Charlotte County Sketches
H.D. Club News
The State Federated Program of Work Art in Daily Living was selected by the Charlotte County Federation for 1964.  This being the 200th anniversary of the founding of the county, they are appropriately selected for particular emphasis the phase, "An Appreciation of Our Heritage".
Mrs. B.E. Bailey, county Chairman, has prepared a series of articles, one of which is presented in the club each month.  Mrs. Bailey has compiled information from many sources in preparing these articles and she wishes to acknowledge use of same.
It is hoped that the Gazette readers will enjoy these articles as much as the home demonstration club members for whom they were originally prepared.

The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, April 23, 1964

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

This being the 200th anniversary of Charlotte County, we feel it would be fitting for our Home Demonstration Clubs to review some of the facts about our county. Charlotte County was set off from Lunenburg in 1764.  The House of Burgesses named the new county after the young Queen of George III, the Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg.

The white population was composed of English, with a trace of French Hugenots and an admixture (a mixture) of Scotch-Irish.  The established religion of the colony was English Protestant Episcopal and Charlotte County was embraced in Cornwall Parish.  However, the Scotch-Irish and Huguenots introduced Presbyterian and Cub Creek church was one of the earliest preaching places of the great Smauel (Samuel) Davis.  Afterwards the Baptist and Methodist gained strong foothold.

Charlotte County, has always been foremost in the cause of liberty.  Her delegates, Paul Carrington and Thomas Read, were among those who voted for the resolutions against the Stamp Act, which brought on the Revolution.

The county was as brave in defense of American rights as it was quick in recognizing them.  The Charlotte militia under General Robert Lawson of Prince Edward served under Lafayette in the campaign ending in the surrender of the army of Cornwallis at Yorktown. 

In the War of 1812, the county was no less prompt to do her part than in the Revolution.  When a British fleet entered Chesapeake Bay in May 1813, and the attack upon Craney Island was made, an artillery company from Charlotte, under Capt. John D. Richardson, carried off the laurels of the day in repelling the enemy, who soon left the bay.

Nor did the War Between the States find any decline in the valor of the county.  She furnished her full quota of troops, including infantry, cavalry and artillery.

Throught (through out) all the campaigns and hard fought battles and in the last sad drama at Appomattox her sons bore an honorable part. The first and last guns of the war were fired by them.

Nor does the glory and valor of the sons of Charlotte County end with the wars already mentioned, for World Wars I and II and the Kirean (Korean) War could add many illustrious names and deeds of valor.

The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, April 30, 1964

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

The public schools in Charlotte County began with the provision of the Constitution in 1870. At that time the best element of the white people were opposed to them and this opposition for a time crippled their efficiency.

As said Mr. Charles C. Paris, District Superintendent of Schools in 1907, "I venture to say that the day is not far distant when this grand and historic old county, after telling you of her Henry, her Randolph, her Carrington, and other noble sons, will turn from them, and pointing with peculiar pride to her schools, will say 'but these are my jewels'."

"Old Field" schools were maintained in the various communities.  These buildings were most often one room log houses with a window on either side, home-made double seats, a long recitation bench at the front, and iron stove set in a box of sand, a rocking chair for the teacher and a water shelf with a bucket and a common dipper.  And as for toilet facilities, there were none.

The schools ran for five months out of the year and the teacher received possibly $20.00 per month, $5.00 of which she paid for board in some home in the community.

Private schools played an important part in the education of the youth of Charlotte County.  Among the privates (private) schools, I shall name three which made an outstanding contribution.  The first I shall name is Bon Air.  Bon Air was a boarding school for girls.  The Rev. Mr. Gibbs was pastor of the Methodist Church in Smithville (Charlotte C.H. was called Smithville at that time) and president of the school.  Music, art languages and regular subjects were taught and graduates were well prepared for teaching.

Long after Bon Air was closed, Miss Mollie Gibbs taught music in one room of the public school, then located in the house now the home of Miss Bessie Daniel.

Dr. C.H. Gibbs, son of the president of Bon Air, was the much beloved "Country Doctor" who lived at Bon Air until it was burned about 1914. He then moved into the village of Charlotte Court House.

The second school, I shall mention was Moldavia.  Mr. David Comfort started a boarding school two miles from the county seat and called it Moldavia.

Mr. Comfort was a scholar well versed in classices (classics), especially Latin.  A daughter taught Greek and Hebrew, another daughter, Mrs. Sarah Comfort Watkins, music.  Art was also taught.  Some pupils from Richmond came to Moldavia, which ranked with the best schools. Some boys were admitted as day pupils and they walked from Smithville.  Students were well prepared for college and for life.

