Nottoway County, Virginia Genealogy Trails
NOTTOWAY COUNTY, 1788-1860 In undertaking to
write the story of Nottoway one finds very little source
material available. Until a few years ago the early
records at Nottoway Court House were in very bad
condition, having: been terribly mutilated by Federal
troops during General Grant's brief occupation of
Nottoway Court House, April 5, 1865.
The Will Books, which cover the twenty years from
1845 to 1865, have been destroyed and the indexes cut
out of the others. One can still see in the old Will
Book of 1827, written on the flyleaf by a Yankee
soldier, "Abraham Lincoln, President of Virginia, 1865."
Thanks, however, to the Association for the Preservation
of Virginia Antiquities and Emergency Relief, the old
records have been re-indexed and put back in fair
condition, and the first Will Book completely restored
through the generosity of the Daughters of the American
What we now know as Nottoway County was Prince
George until 1734 when Amelia was formed from Prince
George, and in 1788 Nottoway County was taken from
Amelia. It embraced the Nottoway Parish and was named
for the Nottoway River, which then separated Amelia from
Lunenburg County, and which, in turn, was named for the
Nottoway Indians. The Nottoway Indians lived in
Southampton County on a reservation about fifteen miles
square on the Nottoway River near Jerusalem, then the
county seat of Southampton. According to Colonel William
Byrd, in 1728 they numbered about two hundred. They were
called Mangoac or Nadowa, a name given to them by other
tribes of Indians, which means "adders" or
"rattlesnakes." The name "Nadowa" later became
anglicized into Nottoway. As late as December 17, 1804,
there were Indians in Nottoway County, as evidenced by a
petition from the people of Nottoway sent to the
legislature on that date to have trustees appointed for
the Nottoway tribe of Indians living in the county at
Not much is known about the part Nottoway, then
Amelia, played in the Revolutionary War. We do know,
though, that she furnished a good many troops, and that
William Fitzgerald II, who lived at Leinster in this
county promptly organized a company, was elected captain
and served throughout the war. He was wounded at the
battle of Guilford Court House and was breveted major
for gallantry in action in that engagement.
Tarleton, with his British Cavalry, passed
through the county on his famous raid to Bedford. He
burned Edmundson's Old Tavern, which place later became
known as Burnt Ordinary and still later as Morgansville.
The house, rebuilt by Captain Samuel Morgan, is still
standing and is to be seen on the right side of the road
to Wellville about three miles east of Black
It was at West Creek that nine of Tarleton's
cavalry had their famous encounter with Peter Francisco
in which Francisco, although their prisoner, wounded two
and put to flight the others. This occurred in full view
of the British cavalry.
A vivid account of this encounter is given in
Howe's History of Virginia and is in part as follows:
"While the British Army was spreading havoc and
desolation all around them by their plundering and
burnings in Virginia in 1781, Francisco had been
reconnoitering, and while stopping at the house of a Mr.
Ward, then in Amelia, now in Nottoway County, nine of
Tarleton's cavalry came up with three negroes, and told
him he was their prisoner. Seeing he was overpowered by
numbers, he made no resistance. Believing him to be very
peaceful they all went into the house, leaving him and
the pay-master together. "Give up all you possess of
value,'' said the latter, "or prepare to die." "I have
nothing to give up," said Francisco, "so use your
pleasure." "Deliver instantly," rejoined the soldier,
"those massive silver buckles which you wear in your
shoes." 'They were a present from a valued friend,"
replied Francisco, "and it would grieve me to part with.
them. Give them into your hands I never will. You have
the power; take them if you think fit." The soldier put
his saber under his arm, and bent down to take
Francisco finding so favorable an opportunity to
recover his liberty, stepped one pace to the rear, drew
the sword with force from under his [the trooper's] arm,
and instantly gave him a blow across the skull.
"My enemy," observed Francisco, was brave, and
though severely wounded, drew his pistol, and in the
same moment that he pulled the trigger, I cut his hand
nearly off. The bullet grazed my side. One of the
soldiers mounted the only horse he could get and
presented his gun at my breast. It missed fire. I rushed
on the muzzle of the gun. A short struggle ensued. I
disarmed and wounded' him. Tarleton's troop of four
hundred were in sight. All was hurry and confusion,
which I increased by repeatedly hallooing as loud as I
could, Come on my brave boys, now's your time; we will
soon dispatch these few and then attack the main body.
The wounded man flew to the troops, and the others fled
panic-stricken. The eight horses that were left behind I
gave to Ward to conceal for me. '' Discovering Tarleton
had dispatched ten more in pursuit of me, I made off. I
evaded, their vigilance.
"They stopped to refresh themselves. I, like an
old fox, doubled, and fell on their rear.
"Finding my situation dangerous, and surrounded
by enemies, I left."
Peter Francisco lived in Buckingham County. After
the Revolutionary war, he was made sergeant-at-arms of
the House of Delegates. He died on Sunday, January 16.
1831, in Richmond, and is buried! in Shockoe
The Daughters of the American Revolution have
erected a tablet at West Creek to commemorate the valor
of this brave man.
In the War of 1812, Nottoway bore her share of
the burdens of this conflict. Besides furnishing;
troops, she sent a distinguished son. Dr. James Jones,
of Mountain Hall, to serve as Surgeon General of
The period between the close of the Revolutionary
War in 1781, and the beginning of the War between the
States in 1861, has been called the Golden Age in
Virginia. This was especially true of Nottoway. This
section was predominantly agricultural. Tobacco was the
chief crop and more than two million pounds annually
were produced at this time by Nottoway growers. Here wag
the stronghold of slavery, and here, perhaps, it wore
its kindliest aspect.
According to Howe, the population of Nottoway
County in 1840 was: white, 2490; slaves: 7071; free
colored: 158. Total population: 9719, nearly three times
as many slaves as white
The white population was largely of the planter
class. The planter had great responsibilities in
managing his large acres and many slaves; yet he had
time to cultivate the elegancies of life, to engage in
the social graces, and to become familiar with all
current political topics. Consequently it was during
this period that Virginia produced many of her greatest
men, and from this system there arose that hospitality
for Which her people were noted. Nowhere were the wishes
and wants of the guest more regarded and nowhere was the
character of a true gentleman held more sacred. What
mattered if they indulged in horse racing and cock
fighting,they held to the standard that a gentleman's
word was as good as his bond. No people had a clearer
sense of honor and a higher regard for woman kind. The
duels sometimes engaged in during this period had one
redeeming feature: They bred a wholesome respect for a
woman's good name, and loose talk concerning a person's
character was seldom heard.
Writing about the early conditions in Nottoway,
Dr. William S. White, the Presbyterian minister, says:
"My life in Nottoway may be characterized as one of
incessant but delightful labor. That county had long
been celebrated for the politeness, refinement and
hospitality of its inhabitants, but they were deplorably
irreligious card playing, horse racing and wine
drinking were" almost universal among the higher
There were two race tracks within a few miles of Blackstone,
one just west of the town on the north side of
Jordan's, now Hungarytown. Road. It was a double track
one-fourth of a mile long, the race paths overgrown
with brush and trees may still be seen. Across the road
stood Hamlin's Tavern, the first to be built in the
lower end of Nottoway County. There are no records to
indicate when it was built, but it stood in great
dilapidation as late as 1787. The house now occupied by
Lee Bland is only a few yards east of the tavern
The other track was called Bellefonte, and was
situated a few miles east of Blacks tone. It was run by
Colonel Jeter, and was laid off about the year 1822.
