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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 28}

Rocky Run Church was in Amelia.  I do not know where.

Averys Church was in Amelia, and Prides Church was in Amelia in the early days.  All of the above church history was gotten from Bishop Meade's book on churches.

Grub Hill Church is now in use. It is a very interesting and a very old brick colonial church in Amelia County.  It is a few miles from the Court House and on a good road.  A large cemetery in in {sic} this old Episcopal Church yard.  Some of the graves have a brick wall around them.  Inside this wall several families are buried.  French Huguenots are buried here, and people who came from England and Ireland after the Civil War.  A minister of this church publicly reprimanded one of his congregation in the church for having on a colonial uniform about the time of the War of the Revolution.  This minister was the Rev. John Brunskill, who came very near being roughly man-handled by angry members on that day because of this reprimand.  Brunskill was not allowed to be minister after this.  Although he lost his church, he was somehow able to hold on to, and live in, the Glebe as long as he lived, which was many years.  He was a bachelor.  Bishop Meade's history relates that there were two or three John Brunskills who were ministers in the colonial church of Virginia.  It was hard to identify them.  Bishop Meade had a very poor opinion of at least one of these John Brunskills.  (The man reprimanded was Colonel Archer.)

First Vaughans in Amelia County

This history is supposed to start with the first members of this family who settled in Amelia County.  That is about as far back as the author thinks it advisable to go.  If any information earlier than this is found it will be included.  Any additional information might help someone to trace this history to an earlier date.

Bristol Parish extended from east of Petersburg to the "Great Mountains" on the west up to the time Amelia County and Rawleigh {sic s/b Raleigh} Parish were organized in 1734.  From Bristol Parish church register these notes have been obtained.

Luis Vaughan, son of Nicholas and Ann Vaughan, was born, in February, 1719.
Phoebe Vaughan, daughter of Robert and Martha Vaughan, was born in May 18, 1732, baptized June 1, 1732.
Nicholas Vaughan, son of Robert and Martha Vaughan, was born November 21, 1734.
Daniel and Ann Vaughan had these two children, Ann born 1732 and Phoebe, 1743

We see that Ann and Phoebe are popular names in this family.  Later on Willis became a much used name for several generations.  This history commences with Robert Vaughan and his wife, Martha.

Settlers were coming into what is now Amelia County with a rush at this time and were petitioning the parish vestrymen to build more churches in this rapidly expanding frontier region.  More about these churches later.  So many settlers had come in that a new county and parish were established in 1734.  They were Amelia County and Rawleigh {sic s/b Raleigh} Parish. As soon as these were


{Page 29}

set up this county and parish extended from Namozine Creek on the east to the Appomattox River on the north. (Then called Bristol River.)  It extended to the great Nottoway River on the south, and indefinitely to the west.

Amelia records show that Robert Vaughan was a surveyor in Amelia in 1736.  At this time settlements had very probably not been made far west of Farmville.  Roads were cut through the forest while the wagons waited.  Crude bridges of saplings and poles laid over them were built if the stream was too deep to be forded.  Log cabins were being built with no floors but the ground and with slab roofs with probably not a nail in them, with chimneys made of stones at the foundation, and the top part made of notched saplings and lined on the inside with a thick layer of mud.  No building inspector had to be looked out for then.  Window glass was not used until about forty years later.  These crude log cabins, lighted by small windows so as to let in not too much cold in winter and also lighted with pine knots blazing in the large open fireplace and with tallow candles, were the residences of our pioneer ancestors in Amelia County.

In 1740 Robert Vaughan was granted 800 acres of land on the lower side of Flatt Creek. (When a map hangs on the wall the lower side is always the south side.) This land was bounded on the north by Flatt Creek and joined the land of Thomas Winford.  Franks Creek ran through this large tract of land.  It was located just a very short distance west of Tomahawk Creek which flows north into Flatt Creek.  The mill pond of a very early mill, built on Flatt Creek backed water some distance west of Tomahawk creek or branch, and it is almost certain that a part of Robert Vaughans low grounds were covered with water of this mill pond.  More about this mill later.  Later it becomes Jeter's mill.