When Moldavia closed some of the faculty moved to Smithville.  Four generations of the Comfort family have taught in Smithville, later called Charlotte C.H.  These are Mr. and Mrs. David Comfort, Mrs. Sarah Comfort Watkins, Mrs. Loulie Watkins Ramsey, Miss Nannie Ramsey and Mr. Burdett Ramsey.

Mrs. Bessie Marshall Hutcheson taught at Moldavia for many years.  The county has a debt to Moldavia for her walls many of our most outstanding men and women got their foundation for college and their life's work.

Moldavia still stands and is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. W.P. Ingram.

The third school I shall mention briefly is Virginia Home School, which is located at Keysville.  Many of us remember Mrs. Spencer, a much beloved music teacher in Charlotte Court House.  Miss Minnie Gilmore came to Keysville to teach French and music and through the Spencer girls, who also taught there, met and married Mr. William Spencer.

The following figures will give some idea of the growth of the public schools in Charlotte County.

School population: 1870-71, 4,719 -- 1905-06, 5,121 -- 1930, 5,811 --1962-63.

School enrollment White 1870-71, 1,550 -- 1905-06, 3,280 -- 1930, 3,122 -- 1962-63, 1,769; -- Negro 1870-71, (W&N);  -- 1905-06 (W&N) -- 1930, (W&N) -- 1962-63, 1,697

No. of schools -- White 1870-71, 36 Negro, (W&N) -- 1905-06 White 58; Negro 28 -- 1930; White 22, Negro, 28 -- 1962-63 White, 6; Negro, 4.

Amount of Expenditures 1870-71 $5,589.51 -- 1905-06, $12,156.50 1930, $93,000.00 -- 1962-63, $949,617.35.

Value of school property: 1870-71, 2,275.00 -- 1905-06, 22,850.00 1930, 250,000.00 1962-63, 2,893,963.93.

The old field schools gradually passed out of existence and more modern schools were built.  In 1907 there were two high schools in the county, one at Charlotte Court House, the other at Keysville.  It was said of Keysville, "Keysville has a large up-to-date high school, where, in addition to the primary branches, the languages and music are taught.  Five competent teachers conduct this school."

Of Charlotte C.H., "It has a large high school, very successfully conducted by a principal and two assistants."

Schools continued to improve and by 1930 there were four 4 year high schools and one 3 year high school.  Also a new training school had been developed at Charlotte C.H. for the Negro children, offering high school work and work in the vocational agriculture.

By 1937 the need for one centrally located high school in the county was felt and Randolph-Henry was born. Since that time several elementary schools have combined and the schools that once were, Bethel, Aspen, Madisonville and Phenix consolidated and now they enjoy an up-to-date school building located in Phenix.

The Negroes enjoy three modern elementary schools and the up-to-date Central High school.  Today 43 school buses, which go into every section of the county transport the children to the various schools.  Let us hope that our youth and their parents appreciate the comforts of school in 1963-64 and remember sometimes the real hardships their grandparents endured when walking was the most used means of transportation and if the distance was to board away from home in order to receive a high school education.

The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, May 7, 1964

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

During the French and Indian War, after the defeat of General Braddock at Fort Duquesne in 1755, there was fear that the Indians, incited by the French might decend (descend) on the settlers in the then frontier counties, bent upon massacre and pillage.

Gov. Dinwiddie, for protection against the enemy, established a line of forts in Augusta, Halifax, Bedford and other parts of the state.  Colonel Clement Read assisted the governor and by his recommendation, the area which is now Charlotte C.H. was chosen as a magazine, or storage depot, where they would be reasonably safe and yet closer than far away Williamsburg.  The place of this magazine was probably where the Courthouse green is now, hence the first name Charlotte C.H. bore was "The Magazine:".  To this point wagons loaded with powder and rifles from Williamsburg and other wagons to roll west with supplies for the forts were seen.  

The second name Charlotte C.H. bore was Dalstonburg.  In February 1759 in the 32nd year of George II, the House of Burgesses enacted a statue which encouraged the enhabitants (inhabitants) to settle together as they could more easily protect themselves against any enemy. One hundred acres belonging to John Pleasant and Clement Read where the magazine was erected "be laid off in lots and streets for a town, the town to be called and known by the name Dalstonburg."

Clement Read, Thomas Bouldin, Paul Carrington, Thomas Bedford, William and David Caldwell and Clement Read, Jr. were named trustees of the town with authority to make rules and regulations and settle disputes concerning boundaries of lots, etc. One note of interest, it was unlawful to erect a wooden chimney.  It is not known when the name Dalstonburg was changed to Maryville in honor of Madam Read.