Here the wealth, fashion and beauty of Old Virginia
assembled from time to time, coming from the Blue Ridge
Mountains on the west to the Chesapeake Bay on the east;
among its famous clientele were William R. Johnson, of
North Carolina, known as "King of Turf"; Captain William
Junkin Harrison, of Diamond Grove in Brunswick County;
John R. Goode. of Mecklenburg, and, John Randolph, of
Roanoke, all famous horsemen. This race course was
looked upon as a den of iniquity by the ministers in the
county, who did not rest until a great revival was held
near the track and the president of the club. Major
Hezekiah Anderson, and its owner. Captain Richard Jones,
both professed religion and joined the church. The
tavern at Bellefonte was turned into a seminary for
young ladies, and Colonel Jeter became a bankrupt and
died in, a small cabin nearby.
The settlements in the early days of the county
were few. In most instances the places were named for
the tavern owners, as Jennirig's Ordinary named for a
Mr. Jennings who ran a tavern there. Nearby is the grave
of Captain James Dupuy, a soldier of the Revolutionary
War, and not far away was the home of Major Hezekiah
Anderson. Major Anderson was the father of Mary Jane
Anderson, who became the mother of the famous southern
poet, Sidney Lanier.
Burkeville was named for the family who ran Burke's
Old Tavern, and Black's and White's for the two rival
tavern keepers Schwartz and White. Schwartz, in
German, meaning black. These two taverns were located at
the intersection of three roads; namely, Cocke's,
Hungarytown, then called Jordan's Road, and Old Church.
These three roads intersected at a point just east of
the old Schwartz Tavern, now the Anderson home. This
early settlement consisted of the two taverns on
opposite sides of Jordan's Road, a doctor's office, a
blacksmith shop, and an ice house.
The stagecoach from Petersburg came over Cocke's
Road by way of Morgansville, Black's and White's,
Nottoway Court House, and thence to North Carolina. The
settlement of Black's and White's grew as time went on,
and the citizens thought a more dignified name should be
selected, so they chose Bellefonte; however, due to the
objections of the Post Office Department because of the
similarity of Bellefonte, Pa., and Bellefonte, Va., this
name had to be abandoned. Finally, about 1885, at a
meeting of the citizens. Dr. J. M. Hurt suggested that
the name "Blackstone" be chosen after the famous English
jurist of that name.
Cocke's Road is one of the oldest roads in the
county. It was named for Abraham Cocke who ran a mill
near the forks of Big and Little Nottoway Rivers. He was
granted by the court in 1740 a road to his mill, and the
road from that time came to be known as Cocke's Road or
Cocke's Lane. That is how it received its name, and not,
as some believe, from Dr. Cox who perished in the big
snow of 1857, more than a hundred years later.
In the early days, the oldtime Virginian loved
privacy and, like an Englishman, he elected to build his
house as far as possible from his neighbor's and out of
sight of the public road; consequently his goings and
comings were rather infrequent, and except for the time
passed in social visiting, his big day away from home
was when he attended court. (1)
Nottoway Court House was first located at
Hendersonville, one mile west of its present location,
although the first Deputy Clerk's Office was in a house
in the yard at Windrow, afterwards the home of Thos.
The building at Hendersonville evidently burned
down sometime during 1789, for we find in Order Book No.
3, 1789, page 529, the following: "It is the opinion of
this court that the next court for this county shall sit
at Peter Randolph's dwelling: house, that being the
centre fixed on. And it Is ordered that all pleas,
bills, processes and proceedings whatever be adjourned
thereto, and it is ordered that the Sheriff make his
return to that place."
It was also ordered on page 528. Order Book No.
3, "that Samuel Sherwin, Peter Randolph, Freeman Epes
and Rawleigh Carter, or any three of them, shall receive
the goal, stocks and pillory when finished and make
return to this court thereof."
After the building at Hendersonville burned, the
question of a suitable location for the new Court House
arose. There were several mills along the Little
Nottoway River, the most important belonging to Peter
Randolph. He had obtained permission to dam Lazaretta
Creek, and there is a local tradition that when the work
was completed, he stood on the dam and defied God
Almighty to break it. The story runs that on that very
night a freshet came and swept the dam away.
Peter Stainback had a tavern there, and a man by
the name of Hood, a blacksmith shop. Wood Jones, the
county surveyor, was ordered to make a survey, and
decided that this location was very suitable as it was
about the center of the county.
Sometime during the latter part of 1789,
according to Order Book No. 3, 1789, page 540,
commissioners were appointed by the court to let the
building" of the Court House and other necessary
buildings for this county to be built on the land of
In 1793, at the May Court, the commissioners
appointed to view and receive the Court House if done
according to contract, reported unanimously that it was
not done according to bargain. It was later received by
the Court. However, it must have been a very inferior
building for the records show that it was constantly in
need of repair. It was repaired in 1827, 1832, and again
in 1834; finally, at the June term of court, 1841, the
building and the Clerk's Office were ordered to be sold
at the July Court following.
On December 5, 1839, the contract for the present
building was let to Branch Ellington, and a payment of
$1,000 was made on the initial cost. Three years passed
in the construction of the new building, and it was 1843
before court was held in its new quarters.
The early gentlemen justices of Nottoway were:
William Greenhill, Francis Fitzgerald, John Doswell,
Richard Bland, Samuel Pincham, Hamlin Harris, Freeman
Epes, William Fitzgerald, William Watson, Richard
Dennis, James Dupuy and Peter Robertson. Any three of
these men constituted a court.(2)
After the Court House was built, two taverns were
opened, one owned by Peter Randolph. He built it for
speculation and as it was operated by a man by the name
of George, it was known as "George's"; the other was
operated by Edmund Wells.
The Court House green was used as a muster ground
where the militia drilled. Most of the prominent men
were at one time or another officers of the militia,
which accounts for so many titles in those
Nottoway Court House is described in
Martin's Gazeteer of Virginia, circa 1835, as follows:
"(Post Village) sixty-seven miles west of Richmond and
one hundred and eighty-nine miles from Washington,
situated on the Nottoway River one mile east of
Hendersonville, in the business part of the county. It
contains a Court House, Clerk's Office, criminal and
debtor's jail, besides fifteen dwelling houses, one
mercantile, one hotel, one saddler, one tailor, and one
blacksmith shop. In the vicinity, on Nottoway River,
there is a manufacturing flour mill. A daily stage
passes this place on its route from Petersburg to North
Carolina. Population, seventy persons of whom one is an
attorney and one a regular physician."
It was the scene of many political meetings, and
other stirring events. Here took place in July 1818, one
of the strangest duels ever recorded. A duel in which
the principals did not fight. An account of this
unfortunate affair is set forth in "Notes on Southside
Virginia," by The Honorable Walter A. Watson, and is in
part as follows: "Colonel William C. Greenhill and
Colonel Tyree G. Bacon were
prominent citizens of Nottoway.
Greenhill lived in the lower end of the county on Sellar
Creek; he was a man of education. Colonel Greenhill and
Colonel Bacon, who had been a delegate in the
legislature, had some personal or political differences,
it seems. Randolph, when elected Judge of the General
Court, about 1812, was colonel of the militia regiment,
and Bacon was the major. To this vacancy Greenhill, a
cousin of Randolph, was elected by the officers of the
regiment, being promoted over the head of Bacon. This
was probably the beginning of the feud which led to the
unfortunate affair." Colonel Greenhill challenged
Colonel Bacon to a duel and Dr. John S. Hardaway, being
unaware of the nature of the communication,
bore the challenge from
Colonel Greenhill to Colonel Bacon. Colonel
Bacon placed the blame on Dr.