A part of this old grant of 800 acres is now (1946) the farm of Mr. Stewart Morris, who for many years operated a dairy farm there.  Mr. Morris is now probably more than seventy-five years old, and he is a grandson of Robert Vaughan who descended from Robert who was granted this land by the English Crown.

In 1737 Thomas Vaughan was granted 400 acres that joined Robert Vaughan.  In 1747 Henry Vaughan was granted 182 acres on the north side of Flatt Creek.  In 1752 Lewis Vaughan was granted 244 acres on Tomahawk and Franks Creek joining Robert Vaughan's land.  I am just about certain all of the four above named Vaughans were close relatives, and as we see they lived close together on both sides of Flatt Creek and about three or four miles northwest of the present village of Jetersville, Virginia.

The next history of Robert Vaughan is in August 1771, when he wrote his will. In this will he named his wife Martha, his son James, his son Willis, his daughter Phoebe Mays, his daughter Ann Johnson.  This will was proved by William Mays, (probably his son-in-law.)  and by Edmund Booker in September 1779.  No doubt he died about this time, which was about the middle of the Revolution.

The Mays family of Amelia went to live in South Carolina.  Then to Georgia and later to Florida where they became a wealth {sic s/b wealthy} prominent family.  More about this later.


{Page 30}

Robert Vaughan’s daughter Ann married Richard Johnson before August 10, 1771 at which time Robert wrote his will.  Richard Johnson and his wife lived on Sandy Creek about a mile or more northwest of the small village of Deatonsville.

Ordinaries in Amelia County

An ordinary was a tavern.  It was a place where a person could pay for meals and spend the night, and also have his horse or horses stabled and fed.  There were a good many of these ordinaries in colonial Virginia.

Robert Foster kept an ordinary in Amelia County in 1787.

Rice Newman and Sam Chappell kept an ordinary in Amelia in 1787.

John Townes kept an ordinary in 1787.

Pauline {? s/b Paulen ?} Anderson kept an ordinary in 1788.

Richard Booker kept an ordinary in 1788.

Len Hudson kept an ordinary in 1788.

Josiah Jackson kept an ordinary in 1782.

Peter Stanback was granted license for an ordinary at Amelia Court House in 1782.

Note:  The author is unable to say where these ordinaries were located.  The one at {sic s/b Paineville} has been described under the heading Paineville.  Only one of these old buildings is standing in the western part of Amelia now so far as he knows.  This one was John Jeter’s Tavern, described separately.

Prices:  lodging in clean sheets for each man per night six pence (12 cent{s).} Stableage {sic} and fodder for a horse one night, six pence.  Indian corn per gallon four pence, dated 1753.

Early Doctors in Amelia County

David Asselin was a doctor in Amelia County in 1787.  Others who were doctors at this time were: Dr. Dugless {sic ? Douglass or Douglas ?}, Dr. Roger Scott, and Dr. Alexander Willson.

Doctor Daniel Segar{e} was in Amelia in 1795.  He married Miss Motley.

Note by the author:  In these old days most doctors had very little college training.  Some had only two years at a medical school.  It is just about certain that some of them never attended a medical school at all.

In 1782 which was during the War of the Revolution, the population of Amelia was 5549 white people and 8748 blacks.


{Page 31}

Amelia Sulphur Springs

As I write this I can imagine the people who read this fifty or a hundred years from now will be amused to know how things were done in the long ago {sic}, and in the first few years of the twentieth century.

This old kitchen and dining room has thick walls and a good roof, I believe but it is in a very neglected state, with stalls for cattle and hogs where the finest of food was cooked.  There is no furniture, no doors or windows left now.

The three brick buildings described are all that is left now.  Two frame buildings are standing now and in a poor condition.

My ancesters {sic s/b ancestors}, the Johnsons, used to visit these springs.  I have heard my grandmother tell of being there when a girl, about 1845.  I have heard her say political speakings took place there.  Just before the Civil War troops from Cumberland County came to this place and drilled with the Amelia Troops.