Mary Read was the wife of Clement Read, the elder, whom she married in 1730.  She came with her husband to Charlotte in 1733 and after the death of her husband she took charge of his estate and managed it with great ability.

In 1817 a map of the town was made and the years from then until about 1835 was probably the boom period.  Many new residences and business houses were built in 1835, the population of Marysville was 475.  The town boasted of; 5 mercantile stores; 2 well kept taverns; 3 boot and shoe factories; 4 wagon maker shops employing 8 to 10; 1 carriage maker, 2 tailor shops, one tanner; 3 saddlers; 3 blacksmiths; one cabinet maker; general house carpenters and bricklayers.

In 1852, the Maryville Plank Road Co. was chartered.  Its purpose was to construct a plank road from Charlotte C.H. to the Southern railway. A toll station, which is still called the Toll House, about 1 mile from Drakes Branch was at the intersection of a plank road with the Keysville and Overby's Store Road.  The freight house at Charlotte C.H. was located between the residence of Mrs. Perdieu and the late H. Grey Harvey house and it stood until recent years.

The plank road was considered a great improvement when new and the young men of the village often raced their trotting horses on it.  The road lasted less than 10 years and the idea was proven impracticable. 

In 1874 the name Marysville was changed to Smithville in honor of the Smith family, which was prominently connected with the history of the town.  William Smith was one of the original purchasers of lots in 1817.  He built Smith's Tavern and ran it for 30 years.  His son and a grandson were clerks of the court for a long period.  The three Smith men and other members of their family are buried in the private cemetery back of the residence known as Paradise.  Mrs. Mattie Rice Williams was niece of one of the Smith's and was reared by her uncle. She will be remembered by many as the wife of one of our most beloved residents and public servants, the late Mr. Walter G. Williams.

The name Smithville was changed to Charlotte C.H. in 1901.  Charlotte C.H. Va., and Washington C.H. Ohio are the only two county seats in the U.S. permitted to use the word "Courthouse" as part of their official name.  It has been said that regardless of what the village has been called it has always been the "Cote House" to the people of the county.

There have been three courthouse buildings.  The first, a frame building was built by Clement and Mary Read in 1765.  It was burned in 1784.  The second building, also a frame building was built in 1785.  This building stood until 1823 and then was sold at auction and moved to Smith's Tavern lot and used as a stable until fairly recent years.  The Caledonia Hotel built on the Smith's Tavern lot was the scene of much excitement in the early 1900's on "Cote Day" when Mr. Boss Payne and several of his sons would ride into town with their string of horses and there meet other horse traders.  March court was especially active in the horse trading as the farmers would buy or swap horses to make a crop for the current year.  The Caledonia Hotel was torn down and the store of Mr. Joe Canada and the home of Mr. A.B. Williams stand on a part of the old Smith's Tavern lot.

The present courthouse building was erected in 1823.  A committee composed of Clement Carrington, Isaac Read, Wm. W. Watkins, Joseph Wyatt, Henry A. Watkins, John Morton, Jr. and Henry Carrington, sent some of its members to Monticello to consult with Thomas Jefferson about plans for the building.

Charlotte C.H. likes to boast of the fact that George Washington had his breakfast in 1791 in what was then known as the Old Tavern, now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Carol McKinney.

William Smith erected his tavern in 1820, which stood until destroyed by fire in 1899 when the Caledonia Hotel was built by Mrs. Isabella Donald, grandmother of Mr. A.B. Williams.

The Brick Tavern, across the street from Smith's Tavern was built about the same time as Smith's Tavern and was run by Wyatt Cardwell until about the time of the Civil War.  The Brick Tavern was remodeled about 50 years ago and has since been used as a residence.  It is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Laughlin.

It has been said that for many years after the Civil War that the taverns in Charlotte C.H. dispensed liquor by the dipperful from a barrel.

Among the earliest buildings at Charlotte C.H. are the three brick buildings on main street.  The building recently known as Tucker's Store was built about 1823, the same time as the Courthouse and the architecture with the large pillars in front resemble.  It is possible the committee which visited Thomas Jefferson was influential in plans for this building.  It was with a great deal of regret to the writer when these beautiful pillars were torn down in the name of progress.

The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, August 27, 1964

History Of  Charlotte County
By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

For the month of August instead of a historical sketch, we may sit back and try to keep cool and see how well we can do on the "Memory Test for the Not So Young".

Do you remember?

When you used to walk two miles to school?  Now the children can't walk two blocks.

When you ate three big meals a day?  Now it is toast for breakfast, lunch for dinner, soup and sandwiches for supper.  No wonder so many require vitamins!

When baby sitters were called mothers?  When everyone kept the Sabbath day holy?

