

    Dr. Barclay was a grandson of the Thomas Barclay who was a personal friend of Washington and Jefferson, and who served as First Consul-General to France in 1785, as Commissioner to tile Emperor of Morocco, and as Consul-General to Morocco in 1791. Having married an aunt of Mary Julia Baldwin of Staunton, Dr. Barclay the next year (1831) purchased Monticello, and successfully restored the original terraces and plantings. His seventeen-year-old wife maintained the establishment in a manner which won for her the affectionate admiration of the dispossessed Randolphs. However, after four years, they were forced to sell, the stream of visitors having become an unbearable burden.

    Soon after this, Dr. and Mrs. Barclay decided to go as missionaries to China, and Mrs. Barclay sold her jewelry, including her wedding ring, as a missioriary offering. The grief of Dr. Barclay's mother, however, was so great, that the plan was ahandoned. After her death they freed their slaves and started, in October, 1850, for Jerusalem, as the first missionaries of the Disciples Church. During Dr. Barclay's first stay in Jerusalem he assembled the material for a book-once widely popular-"The City of the Great King." This was illustrated by his daughter, who at the risk of her life entered the Tomb of David, and sketched the first picture of it that was ever given to the public. Dr. Barclay, by crawling through sewers undenteath the Mosque of Omar (built on the site of Solomon's Temple), made accurate measurements of this edifice. He also did the first printing ever attempted in the Holy City.

    Returning in 1854 for a vacation, he published his book, and the next year was appointed by the President to a special position at the Philadelphia Mint, where he made experiments for the prevention of counterfeiting and the deterioration of our metallic currency. In this, lie was so successful that the lower house of Congress passed a bill awarding him a gift of one hundred thousand dollars. This bill the Senate failed to endorse by one vote. Hav-returned [sic] to Jerusalem, Dr. Barclay's missionary labors were ended by the outbreak of the Civil War. He died in the home of his son in Alabama.

    Dr. Orianna Moon graduated in 1857 from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania, afterwards known as The Woman's Medical College. Only five classes, consisting of thirty-one women, had preceded hers, so she may well be considered a pioneer among professional women. Dr. Moon was baptized by her uncle in the pool of Siloam, and for some years practiced medicine among the poor Arabs upon Mt. Olivet.

    As to the religious life of the community, it is Interesting to note the difference of opinion expressed by two of the County's citizens. Writing in 1822 Mr. Jefferson says:

    "In our Richmond there is much fanaticism, but chiefly among the women. In our village of Charlottesville there is a good degree of religion, with a small spice only of fatiaticism. We have four sects, but without either church or meeting house. The court house is the common temple, one Sunday in the month to each. Here, Episcolpalian and Presbyterian, Methodist and Baptist, meet together, join in hymning their Maker, listen with attention and devotion to each others preachers and all mix in society in perfect harmony."

    This was so to the Old Unitarian's taste that he was a frequent worshipper, being accustomed to ride in on horseback, and carrying under his arm a liglit sort of cane, which opened into a chair-his own invention.

    Of this same period Dr. Wm. S. White, pastor of the Charlottesville Church about 1838-'48, writes:

    'The village of Charlottesville had, almost from time immemorial, been, not only as irreligious, but as anti-religious, as any community in the State. As late as 1824, or near that time, there was not a house of worship in the village. The number of professing Christians was very small. Dr. Conrad Speece, in passing through the town about the year 1818, attempted to preach one night in the courthouse, but well-nigh failed because of the insufficient light and the rudeness of the boys. He spent the night at the hotel, and such were the sentiments uttered in his hearing by prominent gentlemen, and such the ill-conduct of the young men frequenting the tavern, that he said the next day 'When Satan promised all the kingdoms of the world to Christ, he laid his thumb on Charlottesville, and whispered, "except this place, which I reserve for my own especial use."

    However, Dr. White's opinion of a later decade is more hopeful.

    "About 1836 Rev. Richard K. Meade took charge of the Episcopal church; Mr. Poindexter, a man of decided talent, became pastor of the Baptist; and tlie Methodists erected a neat and commodious house of worship, and had for tlleir first stationed minister the Rev. Mr. Riddick, an able and excellent man. By 1848 Charlottesville was as religious as any community in tlie State."

