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HISTORY OF AMELIA COUNTY

Compiled from the notes of A. R. Hudgins


Contents Pages
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HISTORY OF AMELIA COUNTY

Harrison's Academy was at Wigwam in 1826 (This was near Lodore.)

Jefferson College in Amelia was incorporated December 26, 1800.

Population of Amelia County (including Nottoway, a new county) in 1790 was a follows:  males over sixteen years, 1709; males under sixteen, 1697; women, 3278; free negroes, 106; slaves, 11,300.

In 1781 there was a hospital for soldiers in Amelia County.  The doctor in charge of it wrote that he had just recently arrived there with his sick and found more and better buildings than he expected to find.  He also wrote that this new location for the hospital was in a wealthy community and he expected to get on well there.  This hospital was at Greens Store.

Pridesville was located about seven miles southeast of Painesville, near the present location of Truxillo.  The following was copied from an account book kept at the Tavern at Pridesville in Amelia County in 1801 and 1803:

A night's lodging here cost nine pence. (eighteen cents.) Three horse feeds cost three shillings. (Six shillings equaled a dollar.) One pint of rum sold for one shilling and six pence, (twenty nine cents.) One glass of "Grog" cost eighteen cents.  A quart of whiskey cost two shillings.  A quart of better whiskey cost two shillings and six pence, (forty six cents.)

A man was credited with seven shillings and six pence for a cow hide.

Dr. James Anderson paid  the equal {sic} of one dollar and one cent for one supper, two horse feeds and three lodgings.

John Archer "Scholar" paid eighty-three cents for two dozen candles.

Harmony Lodge Dr. thought to have been Masonic lodge at Pridesville.

Williams (a peddler) paid fourteen shillings for seven days horse feed.

Dr. Evans and son were guests here in April 1803.

Paineville Post Office

The following information was obtained from the Post Office Department in Washington, D. C. in 1938.

Records indicate that the Paineville Post Office was established July 1, 1801, with Bernard Seay as the first Post Master.  The earliest record of any mail carriers serving this office is in 1809 on Route Number 53 from Richmond, by Manchester, Chesterfield Court House, Springfield, Colesville, Genito Bridge, Pridesville, Perkinsonville, Paineville, Ligontown, and Jamestown to Farmville and back once a week.  The earliest mail carrier listed is Elisha Woody in January 1814.


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Tavern records at Paineville show that Elisha Woody spent one night at Paineville regular {sic} every week.

Roads then were very bad.  I am sure he had to carry mail on horseback in the winter months.  I expect he had a riding horse and a pack horse.

This is a list of Post Masters at Paineville and the date of their appointments:

Bernerd Seay, 1801; John H. Haskins, 1849; Dr. M. F. T. Evans, 1852; Nathan L. Seay, 1852; John L. Hood, 1853; Alfred L. Whitworth, 1855; Miss Susan E. Matthews, 1866; Mrs. Susan E. Seay, 1877; J. V. Perrin, 1883; Mrs. Susan E. Seay, 1885; Thomas E. Whitworth, 1888; J. V. Perrin, 1889; Charles S. Seay, 1893; J. V. Perrin, 1898; Mary A. Perrin, 1905.

The office was discontinued July 31, 1909, and the mail was sent to Sunnyside.

Note:  Bernerd Seay, the first Postmaster served for a little over 48 years.  A rural free delivery mail route came by Paineville commencing in 1909.  The first post office money orders were issued about 1901.  Up to 1909, mail left the railroad at Mattoax and came daily, except in the long ago {sic}.  About 1880 it came three times a week.  The mail route from Richmond to Farmville by way of Paineville was 105 miles long.

Paineville

So far as you author ever heard, no battle was ever fought near Paineville. No history at all of the Indians who once lived there, has ever come down to him.  No armies ever marched by Paineville except just a few days before General Lee surrendered at Appomattox.

In the official record of the War of the Rebellion, Vol. XLVI, Series I, Page 1384, is recorded the following Confederate Orders.

April 4th.  1865 - 11 P. M.

The wagons {sic} trains of the Third Corps will march at dawn tomorrow from their present camp on the direct road to Paineville, turning off at Jones' about a mile before reaching Paineville, thence to Amelia Springs, thence to Deatonville, and by the Jamestown road to Rice Station and Farmville.

The wagons of General Ewells command at Clemmontown will move at dawn tomorrow on the Clemmentown road to Paineville, thence to Rodophil, thence up the Stoney Point road passing Providence Church and turning to the left at Andersons crossing to the Ligontown road and passing Ligontown to Farmville.  If the river is not passable at Ligontown the train will move by the best available road on the south side of the river to Farmville.


