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HISTORY OF AMELIA COUNTY

Compiled from the notes of A. R. Hudgins


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

{Page 21}

Ambrose Jeter's sons were Allen, Rodophil, and John.

Thomas Jackson married Phebe Seay in 1767.  She was daughter of Jacob.

Wiley Jackson married Betsy Seay in 1799.  Surety was Marshall Seay.

Ambrose Jeter married Jean Stern in 1760.  He was from Caroline County.

Ambrose Jeter married Mary Farley (a widow) in 1799.

Richard Jeter married Julian Seay in 1840.

Francis Mallory married Frances Allen in 1778.  Surety was Francis White.

Pascal McGlasson married Miss Webster in 1804.

John Overstreet married January Wood in 1797.

Rowlette Dearing married Seany {sic} Perrin in 1818.  Surety was W. B. Hughes.

The County

Amelia was cut off from Prince George and Bruns wick {sic s/b Brunswick} counties in 1734.  At that time it was much larger than it is now.  It was then bounded on the north by the Appomattox River, which was then called the Bristol River.  It was bounded on the south by the Great Nottoway River, on the east by Namozine Creek, and extended to the "Great Mountains" on the west.  This more or less indefinitely might be said that it then extended to the Rocky Mountains or certainly to the highest mountains east of the Mississippi River.

When Amelia was organized in 1734, Virginia was divided into counties and these were subdivided into parishes.  A parish was a church subdivision.  More history will be given later on these parishes.

The First Court House

About five miles west by northwest of the present court house, and on the lands of Nat Harrison near Pridesville, was built the first court house for Amelia County.  This was close to the present forks of the road, store and church called Truxillo.

The first court was held on May 9, 1735, presided over by the following justices:  Edmund Booker, James Clark, Richard Booker, Charles Irby and Abraham Green.

A Clerk's Office was built here and I am reliably informed that the Clerk's office was here many years after the Court House was moved to another location.  It seems the Clerk's Office was not where the Court House was for a long time.  The Clerk's Office was located here until about 1840.*


{Page 22}

(* A place on the side of the highway about half a mile east of Truxillo was pointed out to the writer as the location of the old Clerk's Office in 1902.  This was done by Buck Orange.  Mr. Yelverton Ford told Mr. Orange of it.  Dr. Junius Seay M. D. was clerk or assistant clerk here when young. (Clerk's Office was on the north side of the public road.)

About 1768 or 1769, a Court House was built on the south side of West Creek.  This Court House was burned by General Tarleton and the next one was built at Winterham.  In 1791 it was moved from Winterham to land bought from Henry Anderson near Pinchams old field.  In 1858 it was moved to its present location.

Before 1858 the railroad had established a station here and a village had formed.  The reason the station was built here was becuase {sic s/b because} there was a good drinking water spring just over the tracks on land now owned by the Colonel Charles E. Wingo family.  From this record we see that Amelia County Court House has been located at five different places.

How people lived in Amelia County, Virginia in 1900.

I might as well start at the beginning.  When an increase in the family was expected no large sum of money had to be spent on account of this.  Most of the white people had a doctor who was always the family doctor.  A white or colored woman or midwife was most {sic s/b almost} always there to help.  The doctor was very well paid if he got ten dollars for several visits.  Sometimes he did not get this much.  Board and room and fifty cents a day was good pay for the midwife.  At times she could have gotten five dollars per week in money and board.  In Amelia at that time it would have been ridiculous and absurd and even crazy for a woman to go to a hospital at a time like this.  None of them did it and most of them lived to have the same thing happen again.  A few of them died.

The negroes were always poorer as a general rule than the white people, and probably half the time they did not have a doctor at a time like this.  If they did have one, he was fortunate if he got five dollars for his services.

In 1900 Doctor Ned Anderson lived in Rodophil and Doctor Lemuel Vaughan lived a mile or more southeast of Union Church.  His wife was a member of the pioneer family of  'Wood' who were so numerous in Amelia in Early {sic} times, but very few of them are there now.  Doctor Joseph Southall lived south of Deatonville, on a large farm with a brick house, on Flatt Creek.  Two dollars a visit was the regular charge.  A negro doctor started to practice here about 1903, but did not remain long.