    A fearless reformer who, as a member of the County bench had a share in tlie promotion of decency and order, was Benjamin Ficklin. Of this retired Baptist preacher, who in 1832 settled in Charlottesville as a manufacturer of tobacco, Dr. Woods writes:

    "He was noted for his uprightness and decision of character. At the time of his renioval to Charlottesville, the state of things in tile town, morally and religiously. was far from being unexceptiotiable. In a clandestine manner, most of the stores did more business on Sunday than on other days. The negroes came in in large numbers for purposes of traffic. Great quantities of liquors were sold. In the later hours of that clay, the roads leading from town were lined with men and women in all stages of drunkenness, some staggering with difficulty, others lying helplessly by the wayside. Mr. Ficklin set himself vigorously to remedy these evils. He warned the merchants that every violation of the Sunday law should be visited with the highest penalty. A similar warning was given to the negroes; and by the lively application of the last to those who neglected it, the town and roads were soon cleared of transgressors. So impartial was the old man in the execution of his duty, that when one of his own wagons, sent out to sell tobacco, trespassed on the sacred hours in returning home, he imposed a fine upon himself. It is said that a member of the bar remonstrated with him for what he considered his excessive zeal, and stated by way of illustration, that in the preparation of his cases he had often been obliged to work on Sunday; where upon Mr. Ficklin at once fined him on his own confession. Altogether the whole County was laid under many obligations to his courage, efficiency, and public spirit."

    Other churches built in these early years were:

    "A Methodist church near Hammock's Gap, 1825 ; Mount Zion Methodist Church, and Mount Pleasant near Hillsboro, 1828; The Scottsville Presbyterian, 1830; the Buck Island Methodist, 1831; Scottsville arid Shiloh Methodist Churches, 1832: Wesley Chapel, Earlysville Free Church, the Milton Baptist Church, 1833 ; Bethel Presbyterian, Mount Moriah Methodist and Hardware Baptist Churches, l834; Cross Roads Episcopal Church, 1835; Charlottesville Disciples' Church, 1836; and in 1837 Free Union Free and Piney Grove Baptist Churches."[10]


    Authorities Bishop Meade, Old Families and Churches in Virginia. Woods' History of Albemarle; H. M. White, Wm. S. White, D.D., His Life and Timess; Jefferson's Correspondence; Semple, History of the Virginia Baptists; A Hugenot Family.


    This was the golden era of Albemarle's ascendency, when despite the comparative newness and simplicity of her development, her great men had made it the noted section of the State. In histories we may find the achievements of these statesmen and patriots, but to obtain glimpses of the ordinary life of the County at this time it is necessary to turn to slighter sources. In the correspondence of Jefferson and his friends there are interesting descriptions of County conditions, and through old farm-books and faded letters we are brought into touch with a social system which was unique while it lasted, and which, for its combination of quiet happiness, intellectual vigor and high standards, has never been surpassed.

    Writing during the Revolution, Jefferson tells us that at that time plantations were situated generally over the County at about five nules apart-a calculation which was probably optimistic, since other writers comment on the lonely roads, and Capt. Anburey, one of the British prisoners, speaks of once traveling eighteen miles without passing a dwelling.

    Of these establishments, with their numerous slaves, we are told:

    "Every family is a manufactory in itself, and is very generally able to make within itself all the stouter and middling stuffs for its own clothing and household use. We consider a sheep for every person in the family as sufficient to clothe it, in addition to the hemp and flax which we raise ourselves. The wealthy are atteutive to the raising of vegetables, but very little so to fruits. The poor people attend to neither, living principally on milk and animal diet."

    Of these poor people, an English traveler wrote, in 1799,

    "The common people in this neighborhood appeared to be of a more frank and open disposition, niore inclined to hospitality, and to live more contentedly on what they possessed, than the people in any other part of the United States."

    He described with enthusiasm the fine complexions and graceful bearing of some women he met gathering cherries by the roadside, and drew a flattering comparison to the malarial natives of the lower country.

    At this period, each country gentleman was the head of a small but highly organized community; planting, building. milling, cooperage, blacksmith work and the practice of elementary medicine being a few of the occupations under his constant supervision. When, in addition, he was politician, soldier or statesman, a vigorous and original intellectual life was the itatural result, and the planter who Dressed in home-woven aud home-made garments, saw nothing incotigruous in correspondence with European scientists or scholars. Letters at this time passed frequently from Albemarle to Scotland or Paris, bearing description of our fauna and flora. or comments ori the working of our laws; and replies came, bringing the latest discoveries in science, or ingenious suggestions for the improvement of our agriculture.

    It is to one of these correspondences that we owe the chicory which still beautifies our waste lands in summer, it having been extensively sown by Gov. Thomas Mann Randolph of Edgehill, whose Edinburg friend, Sir John Sinclair, sent him the seed. The accompanying letter described a team, which from three miles out of Edinburg hauled three loads a day, and kept in fine order, being fed entirely on chicory cut green! Gov. Randolph also introduced ploughing around a hill to prevent washing.[1] (As is well known, Mr. Jefferson iniported the Scotch broom for the same purpose-the prevention of gullies.)