Hardaway. Dr. George S. G. Bacon,
Colonel Bacon's son, then living in Mecklenburg County,
and Dr. John S. Hardaway met at Nottoway Court House
afterwards and staged a stabbing match in which Dr.
Hardaway was mortally wounded. The fight
took place just at the gate on the path leading from the
Court House to the old tavern. Dr. Hardaway
lived one or two days after the duel and died In the
Jackson house, later occupied by John B. Tuggle, and now
by Robert Carson. Dr. Bacon, although severly wounded,
was tried for murder but acquitted.
At Nottoway Court House in 1847, occurred the
famous debate between Colonel George C. Droomgoole and
Colonel George E. Boiling, of Petersburg, in the race
for Congress in which "Old Drum" so completely floored
In the course of the debate Colonel Boiling read
from the Journal of Congress which showed, he said, that
Colonel Droomgoole had been very inattentive to his
duties in Washington, being in his seat and voting only
eleven times during the long session of Congress.
Colonel Boiling, during this part of the debate, seemed
to have command of the situation and Droomgoole's
friends began to despair. When Droomgoole arose to speak
however, he soon dispelled all fears. He said: "Fellow
citizens. Colonel Boiling has read you the Journal of
Congress, and I presume he states the facts as they are;
it may be true that I voted as he asserts, but every
time I did vote I represented you and your interests.
One of us two must be elected and the question for you
to determine, my friends, is whether you would rather
have a man to represent you eleven times or one to
misrepresent you three hundred and sixty-five times."
Droomgoole's eloquence prevailed and he was reelected to
Congress, but soon afterward his health declined and he
died at his estate in Brunswick County on April 27,
1847, at the early age of 49 years.
No account of Nottoway should be given without
some reference being made to the early churches in the
In the early part of the nineteenth century, many
people bad become imbued with the false doctrines of
free thought and infidel philosophy. Infidel clubs
flourished everywhere, one we had in our own community
at Painville in Amelia County, named for the famous
infidel, Thomas Paine. The place bears
the name of Painville to this day. One of
its founders was Dr. James Jones, of Mountain Hall in
Nottoway, who, while in Europe pursuing his education,
had come under the influence of this false philosophy.
Later, however, he professed religion and became an
elder and a pillar in the Presbyterian Church. He
assembled his infidel club and delivered before it such
a Christian address that it at once disbanded and never
met again. Such were the conditions under
which the earlier churches were organized, and it is to
the eternal credit of these few earnest souls that the
churches were kept alive during this dark
period. Now, in the early forties, it became
much more fashionable to become religious and camp
meetings were held at every crossroads.
The earliest churches were naturally of the
Established faith, being transplanted here from the
Church of England.
Probably the first church of this denomination in
the county was known as "Green's Church," and was
located just west of what is now the Town of Blackstone
on Jordan's, now Hungarytown, road. This old church had
a somewhat checkered career. Its rector, Parson
Wilkinson, who had married in this county, was
unfortunate enough to have a wife from England appear
upon the scene. The Established Church, already becoming
unpopular, due to the quarrel with the Mother Country,
could not bear the strain of this and further services
were abandoned. The church was not revived in the county
until Dr. John Cameron came to Nottoway during 1794 and
1796, but was so poorly supported that he had to leave.
The Episcopal Church then almost disappeared from
Nottoway until 1856 when St. Luke's Church was organized
by Dr. Gibson. A new church was built on the site of old
Green's Church, and later moved to its present
After the old church was abandoned by the
Episcopalians it was used by the Presbyterians until it
burned in 1827, and thereby hangs another tale! It seems
that an old woman who lived nearby confessed on her
deathbed that she had set the church on fire because she
said she had been unable to keep a gourd at the spring
since the Presbyterians had occupied the church. After
the fire the Presbyterians decided to accept the offer
of Captain Samuel Morgan, who offered them an acre of
land and fifty dollars in money if they would build
their church near Jeter's race track, and Shiloh
Presbyterian Church was built in 1828 on that location
in accordance with the old Captain's wish.
There was another Established Church, known as the
Old Colonial Church, situated on the plantation of Captain
Fowlkes above Leneave's mill. It was an immense structure
for those days, nicely finished and plastered within,
and provided with a large gallery. At the time that
Captain Eowlkes purchased the property, the church was
not reserved and passed to him, he afterwards used it
as a granary.
Bishop Meade, in his book "Old Churches and
Families of Virginia," comments severely on this alleged
profanation. Captain Fowlkes afterwards was always known
as Captain "Church" Fowlkes. He later had built at his
own expense the Republican Church near the site of the
Old Colonial Church. He designed the church for the use
of all denominations, hence the name Republican. The
Presbyterians sought to buy it from him. He refused to
sell, but gave it to them, whereupon it was taken down
and rebuilt near the location of the present airport at
The first Baptist Church, known as the Separate
Baptist Church in Nottoway, was Walker's Meeting House,
known to many as Nottoway Meeting House.
This church was situated about three miles from
Burkeville on the old Lewiaton Plank Road, which ran
from Burkeville to Lunenburg: Court House, then known as
Lew is ton. The first pastor was the Reverend Jeremiah
Walker. On the 27th of October 1768, there was a
petition to the Worshipful Court of Amelia, signed by
George Walton and others, as follows: "We, the
petitioners, do humbly pray that your worships would
favor us so far as to license George Walton's house as a
place for those dissenters called Separate Baptists to
assemble and preach in. Therefore humbly submit the
consideration to your worships, hoping you will in mercy
grant the same to us who are in duty bound to always
pray for all authorities under God and over
This petition was refused by the court and was
endorsed "Dissenters' petition called Baptists, rejected
Nov. 24, 1768. The next year, however, in 1769, this
church was established with sixty-six members.
It is interesting to note that Jeremiah Walker
remained steadfast in the faith even to the point of
imprisonment. As late as 1773 he was committed to prison
in Chesterfield County as shown by Chesterfield Court
Order of 1773, which reads as follows: "Jeremiah Walker
who was committed by a Warrant issued by Archibald Cary,
Gentleman, for sundry misdemeanors, being at the Barr
and acknowledging that he had convened the people in
this County and preached to them, not being: a minister
of the Church of England within six months last past,
the Court being of Opinion that such Behavior is a
Breach of the peace and of Good Behavior do order that
the said Jeremiah be committed to the Gaol of this
County til he enter into Recognizance himself in penalty
of 50 pounds with Two Sureties in penalty of 25 pounds
each for his keeping the peace and being of good
Behavior for the space of one year next
Of the Methodist Churches, Crenshaw's is thought
to be the oldest. Services in an old wheelright shop on
the Crenshaw farm bagan in 1827, and from this beginning
Crenshaw's Methodist Church was established by Allen,
Asa and William Crenshaw (the latter an old
Revolutionary soldier) with the help of William
The history of this church has been lately
recorded and an appropriate marker placed on the spot
where worship was first begun.
these ante-bellum years all was peace and prosperity,
broken only by the coming of Court days, political
meetings or by some planter purchasing a mechanical
device to be used in farm work.