When someone rode 5 miles to get the doctor and he came after a day or so and gave you a does  (dose) of calomel and then you really got sick?

The garden path with the Sears, Roebuck catalog at the end of it?

The old surrey "with the fringe on the top" and how the whole family rode to church every Sunday.  And how the wheat fields shimmered in the heat and you thought you would never get home?

When if a woman showed her neck and ankles she was called "fast"?

When you used to sing "Down by the Old Mill Stream", "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree", and "When You and I Were Young Maggie"?

When there was only one fire in the house in the winter and how cold the sheets were when you had to go "up-stairs" to bed?

When at Christmas you got a stripped (striped) stick of cand, (candy), an apple and an orange?

When no one had to get up at two o'clock in the morning to warm the baby's bottle as the mother took the baby and the bottle (?) to bed with her?

When women pinned their hat's on with pins a quarter of a yard long?  They were really dangerous -- the pins, I mean, not the women.

When people were married until "death did them part"?

When you first got the old Ford up to 20 miles per hour and you didn't have to change gears all the way from Drakes Branch?

When right was right and wrong was wrong?  When a good switch helped to straighten out that bad boy -- no juvenile delinquents then?

When you had to pick up chips and get in the night's wood?

When the cat fell in the well and the water had to be brought from the spring over the hill until Uncle Watt Guy could come with his windlass and tubs and draw off the water? 

How you used to use four and sugar out of a barrel?  And how good the hot biscuits tasted cooked in the old wood stove?

When turnip salad was cooked with hog jowl and served with corn pone?

When wheat threshing and barn raisings were big events down on the farm?  How exciting it was to chase the little rabbits in the wheat field and how good they were when fried -- no worry about rabbit fever then?

When you used to go barefooted and stepped on a nail, how your mother poured turpentine on your foot and that was the end of it?  Tetanus shots were unheard of!

Before germs were heard of, when the whole family drank from a "dipper" in the old fashioned water bucket that stood on a shelf?

When a gentleman asked permission to smoke in a lady's presence.

The ice pond, the old ice house and the freezer of homemade ice cream?

If this brings nostalgia, ask yourself if you really want to go back to the wash board, the kerosene lamps, etc. in the Horse and Buggy Days.

Sketch No. 4
By -- Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County Home Demonstration Clubs

The Episcopal Church was the Established Church of Virginia from the landing of the colonist at Jamestown ??????.  For more than a hundred years it was the only church in the Colony.  One of the first acts of the legislature swa (was) to provide for the church.  In 1623 it provided that on every plantation or settlement there shall be a house or room set aptrt (apart) for the services of the church.  If a person did not attend Sunday Service he was fined.  Laws were enacted forbidding any religious service except those of the Church (Episcopal).

Between 1733 and 1743 Charlotte County, then spoken of  as the "back parts" of Virginia was being opend (opened) to settlers.  At this time a number of Scotch Presbyterians who had come from Ulster County, Ireland to Pennsylvania moved to Virginia.  They were led by John Cardwell who secured from the Governor of Virginia the privilege of worshiping God according to the principles of their education.

About 1733 Clement Read of Williamsburg settled in Charlotte County.  He took ???? large quantities of land and built a house named "Bushy ???".  As fast as the county became settled, it was laid off in ????.  Charlotte County as we know it, was Cornwall Parish and four churches were built; 1st Roanoke 1748; 2nd Ash Camp 1750 (Later Baptist) 3rd Sandy Creek 1755 (Later Baptist); 4th Rough Creek 1769 (Later Presbyterian).

The Sandy Creek Church which was between Randolph and Wylliesburg is no longer in existence, but it seems that the Baptist, as in the case of Ash Camp, used this church which was called the Sandy Creek Church of the Establishment, which was called the Sandy Creek Church of the Establishment, which was one of the 1st four churches built.  (Typed as is, part of it was repeated.)

"The Great Awakening" of 1787-1790 had its beginning in the Baptist Church of Charlotte County with preaching of the Rev. John Williams. It extended quickly to the Presbyterian and Methodists and a Methodist historian says of it:  "Such a time for the awakening of  ????? was never seen before among the Methodists of America.  The  ?????  was most powerful in the ????? counties of  Virginia.  It ????? out about midsummer and continued through the year.  The whole county between the Roanoke and the James River, and from the mountains to the sea was swept by the flame of the revival".

There was growing rebellion against the Established Church and the taxes imposed to support it.  After the Declaration of Independence, when the General Assembly met in Williamsburg in 1776, there was a flood of petitions for relief from the Established Church.   Charlotte County's John Williams for the "Baptist Ten Thousand", and Caleb Wallace, for the Hanover Presbyterian and not forgetting Patrick Henry (a loyal Episcopalian) did much for the cause of religious freedom.