    The business life of the County' was linked with its sources of natural power-the Rivanna and the James. These streams turned nunierous and prosperous mills. Jefferson says: "The mills on the James River, above the falls, open to canoe navigation, are very many. Sonie of them are of great note as manufacturers. The Barracks are surrounded by mills. There are five or six about Charlottesville."[2]

    The rivers were also one of the chief means of transportation, it being the custom of many to await a "fresh," and then hurry their produce down to the lower country in canoes or batteaux. A letter of the Rev. James Fontaine Maury (1756), rector of Walker's Parish, describes this style of navigation:

    "Although one single canoe will carry but a small weight, yet nothing is more common than to see two of these tottering vehicles, when lashed together side by side. carrying down our upland streams eight or nine heavy hogsheads of tobacco at a time, rolled on their gunwales crossways, and secured against moving fore or aft by a small piece of wood drove under the bilge of the extreme hogsheads: art almost incredible weight for such slender embarkations! For this great improvement of inland navigation, we mountaineers are indebted to the late Reverend and ingenious Mr. Rose."

    Near the lieginning of the centurv a Rivanna Navigation Company was formed, its object being to keep clear the channel of the river, and to provide batteaux for the carriage of freight. In 1810 George Divers, William D. Meriwether, Nimrod Bramham, John Kelly and Dabney Minor were its directors, and Peter Minor its treasurer.[3] This organization continued until tile advent of the railroad. Substantial sums were spent in locks and dams, and navigation was at one time possible as high as Hydraulic.

    The early County roads must have been close to a state of nature, for though there were strict regulations for their care, with supervisors appointed in each community, the road-work seems to have been of a primitive character. On every plantation there were negroes, trained and highly prized as teamsters, whose duty it was to conduct the line of wagons which in the Fall bore the season's crops to the Richmond warehotises. These slaves were often in sole charge of the expendition, and bore full responsibility until the Richmond agent was readied. Tobacco, wheat, wool and yarn, were despatched and simple luxuries--sugar, coffee, tea--brought back. The bottomless mud made well-trained oxen a necessity in winter, and they were Collinlonly used at all seasons.

    However, rocks and holes, and precipitous hills, had no deterrent influence on the succession of guests which, winter arid summer, flowed in and out of the old homes.[4] As the early settlers had had large families-from eight to twelve as a rule-and as these had intermarried largely within the County, there had resulted a sort of universal kinship. Double first cousins were frequent, third and fourth cousins were considered sacredly near, and beyond these, adopted relationships were customary and affectionate.

    These relatives corresponded, as well as visted, with unflagging zeal, the letters being sent by hand, through servants or obliging neighbors.[5] Court day being a grand clearing-day for such communications. From these letters we learn of the jollifications, which with dancing, singing, practical jests and hearty feasting, made the social diversion of young and old.

    Jefferson, in a number of letters of advice to young kinsmen, gives a rather surprising glimpse of the manners of the day. Insolence and rudeness are faults which he seriously warns against. In a letter to his grandson he says:

    "I never yet saw an instatice of one of two disputants convicitig the other by argument. I have seeti niany of their gettitig warm, becoming rude, and shooting one another."

    Writing from France in 1785,[6] and contrasting foreign and native habits, he says:

    "In science, the mass of tliese people is two centuries behind ours; their literali, half a dozen years before us. With respect to what are termed polite manners, I would wish my countrymen to adopt just so much of European politeness as to relieve society from disagreeable scenes. Here (Paris), it seems that a man might pass a life without encountering a single rudeness. In the pleasures of the table they are far before its, because they do not terminate the most sociable meals by transforming themselves into brutes."

    A bit of the horse-play of tbe period, with its dramatic result, has been preserved for more than a century in the story of John Yergain, the village miser and recluse. Of this character Miss Cornelia Taylor, formerly of Lego, gives this account:

    "The habit at that time (probably 1790) was for all classes of society to hold dances in a public hall, where each class kept to themselves, and froliced with their own kind. This was done even when my father was at the University. The story told of what led to Johnny Yergen's disappearance from public sight goes thus: He was engaged to a girl with whom lie went to the dance; there was some delay at the door, which some youths took advantage of to pin a handkerchief under his coat, in such a way that it looked as if it were his shirt tail. This made not only the victim of the joke ridiculous, but the girl with whom he was going, and she never spoke to him again."

    From this time on, he slimmed mankind. In his store on the east side of tbe Square, (about where Mr. Long now has his office,) he sold whiskey and amassed a small fortune, but no one ever saw his face. The habit was for the purchaser to place his money on a stone and get out of sight; in a few miuntes he would find a full bottle and the money gone. After Yergain's death in old age, some thousands of dollars were found tucked away in walls and crannies, in true miser mode. An artist, attracted by the tale, came to the village and painted the interior of tlie shabby room, with the miser counting his hoard, and this picture long hung on the walls at Edgehill.

    A glimpse of another phase of County life is obtained in the early struggles of Samuel Miller, the founder of the Miller School. Perhaps the most romantic rise to fortune in the annals of Albemarle is that of this illegitimate mountain boy, who created a great property and left it for the education of the poor children of his native and adopted homes.