In 1850 Colonel Knight bought the first steam
engine in the county and in this year the first reaping
machine was used on the farm of Mr. Edwin
In 1851 the Southside Railroad, now a part of the
Norfolk & Western system, was completed from
Petersburg: to Black's and White's, and by 1854 was
operating: to Lynchburg. In 1855 Captain Richard Irby
established a foundry on his plantation and later on
moved it to the forks of the Cocke's and Brunswick Roads
where Union Academy, a school for boys, was established
shortly before the War Between the States. This school
was operated by Messrs. Sam Hardy and Marcellus
Crenshaw. Many boys came here from a distance as well as
the boys in the neighborhood. Dr. Walter Reed, who
afterwards did so much for humanity in stamping out
yellow fever, attended school here while his father, the
Reverend Lemuel S. Reed, was pastor on this circuit. Or.
Robert K. Blackwell, later the distinguished President
of Randolph-Macon College, also attended this
These peaceful years were all too soon in the
passing. In 1860 came that fateful campaign for the
presidency, the candidates being Bell and Everett of the
Constitutional Union Party which believed in the Union
but did not believe in coercion; Breckenridge and Lane
of one branch of the Democratic Party, and Douglas and
Johnson of the other, while the Republicans nominated
Lincoln and Hamlin. Under these circumstances it was a
foregone conclusion that Lincoln would be elected.
Colonel Travis Epes, of Fancy Hill, campaigned
vigorously for Bell and Everett, while most of the
people of Nottoway voted for Breckenridge and Lane, due
perhaps to Roger Pryor's influence, he having made the
best speech of his career at the Court House for the
In the final result Bell and Everett received 39
electoral votes and carried the State of Virginia as
well as Kentucky and Tennessee. Lincoln received 180
electoral votes; Douglas 12, and Breckenridge 72, thus
assuring Lincoln the election.
The following month on December 20, 1860, South
Carolina in convention assembled passed the Ordinance of
Secession and on December 24 the Governor issued a
proclamation announcing the action of that state. The
next month, in January 1861, Mississippi, Florida,
Alabama, Georgia. Louisiana and Texas followed South
Carolina's example, as did Virginia, Arkansas and
Tennessee the following spring.
On April 7, 1861, at Nottoway Court House, took
place that memorable meeting to decide on secession. The
sentiment was overwhelming for secession. Colonel Travis
Epes standing almost alone against such a move. Colonel
Epes, who always wore a tall beaver hat and Prince
Albert coat, was a striking figure as he arose to
address the meeting. Said Colonel Epes: "You do not know
what you are doing in voting for secession. You cannot
compete with the Federal Government ; they will send an
army here, despoil your homes, and free your slaves.
Every able bodied man before me will have to go into the
army and try to repel the invaders. I have five sons who
will have to go. Should Virginia secede, I will give
everything I possess to her cause, but I am opposed to
secession." He was howled down in derision, and his
brother. Freeman Epes, took him severely to task for his
Dr. Campbell, of Nottoway Court House, spoke. He
made an eloquent plea for secession in which he said: "I
am too old to go in the army myself, but I will take Old
Ben, my carriage driver, and get in my carriage and go
up there and shoot them through the windows." His speech
was received with loud applause, and the meeting broke
up with the delegates unanimously instructed for
secession. On April 12, 1861, Fort Sumter was fired on
by General Beauregard's troops, and on April 15 Mr.
Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to force the
seceding states back into the Union. It was then that
Virginia took action and decided to cast her lot with
her sister southern states.
This decision came on April 17, 1861. On the 19th
Mr. Lincoln issued a proclamation declaring all of the
southern ports in a state of blockade.
Then came the War. The people of Nottoway,
responding nobly both in men and means, made a record
during this period too well known to be recorded here;
suffice it to say that although one of the smallest
counties in the state, she furnished five companies to
the Confederate cause.(3) They were Company G,
18th Va., The Nottoway Grays; Company C, 18th Va.; The
Nottoway Rifle Guards; Company E, 3d Virginia, The
Nottoway Cavalry; Jeffress* Battery, the Artillery
Company; and the Nottoway Reserves. The Nottoway
Cavalry, Company E, was perhaps the first to be
mobilized at the Court House in response to Governor
Letcher's call to the colors. The ladies in the county
at once began to make a flag for them and Miss Fannie
Bettie Epes, a daughter of Colonel Travis Epes, gave a
beautiful silk dress for the purpose. The ample cut in
style of the dresses of that day furnished abundant
material. When the flag was ready, a large crowd
assembled to witness the presentation ceremony on May
15th or 16th, 1861. A big dinner was served on the court
green, and the Reverend Edward M. Martin, pastor of the
Presbyterian Church at Nottoway offered a beautiful
prayer. The Honorable Thomas Campbell made the
presentation speech. The company, standing at attention
to receive the colors, presented an inspiring spectacle.
Hamlin Epes, the color bearer, received the flag amid
wild enthusiasm. The company left shortly after this and
spent the first night in Amelia.(4) Arriving in Richmond
they were ordered to report to General J. B. Magruder at
Yorktown. They took part in the first battle of the war
at Big Bethel June 10, 1861, and served continuously
until the end at Appomattox.
In the Battle of Chancellorsville, they fought
with such conspicuous gallantry that General Stuart
himself complimented them highly for their
The Nottoway Grays, in Pickett's immortal charge
at the Battle of Gettysburg, had only six men left who
were not killed, wounded, or captured after the smoke of
that battle cleared away. Richard Ferguson, a member of
the Company and Adjutant of the Regiment, was captured
beyond the stone wall.
Being removed from the scene of the conflict,
Nottoway's soil suffered little from the invading
armies. Due to this fact the Confederate Government
established a Convalescent Hospital at Black's and
White's in 1862-63. It was in charge of Dr. Thos. R.
Blandy, who had been Surgeon of the Nottoway Grays. This
hospital was located just back of where the freight
station at Blackstone now stands. Blandy was later
transferred to Burkeville where a large hospital was
located during the latter part of the war.
In the Parish record is entered the death and
burial in the St. Luke's Episcopal Churchyard of the
following Confederate soldiers who died in the Black's
and White's Confederate Hospital:
Jennings, Co. H 24th Ga. Regt, Sept. 29, 1862.
Harding, Co. F, 3d N. C. Regt., Mar. 31, 1863.
Drewry Wall, Co. K. 52d N. C. Regt., May 28, 1863.
R. B. Woodall, Co. H, 24th Tex. Regt., July 31,
James Holt, Co. D. 6th Tex. Regt.. Aug. 2,
There was great excitement on June 23, 1864, when
it was learned that Federal Cavalry under command of
Generals Kautz and Wilson, had gotten in behind the
lines and was raiding in the county. They were
intercepted by General W. H. F. Lee in a sharp
engagement at "The Grove" and the raiders were driven
The soil of Nottoway was not again invaded until
the retreating and conquering armies passed through her
borders only a few days before the end at
On April 5, 1865, General Grant occupied Nottoway
Court House in pursuit of General Lee's Army, and
received word here that General Sheridan was at
Jetersville across General Lee's line of retreat. The
Yankees used the pews in the Presbyterian Church for
horse stalls and ransacked the Clerk's Office, cutting
the indexes out of the books and hacking them to pieces
with their sabres, finally throwing them into the horse
trough where they were later rescued.
The next day General Grant moved on to Burkeville
where he established headquarters and sent a cavalry
force to burn the bridges near Farmville.