The people of Amelia hardly ever went to a hospital along about 1900.  They were afraid to go.  A very few did go.  Some had the idea that a hospital was a place where young doctors just finishing their college training got their first experience practicing on and experimenting on hospital patients.  This was probably the reason that only the daring, the very brave, and the desperate ever went to a hospital in these good days in Amelia County.  I do not even know enough about hospital charges to comment on what it cost.  I am sure they charged plenty, they always do.


{Page 23}

Country doctors pulled teeth then.  Doctore {sic s/b Doctor} Smithey, a dentist, practiced at Jetersville, and would go into people's homes to do dental work in these horse and buggy days.  Fifty cents was the price of pulling a tooth.  A set of "Factory" teeth cost about nine to twenty dollars.  Average probably was about fifteen or less.

The average cost of a funeral of a white person was not more than twenty dollars.  In many cases it was less than this.  A very good heart pine or poplar coffin could be bought from Charles S. Seay, who had his shop in the old Paineville Church.  These cost about $15.00 to $18.00.  About a dollar would pay for digging a grave.  There was no other expenses.  Charles made and sold coffins for as little as six dollars each.  He had to do most of this on credit.  Some of this money was never collected.

The author never heard of any records being made of births or deaths then. {SSS note -- those records were generally not recorded in Virginia counties during the period of ca 1896 - 1913}

The poorer class of negroes could be buried for the small sum of seven dollars.

Land Grants in Amelia

The Indians rightly claimed title to the land on which they had been living for ages.  When white people came and settled in Virginia they did not recognized the Indians' claim to the land.  In a few instances the Indians were paid a very meager sum for their lands.  To tell the truth about it, the Indians were given a very raw deal.  They were driven from their lands by force and their lands confiscated by the white people. It may be that Saint Peter has this written down in his records and the white man may yet have to try to offer some excuse for his treatment of the Indians.  History is full of instances such as this.  All through the ages the strong have imposed on, and despoiled the weak.  Human nature works this way.

The British government seized title to all the lands except the very small part that a meager sum was paid for and these lands were granted and partly sold, under a certain condition written in the grants, to settlers.  These land grants are on record in the Land Office in the state capital {sic s/b capitol} in Richmond.  These old grants are written by hand with pen and ink in a very small, fine hand.  The greater part of one of these land grants will be copied and made a part of this history.

The settler had to agree to pay so much as a fee rent, he had to agree to clear and cultivate three acres out of every fifty acres within three years time, and do other things.  If these conditions were not fulfilled the land escheated to the government and could be granted again.  This happened sometimes.

Some people took up several very large tracts of thousands of acres.  I have not been able to find out what disposition was made of these very large grants.  I am of the opinion that much of this land was sold in small lots and at a good profit to persons not able to get a grant for want of finance or for someone to endorse his papers.


{Page 24}

The following are the first few lines of a grant made in 1749:  George the Second, by the grace of God, of Great Britain, France and Ireland, King Defender of the faith etc. to all to whom these presents shall come.

In 1736 Paulen Anderson took up a grant of four hundred acres on the upper south horsepen fork of Stocks Creek. (This is Bull Run Creek now.)

In 1790 Edith Cobbs owned 9854 acres on Buffalo River.

In 1742 James Chappell took up a grant of one hundred and fifty acres on Stocks Creek.

In 1760 Edith Cobbs took up a grant of nine thousand and fifty acres on Stocks Creek.

In 1745 Samuel Cobbs was granted eight thousand and thirty-eight acres on Buffalo River.

In 1737 John Dawson was granted one thousand three hundred fifty acres on both sides of Stocks Creek.

In 1737 Thomas Foster was granted three hundred fifty acres on Stocks Creek.  Note; This land was on the upper side which is the north side.

In 1738 Robert Hudgins was granted four hundred acres on the upper (north) side of Flatt Creek and adjoining William Hurts and William Mayos lines.