The Episcopal Church, from being all powerful, became unpopular and in Charlotte County almost became ????? withing 10 years after the revolution.

After the separation of Church and State, the ????? arose as to what should be done with the churches since no tax money nor public funds could be used for their support.  In 1802, an act was passed allowing these houses to be sold and the proceeds go to support the poor.  It was at this time that the Baptist came into possession of Ash Camp.  The first Ash Camp was situated about two miles west of Keysville.  The present location was obtained in 1857 and one section of the presetn (present) building was erected.

The daughter churches of Ash Camp are Mt. Tirzah at Charlotte C.H., Spring Creek at Darlington Heights, Mr. Nebo and Eureka.

One of the outstanding events of the old church was the organization by Abner W. Clopton of a Temperance Society, the first in the South and the second in the nation.

Of its four churches, as before mentioned, Ash Camp was taken over by the Baptist, Rough Creek by the Republican Methodist, and Roanoke and Sandy Creek were abandoned and fell down.  

Cub Creek, the Mother Presbyterian Church of this part of Virginia, was organized in 1735.  The original building built in 1735 was added to in 1852.  This building stood until recent years, when it was burned.  The old cemetery is very interesting to visit as it gives a history of the church and her members on the tombstones.

Many distinguished preachers have graced the pulpit of old Cub Creek, among whom were: Dr. Archibald Alexander, Dr. John H. Rice, Rev. Samuel Davis and the Rev. Clement Read.

The daughter churches of Cub Creek are: The Village Church, Charlotte C.H., Bethesda, Herman and Roanoke.  The Village Church is the oldest of the three churches in Charlotte Court House.  It was organized in 1825.  The land was probably given by the Read family as a "Meeting House for the Presbyterians".  The old Brick Church was destroyed by fire and the present building present erected between 1830 and 1835.  The cemetery back of the church lot, is not a part of the church lot,  but was as a "burying ground for the Village forever".

The next old church in Charlotte C.H. is Mt. Tirzah Baptist. The lot was conveyed in 1836 by Wyatt Cardwell to James MorrisonArchibald Davidson and others, but this deed states than an older church had stood on the same lot and had been burned.

The Methodist Church lot in Charlotte C.H. was conveyed in 1841 by William Smith and Josiah Dabbs to Lewis SkidmoreRobert BouldinElisha Hundley and others in trust, "that they shall build or cause to be built there on a House or Place of Worship for the use of the members of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the U.S.A.

Grace Episcopal Church formerly stood just back of the present site of Dunnavant's Garage.  The lot was giving by Henry Carrington in 1858 and the church was built soon afterward.  In 1879, it was moved to Drakes Branch and is still in use there.  All of the early churches were built with a balcony where the negro slaves might worship.

 The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, April 30, 1964

History of Charlotte County, Va. Patrick Henry And Red Hill
By -- Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs.

The people of Charlotte County have been noted for their intelligence and cultural refinement, and some of the most distinguished men of the state have resided within her borders.


Many of her sons have emigrated to other counties and states and have added luster to their fame in many departments.  One of the most famous names among the great of Charlotte County is that of Patrick Henry, who spent his last days in the county and who lies buried at his last home, "Red Hill".

Patrick Henry was born May 29, 1736 in Hanover County, Virginia.  He attended public schools for only a short time, but received a good education from his father, who, himself, was well educated.

Henry tried the business world, as a store keeper, for a time but he was a poor business man and was soon hopelessly in debt.

After this experience he studied law and was licensed to practice in 1760.  In law he found his real vocation for within three years he had won fame as an orator in a noted lawsuit called the "Parson's Case".

In 1764, Henry was elected to the House of Burgesses and won fame in his speech against the Stamp Act.  Tradition credits him with these words: "Caesar had his Brutus, Charles the 1st his Cromwell and George the 3rd may profit by their example.  If this be treason make the most of it -- Give me liberty or give me death".

Henry served as a delegate to the 1st and 2nd Continental Congress and for a time was Commander-in-Chief of Virginia's military forces. He was chosen in 1776 as a member of the committee to draw up the first Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Henry was the first governor of Virginia and served five terms.  He was elected for the sixth term, but declined to serve.  His tenure as governor is marked by many courageous stands which led to a better government in Virginia.

In 1788 Patrick Henry returned to private life.  His years in public service had left him badly in debt, but his fame a (as) a lawyer gained him many clients and he was able to buy his beloved Red Hill in 1794, and there he made his home until his death in 1799.