It was on April 6, 1865, near the northwest
border where the three counties of Nottoway, Amelia and
Prince Edward join, that was fought the Battle of Say
lee's Creek, the last major engagement of the War
Between the States and the most disastrous for the
South. Here the Confederates fought a desperate back to
back engagement while exposed to merciless fire from the
Federals near the Hillsman House. After a fierce, hand
to hand struggle, the Confederates were forced to
surrender. Meanwhile General Gordon was fighting a sharp
battle in the vicinity of the Lockett or Garnett House
in Prince Edward County, a few miles away, trying to
protect the wagon trains. Here he lost 1700 men killed,
wounded and prisoners taken, and practically all of the
wagons which bogged down near the double bridges over
the two branches of Sayler's Creek. With the casualties
in these two engagements Lee lost nearly half his army.
Here were surrendered more men (without terms) than in
any other battle on American soil. Counting: the 1,700
men lost in General Gordon's engagement and the twelve
Confederate Generals, including Ewell, Dubose, Corse,
Hunton, Kershaw and Custis Lee captured. Lee's loss was
over 7,000 men killed, wounded and prisoners taken.
These losses, with most of the wagon
trains destroyed, made Appomattox
Then came General Lee's surrender on April 9,
1865, and the era of Reconstruction and Carpet Bag rule
which followed. The assassination of President Lincoln
by John Wilkes Booth April 15th gave the Radicals
greater power than ever. With our people there began a
struggle for existence and a fight with poverty for
years thereafter. Their state had now a tyrant's heel
upon her neck, and on March 2, 1867, became Military
District No. 1, a conquered province. Military satraps
filled the seats of judges and magistrates; the ignorant
slave was often shown more deference than his former
master, and it was not until January 26, 1870 that
Virginia was readmitted to the Union. On January 28,
1870, General E. R. S. Canby's military rule ended and
the government of state affairs turned over to the civil
authorities. Even through all this the old manners and
customs persisted?the same courtesy, the same high sense
of honor and the same hospitality. In this school of
adversity was reared a race whose virtues and high
ideals have seldom been equaled. That they succeeded and
upheld the finest traditions of Virginia is amply proved
by the good names that they have left behind.
In the Reconstruction period, with most of the
citizens disfranchised, it was difficult to elect men to
public office who would serve the county with credit. In
the local offices the citizens saw to it that the proper
officials were seated. It was a different story,
however, in the Congressional contests. If a Democrat
was elected his election was promptly contested and the
office given to his Republican opponent. After the
Hayes-Tilden presidential contest in 1876, it had been
agreed by the Republicans that they would keep hands off
southern affairs provided the Hayes' election would not
be further contested. Hayes had been declared elected
after the committee of five senators, five members of
the House and five Supreme Court Justices had ruled
eight to seven in his favor, seating the electors from
South Carolina, Louisiana and Florida, who had been
fraudulently chosen. Although the Republicans had made
this agreement, they continued to do what they could to
have members of their party elected to Congress. This
happened as late as 1889 when the Honorable Edward C.
Venable's election was contested and his Republican
opponent, John M. Langston, a negro, was declared the
winner and chosen to represent the Fourth District of
Under these circumstances no one wished to
undertake the campaign. To the Honorable James F. Epes,
of Nottoway, the Fourth District owes an eternal debt of
gratitude as it was through his efforts, assisted by
Sidney P. Epes, Walter A. Watson, Captain J. M. Harris,
and others, that this district was rid of negro rule.
Mr. Epes reluctantly agreed to accept the nomination, as
it was a very thankless undertaking at that time, and
entered into the contest simply as a matter of public
duty. So well did he conduct his campaign, however, that
in 1890 he was elected to represent the Fourth District
over Langston, his negro opponent, and was again
returned to Congress in 1892.(5)
Not all Yankees who came South after the war
seeking their fortune were bad. In 1876 B. F. Williams
settled in Nottoway from Pennsylvania, and, unlike most
northerners, he seems to have had the welfare of the
State of his adoption at heart. He soon took an interest
in local politics and was elected to the State Senate on
the Republican ticket from Nottoway.
In 1881 came the Readjuster campaign, resulting
in the election of their candidate, William E. Cameron,
for Governor. The leader of this movement, General
William Mahone, sought to build up a vast patronage that
could be used to put Virginia under his party's control,
but to do this he had to control the legislature. He
sought to bind all the Readjusters to support the
decision of the Readjusters' caucus.
In the House Mahone had a majority and could
carry out his plan. In the Senate, however, there were
four who refused to sign the pledge to enter the caucus
or to accept its decisions. These men were Samuel H.
Newberry, of Bland; Peyton G. Hale, of Grayson; A. M.
Lybrook. of Patrick, and B. F. Williams, of Nottoway.
Parson Massey, having turned against Mahone on account
of his failure to receive the appointment of Auditor of
Public Accounts, aligned himself with these four
On the vote of these men the fate of the State
depended. If they stood with Mahone, Virginia would be
looted, and if they rebelled, the State would be saved.
So much depended on their vote that these Senators came
to be known as the "Big Four". Every conceivable
pressure was brought to bear by the Mahone faction to
have them vote with the Readjusters.
When Mahone's patronage bills came up, the four,
with Parson Massey courageously voted with the Democrats
against the Readjusters which gave the Democrats a
majority of six.
It was almost as narrow an escape as Virgina had
in 1869 when the Republican Carpetbaggers and Scallawags
sought to create a Republican Solid South, and by their
infamies made it solidly Democratic. The State of
Virginia has recognized the valuable services of these
men and a portrait of the "Big Four", with Parson
Massey, painted by the Richmond artist, Silvette, has
been hung on the walls of the Senate Chamber of the
After the Reconstruction period, which lasted
longer perhaps in the Fourth District than in most parts
of the State, due to local conditions, peace and a
measure of prosperity prevailed for some years. Still
predominantly agricultural, most farmers managed to get
along and while none got rich, they lived well and were
for the most part contented. If they needed money to pay
off a mortgage or to send a child through college, they
had timber which could be sold and it was not until
later years that changing economic conditions caused
some to sell or rent their land and seek more
The Norfolk and Western Railroad announced in
1888 that they would build their shops in the county,
and the town of Crewe came into being, named for Crewe
in England, a large railroad center. This was great news
for the people in the county and gave employment to
many. The first buildings consisted of a 21-stall
roundhouse, a machine shop, a store house and a coal
wharf a far cry from the modern engines which pull the
long freight and crack passenger trains buildings and
equipment used today. The present plant easily takes
care of the massive that now operate over the
The town of Crewe has grown steadily since that
time and besides the shops boasts several other
flourishing industries with a population of over two
thousand. It is interesting to know that in the early
days of the Southside Railroad the engines carried names
rather than numbers. Some of these were ''Virginia,"
"Tennessee," "Nottoway," "Amherst," "Campbell,"
"Petersburg," "Farmville," and the "Sam Patch."
The County of Nottoway has always been fortunate
in having men of vision and public spirit to manage her
affairs. This was especially true of those patriotic
citizens who passed through the trying times of
Reconstruction. Few having had the benefit of college
education they determined that their children should
have advantages which they themselves were denied. To
this end a group of representative citizens met in the
early nineties and decided that a girls college should
be built in the county. The Blackstone Female Institute,
afterwards the Blackstone College, for Girls, was built
and opened its first session in 1894 under Methodist
influence with Dr. James Cannon, Jr. President.
The same year, Hoge Memorial Academy opened its
first session under the patronage of the East Hanover
Presbytery with Dr. Theodrick P. Epes as
president. In 1898 the school came under the
Hampden Sydney system. Later In 1912 it was sold
to Colonel E. S. Ligon who changed the name to
Blackstone Military Academy. Despite two
disastrous fires, one on Feb. 15th, 1914 and
another Jan. 20th, 1922, he continued to
operate it through the session 1930-31. Both
of these schools, located in Blackstone, have
contributed much to the culture of the county as well as
the surrounding territory. Many students came from
distant states to take advantage of the excellent
facilities of these two institutions. The
school for boys is now closed, but the College for young
ladies is still in a flourishing condition and bids fair
to continue fox many years to come.