In 1735 William Mays owned four hundred acres on both sides of Flatt Creek.  Notes:  Mays branch of Flatt Creek was also called Neals branch.  It runs into Flatt Creek about four miles southeast of Paineville.

Ben Ward was granted 780 acres between Knibs and Deep Creeks in 1728.

First record of Flat or Flatt Creek appears in 1730.

Mary Bowling {SSS note: possibly of the Bolling family ?} owned 5315 acres in Amelia in 1788.  Thomas Tabb Bowling {SSS note: possibly of the Bolling family ?}owned 2000 acres in Amelia then.

In 1756 John Nash was granted six thousand seven hundred sixty seven acres on the south side of the Appomattox River and on both sides of Bush, Bryer and Sandy River.

In 1736 Richard Randolph was granted five thousand four hundred thirty acres in the Counties of Amelia and Goochland on both sides of the Appomattox River.

In 1737 Richard Randolph was granted three thousand one hundred forty-eight acres on Falling Creek.

In 1737 Isham Randolph was granted six thousand acres on Buffalo River.


{Page 25}

In 1737 Richard Randolph was granted six thousand four hundred thirty acres on the Appomattox River.

In 1722 John Raybourn was granted three hundred acres on the north side of Nottoway River adjoining Gabrill Harrison's land.

In 1727 John Raybourn was granted six hundred ninety-five acres on the north side of Nottoway River.

In 1736 Jacob Seay was granted four hundred acres.

In 1736 Isaac Seay was granted four hundred acres on both sides of Sandy Creek.

In 1752 Lewis Vaughan was granted two hundred and forty-four acres on the head branched {sic} of Tomahawk and Franks Creeks adjoining Robert Vaughan's line.

In 1747 Henry Vaughan was granted one hundred and eighty-two acres on the north side of Flatt Creek.

In 1737 Thomas Vaughan was granted four hundred acres on both sides of Franks Creek.

In 1767 Isham Vaughan was granted fifty-five acres on Hurricane Creek.

In 1746 Abraham Vaughan was granted five hundred and twenty-five acres on the lower side of Saylors Creek.

In 1740 Robert Vaughan was granted eight hundred acres on both sides of Franks Creek adjoining the land of Thomas Winford.  Note:  This land was south of Flat {sic ? s/b Flatt ?} Creek and west of Tomahawk Creek or branch.

In 1736 William Wood was granted four hundred acres on both sides of the south fork of Stocks Creek.  Note:  Bull Run Creek now, he built grist mill.

In 1735 Henry Walthall was granted four hundred acres on the south side of Smacks Creek.

In 1738 William Watson was granted three thousand nine hundred and fifty-two acres on both sides of Flatt Creek.

In 1739 Thomas Wingo was granted four hundred acres.

In 1749 William Watson was granted five thousand and seventy seven acres on Flatt Creek and Deep Creek.

In 1771 Samuel Whitworth was granted two hundred acres in the counties of Amelia and Prince Edward on both sides of Little Saylor Creek.

In 1752 John Whitworth was granted one hundred and fifty acres on the lower side of Saylor Creek.


{Page 26}

Abraham Whitworth was granted 496 acres of land located on both sides of Rock Fish River in Goochland County, Virginia on 6/30/43.

Thomas Whitworth was granted 230 acres of land located between the branch of Flatt and Stocks Creeks and on both sides of the road in Amelia County in 1749.  His will written in July 23, 1762, states that this land was located at the head of Neals Branch. (granted 1749).

Amelia was cut off from Prince George County in 1734.  Prince Edward County was cut off from Amelia County in 1754.  Nottoway County was cut off from Amelia County in 1788.

William Wood was granted 400 acres of land located on both sides of the south fork of Stocks Creek in Amelia County in 1736.  Note:  This Creek is now know {sic s/b known} as Bull Run Creek.  William Wood built one of the first corn mills in this section on this creek at a place almost due west of Paineville.  A part of the stone foundation was there in 1935 on which the mill was built.