Henry refused many requests to return to public life.  He was offered a seat in the United States Senate; posts as Minister to France and Spain; position as Chief Justice of the U.S.; Secretary of State in Washington's Cabinet; and for the 6th time was elected governor of Virginia, but he refused all these positions.  He was finally persuaded by George Washington to become a candidate for representative in the Virginia State Legislature and at Charlotte C.H. Va.  he (He) made his last great speech in the debate with John Randolph of Roanoke, who was also a candidate for the same position.  Henry won the election but died before he took office.  His will is carefully preserved in the Clerk's Office of Charlotte County.


Patrick Henry died in June 1799, at his home at Red Hill and there he's buried in the boxwood bordered family burying ground.  An oblong marble slab covers Henry's grave, with inscription of his name, the dates of his birth and death, and these words: "His fame his best epitaph", Under an adjoining slab lies the remains of his wife, Dorathea Dandridge.

Near Henry's grave, a site chosen on his own, stands the smoke tree given him by George Washington.

The Staunton and Falling rivers make their junction near the house, "Red Hill", and on a clear day the Peaks of Otter may be seen to the west.  Henry, no doubt, chose the site for his last home, partly because of the beautiful scenery.

Several additions have been made to the Red Hill Henry knew, but in 1919 the entire house was destroyed by fire.  Only the two offices, the one used by Patrick Henry, the other built and used by his youngest son, stood on the grounds when the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation purchased the estate from the Henry family.

The two offices were moved together and made into a dwelling, which is occupied by Mrs. Mabel Oliver Bellwood, curator of the restoration. Mrs. Bellwood, in her own rights, is a most interesting person and she has many interesting objects in her home furnishings and decorations.

Red Hill is fortunate that soon after it was burned a young architect from Lynchburg, Stanhope S. Johnson, measured the foundation and marked the location of the buildings which stood at Red Hill in Henry's final days.  He is the architect of the re-construction of the original Henry house which was completed and dedicated in 1957.

The boxwood borders, the horny Osage tree, and the Jasmine, all of which Henry loved and enjoyed, remain for visitors to enjoy and draw visions of the past.

Apart from the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation, a wonderful use is being made of the plantation.  A home for underprivileged boys, known as "Red Hill Boys' Plantation".  At present 15 boys are being cared for in two cottages.  But a long time view will show a number more of cottages and boys.  This plantation idea seems a worthy tribute to Patrick Henry as he had a great ideal for American youth.  He was the father of 17 children and many of his descendants have contributed nobly to the good of mankind and our country.

 The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, July 2, 1964

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

John Randolph of Roanoke was one of the most colorful personalities of his day or even for all time.  He was born in Prince George County, Virginia a descendant of Pocahontas and John Rolfe.

Randolph was champion of lost causes.  He stood for the rights of states against federal encroachment.  He owned about 200 slaves, but hated the slave trader and never sold any of his slaves even though the task was great to support them.  His will disclosed the fact that he had purchased land in Ohio for the settlement of these who had been slaves, but were now free through his will.  In Ohio, the people of an abolitionist state, met them with violence and drove them from the farms the southern champion had purchased for them.

There is a story about a small frame house which is adjacent to Ville Vue, known as Randolph's Cottage.  It is said John Randolph, who wore high leather boots and carried a riding crop, always took his well bred dogs wherever he went, even into his bedroom.

The result was no tavern would furnish him a room.  On one occasion when Randolph was in Charlotte Court House, Colonel Marshall, the then owner of Ville Vue, noting the predicament he was in, invited him to spend the night at Ville Vue.

The next morning, Mrs. Marshall graciously asked Randolph how he had slept.

"Not well at all", was his sharp reply.

"But why?" Mrs. Marshall asked.

"Babies crying.  Too many babies crying."  "Besides my dogs don't like crying babies."  From then on, Randolph always occupied the little frame house next door.

Randolph denounced every president from John Adams to Andrew Jackson.  For, he declared, "they were the precursors of a government which is not fit to govern me."

As he died in 1833, he saw the fabric of an ancient order dissolving about him -- personal liberty, local rights, and the old ways of society which simple men love have had no bolder defender than John Randolph of Roanoke.

The original house which was occupied by John Randolph was destroyed by fire in 1878.  However, the original office of John Randolph still stands.

Randolph died in Philadelphia in 1833 and his body was brought to Roanoke for burial.  Later his remains were removed to Richmond and interred in Hollywood Cemetery.

 The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, October 9, 1964

History Of Charlotte County

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

The name Bruce has long been an honored name in Charlotte County.  James Bruce owned land in Halifax, Charlotte and Mecklenburg.  He was a very successful business man and was considered one of the three wealthiest men in the U.S.