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During General Lee's retreat to Appomattox all roads in Amelia leading west were more crowded by Confederates, with Federal troops in close pursuit, and often in direct contact.  Many confederate wagons were overtaken at Flatt Creek crossing southeast of Painevelle {sic s/b Paineville} and the spokes of the wagons were chopped out.  I have been told that a small Confederate calvary charge was made at Jones'; just north of Coverly's, and a Federal soldier killed and buried on the Coverly farm. This body was removed in about a year by men who came through in wagons.  A rock walled spring is on the Coverly farm.

The Confederates were so hard pressed that they formed in lines of battle about half a mile west of Blanton's abandoned carriage shop along a ridge and by doing they held their enemy long enough to allow their wagons to get a good start.  It was a running fight all through Amelia County.

My grandfather's tobacco lot in Paineville was lighted with hundreds of fires while the Yankee army men cooked their supper just across the road from his large general store.

After the two armies had passed, my grandmother and several of her children and others spent an afternoon in the yard listening to cannon firing to the west.  This was the beginning of, and probably a part of the battle of Sailors Creek {sic - also found spelled as Saylor's Creek}, which was preceded by smaller fights.

A member of the pioneer Chappell family was too young to be in the army, but joined the Confederates as they passed through his village of Paineville on the retreat.  He was killed at Saylor's Creek {sic - also found spelled as Sailor's Creek}.  He was Billy Chappell.

On April 7, 1865, the fifth army corps (Yankee) passed through Paineville 15,000 made up this Federal army, while stole everything they could get their hands on.

Other things of interest about Paineville.  In the early colonial times Paineville was an important place.  Although Amelia County was three times as large as it is now, for awhile at least, it had only two voting places.  One of these was the Court House, and the other was Paineville.  I am not sure when more than two voting places were put in use in Amelia, but I feel sure that up to about 1750, Paineville was the voting place for all men living in what is now Prince Edward and for more than half of all living in what is now Nottoway.

I have heard Dick Seay say that he had seen Negro slaves as they stood upon a block and were sold at auction to the highest bidder.  They were hired to the highest bidder by the year in like manner.  I am sure this took place in Paineville, as that was Dick Seay's home.

A post office was established at Paineville on July 1, 1801, and was discontinued on July 31, 1909.  Mail for this office left the railroad at Mattoax.  Up to about 188{0}, mail came three times a week.

The first automobile was driven in Paineville in 1909.  It had one cylinder and was steered by a bent rod, and driven by Floyd P. Hudgins (Penny Hudgins)


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Blaton's {sic s/b Blanton’s} Stage Coach and Carriage Shop

This shop was located on the southside {sic s/b south side} of the road leading from Deatonsville to Amelia Springs.  It was about a mile and a half west of Amelia Springs.  A pile of cinders of clinkers is there now, which came from the blacksmith shop.  Many loads of these clinkers had been hauled away before 1900 to fill mud holes in the public road that runs by it.

I do not know when this shop was built.  It probably started in a very small way long before 1750, and became a large shop, probably the largest one in the western part of Amelia County.  I understand that this shop built carriages, stage coaches, wagons, buggies, and carts.  It was equipped to do high class cabinet work.  It is probable that some furniture was made here, but I am not sure of this.

One of the shops was the "Trimmer Shop".  There was a Paint Shop and others.  As a small boy I knew an lod {sic s/b old} man, born about 1817, who was an apprentice in this stop while it was located here.  This shop was moved from this location to Paineville and then became Blanton and Seay's Shop.  Sam Seay became part owner of it and was built on his land in Paineville, on the road leading north and on the west side of this road at a point where a road branches off at right angles and leads east, on past the Union Church.  I do not know when it was moved to Paineville, probably about 1840.  No doubt it was on the decline along about this time.  A railroad was put in operation in 183{8} between Petersburg and City Point, Virginia.  As railroads were built, stage coaches were no longer needed.

This shop in Paineville, which looked like a barn except it had windows for the upper and lower floors, stood until about 1915.  Deck Seay, who owned it called it the "Shop".  It was then a tobacco barn, and was planked up and down and all windows were boarded over.

I cannot say how large this shop was when it was in its prime.  It was know {sic s/b known} as a manufacturing shop, and was a large and important now {sic?}, that served well from the time of the Revolution to the time of the Civil War.  Exact dates are not know {sic s/b known}.  Both the Blanton and Seay families were prominent, pioneer families of Amelia County.

Blanton's Shop, Amelia Sulphur Springs, and Jeter's Mill were the corners of a triangle, and they were not more than about a mile and a half apart.

It is entirely possible that Blanton's Shop, where first located, employed as many as fifty people.  I am not at all sure of this.  The farm that it was first located on was bought by Edmund Wood, probably about 1848.  All work in the shop had ceased then.  One of the old shop buildings stood close to the southside {sic s/b south side} of the public road up to 1904 or later.

The writer of this has a Spanish silver coin about the size of a five-cent piece which was found in a corn field just about midway between Blanton's carriage shop and Jeter's Mill.  This was dated 1733 and was found about 1915.  A Spanish silver coin about the size of a silver dollar, dated 1804, was found on the location of the old Paineville tavern about 1902 by James Henry Bell.


