Lost Goochland – The Crawford Place

6 Oct

Crawford home0001 webIn the archives of the Goochland County Historical Society, there are many photographs of homes, some still standing and some that are not. The Crawford home falls into the latter category. The photo is from a yellowed news article that was published in the Goochland Gazette.

This ancient house is said to have been built by a member of the Crawford family, some of whom came from Scotland after the unsuccessful rising of the Clans against the House of Hanover in 1745. The date on the chimney is 1774.

We do know that the house was located near Broad Street Road (Rt. 250) in Centerville and was last owned by Mr. Crawford Davis. The home fell victim to fire sometime in the mid 1900’s. If you have any information on this house or have photographs of other long forgotten homes, please share them with the society so that we may add them to the story of Goochland for future generations. You can stop in anytime during business hours so that we may scan your photographs for preservation in our collection. We will only keep the original if you would like us to, otherwise, it is your to keep. Don’t let Goochland’s past be forgotten.

The Old Stone Jail Restoration Celebration, September 11, 2016!

8 Sep

The Old Stone Jail (1825)

The Goochland County Historical Society will host a ribbon cutting ceremony for the restored Old Stone Jail at the Goochland Courthouse Public Square at 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 11, 2016. This celebration represents the culmination of research, construction and fundraising activity that began two years ago.

The Old Stone Jail has been restored to depict three eras of prison life over its nearly two centuries of existence.


Architectural historian Gibson Worsham, left, and restoration contractor Jim Haskell, right.

This project has been led by the work of architectural historian Gibson Worsham, with the construction phase managed by Goochland contractor Jim Haskell of Sermat Construction Services.

In addition to the ribbon-cutting activity, the Historical Society will unveil the inaugural phase of the Courtyard Green Commemorative Bricks installation.

The public is invited to attend, and tours of the newly restored Old Stone Jail will take place immediately after the ribbon-cutting.

Y History Walk – Back to the Prison

13 Aug

James River Correctional Center

On Sunday, June 26, 2016, more than 50 people gathered on the lawn in front of the clock tower at the James River Correctional Center property. They were there to take part in the second Y History Walk tour of the old prison property. Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen greeted all and gave a brief history of the property. The walking tour then began.


Anxiously awaiting the tour

A tour of the old chapel which was followed by an in depth look at the deserted cell block housed in the clock tower building. This was followed by a tour of the segregation building where prisoners who didn’t follow the rules were taken to seperate them from the general population. Following the prison buildings was a walk out to the historic brick kilns that once produced bricks that were used all over the state.


Inside of one of the cell blocks

Thank you to the Virginia Department of Corrections for making the property available to us for the afternoon and thank you to Assistant Warden Nikki Linamen for taking time out of her day to escort us around the property and answer the myriad of questions that were thrown her way. It was a wonderful afternoon and a fun and informative tour.


Bricks were produced here that were used all over the state.

Graduation Day

5 Jun

This weekend marks the end of the school year for Goochland students and the end of High School for the Class of 2016. This weekend also marked the occasion of at least one class reunion. At the class reunion for the Goochland High School Class of 1950, the following piece of history was shared. It is a small booklet that must have been handed out for an end of the year gathering and according to the names listed, it is from about 1905 or 1906. Following the picture is a poem by an unknown author, that was printed in the booklet.


The Close of School.


My pupils, ‘tis the end of school.

The term has reached its close;

We’ll say our farewells, go our ways,

And get an earned repose.

The bell no more will ring for you.

Until we meet again,

And sweet may your enjoyment be

Between this time and then.


Our separation’s long or short,

There’s only One can tell,

But what He does is always best,

As you all know full well.

,But oft I’ll think as days go by

Of all my pupils dear;

My thoughts will wander back to you

Thro’ all the coming year.


My wishes best go with you all,

My aid’s at your command

To fit you for life’s battles fierce,

To lend a helping hand.

Our meeting here from day to day.

Has knit us in a tie

Of friendship kindness and good will,

Which time will sanctify.


I’ve labored hard to teach you well,

True knowledge to impart,

To train the mind in wisdom’s ways,

And educate the heart.

And well I know our coming here

For months, from day to day,

Has done you good and fitted you

To find life’s better way.


You’ve laid foundations sure and strong,

On which to build a life,

That in the future time will shine

And triumph over strife.

But oft your thoughts will backward turn

To school of youthful days,

Where oft as boys and girls you met

When life was all ablaze


The time to say last words has come,

But ere we hence depart,

My thanks to you for kindness shown

I give with all my heart.

And now farewell! The day declines,

The sun is on the wane,

The shadows fall, the curtain drops

We break our school days chain.

One of the names listed is that of Blanche Layne. Read more about her school life in this earlier post, Memories of Cardwell High School.









Sabot Hill Meeting

22 May

Our first membership meeting of the year was held on May 15, 2016 in Manakin-Sabot. More than 60 people attended on what turned out to be a beautiful spring afternoon. A part of the reason for the excellent turn out would be the location, Sabot Hill. John and Sarah Van Der Hyde were gracious enough to open their home and the beautifully landscaped gardens to our members and guests.