Charles Bruce received from his father, James, land on the Staunton River and built the house known as Staunton Hill.  The task of erecting Staunton Hill was given the architect John E. Johnson, not to cost over $25,000.00 but as Johnson was given a rather free rein for the first time the cost amounted to more than $75,000.00 plus a vast amount of slave labor.

After 1860 Charles met with financial reverses but was able to live at Staunton Hill in material comfort.  He was a member of the Virginia State Senate.

William Cable Bruce, son of Charles, was born at Staunton Hill in 1860.  He enjoyed life at Staunton Hill but became a lawyer in Baltimore. William Cabell Bruce said of his family, "Bruces are fond of reading and are natural scribblers".

The following is a quote from one of his books, "I am glad to add that during my boyhood, no game of cards, as far as I know, was ever played in the Staunton Hill house.  There is, in my opinion, no more insidious thief of time, that could be devoted to higher and better things, such as agreeable conversations, or reading, than card playing, when carried to excess, to say nothing of its tendency when played even for moderate pecuniary stakes, to kindle unnatural lust for excitement and lucre in the human breast".

David K.E. Bruce, son of William Cabell Bruce, now owns Staunton Hill and enjoys rare visits there.

Charlotte County is greatly indebted to David K.E. Bruce for so much.  It is hard to say just what he has done for our county for the beautiful public buildings, which we enjoy would not have been possible without his generosity.  Charlotte county should be, and I'm sure is, especially grateful for the wonderful library which has meant and will mean so much to so many.

David Bruce has served his county, state and nation in many capacities.  He served as a member of the House of Delegates of Virginia, Ambassador to France and to England.

Charles Bruce built Staunton Hill chosing the style called Gothic Revival, or even more aptly, Hudson River Tudor.  With towers and battlements, Gothic arches, stained glass windows and marble portico, it faces the circular lawn beyond which the land drops to the Staunton River.

Neither money nor effort were spared to make Staunton Hill as imposing as possible, according to the standards of the day.

The brick walls were stuccoed, and across the front was raised a marble porch with fluted pillars and granite steps.  The marable (marble) was quarried in Italy, cut to specification in Philadelphia transported by boat to Albemarle Sound in North Carolina, and thence by bateaux up the Roanoke and Staunton rivers to the landing at the foot of the plantation grounds.

In the old days visitors arrived by water and were driven up the road from the landing, through handsome iron gates and a grove of oak trees.

The interior emphasizes the same baronial air as the exterior.  A double stairway sweeps upward, the double drawing rooms and the library have marble fireplaces and elaborate plaster work on the ceilings and cornices, with long gilt frame mirrors made to fit specified places.

Staunton Hill should not be thought merely as a show place.  From the time it was built in 1848 until after the War Between the Sates, the Staunton Hill Planatation (Plantation), with more than 5,000 acres of land and 500 slaves, was a highly productive enterprise.  Besides furnishing supplies for the family and slaves the farm yielded in addition to wheat, oats, hay and livestock, between 4 and 5,000 barrels of corn and grew over 1,000,000 hills of tobacco.  Even after the war and with hired labor it has continued in agricultural activity.

In the early days of Staunton Hill the plantation was divided into three tracts, each a complete and separate organization with its own overseer.  Slaves tended the fields, the stables, hen house, smoke houses and other agricultural projects.  They wove the coarse cloth for their garments.  Carpenters, stone masons, blacksmiths and superintendents of the granary were necessary.  In and around the house was another army.  Three cooks were necessary, one to prepare breakfast, one dinner and one to make desserts.  Other servants were needed to wait on the table, cut wood for the many fireplaces, clean the kerosene lamps and candlesticks.  A hydraulic ram carried water to the kitchen, but the drinking water was brought from the spring by hand or rather by head; and water for bathing was heated in brick caldrons and carried up to the various dressing rooms.  Although the mansion did have two marble tubs.

Many of the cabins and other buildings no longer used; but they are kept painted and in repair.

When Charles Bruce died in 1896, the property passed to his widow and after her death to his son, William Cabell Price (Bruce) of Baltimore. Later it became, temporarily, a hunting and shooting week end club, composed of James BruceDavid K.E. Bruce, and some of their friends.

It has now reverted to the private ownership of David K.E. Bruce.

No one can prophesy how long the towers and battlements and marble portico of Staunton Hill will remain as a testimonial to an age that has passed.

The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, November 26, 1964

History of Charlotte County

By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

Colonel Thomas Read, with Paul Carrington, the two representatives to the House of Burgesses, were appointed to protect the county against the passage of the Stamp Act.  However, a few days after they took their seats in the House of Burgesses the news of the actual passage of the Stamp Act was received.