The old frame school of one room soon gave way
and modern buildings were established for both white and
colored students. One of these for colored is now under
construction near the Courthouse and is to cost more
than a half million dollars.
For many years after the War Between the States
it was thought that a proper memorial should be erected
to those who gave their services to the Confederate
Cause. Accordingly the Ladies Memorial Association of
Nottoway was formed to raise funds for this purpose. It
took a good many years, but at last in 1893 a figure of
a Confederate soldier carved in stone was purchased and
placed upon the Court House lawn. The monument bears the
names of those who served the Confederate Cause from
Nottoway and also has an inscription which reads as
follows: "Erected by the Ladies Memorial Association of
Nottoway July 20, 1893." The day it was unveiled was a
trip to be remembered. All the veterans in the county
assembled as well as many from a distance. The A. P.
Hill Camp of Petersburg: was on hand and Company I,
Nottoway Grays, named for the old Company G, came to
escort General Fitzhugh Lee, who was the speaker of the
occasion. Many of his old command were present,
including: his personal courier and scout, John L. Irby,
who furnished a beautiful spotted horse for his
commander to ride.
Miss Sallie Irby, a daughter of Captain Richard
Irby, of the old Nottoway Grays, unveiled the monument
amid loud applause. After listening to an eloquent
speech by General Fitzhugh Lee, who was introduced by
Colonel William Calvin Jeffress, a bountiful dinner was
served on the court green and the veterans fought the
war all over again, afterwards departing for their homes
and agreeing that it was a day that would linger long in
the memory of those who attended. As late as 1911 there
were about ninety Confederate veterans living in
Nottoway County. At the present time, 1949, so far as is
known there is not a single one surviving. Only 40
remain of the Confederate Army, three of these in
In the spring of 1895 trouble was brewing in the
Pocahontas Coal Fields. The miners were out
on strike and while most of the mines were in West
Virginia they were close enough to the border of
Virginia to make the situation dangerous.
Finally conditions became so serious that Governor
0'Ferrall ordered out the State Militia to Graham and
Pocahontas, going to the scene himself where he remained
for several days. He first ordered out the Richmond
Blues and Howitzers; May 8, 1895. Later the Petersburg
Company and Co. I, Nottoway Grays. The
Nottoway Grays were under the command of Captain J. M.
Harris who served as captain from May 19. 1893 to June
7, 1895, with 1st Lt. Sidney P. Epes and 2d Lt. E. Frank
Crowe. The following notation appears in the
Muster Roll over the signature of Captain J. M_ Harris:
"This company in charge of its three officers, in
obedience to order from the Commander in Chief, on 24
May 1895 reported to Major W. Simms at Pocahontas,
Virginia, and assisted for seven days the civil
authorities of Tazewell County, Virginia." Soon
afterwards order was restored and the strike settled.
Thus ended the "Pocahontas Coal War."
The next few years were years of quiet and
prosperity for Nottoway County. In national affairs
Grover Cleveland, Democrat, went out of office,
succeeded in 1897 by William McKinley, Republican. Cuba
was fighting a war of independence against Spain,
causing some concern as our sympathies were entirely
Then like a pistol shot came the news on February
15, 1898 that the Battleship Maine had been blown up in
Havana Harbor. Excitement and feeling ran high as it was
thought that the Spaniards had caused the explosion.
Public opinion grew so strong against Spain that on
April 11, 1898, President McKinley sent a message to
Congress asking permission to end the war in Cuba. On
the 19th Congress granted his request and the
Spanish-American War had begun. All the National Guard
troops were called out including Co. I of Nottoway. The
company at that time was not up to war strength and it
was decided to merge with the Farmville, Virginia,
Company C. Accordingly this was done and the new company
was known as Company C, 3d Inf. U. S. Va. Volunteers and
was mustered in on May 26, 1898.
The officers of the new company were Captain
James D. Allen, Farmville; 1st Lieut. William P.
Venable, Farmville; and 2d Lieut. Hubbard Williams,
Blackstone. They reported for training at Camp Alger
where they remained until November 5, 1898, when they
arrived in Richmond and were mustered out with the same
officers in charge, the war being
Among the prominent men of Nottoway during this
period was the Honorable William Hodges Mann, who was
born in Williamsburg, Va., but lived in Nottoway most of
his life. He began his career as an employee
in the Clerk's Office where he read law until admitted
to the bar. He practiced his profession
until he was made the first Judge of the County, and
served on the bench for twenty-two
years. In 1899 he was elected to the
State Senate and it was during this time that he was the
author of two bills for which the people of Virginia
should ever be grateful. The Mann law of 1906 closed
eight hundred rural saloons and made Virginia dry except
in the cities; and his loan bill which aided in the
erection of three hundred and fifty high schools in the
Judge Mann, in 1905 ran for Governor of Virginia,
but was defeated by Claude Swanson. Four years later, in
1909, he ran again and this time he was successful,
defeating Harry St. George Tucker.
During his administration as Governor of Virginia
occurred the famous Allen trials. As will be recalled
they were tried for the murder of Judge Massie and
several members of his court, killed during a trial of
one of their number for a minor offence. Floyd and
Claude Allen were given the death penalty, and, although
a great deal of pressure was brought to bear on Governor
Mann to exercise clemency, he refused to take any
action. His refusal to interfere with the court
decisions in these cases is an example worthy of
emulation by other governors. After his retirement as
Governor, he resided in Petersburg, Virginia, where he
died in his eighty-fourth year.
In 1906 began a movement in Nottoway
which has had far flung consequences. T. O. Sandy of
this county, always interested in the welfare of the
farmer, organized what was then called Farm
Demonstration Work. He was encouraged and assisted by
Dr. Seaman A. Knapp of the United States Department of
Agriculture and was appointed the first State Agent to
carry out its program. In 1909 the corn clubs were
organized and Mr. Sandy employed Mr. Southall Farrar to
direct this part of the work.
In 1910 Miss Ella Agnew of Nottoway started a
canning program for the girls and women of the county
known as "Tomato Clubs." She was appointed July 1st,
1910, the first State Agent for women by the United
States Department of Agriculture and the first woman to
be appointed by the Department to represent it in the
field. From this beginning has grown all the 4-H Clubs
and Farm Demonstration work for both men and women,
which now exists in every county in Virginia.
Although several other states lay claim to being
the first to start this work, it can be said that T. O.
Sandy and Miss Ella Agnew were among the pioneers and
certainly the first in Virginia.
The assassination of Archduke Francis of Austria
and his wife while on a visit to Sarajevo, Bosnia, on
June 28, 1914, by Gavrillo Princip, a Serbian student,
precipitated World War I, and soon the whole of Europe
The United States proclaimed its neutrality, but
it soon became apparent that due to unprovoked
indignities by Germany, this country could not stay out
of the conflict. The steamship Lusitania was sunk on May
7, 1915 by a submarine with the loss of 124 American
lives. Then began a series of notes between the two
countries which led to nothing. Although President
Wilson showed great patience and restraint during the
negotiations, Germany announced unrestricted submarine
warfare on Feb. 1, 1917, and on the 3d the United States
broke off diplomatic relations. On April 6, 1917,
Congress declared a state of war existed between Germany
and the United States, and the United States of America
entered the conflict. As soon as possible machinery was
set up to increase the Army and Navy.