Several generations of the Willson family owned this resort from as early as about 1820 until the Civil War.  This place reached the height of its fame under the management and ownership of Thomas C. Willson from 1840 to 1860.  He was accidentally drowned there.  After the war of 1861 the place was owned by the Cottrell family and was sold by a member of this family to a large lumber company about 1916.  In the meantime it had increased in size to a very large tract of land of about fourteen hundred acres.

The su;phur {sic s/b sulphur} spring is in use now.  I have never heard of any of the water being sold.  (Blanton’s Stage Coach and Carriage Shop was located about a mile and a half west of these springs on the south side of the public road).

Many of the guests went to these springs in stage coaches and in private carriages.  Many who went in carriages took with them a colored maid servant and a driver, who was also a servant.

Horse racing, tournaments, dancing, croquet, horseback riding and soldier company drills were some of the things that were indulged in there.

About 1848 or 1850, the railroad was constructed from Richmond by Jetersville and then people came by train to this station and to the springs.  This probably increased business as it facilitated travel from greater distances.  I understand that the greater part of the patronage of this resort were people from Amelia and adjoining counties who were in comfortable circumstances, and who went there in private vehicles.

Some prominent church members did not approve of the kind of life lived there and took drastic action in this way.  Mr. Willson, the owner and operator of this resort was expelled from the church.

A granddaughter of Thomas Claiborne Willson, who married Mr. Aubyn Taylor, lived at these springs from about 1901 for many years.  She was a charming woman, and Mr. Taylor was deputy treasurer then.  They used to cash school teachers warrants or pay checks, some of which were for one of our family.


{Page 32}

Your author visited at this place then, and was told of the drowning of Mr. Willson, her grandfather and former owner {sic s/b followed by something like “of the springs”}.

Prices in Amelia County in 1900

In 1900 the average price of wheat was about sixty cents a bushel.  A farmer would take five and a half bushels to a mill and get back a barrel of flour and some “seconds” some shop and some bran.  All mills were water driven except probably one that was built at Jetersville by Doctor Vaughan about 1900, which was operated with a steam engine.  Very little flour was sold in Amelia in paper sacks then.  People made their own yeast out of hops, irish potatoes and salt.  Wheat was cut with binders, reapers and with old hand cradles.  A steam engine drove the separator that thrashed the wheat.  The toll charged was never less than six bushels to a “setting”.  All over a hundred bushels was at the rate of six bushels to a hundred bushels thrashed.

Corn sold for about forty cents a bushel.  Some farmers had hand corn shellers.

Sugar sold for about six cents a pound, and kerosene oil sold for fifteen cents a gallon.  The price of these two widely used articles remained just about the same for over forty years.

Children’s school shoes cost from eighty cents to a dollar and twenty cents.

An able-bodied negro man could be hired by the month for eight dollars a month a board and a place to sleep.

The village blacksmith would shoe a horse all round {sic} for forty cents if shoes and nails were furnished.

Many boys and some men hunted with civil war muskets and bought their powder and shot and caps from the village store.

Some people were addicted to drugs.  Morphine and laudanum were sold in country stores to those in any quantity they were able to pay for.

Mills

In 1740 or before, Abram Cockes mill was built at the forks of Big and Little Nottoway River.

The first mill in western Amelia County designed to be operated entirely by steam was built at Jetersville By {sic s/b by} Dr. Lemuel H. Vaughan, M.D., about 1900.  This mill ground both wheat and corn, but mostly wheat.  This mill operated almost steadily up to about 1931, when it burned.  For many years it was operated by Wood Vaughan, only son of its founder.

Most of the following was copied from an order book of Amelia County, which is now in the new state library in Richmond.  Date May, 1943.


{Page 33}

When a mill was to be built in these colonial times, it was the general rule for a jury of twelve “freeholders” to be appointed by a judge or a court to determine the amount of damage the builder of the mill should pay to the one or more persons whole {sic ? s/b whose ?} land would be covered by the water of the pond to be built.

Many of these strong and industrious pioneer men of Amelia County could not write their names when called upon to be jurors to assess damages when a mill was to be built.  These men signed with “his mark”.  There were very few schools then.  All of these mills operated by water power.