The passage of the Stamp Act brought on bitter conflict in the House of Burgesses.  The continent was so aroused that it was impossible to execute the Act.

The two delegates from Charlotte were among those who voted for the resolution against the Act, which brought on the Revolution.

Colonel Read was county lieutenant during the Revolutionary War; marched with the County Levy to Petersburg and again to oppose Cornwallis on the Dan.

He was a member of the Conventions of 1774-75 and 1776 and in the Convention of 1788 opposed the adoption of the Federal Constitution.

Colonel Read was the first, and for fifty-two years clerk of the county.  His office was a small brick building in the yard of his home "Ingleside".

A few years ago a replica of this first clerk's office was erected in the village of Charlotte Court House by the APVA, and it is used as a museum.

Colonel Read's home, "Ingleside" was built in 1810.  It is now in a bad state of repair, but for many years it was one of the grand old homes in Virginia.

Descendants of Colonel Read still reside in Charlotte.  At the present time two old homes of the county are owned by his descendants.  "Do Well" has been beautifully restored and is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Charlton.  Mrs. Stanley Anderson, a sister of Mr. Charlton, now owns Greenfield, the ancestral home of her grandfather, Mr. Abram Read. 

Paul Carrington held many public positions in Charlotte and adjoining counties.  He was a member of the 1st General Court in 1778 and in 1779 he was elected judge of the Supreme Court of Appeals, which position he held until 1807, when he resigned at the age of seventy-five years.  His letter of resignation to Governor Wm. H. Cabel beings thus: "I have served my country for forty two years without intermission -- I think it (is) time for me to retire from public business to the exalted station of private citizen".  He died in 1818 and is buried at "Mulberry Hill".

"Mulberry Hill" was built entirely with timbers grown upon the place and it still presents much the same appearance as when first built.  It is now owned by Mr. and Mrs. F.X. Barksdale.  Mrs. Barksdale is a direct descendant of Paul Carrington.

 The Charlotte Gazette, Drakes Branch, VA., Thursday, December 10,  1964

History of Charlotte County
By Annie Lou D. Bailey, Program of Work Chairman, Charlotte County H.D. Clubs

Among others who contributed much to Charlotte County in her early days were:

Colonel Joel Watkins of  Revolutionary fame and his son, Captain Henry A. Watkins. A small house which was the home of Col. Watkins has been completely destroyed, but the large brick house, "Woodfork" was built in 1829 and was the home of Captain Henry A. Watkins.  The old cemetery back of the house holds the remains of many of the Watkins family, but Woodfork has passed through many hands since the Watkins family lived there.  It is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. H.B. Gompers.

John Randolph wrote the following obituary of Colonel Joel Watkins:

"On Sunday, the 2nd of January 1820, departed this life, at an advanced age, beloved, honored and lamented by all who knew him, Col. Joel Watkins, of the County of Charlotte and State of Virginia.

Without shining abilities, or the advantage of education, by plain and straight forward industry, under the guidance of old fashioned honesty and practical good sense, he accumulated an ample fortune, in which it is firmly be lieved (believed) by all who knew him there was not one dirty shilling.

The fruits of his labors he distributed with liberality seldom equalled, (equaled) never surpassed nor was he liberal of his money only.  His time, his trouble, were never withheld-where they could be employed.

If as we are assured, the peace makers are blessed, who shall feel stronger assurances of bliss than must have smoothed this old man's passage to the unknown world."

Edgehill, which was the home of Colonel Clement Carrington of Revolutionary fame, and Hugh Blair Grigsby, the historian was another home built in the latter part of the 18th century, but which has been destroyed by fire.

Colonel Clement Carrington, was one of the largest land owners in the state, served in the Legislature, was many years Presiding Justice of the county and held many positions of public trust.  He died in 1847 and Edgehill became the property of his son-in-law, Hugh Blair Grigsby, who was a member of the Convention, 1829-1830, the 3rd Chancellor of William and Mary College, president and a lifelong supporter of the Virginia Historical Society and a historian of national reputation

Other families that I want to mention briefly, but which have contributed greatly to Charlotte County and the state of Virginia are:

The Morton family beginning with Colonel Joseph Morton was one of the early pioneers of this section.  He was surveyor by profession, was a member of the House of Burgesses and a member of the County Court of Charlotte for many years.  His son, Colonel William Morton, was a distinguished Revolutionary officer, and at the battle of Guilford "slew the gallant Colonel Webster, the pride of the Army of Cornwallis."

Descendants of Colonel Joel Watkins and also of Colonel Joseph Morton still reside in Charlotte County and are contributing to the welfare of the county in many capacities.