    The birthplace of Samuel Miller was a cabin on the plantation of Dabitey Carr near Israel's Gap, on the road from Batesville to North Garden. The chimney of this one miserable room, with its dirt floor and glassless window, is still standing.[7] Here Miller's young mother, Jane, or Jennie, Miller, lived with her parents, her two sons (who were full brothers), and her two sisters, one of whom had a son who was half-brother to Jennie's children. There was an association-now not distinctly understood-between Jennie Miller and the Hessian element which, a decade before, had invaded the Ragged Mountains. It is known, however, that the boys' father was an English lawyer, a man of some capacity, who had married into a prosperous family in the neighborhood, While still quite young, Jennie removed with her cliildren and her other sister to a cabin about a mile eastward on the top of Sprouse Mountain, owned by Jefferson Sprouse. Here the two remarkable boys (for the older son, John, was also substantially successful,) spent their early youth.

    Pathetic stories are told of the poor mother's ambition for her children. A weaver by trade, she gathered wool from the briars where sheep had grazed, and knit it into fancy suspenders which the boys would take to public gathering-elections, musters, courtdays~and raffle off; this being their first lesson in speculation. With the proceeds she paid for tlieir tuition in the best school in the vicinity, that taught by William Black, son of the pioneer minister and educator. It is calculated that they studied here for three sessions of three or four months each. They also attended a school at Batesville. We are told that oh winter mornings Jennie Miller could be seen whipping the two barefoot boys down off the motintain on their way to school. In spite of tileir inadequate preparation. both sons, in early manhood, were teachers-one report being that Samuel taught near his home in Albemarle, another holding that both taught in Nelson.

    From Nelson the transition to Lynchburg was made. Upon his death in middle life John Miller -who shared his brother's philanthropic plans-left to his younger brother an estate valued at $100,000. In 1859 Samuel Miller made his will, establishing and endowing "a school for poor children, "which became the Miller Manual Labor School of Albemarle. He also increased by $151,500 the munificent gifts with which he had previously endowed the Lynchburg Female Orphan Asylum. Subsequently, he gave $100,000 to the University of Virginia.

    Upon the death of Annie Miller, Samuel Miller purchased seventy-five acres of land (on which the Miller School now stands) and built there a home for his mother. He also bought slaves to care for her. Jennie Miller and her sister Mary are buried in the Miller burying ground, while a towering shaft in tlie grounds of the Lynchburg Asylum marks the resting place of Samuel Miller.

    An idea of the ordinary expenses of early days is obtained throtigli a letter of the Duke de Rochefoucatild-Liancourt, a political exile who spent a week at ;'Io,rliccllo in 1796. He tells us:

    "The price of land here is four to five dollars per acre. Meat-that is, mutton, veal and lamb- fetches fourpence a pound; beef cannot be had but in winter. The wages of white workmen, such as masons, carpenters, cabinet-makers and smiths amount to from one and a half to two dollars a day -there are not four stone masons in the whole county of Albemarle."

    He was interested in the farming operations of the community, and noted some of their peculiarities:

    "From an opinion entertaiiied by Mr. Jefferson that the heat of the sun destroys, or at least dries up in a great measure, the nutricious juices of the earth, he judges it necessary that it should always be covered. His fields, therefore, never lie fallow. On the same principle. he does not let the cattle feed on the grass nor incloses his fields, which are merely divided by a single row of fruit trees. His system is entirely confined to himself; it is censured by some of his neighbors, who are also employed in improving their culture with ability and skill."

    In October, 1817, the Agricultural Society of Albenzarle was organized, with a wide membership among the planters of this and neighboring counties. In 1820 the following officers and committees were elected, to serve one year: James Madison, President; T. M. Randolph, 1st Vice-President; J.H. Cocke, 2nd Vice- President; Nimrod Bramham, Treasurer Peter Minor, Secretary; Frank Carr, Assistant Secretary.

    Committee of Correspondence

    Thomas G. Watkins, James Barbour
    Thos. M. Randolph, Wm. D. Meriwether
    Peter Minor

    Committee of Accounts

    Dabney Minor Thos. Randolph
    John Winn

    Honorary Members

    Hugh Holmes, Esq., Winchester; J. S. Skinner, Esq., Baltimore; Don Joseph Correa de Serra, Minister near the U. S. from Portugal and Brazil; Geo. W. Erving, Esq., late Minister at Madrid; Thos. Moore, Esq., Prin. Engineer to the Board of Pub. Works of Va.

    The papers of the Society were published in the Richmond Enquirer and the American Farmer, of Baltimore, and were widely noticed. Premiums valued at $30 to $50 were awarded in plate for wheat and coni, and for improved methods of restoring worn-out land. They were also offered for inventions-a three-horse plough and a new wheat cradle being specified. These competitions were restricted to members, but the State was invited to compete in experiments "tending to demonstrate that oxen, properly shod and harnessed, could travel with a loaded carriage as fast as horses."[8] Dr. Woods tells us that a premium for the best-tilled farm in the Coutity was won by John Rogers, the second being assigned to John H. Craven.