1751  A mill to be built on the land of Leonard Clayborne {SSS note - alternate spelling Claiborne} on Namozine Creek in Raleigh parish, Amelia County.  At this time Abraham Cock was sheriff of Amelia.  Samuel Cobbs signed this order.

1759  A mill to be built by William Covington on Woody Creek, in the parish of Nottoway.  Covington paid damages to James Hall, whose land and timber would be covered and damaged by this mill pond.

1761  A mill to be built on Deep Creek by William Crawley.  Raleigh parish John Clay’s land damaged.

1765 A mill was built by William Cryer on Tomhitton Creek in Nottoway Parish.

1763  A mill was built on Beaver Pond branch by Henry Randolph.  Raleigh Parish.

1775  A mill was built by William Finney on Flatt Creek.  Damage of twenty shillings was paid to John Robertson.  William Clement was the sheriff of Amelia County.

Note:  The author of this is not able to say where this mill was located on Flatt Creek, although he is familiar with this part of Amelia.  It was propably {sic s/b probably} located on the lower or eastern part of this creek.

1758  A mill was built by David Greenhill on the “Branch of Kitts” in Raleigh Parish.

1759  a mill was built by Abraham Green on Deep Creek in Raleigh Parish.

1759  Nathan Fletcher petitioned for an acre of land on Wood Creek belonging to Billington Williams.  A mill to be built here.

1747 A mill to be built by Wills Jordan on Fork of Nottoway.  Damage was paid to Abraham Cock.

1755 Henry Robertson built a mill on Mountain Creek, Nottoway Parish.


{Page 34}

1761 A mill was built by Mr. Forrest on Deep Creek and paid damages to Thomas Tabb.  Note:  This mill was very probably near old Grub Hill Church.  Many of the Tabbs, some of whom owned very large tracts of land, lived in this part of Amelia.

1764  A mill was built by Edmund Booker on {H}ibbs Creek.  Simon Clement was a juror here.

1765  David Greenhill built a mill in 1765.  No location is given.

1737  Henry Robertson built a mill on little Nottoway River.

1782 William {B}ell was permitted to erect a mill on Flatt Creek.  Location not known by this author.

176{ } Daniel Jones built a mill in Amelia.  I am not sure where it was.  Daniel Jones’ mill and Amelia Court House were burned by the British General Tarleton in 1781, when he was on a raid through Amelia County.  Daniel Jones petitioned the state for financial relief because this mill was destroyed by the enemy.

Woods Mill  I have been reliably informed that this was about the first mill ever to be built near Painville {sic s/b Paineville}.  An older member of the Wood family told me this many years ago.  This was a small corn mill that used stones, and it was located on Bull Run Creek probably two and a half miles west by northwest of Painville {sic s/b Paineville}.  It was on a small creek not more than a mile and a half from the creeks beginning about at Rodophill {sic s/b Rodophil} and Providence Church.

Both {ends} of the Mill {dam} are there now and a few stones with drill holes in them are below the {dam}.  This was a part of the mill foundation.  Another dam was up the creek a ways from this dam.  I do not know anything about this other dam.

I have made inquiries, but can not find out anything about when this mill ceased to operate, or why it ceased.  An old man named Ford lived nearby, who was born about 1830, did not pass on any information about this mill to his sons.  He must not have remembered it.  It probably went down before 1{8}00.  A millstone from this mill laid around until about 1920 and then was used to make a foundation for a chimney of a house just a short distance north of Providence church.  If not disturbed it will be there for ages.  Bull Run Creek runs into Stocks Creek, and it runs just about north.

Jeters Mill  I have been told by a member of the Jeter family that this mill was built by a man named Atkinson. I have not been able to find out when it was built.  It was probably almost as old or just as old as Woods Mill described above.  This was a corn and flourmill and an important mill that was patronized from far and wide.

This mill was located on Flatt Creek not more than a mile above Amelia Sulphur Springs.  Most of the dam is there now, and the canal that leads to the


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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