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It would be very interesting to know how these Spanish coins got there.  They very probably came by way of Mexico.

What a Farm

Records show that there were some large farms in Amelia County soon after the close of the War of the Revolution.  John Tabb was the owner of a very large farm or farms then.  His land was listed for taxation as being in four separate tracts.  One of these contained 6563 acres.  Another tract contained 1041 acres.  Another tract of his land contained 3389 acres, and the other and last tract contained 3213 acres.  This is a total of a little more than 14,200 acres of land in Amelia County owned by John Tabb in 1791.  As these were listed separately, they were no doubt four farms, some of which may not have joined the others.  I am not sure about this.  The author of this has good reason to believe that this very large estate was located along Flatt Creek and around Grub Hill Church and extended for miles to the north of this church far beyond the monument to John B. Tabb.  Taxes were 158 pounds, 13 shillings and 4 pence.  In dollars and cents this figures up to about $77.00 This would depend on the value of an English pound at this particular date.

In 1782 John Tabb owned 541 heard {sic s/b head} of cattle and 132 horses, mules etc.  He owned 133 negro slaves over 16 years and 124 negroes under 16.  Records show he had eight overseers to supervise this very large estate*

This man probably operated a private blacksmith shop and he could have had a mill of his own.  I am not sure about this.  In these days much of the cloth used was woven on the plantation.  Leather was tanned and shoes were made at home by skilled workers.  These were the good old days that my grandmother Whitworth, and other old people told me about when I was a small boy.

This shows that John Banister Tabb was a prominent member of Amelia County.  He became a well known educator and writer.  He become {sic s/b became} a Catholic Priest in the early 1880's, and used to hold service in the old tavern at Paineville.  A brick and stone memorial located on the highway about two miles north of Grub Hill Church is erected to the memory of

John Banister Tabb

1845 - 1909

Poet, Patriot, Priest

The celebrated William B. Giles married Martha Peyton Tabb, daughter of John Tabb in 1797.  (See chapter headed William Branch Giles.)

Overseers

An overseer was a supervisor.  He was a manager in charge of working and managing slaves.  There were many kinds and types of overseers.  They were treated in many different ways.  Some of them did not associate with, or eat at the table with the slave owners they worked for.  Some overseers were ambitious and intelligent and men of great ability, who associated with the


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slave holders family, and in many instances, married one of his daughters.

There were no large industrial establishments in Virginia at this time for young men to work.  The industrial age was in its infancy then.  As a result of these conditions, thousands of young men became overseers and by industry and thrift and good management worked themselves to be prosperous landowners and slave holders.

Hog Killing

About the year 1900 most people in Amelia tried to raise enough meat for their own use.  A few sold meat.  Home cured meat sold for about twelve cents a pound and hams sold for about fifteen cents a pound.  Some cheap grades of store meat sold for six cents a pound.

After I grew up and commenced to travel around I told people how we killed hogs and some of them were very much amused at our methods and considered them primitive.  Our method of heating water in particular.

We did it this way.  A pile of oak and pine wood and a pile of rocks weighing from fifteen to twenty five pounds would be collected at the hog pen.  A layer of wood then a layer of rocks would be built up.  Then another layer of wood and of rocks until enough of each had been built up.

A wooden hogshead would be set in a hole in the ground at such an angle that the lowest side of the open end of this hogshead would be about a foot above the surface of the ground.  The deepest part of the hole would be about two feet below the surface.  A hogshead about four feet in diameter and five feet high was used.

This would hold probably seventy five gallons of water if that much would be needed.  The pile of wood with layers of rocks would be set on fire.  In a short time the rocks would be sweating considerably and they would soon be hot, and later red hot.  A long handle shovel was used to transfer these hot rocks to the water in the hogshead which heated rapidly. A cloth was kept over the mouth of hogshead {sic}.  As the rocks cooled in the water they were taken out and hot ones put in until the water was hot enough to scald the hogs to remove the hair.  If the water cooled, more hot rocks were put in and soon removed.

This method of heating water seemed to be very efficient and satisfactory, I have heard of a hot rock exploding when it struck the water and causing some injury.  Stand to the side when hot rocks are put in.

Hogs were never shot then.  They were thrown on their backs and their throats were cut with a long blade knife.  Blood always went to waste.

Hog Drivers

Great droves of hogs came into Amelia County from somewhere west of there, I am not sure just where.  The drivers whooped and yelled and made much


Contents Pages
1 - 6
Pages
7 - 13
Pages
14 - 20
Pages
21 - 27
Pages
28 - 34
Pages
35 - 41
Pages
42 - 47

Source: Booklet on file at the Virginia State Library Archives, #F 232 A54 H76.
Transcription by Susan Shields Sasek, 9 Feb 2004.


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