In Nottoway the proper steps were taken at once,
and in the meantime a number volunteered, some of whom
were prominent citizens who made great sacrifice to
serve their country. Later, when the troops were
overseas, the ladies formed various organizations to
send supplies and clothing to our soldiers. Nottoway
again had not failed the country. In its hour of
The Kaiser abdicated on Nov. 9, 1918, and
fled to Holland. The Germans sued for peace. Bugles
sounded "cease firing" at 11:00 A. M. on Nov. 11, 1918,
Armistice Day, and the allies occupied Germany. The
peace conference opened in Paris Jan. 12, 1919, and a
formal treaty was drawn up at Versailles in which the
allies dictated the terms of surrender and kept an army
of occupation in Germany for several years. A number of
Nottoway County boys served with the Army of Occupation.
Those who gave their lives in the First World War from
Nottoway County are as follows:(6)
Bishop, Richard L. Majors, Lloyd Matthews, Everett C.
Reed, Jesse V. Selden, Kirby Smith Smith. Millard G.
Utley Harry F. Walker, Thos. D. Williams, Morelius
Yeatts, L. H. Clay, Larkin J. Dowell, Percy L. Fowlkes,
Herbert W. Fredenburg, Benjamin Geyer, William O.
Goodman, L. D. Harper, Leon A. Haskins, Carter Kreider,
Colored Farrar, Elisha L.
Fowlkes, Fitzhugh Harris, Bennie L. Jones, Charles
Lewis, Washington Moore, Eugene Parson, Ardis Williams,
MARINES Mattox, James John
Nunnally. Edward Porter
After peace was declared
there began an era of prosperity in this country
unprecedented in its history. Land values and securities
of all kinds boomed and great fortunes were made. This
period lasted for ten years and during this time many
people in Nottoway sold their farms for high prices.
Settlers came from other states to take up their abode
in Virginia. Gone were the customs of Ante-Bellum years
and the leisurely manner of living of the old order.
This was accentuated by the advent of good roads and the
automobile. Few of the old families remained on their
Then came the cataclysm beginning with the stock
market crash in 1929, followed by a severe depression
which lasted through the Hoover Administration in 1933.
This was succeeded by the election of Franklin D.
Roosevelt and the inauguration of the "New
This was the era of the forgotten man, forgotten
no longer. Every conceivable subsidy was granted to
Public Works, agriculture and industries to create jobs,
and everyone who wanted to work could find something to
do. Those who did not want to work the government took
care of anyway.
In Nottoway the Old Blackstone Military Academy
was leased by the government and opened for transients.
Its "guests" were entertained free of charge.
In agriculture, in order to obtain the benefit of
government help, crops had to be curtailed. Tobacco, the
staple crop of Nottoway, was greatly reduced. This
caused farmers to turn their attention to other means of
support?mainly cattle raising and dairying. The county
now has many up to date dairies and the shipping of milk
is a growing industry. Cattle raising has greatly
improved the lands and has been the means of bringing
much prosperity to Nottoway.
Rural Electrification has brought electricity to
remote areas. A large cooperative was formed in Nottoway
County with offices at Crewe, which takes care of this
and surrounding counties.
In the spring of 1940, a generous benefactor who
requested that his name be withheld, donated a splendid
library to the county. This donation consisted of an
attractive building of colonial design equipped with
four thousand volumes. Located at the Court House, it
has filled a long felt need and has grown steadily until
now it has over nine thousand volumes with branches at
Burkeville, Crewe and Blackstone. It has been of untold
benefit to the people of the county, having a
circulation of around eighteen thousand volumes a
During this time while our country was at peace,
the rise of Hitler to power in Germany and his expansion
program was casting a shadow over Europe, War clouds
again began, to gather until on Sept. 1, 1939, Poland
was invaded by Germany causing the outbreak of the
Second World War.
Japan decided to enter the war on the side of
Germany, and on Dec. 7, 1941, without a declaration of
war, she made an air attack on the United States forces
at Pearl Harbor, destroying eight battleships and ten
other naval vessels and killing over 3,000 men, with the
loss of many airplanes. This was followed by Germany and
Italy declaring war on the United States on Dec 11,
1941. America was now engaged in a two front war in the
European as well as the Pacific areas.
Nottoway Company F, 176th Inf. Va. N. G. had
already been called to the colors and was inducted into
active service on Feb. 3, 1941, with the following
officers in charge: Captain George O. Inge, 1st Lieut.
Luin F. Coleman, 2d Lieut Elmo H. Boyd, and 2d Lieut
Graydon A. Tunstall, Being one of the finest
companies in the State, they fully lived up to their
traditions and made a notable record.
In World War II Nottoway boys in ever greater
numbers in all branches of the service went forth to do
battle for their country. Many were cited for gallantry
and some lie buried on far flung battlefields.
With the outbreak of hostilities the government
established Camp Pickett, just one mile east of
Blackstone. This area comprised 45,000 acres in
Nottoway, Dinwiddle, Brunswick and Lunenburg Counties;
22,000 of which were taken from Nottoway, or one-ninth
of the country. A total of 350 families were displaced
by the camp.
This step gave the war an especial significance
to the people of this community. Here were trained many
famous divisions which have carved an epic chapter in
the history of their country. Among them were the Third
Division (Rock of the Marne), the 45th (Thunderbird),
the 78th (Lighting), the 79th (Cross of Lorraine), the
31st (Dixie Division), the 77th (Statue of Liberty), the
28th (Keystone Division), the Third Armored Division and
many more. In all a total of more than 500,000 men
received their training here and passed through Nottoway
County on their way overseas where they fought on every
battlefield from North Africa to Germany and from
Guadalcanal to Okinawa.
This area later became a large medical center and
one of the largest convalescent hospitals in the country
with a capacity of over nine thousand patients. Here
came battle-scarred heroes seeking health of body and
mind and carrying away in their hearts gratitude for the
splendid services rendered them by the volunteer groups
of men and women from the adjacent communities.
always, with the coming of so large an outlay of
men and equipment, the small towns nearby and rural communities
increased in population, that of Blackstone
jumped from three thousand to twelve thousand. Real
estate prices almost over-night, soared amazingly, and
an era of prosperity dawned for all who were touched by
Camp Pickett's proximity.
A wave of intense patriotism, also, swept
over the nearby counties and a number of volunteer
organizations came into being. The Gray Lady
Corps, the Motor Corps, the Production Corps, the
Canteen Corps, and the Recreation Corps, made up of
women from Nottoway and the surrounding counties met
trains at all hours of the day and night, serving coffee
and doughnuts. They transported relatives of the sick
and wounded to the hospital; read to the patients, wrote
letters for them; and entertained them. Some rolled
bandages; others ran errands for the Red Cross and
served as staff assistants when paid workers were not
Women's Clubs, Mother's Clubs, Garden Clubs, Home
Demonstration Clubs, the Three Arts Club, the Junior Red
Cross, and church organizations did their part too in
making life easier for our soldiers.
Through the American Legion, Puritans. Kiwanis,
Rotary and other business men's clubs, the men of this
locality also cooperated with the Camp and Hospital
Council to show their appreciation of the sacrifices
made by our men in arms. Many private homes were thrown
open for the entertainment of the Pickett men, and the
success of the five U.S.O. Centers in Blackstone was due
largely to the help given by our volunteer
From Dec. 7, 1941, many long and bitter months
were to pass before hostilities should end.