A. M. Vaughan of Amelia went in 1740 with traders to the Cherokee Indian country to the west.  Western Amelia was sparsely inhabited then. The last hunters cabin he saw was on the Otter River in Botetourt County.  He described the trading path to the French Broad River.

The last land grants in Amelia were in 1819 and 1820.

Brandy and Whiskey Making

Apple brandy was made in Amelia from early colonial times.  Some peach brandy was made also.  In 1904 the tax on brandy was $1.10 a gallon.  At this time a horse was used to turn the wooden rolls which meshed together like the teeth of gears and crushed the apples.  Cider was stored in barrels for weeks at a time, then it was run into the copper still, under which a fire was kept burning.  The alcoholic strength of this cider passed from the top of the still into a coiled copper pipe submerged in a barrel of water.  There it formed a liquid called "low wines".  This "low wines" was barreled and was run through the still the second time, and came out brandy.  In 1904 apple brandy sold for about four dollars a gallon as soon as it was made and the tax paid.  The federal government sent a "gauger" to the still to measure and estimate the quantity made and to set the amount of tax due on it.

The author has talked with men from several different parts of Virginia about brandy making where they lived.  It seems that it was made all over the state, that some of these still operators were not at all careful to pay the tax on all brandy made, and that one very large operator in Southampton County paid on about half.

In Amelia county in 1904 the man who hauled his apples to the still, which was operated in the edge of the village of Rodophil, got a gallon of brandy with tax paid on it for each fifteen bushels of apples he carried to the still.  Two men, each the owner of a copper still, operated at Rodophil together in 1904.  Apples were hauled here from as far as Cumberland County.


{Page 27}

Corn whiskey was made on Bull Creek at the abandoned location of Wood's Mill some two and a half miles west of Paineville, just before the Civil War.  I have been told that six stills were in operation here, and were owned by a man named Brexeal.  I don't know how long this continued.

Many "moonshine" stills operated in Amelia during "prohibition", which was supposed to start about 1917.  None of these made brandy from apples.  These stills were operated for many years, continually hunted for by officers, and moved often to a new place to be safer from capture.  So many of these were captured and confiscated by the law that not much profit was made by these illegal stills.  Some of the whiskey made by them was called "sugar" whiskey.

So far as the author knows there were only two stills in operation in the wester {sic s/b western} part of Amelia County long about {sic} 1900.  They were owned by Mr. Mann and Mr. Seth Bell, both in Rodophil Community.  In 1753 brandy sold for $1.17 a gallon.

Masonic Hall at Paineville

A Masonic lodge was chartered at Paineville, Virginia on November 28, 1797. This lodge was Number 51.  Nelson T. Patterson was Master; Waller Ford was Senior Warden; Creadle Burch was Junior Warden; John Wiley was Treasurer; Samuel Ford was Secretary; John M. Crowder was steward; John Chappell was Tyler; Daniel Lane was s. d. {sic}; John Hannah was j. d. {sic}; and William Bently was p. m. {sic}.

The members were:  Edward Scott, Barnet Seay, Austin Seay, Thomas Ellis, William Taylor, Thomas R. Davenport, Marshall Booker, Edward Mumford, Jose Scott, Nathan Robertson, John Robertson, John Towner, Jr., William Clements, Walter Kibble, and Daniel Booker.

The Infidel Club and the Masonic Lodge met in the same hall, which was a two story frame building that stood until about 1893, when Dick Seay had it taken down and most of the lumber in it was used to build a house for a negro named William Henry Jones.  This Masonic Hall stood on the same side of the road that the tavern was on, and probably about 150 feet southwest of the tavern.

Under the date of December 10, 1823, is this note.  "A Masonic Lodge is about to be established at Colonel Tilmon Jeter's Tavern."  This building is in use as a dwelling by the Jeter family now, 1945.  It is located right on the roadside about three miles north of Jetersville.

Early Churches in Amelia County

All of Amelia was in Bristol Parish from 1642 to 1734.  Then Amelia County and Raleigh Parish were organized.  In 1748 Nottoway Parish was cut off from Raleigh Parish.

Huntington Church was located about five miles northwest of the Court House in Amelia.


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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