Dover: A Tour

20 Mar

“Dover” once stood on Dover Road near Hebron Church. In the 1850s, the mansion was enlarged by James and Ellen Bruce Morson into the large home seen in the pictures below.

dover 1 In a sales brochure put out by the American Trust Company in the early part of the 20th Century, the home was described as “A beautiful country estate, highly developed as a gentleman’s country home, with every natural advantage for a private country club.” At the time, Dover consisted of 350 acres and included a beautiful barn and stone gazebo.

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Typical of the time, the home was decorated in the Victorian style with colonial influences. The billiard room had an incredible frieze as seen in the following photograph.

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The brochure boasted about the incredible finishes and marble mantel that could be found in the drawing room.

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The size of the rooms is one reason that the sellers were actively trying to interest country clubs to purchase the mansion, it would have lent itself nicely to that type of use.

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It is unclear if the brochure worked or if any sales came forward, but sadly the mansion was destroyed by fire on the afternoon of February 8, 1933. Newspaper accounts said the fire began when a spark flew out of one of the decorative fireplaces. The mansion was a total loss.

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The ruins stood near the road for years and were a popular destination for many locals looking for an afternoon adventure. Finally they were declared dangerous and taken down.

To learn more about Dover Mansion, read Goochland County Historical Society Magazine Vol. 7, No. 2 “Dover – Memories” by Virginia Strange Kiser and Vol. 8, No. 1 “Dover” by Elie Weeks, information on Dover can also be found in Goochland Yesterday and Today by Cece Bullard.  These are available for purchase at the Historical Society Office.

 

Lelia Lesett Williams Bankett

20 Feb
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Courtesy National Park Service, Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site

Lelia Lesett Williams Bankett was born on May 16, 1885 to George Williams Jr. and Lelia Shelton Williams of Goochland County, Virginia. She was educated at Smith’s Business College in Lynchburg and Hartshorn Memorial College in Richmond. On September 27, 1923, she married John E. Bankett. She taught stenography and typewriting at Armstrong Night School in Richmond for four years; she worked for 24 years at the Independent Order of St. Luke, serving as Field Secretary for 18 months; and from 1927 – 1928, she served as National Lecturer for the Supreme Lodge of the National Ideal Benefit Society.

Public records provide factual information, but they tell us very little about the life Lelia actually led. However, since Lelia worked for a prominent woman of historical importance, we know quite a bit about her professional life and in turn, something about her character. She worked for Maggie L. Walker, the leader of the Independent Order of St. Luke, when Mrs. Walker was building it into a large and powerful organization. Lelia assisted in this effort and deserves some credit for both Mrs. Walker’s success and the success of the Order.

She passed away on August 22, 1939.

Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey

31 Jan
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Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey and Jessica Cobb Blakey. Photograph donated by Dr. James Bowles

Dr. Arthur Gilbert Blakey was one of nine children born in Barboursville, Virginia to Ella and James Blakey on March 8, 1888. He was a graduate of Virginia State College and had his medical training from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Dr. Blakey   practiced medicine in Goochland, Fluvanna, and adjoining Virginia counties beginning in 1918. He traveled miles back and forth to the mountains servicing patients pro bono. In some instances, patients would attempt to pay him with produce items and farm goods. He served the surrounding area for a period of 45 years.

Dr. Blakey passed away on April 24, 1963. The late Dr. James Harold Bowles, Sr. considered Dr. Blakey to have been both a role model and mentor.

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Medicine bottle dated July 26, 1949, filled at Bruce’s Drug Store in Scottsville, VA, for a prescription written by Dr. Blakey. Bottle donated by Eleanore Andrews.

December Gathering – Vallambrosa

18 Dec

IMG_6754 adjOn December 1, 2019, the Society gathered at historic Vallambrosa for our annual holiday meeting. R. Strother and Evie Scott, our hosts, welcomed us to their home for an afternoon of fellowship and food with a little society news thrown into the mix.

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Homeowner Evie Scott (left) and Society President Christina Dunn (right) led the news portion of gathering

Vallambrosa was built in the early 1870’s by Dr. Charles Guerrant Massie and named for an ancestral Guerrant home in Italy. It was constructed of heart pine cut from the surrounding woods and has a foundation of brick which were manufactured on the site. Dr. Massie built the house after serving as a surgeon in the Civil War, when he returned to Goochland to practice medicine. He married Mildred Heath Guerrant, daughter of Colonel Charles Guerrant and his wife, Sarah Thompson Guerrant, of “Balquither” in Goochland County. Born in Goochland County on March 31, 1836, Dr. Massie was of Huguenot descent, a great grandson of John Guerrant, Jr. who was born in 1760 at nearby “Ceres” located close to the old Three Chopt Road. John Guerrant, Jr. was a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1788; was commissioned Brigadier General of Virginia forces in 1793; and became President of the State Council and Lieutenant Governor of Virginia in 1805.

According to family records, the original house was comprised of four rooms, two upstairs and two downstairs, with a central hall running from front to back. An outside kitchen, smoke house, ice house, and servants’ house existed along with a barn which was already on the place when the land was purchased from Alexander Shelton in 1870. The house and dependencies were built by local workmen, without benefit of architect or contractor.