    The Secretary of this Society was an active farmner. The following letter[9] records one of his further activities:

    Ridgway, Aug.24, 1823.

    Dear Cabell,

    I have started a waggon with a load of ploughs to Lynchburg, and as it will pass by Nelson Ct. House on yr court day I have directed it to stop there.-The bearer Mr. Jno. Maddox is the maker of them. and I have sent him aloug with the waggon, that he may put them properly together.

    It is the McCormick plough, which took the premium last fall at the Fredericksburg fair-I am partner with him in the manufacture of them on a large scale at this place.

    The price is $13 at the factory, and we are willing to take that in cash at yr Ct. House.-

    Yr. Frd. P. Minor.

    (For some years the letters of this large connection are sprinkled with references to wagon-loads of plotiglis, which were dispatched into neighboring communities for sale-and apparently with success, though the price was complained of. A tradition has lingered in this family that the plough invented by Jefferson was not a practical success. If this opinion were entirely disinterested we have now no means of judging.)

    These were the great boilding years for AlbemarIe. While Monticello was rising on its mountain - top, other hills were being crowned with mansions, designed or influenced by the same architectural genius. Among these not previotisly named were Farmington[10] the home of George Divers; Dunlora, the beautiful home of the Carrs, and still in the possession of relatives of the builder; Bentivar, a second Carr home arid a copy of Dunlora, and Carrsbrook,[11] now called The Brook.

    A beautiful Colonial dwelling near Scottsville, in late years destroyed by fire, was Storry Point, the original home of the Moon family. It was noted for its elaborately carved mantels, which reached to the ceiling in library and reception rooms and for its spacious ball-room on the second floor.

    Church Hill[12] a small and simple house in the same community, is also of interest. Originally a Church part of the old Refuge tract, it was in early days hill. The property of Dr. Samuel Waddy Tomkins, a promient physician. Through marriage it passed to the Staples family, and in the family burial ground there lie five generations of this connection. Among them should be mentioned Mr. D. P. Powers, first Superintendent of Public Instruction in Albemarle County. here also rest the parents of Scottsville's best-known and best-loved son Senator Thomas S. Martin.

    Many other of our old country places were built, or re-modeled, during this period. A list of them, with their owners, would be a roll-call of sacred memories and honored names.


    Authorities Jefferson's on Virginia; Jefferson's Correspondence; Randall's Life of Jeflerson; A Huguenot Family; Woods' History of Albemarle; American Farmer.


    From the compilation of Joseph Martin we obtain some interesting statistics for this period. In 1830 the population of Albemarle was 22,618. In 1832 there were 6439 slaves, the taxes on them being $1,609.75. There were also 5276 horses, 16 studs, 96 coaches, 43 carry-aIls and 47 gigs, or 186 taxable vehicles for about 23000 people-a total which suggests how almost universal must have been the saddle.

    In 1835 there were twenty-seven postoffices in the County, the principal ones being as follows BATESVILLE, generally called Oliver's Old Store. Population 70, with one physician.

    CHARLOTTESVILLE, (see next page).

    COVESVILLE, (on stage road to Lynchburg.) Several dwellings, I general store, 1 house of entertainment, 1 tan yard, 1 milliner and mantua maker, and a Presbyterian house of worship. Population 30.

    EARLYSVILLF, contained 7 dwellings, 1 tavern, 1 tailor. Population 35.

    MONTICELLO as Jefferson's residence, had office.

    MILTON had already lost river trade. Population 60 whites and 10 free blacks.

    NEW YORK,[1] situated in western part of County, between Brooksville and Afton, on Old Road. 15 houses, 2 general stores, 1 tan yard, 1 jackscrew manufacturer. Population 70.

    SCOTTSVILLE, formerly Scott's Ferry. 120 houses, chiefly of brick, 2 houses of worship, a male and female school, 14 stores, I apothecary's shop. Principal manufactures were clothing, leather shoes, cabinet work and earthern ware. An extensive trade was carried on in flour, bacon, etc. "The market was ready and tempting to the producer, the only fault of its enterprising merchants being that they paid prices too liberal for their own prosperity." There was a savings institution, 2 resident attorneys, 4 regular physicians. Population about 600.

    SHADWELL MILLS, erected by Jefferson. Carried on extelisive business. (See next page.)

    THE UNIVERSITY had about 200 students and its own postoffice.

    WARREN had declined since '23. Population 50, 2 physicians.