Sabot Hill c. 1937

Sabot Hill, a Georgian-style mansion, was completed in 1937 by William T. Reed, Jr. The Baskerville and Son’s designed home has many handsome features such as the paneled entry and stairway and the 1719 woodwork and paneling in the library. The formal gardens are more than 100 years old and feature boxwood, roses, foxglove and a dahlia cutting garden. The current Sabot Hill occupies the same site as the 1850’s mansion of the same name that was built by James A. Seddon. Seddon’s mansion burned in the 1920’s.


Historical Society President Scott Johnson and Director Phyllis Silber present a thank you gift to hosts John and Sarah Van Der Hyde.

Lynn Price, our speaker for the day, discussed   “The Lady of His Excellency’: Martha Washington during the American Revolution.” Price is Assistant Editor at the Washington papers and gave an in depth account of some of the surviving correspondence between Martha and George Washington and what became of the bulk of their letters. The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer segment that kept everyone’s attention.

speaker and others

L to R: President Scott Johnson, speaker Lynn Price and Vice-President Bruce Venter.

Afterwards, John Van Der Hyde presented the listeners with a brief history of Sabot Hill and then encouraged the attendees to stroll the gardens.


Fountain in the garden at Sabot Hill

This was a not-to-be-missed occasion! We would like to thank John and Sarah Van Der Hyde for opening their home and gardens for the day. Thank you as well to Lynn Price for giving us such a wonderful presentation. We would also like to than Louise Thompson and Virginia Olson for getting the refreshments on the table in time and for cleaning everything up afterwards. This was a meeting that will not be soon forgotten.


Host Sarah Van Der Hyde with Penny

Contributed by James Richmond of the Goochland County Historical Society

For more information on Sabot Hill read Volume 10.2 of The Goochland County Historical Society’s magazine.

Relic Recall: Uncovering the forgotten stories behind our stuff

10 May

gold dustWhat is it: Gold dust and gold nuggets from Goochland gold mines.


Most people today do not realize that Goochland County has a long history in gold mining. When the early colonists came to Jamestown, one of their intended missions was to find gold. After early failures to locate anything near Jamestown, Christopher Newport led an expedition, in November 1608, up the James River about “four days above the falls”. They actually found samples of gold in gravels near the Indian village of “Rassawek” at the confluence of the Rivanna and James Rivers. Due to conflicts with the Monacan tribes, they never returned to the area, and soon the “gold” in Virginia became the golden leaf of tobacco and mining for actual gold was forgotten.

In 1829, gold was again discovered in western Goochland. A very distinct gold belt passes through Goochland along the current day Shannon Hill Road, from Shannon Hill in the north to Columbia in the south, near where Newport found gold in 1608. From 1830 to the start of The Civil War, nearly fifty gold mines were put into operation along this gold belt. The largest of these mines were known by such names as Bowles, Tellurium, Busby, Fisher, Moss, and Payne, with most of these names representing the people that owned the land where they were located.

A label attached to the gold samples in the picture provided information that the samples had been donated to GCHS in 1968 by Mr. & Mrs. Harrison Tilman of Crozier. Research into family history revealed that Mrs. Tilman was Edna Withers Kent, who had been born in Kent’s Store just across the county line in Fluvanna in 1896. Her father was George Henry Kent, the longtime owner, druggist and postmaster of Kent’s Store explaining why the samples were displayed in antique glass medicine bottles. Mrs. Tilman’s first husband had been Stuart C. Cottrell of Goochland, whose mother was Harriett Alexanna Bowles, a member of the Bowles family that owned and operated the Bowles and Tellurium gold mines in the 1800s.

The Tellurium mine was the largest of the Goochland gold mines, opened in 1834 by Judge D.W.K Bowles and G.W. Fisher. Bowles introduced, in 1836, a stamp mill which pounded the ore rather than grind it. This mill may have been the first of its kind in the country. The mill was expanded in 1848 but fire destroyed it in 1857 and it never reopened, although minor attempts were made up until 1910. For the most part, however, the Civil War marked the end of the gold mining era in Goochland.

Our relic of the past serves to remind us that in western Goochland, much like Christopher Newport 400 years ago, we can still say, “Thar’s gold in them thar hills”.

Relic Recall is contributed by Phil Harris of the Goochland County Historical Society.

Under Every Tree

28 Apr

Phyllis book1

Finally there comes along a true guide to finding primary genealogy resources in Virginia! This little book will dispel the burden of where one should go first: a courthouse, library, or historical society. It provides detailed driving, and parking directions to the most helpful resources in each locality and a suggested visit-here-first for each county in the Commonwealth. The reader will also find valuable suggestions for places to visit in each county. Pack Under Every Tree with your essential research materials. Put it in the glove compartment of your car and head out.

Purchase online in the historical society gift shop or from www.undereverytree.com