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The former Perkinsville post office was relocated to the grounds of Vallambrosa and re-purposed as a tack room.

The lane to Vallambrosa passes through the entrance posts which were built from bricks of the foundation walls of Balquither. The wall around the family graveyard, within sight of the house, was built with rocks from the foundation of the old barn at Ceres.

This family home serving four generations, stands simply and serenely, cherished by the family and from its very beginning, known by relatives and friends for the warm hospitality they enjoyed there.

The property is still owned by members of the Massie family.

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We thank the Scott family for hosting us for the afternoon and our members who brought a delicious array of hors d’oeuvres for tasting.

To read more about Vallambrosa, read Goochland County Historical Society Magazine Vol. 5, No. 2 “Vallambrosa” by Charlotte Taylor Massie.  Available for purchase at the Historical Center and online: Vol 5, No. 2.

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Elam Turner Salmon

26 Nov
Elam Salmon

July 1, 1917 – December 2, 2004

Elam Turner Salmon was born July 1, 1917 in Goochland. He was 23 years old when he registered in May of 1943. According to his Registration Card, we know he was 6 feet tall, and had blue eyes and brown hair and was living in Richmond, Virginia. He worked for E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. (DuPont)

Toyko, Japan.  Elam Salmon

He was with the 8th Calvary Regiment serving in the South Seas. After the fall of Japan, the 8th Cavalry occupied the 3rd Imperial Guard Regiment Barracks in Tokyo.

 

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Richard Linwood Trice

10 Oct
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August 6, 1921–October 22, 1998

Richard Linwood Trice was born at Hadensville, Goochland County, Virginia, on August 6, 1921. After attending Virginia Tech, he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942 and qualified for flight school. After completing his training as a navigator, he was stationed at Bury St. Edmunds, England with the 8th Air Force, 94th Bomb Group. He served on a B-17 Flying Fortress, for a number of missions over Germany. In 1944 near Stuttgart, the plane lost an engine due to enemy fire. Unable to return to England and close to the Swiss border, the crew made an emergency landing at Zurich. Crews who landed in Switzerland ended up spending the remainder of the war in internment camps there. After interrogation and quarantine, Linwood, with other American officers, was interned in Davos-Platz, then, as now, a famous ski resort. There he stayed at the luxury Post Hotel and learned to ski, earning a “silver ski” medal of accomplishment. When he was discharged from active duty in 1945, he held the rank of Second Lieutenant.

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Trice in Switzerland

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Matt Archer Allen

11 Sep
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May 7, 1924–November 25, 1944

Matt Archer Allen was born May 7, 1924 in Cardwell, Virginia. He was 18-years-old when he registered in June of 1942. According to his Registration Card, we know he was 5 feet, 6 inches tall, and had black eyes and black hair. He listed C.C. Cochrane of Rockville as his employer.

He was serving aboard the USS Essex (CV 9) on November 25, 1944 when the vessel was hit by a Japanese kamikaze. The strike was on the port edge of the aircraft carrier’s flight deck and landed among the planes gassed for takeoff, causing extensive damage. The ship survived the hit, but Allen was one of 15 killed in the attack. His name is among those listed at the Virginia War Memorial in Richmond.

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Richard Snellings Cridlin

15 Aug
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October 26, 1915–December 25, 1998

Richard Snellings Cridlin was born October 26, 1915 in Henrico, Virginia. He was 24-years-old when he registered in October of 1940. According to his Registration Card, we know he was married to Lucille Layne Cridlin, was 5 feet, 9 inches tall, and had brown eyes and brown hair. He listed Sylvania Industrial Corporation as his employer. His home was his wife’s family farm near Crozier, Va.

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Taken in Paris, 1944

Upon completion of basic training, he was sent to Europe, where he took part in D-Day and the Liberation of Paris. He was then sent to the Pacific theater where he participated in the Battle of Okinawa, the last major battle of World War II. After the war, he returned to Crozier where he spent the remainder of his life.

World War II Soldiers Remembered: Clyde Bigerton Southworth

1 Aug
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November 30, 1910–September 28, 1979

Clyde Bigerton Southworth was born November 30, 1910, in Goochland County, Virginia, to Thomas Mayo and Virgillia Clyde Pace Southworth. According to his Enlistment record, he was 6 feet tall and weighed 132 pounds. He was single at the time.

He enlisted on July 11, 1942. He had the places he was stationed engraved on his canteen including; Honolulu, Hawaii, Canton, Christmas Islands, Gilbert Islands, Saipan, Marshall Islands, and Okinawa. He brought home many photographs of his time in the Philippines. He was released on November 11, 1945.

When he returned home, he married Anne Pollard of Amelia County, on January 5, 1946

World War II Soldiers Remembered: James Harold Bowles

12 Jul
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June 12, 1921–January 17, 2019

James Harold Bowles graduated from Central High School in 1940 and attended Virginia Union University from 1940 to 1942. Bowles was 20-years-old and a student at VUU when he filled out his registration card in 1942. Soon after that he began work as a civil service employee in Pennsylvania and Hawaii from 1942 to 1944. While in Hawaii, he joined the United States Army and served two years. He resumed his studies and graduated from VUU in 1948 and from Meharry Medical School in 1952. After his internship, he returned home to Goochland County and opened his medical practice.