    Charlottesville, at this time, contained, besides the County buildings About 200 handsome and comfortable dwellings, generally of brick, 4 houses of worship, 3 large and commodious hotels, 1 tavern, 2 bookstores, 2 druggists' stores, and about 20 general Mercantile establishments. Mechanical occupations were as follows: 1 printing office issuing a weekly paper, 4 tailoring establishments which employed a number of hands, 3 tan yards, 3 saddlers, 1 tin plate worker, 2 cabinet makers, 3 wheelwrights, 1 chair maker, a house and sign painter, 2 coach and gig manufacturies, 2 jewelers, 2 boot and shoe factories which employed a number of hands, 1 hatter, 2 confectioners, 1 brick yard, 2 book binders. Professional men were 6 attorneys at law, 6 physicians and 3 surgeon dentists. Population 957; viz: whites 550, free blacks 59-slaves 348.

    The village was provided with a circulating library,[2] and a fire engine with company attached. Several lines of daily stages passed through, and the navigation of the Rivanna had recently been opened, allowing boats with their lading to ascend to Piraeus, within a mile and a quarter of Charlottesville.

    Shadwell was still a village of importauce, rivaling Milton on the south side. Mr. Mead tells us that

    "In 1835 it contained a large carding factory employing nearly a hundred operatives, a large merchant mill under the management of Messers. John Timberlake and Son, a saw-mill, aud several general stores. shops and dwellings, all stretchiug along the north bank of the river. The river was then navigable to this point, and here were shipped the grain, tobacco, and products of the surrounding country, inchiding large quantities of flour and cotton-yarns, which would be floated down the river in long bateaux. Until 1850 it continued quite a commercial place. Then the carding factory was destroyed by fire and never rebuilt. After the railroad, Shadwell rapidly declined. The great highway for stage travel then followed the river and passed through Shadwell, crossing at Secretary's Ford,[3] near tile present iron railroad bridge at the Woolen Mills."

    Of Scottsville in 1832, Dr. White says:

    "A turnpike had recently been constructed, extending to Rockfish Gap, and inviting the trade of the Valley of Virginia in that direction. The result was that so small a village rarely ever commanded so active a trade. A hundred large Valley wagons have been seen unloading their rich freight of flour, bacon, venison hams, butter, cheese, beeswax, etc., in one day."

    Benjamin Ficklin also had built, at his own expense a macadam road from Charlottesville to Scottsville and operated a stage between the two places; Scottsville then being the point where a majority of the students arrived by boat for the University. The road did not follow tIle present route, but kept to the ridge.

    The old Kanawha Canal, which connected the mountain counties with Richmond, and which was one of the great trade arteries of the State, passed through Scottsville[4]. It is of interest to know that the first reaper made by the McCormick Brothers in Rockbridge County was taken to Scottsville, and shipped into the world on a canal freight boat.

    Town life was now beginning to acquire dignity, and to offer substantial advantages to tile citizens. The occupants of the pleasant residences of Charlottesville lived in easy comfort, and though the streets were generally dark, unpaved and without sidewalks, there was much social intercourse and private entertaining, the bobbing of lanterns along a street being a common token of approaching festivity.

    For public gatherings, there were the churches with their frequent services, and the taverns, or hotels, as it bad become the fashion to call them. Of these the chief were the Central Hotel, still standing near the C. & O. station, the Midway Tavern, located at tlie bead of Vinegar Hill,[5] where the school of the same name now stands, and Fitch's Hotel (formerly the Eagle Tavern[6]), now the site of The Monticello. In these old structures the community celebrated their political victories with great public dinners, accompanied by endless toasts and speeches. Here, too, tlie students gave dances, though the bar, which was a usual feature of such establishments, frequently contributed an undue gaiety to the evening.[7] As nearly as 1831, a public theatre was provided, and bands of strolling actors gave infrequent entertainment. Circuses, too, came through. and gave their shows in a vacant space between Mrs. John Kelly's garden (now 506 Park St.) and tbe Cemetery.[8]

    Music was a source of social pleasure in the cornmunity. In early years, as the fiddle, not always too correctly played, was the usual instrument, it became the habit for those blessed with good voices to render their solos unaccompanied. Among the families which followed this fashion, it was felt that there was something peculiarly unaffected and modest in the sight of a lady singing in her chair, with crossed hands and feet, and it was mentioned with approbation in letters. It is said that Lafayette, on his visit, was entertained in this way by Miss Mary Carr of The Retreat9[9] Pianos, however, came into general use in the thirties. (About 1830, pianos were bought for their young daughters by Dr. Charles Carter and Mr. Opie Norris, and the belief lingers that they were the first in the town.)

    In the fifties a weekly singing school was taught in the building of Dr. White's Academy by Professor Deems, who also gave lessons on the piano. This musician had received thorough training abroad, and was an earnest and inspiring teacher. Associated with him was a M. D'Alphonse.[10] athletic instrtictor at the Utuversity, who taught French at the Academy, and pronunciation of French and Italian in the Singing School. He had himself a beautiful voice. A number of fine voices were developed under their tuition, by which the village choirs-and in especial that of the Baptist Church-were greatly benefitted.

    As is well known, among the moral questions of the period the ownership of slaves was one which occupied the thoughts of many men throughout the South. Until the stirrings of sectional intolerance darkened the issue, there was an influential element in favor of gradual emancipation, and in Albemarle, where Jefferson's strong anti-slavery feeling must have been felt, the manuinission of slaves by will was not uncommon. Many of these efforts at adjusting an almost insoluble problem have doubtless been forgotten, as it was most frequently the childless man who felt at liberty so to dispose of his property, but a few names have escaped oblivion.

    Jefferson himself, though overwhelmed with debts, freed five of his servants. Some of the provisions of his will are of interest:

    "I give to my good, affectionate and faithful servant Burwell his freedom and the sum of three hundred dollars to buy necessaries to commence his trade of painter and glasier, or to use otherwise as he pleases. I give also to my good servants John Hemings and Joe Fosset their freedom at the end of one year after my death, and to each of them respectively all the tools of their respective shops or callings, and it is my will that a comfortable log house be built for each of the three servants so emancipated, on some part of my lands convenient to them with respect to the residence of their wives arid to Charlottesville arid the University, where they will be mostly employed.-1 give the use of an acre of land to each during his life.-I humbly and earnestly request of the legislature of Virginia a confirmation of the bequest of freedom to these servants with permission to remain in this State where their families and connections are, as an additional instance of favor, of which I have received so many manifestations in the course of niy life and for which I now give them my last solemn and dutiful thanks." (Two boys were to receive their freedom upon coming of age.)

    Dr. Woods records the following emaricipators:

    John White: a native of Scotland, who lived on the west side of tlie Southwest Mountains, arid rirarried a daughter of Henry Shelton. He died childless in 1807, and manumitted 47 slaves, making provision for their removal to a free State.

    Charles Goodman: did not free his slaves, but required his children to pay them annually a proportion of the value of their labor. His home where Edward Wiiigfield later lived. Died 1827. "A notably upriglit man."

    Edward Coles: son of the first John Coles of the Green Mountain neighborhood. He was private secretary to Madison. In 1818 he removed to Illinois (a free State), taking with him all his slaves and settling them by families on fartus near Edwardsville. Was twice Governor of that State. Later lived in Philadephia. His son was a Captain in the Confederate army, arid is buried in tlie Coles cemetery at Enniscorthy

    Dr. Charles D. Everett: of Belmont, near Keswick. Physician to Jefferson, private secretary to Monroe. Died 1848, freeing his slaves, and providing for their settlement in Pennsylvania.

    John Terrell: near Israel's Gap. Died without children in 1857, and directed his nephew arid heir, Reuben Wood, to send the slaves to Liberia.

    Others were

    Martin Dawson: the well-known merchant of Milton, and the benefactor of the University. Directed that his slaves should be freed, and either sent to Liberia or confortably settled in America.

    Miss Mattie Duke: sister to Col. R. T. W. Duke, freed her slaves, aud sent them to the West.

    James Hunter Terrell: of Music Hall. A childless man, it was his pleasure ot gather the young beneath his roof. His home twelve miles east of Charlottesville, was during his long life the constant scene of country frolicing. By his will, 1856, he manumitted all his slaces, and devoted his Ducking Hole estate in Louisa to settling them in Liberia. Dr. James H. Minor, his adopted son, and Mr. Francis K. Nelson of Clover Fields, were his executors. Eighty-three negroes were sent to Liberia in the spring of 1857, this number including a few bought to accompany thier wives. A clause in the will read: "Should any of my slaves prefer to remain with their familiies when the time of departure arrives, it is my will that they may, if they prefer it, be allowed to select their own masters to whom they shall be sold for a mere nominal sum." They had a splendid outfit, passage and $300 each in money.

    It was rumored that soe of them became discontended and returned to Virginia to enter into voluntary slavery, but this was disproved. Most of them died in a short time. One of them, Wm. Douglas, a bright mulatto, head man at Music Hall, made sugar and coffee, prospered, and sent back after the war for his children and grand-childten at Castle Hill.

    John Magruder: ancestor of the Magruders of Glenmore. Though his home, Union Hall, was across the Fluvanna line, his wide business interests within Albemarle entitle him to a place in her history. Coming to Virginia from Maryland, he conducted large mills at Union Mills and also at Shadwell. He was conspicuously successful, having left tacli of twelve children the sum of $25,000 in those days a good fortune. His slaves at his death in 1812 were freed.

    A weekly paper entitled the Central Gazette was founded in Charlottesville in 1820, and was followed by the Virginia Advocate and the Jeffersonian Republican, which ran simultaneously until the Civil War. These were often supplemented by subscriptions to a Richmond or Staunton paper, as political news was of the first importance to the respectable man of that day.

    The most prominent politicians of the State, at this time, were still resident in Albemarle, as is shown by the names which head this chapter.

    Andrew Stevenson was born in Culpeper in 1784, but by his marriage with Miss Sarah Coles of Enniscorthy in 1816, he becanie a resident of the County, having bought land in it the next year. In 1836 he bought the old Carter place, Blenheim, and made it his home for the rest of his life. Mr. Stevenson served in the House of Delegates nine and a half sessions, and was in Congress thirteen, having acted as Speaker of the House for seven sessions. With Clay, he was largely responsible in forming the traditions of that office. As minister to England, 1836-'41, he witnessed the coronation of Queen Victoria, and became popular with the British. The followuig extract from the letters of his wife gives an account of his introduction of the Albemarle pippin into that country:

    "Feb. 1838. Aud to you, niy dear atid precious friends on the Green Mountain I must offer our united thanks for your kind remembrance of us. Never did a barrel of apples obtain such a reputation for the fruits of our country. They were eaten and praised by royal lips, and swallowed by many aristocratic throats. Mr. Stevenson proposed sending two dozen to the Queen. Accordingly they were put into a beautiful basket he had given me, and one of the maids of honor presented them. In a day or two I received through the Countess of Durham the royal acknowledgements, and the assurance of their having been much admired; and dining with Lord Durham soon after, he told me my apples had created a great sensation at the palace; that I had been feated they would have been the death of the premier, Lord Melbourne, who, after the Queen retired, had actually eaten two of immense size, and that all who had seen him prepetrate the rash act had considered him as a dead man. But lo! He liveth unharmed. I said. 'So much for their being Virginia apples.' We sent also two dozen to tile Duke of Sussex, one to Lord and Lady Slierbourne, one-half dozen to Lord Palinersoti, and six to a score of other people, not forgetting my friend and poet, Rogers.-I must not fail, however, to tell you that the Duchess of Kent took such a fancy to my nice little basket that she asked permission to keep it, thinking it American manufacture."[11]

    As is weIl known, the Albemarle pippin from this time became the favorite fruit of Queen and Court, and was expressly exempted from tariff.

    Upon the close of his political career, Mr. Stevenson retired to Blenheim and farmed. In these last years he served on the Board of Visitors of the University, and was made Rector a year before his death in 1857.

    William Cabell Rives, whose career was almost contemporaneous with that Stevenson, was born in Nelson County, 1793, but came to live at Castle Hill in 1816, and in 1819 was married to Judith Page Walker, a daughter of that home, who inherited Castle Hill as her portion of her father's estate. Here Mr. Rives had as preceptors Jefferson, Madison and Monroe; as neighbors and political associates, the Randolphs, Pages, Carters, Cabells, Nelsons, Lewises, Walkers and Gilmers.

    Following the accustomed political path, he represented Albemarle in tlie State Legislature for three terms, served in Congress from 1823 to 1829, and was three times United States Senator. A power in local politics, he formed, along with Ritchie, Dronigoole, Goode and Mason, the strongest ring that had ever been in Virginia. As a diplomat his career was successful, having served as Minister to France, l829-'32, and again from 1849 to 1853. In token of his popularity with the Court, Queen Amelie stood godmother for his daughter, named Amelie in her honor. (A similar honor was paid to Monroe, his granddaughter being the godchild and namesake of Queen Hortense.)

    Mrs. Rives was a gifted and charming woman, widely known for her charitable works and her writings. An old lady describes with animation the impression made by the Rives ladies upon their return from France-the gliding, bending walk, the very low tones of voice, and the elaborately braided bair, which at night was not unloosed, but was smoothly covered with a white silk handkerchief. It is probable that at this time the belles of AlbemarIe had the Paris fashions earlier than their city rivals, through the Riveses, the Monroes and the Stevensons. We read in an old letter of a visit of Mrs. Monroe's to Edgehill, 1807, and the sensation caused by the appearance of her five-year-old daughter in the first pantalettes seen in Virginia.

    Upon the approach of the Civil War, Mr. Rives exerted all his powers for the preservation of peace.

    He served as delegate to the Peace Congress,[12] 1861, and as member of the first and second Confederate Congresses, 1861 and 1863. As late as April 26 he hoped for "settlement without collision," but when the die was cast he at once gave ardent support to the Confederacy. However, his health failing, he was forced to retire to Castle Hill, where he died in 1868.

    With the outbreak of this war our narrative ends. The convulsions of this period, its tragedies and the resultant growth of a new social order, belong to the modern world, and have no place in The Albemarle of Other Days.



    Martin Matin and Brockenbrough; Edward Mead, Historic Homes of the Southwest Mountains; Bruce,History of the University of Virginia; Woods' History of Albemarle; Minor Meriwether, Lineage of the Meriwethers and Minors Wm. S. White, D.D., His Life and Times; Richmond College Historical Papers; Jos. Everett in Tyler's Genealogical Quarterly.