It was not until Tuesday, May 8, 1945, that
Germany, under the combined forces of Great Britain,
France, Russia and the United States, was brought to her
knees, and then only after the continent had been
invaded. This was followed by the unstipulated surrender
of Japan on Tuesday, August 14, 1945, although the
formal signing did not take place until Sept. 2, 1945 on
board the U. S. Battleship Missouri.
The Local Selective Service Board of Nottoway
County on March 31, 1947, the date that the Selective
Training and Service Act of 1940 expired, had classified
1,562 men who were either in service or had been in
service during World War II. Of this number, 933 were
white men and 629 were colored men. This figure includes
only those men who were registered with the Selective
Service Board of Nottoway County, and not the
A publication edited by Dr. W. Edwin Hemphill,
Virginia World War II History Commission, entitled "Gold
Star Honor Roll of Virginians in the Second World War"
indicates that 49 persons from Nottoway County were
killed during the war or died while in service, as
Abernathy. Eddie J., Pvt., A. Mother,
Mrs. Ethel M. Abernathy, Blackstone.
Gilbert F., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Kate B. Andrews,
Barlow, Robert Winfield, Jr., Pfc, A.
Mother, Mrs. Bessie Isabelle Deaton Barlow,
Becker, Warren, Pvt. A. Mother, Mrs. Minnie EL
Blanks, John B., Pfc.
A. Wife, Mrs. Doris Blanks, Crewe.
Blackwell, David Edwin, S/2c N. Mother,
Mrs. Addie Estelle Blackwell, Crewe.
S., Pfc, A. Father, Alfred Bowlin, Crewe.
Nelson June, Pvt. A. Brother, William W. Bowyer,
Clements, Charles Mayo, S/1c, N. parents, Mr.
and Mrs. John Wesley Clements, Crewe.
Sydnor, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Carrie Jackson Cole,
R-F.D. 4. Petersburg
Cook, Lloyd James, Jr., CpL, A.
Father, Lloyd J. Cook, Crewe.
Archer, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Greta Surrey C. Craddock,
Staten Island, New York.
Dunn, John Newton, Maj.,
A. Wife, Mrs. Ruth Richardson Dunn.
Corlee, T/5, A.
Fitzgerald, Moses L. Pvt.,
Foster, William Edward, Private, A. Father, Perkin
Foster, Crewe, Va.
Greene, Harry W., Jr., Pfc.,
A. Mother Mrs. Ulva Greene, Blackstone.
R., S/Sgt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Gunn,
Hassett, Leonard W., Cpl, A. Wife, Mrs.
Edith Hassett, Blackstone.
Hendrickson, John J.,
Hudson, Clifton E.. Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs.
Lottie E. Hudson, Wellville.
Irby, Francis Marion,
Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Francis Marion Irby, Blackstone.
Parents, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Irby, Blackstone,
Kingery, Raymond J., Pvt., A- Father, Frank O.
Love. Ray Gardner, Pvt., A. Mother,
Mrs. Pearl F. Love, Crewe.
Clifton, Sic, N., Parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. McKissick,
Mahan, Reid Alvin. Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs.
Eunice Thompson Mahan, Crewe.
Milton, George Wesley,
Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Annie Yeargin Milton,
Moore, Randolph Creatham, S/Sgt., A. Wife,
Mrs. Lillian Huiet Moore, Charlotte, N. C.
son, Howard N., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Lillian Per kin
Phillips. Ellis L., CpL, A. Mother,
Mrs. Ellen W. Phillips, Blackstone.
L., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Molly H. Powell,
Pridgen, James D., S/Sgt., A. Parents,
Mr. and Mrs. I. L. Pridgen, Blackstone.
K., Pvt., A Mother, Mrs. Lucyord K. Rice, Camp Pickett,
Rives, John William, Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs.
Maxine H. Rives, Blackstone, also Dinwiddle
Roberts, William Woodrow, Maj., A. Parents,
Mr. and Mrs. Talcott Roberts, Blackstone.
Charlie C, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Charlie C. Robertson,
Cleamons, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Julia Robertson,
Rockwell, Oscar T., Pvt., A Wife, Mrs.
Dorothy Naugle Rockwell, Nottoway.
Joseph Norman, Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs. Catherine
H. Saber, Crewe
Skelton, Cleveland Watson, 2nd Lt.,
A. Mother, Mrs. Cleveland E Skelton, Blackstone.
Spicely, Booker T., Pvt, A.
Stewart. Eldridge A.,
Sr., Pfc, A. Wife, Mrs.Effie M. Stewart,
Thomason, Matthew Louis, Jr., GM3c, N.
Wife, Mrs. Juanita Flowers Thomason, Crewe.
Elwood Lynwood. Mother, Mrs. F. I. Smith, Lucasville,
Ward, John J., Jr., 1st Lt., M. Parents, Mr.
and Mrs. Ward, Sr., Blackstone.
Watson, Henry Hunter,
Jr., Lt. (jg), N. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Henry H. Watson,
Wells, James E., Jr., Sgt., A. Father,
James E. Wells, Wellville.
White, Marvin L., Fvt.
Yeatts, Damon Hundley, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Nannie
Maude Yeatts, Burkeville.
To this list should be
Fowlkes, Paschal Dupuy, Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth
Williams Fowlkes, Richmond, Va.
Cox, Charles Emory,
of Company 1,121 Inf., killed in action December 4,
Cox, Thomas Marshall, Company A, 125 Inf.,
killed in action December 9, 1944. (8)
Never before in the history of mankind had war
been waged on such a gigantic scale, costing billions of
dollars and the lives of thousands.
The United States, in order to finance the war
for herself and allies, had to spend enormous sums for
equipment, Lend-Lease and other agencies until at the
end of 1945, the national debt had risen to over two
hundred and fifty-eight billions, or eighteen hundred
and fifty-two dollars and seventy-four cents ($1352.74)
At this time, 1949, four years after the end of
hostilities, as in the time of Patrick Henry, who cried,
"Peace, peace, and there is no peace," no formal
treaties have been ratified.
The outlook for our country, saddled with its
enormous public debt, faced with inflation, harassed by
internal troubles and with Russia threatening: the peace
of the world, is far from bright.
To the people of Nottoway these matters cause
grave concern, but as in the past its citizens have
remained steadfast through every crisis and have
weathered many a storm. They will continue to march
breast-forward to meet the coming years, facing the
future with confidence, unafraid, taking heart, and
knowing that "The old order changeth, yielding place to
new And God fulfills Himself in many
1.The old monthly County Court
day has gone out of existence since Feb. 1. 1904,
changed by tire Constitutional Convention of
2. The Clerks of Nottoway from 1789,
when the records began, up to the present tune, 1949,
have been: Isaac Holmes, Peter Randolph, Francis
Fitzgerald. Richard Epes, Herman Jackson. Edward S.
Deane, Charles Deane, Rives Hardy, J Iandsay Cobb, J. H.
Irby, and Hodges Boswell, the present
3. For names of those who served
1861-65 see Confederate Monument at Nottoway Court
4. There seems to be a difference of
opinion as to the day the Company left. Some say they
left the same day the flag was presented. May 15th or
16th. Mrs. Mary Hardaway's account gives Monday. May 20.
1861. The flag was returned to the county during
Governor Mann's administration and now hangs in the
5. The Congressmen who have
served this District since 1894 are as follows: William
R. McKenney, 1895-1896; Robert T. Thorpe, (Rep.),
1896-1897; Sidney P. Epes (Nottoway), 1897-1898; Robert
T. Thorpe, 1898-1899; Sidney P. Epes, 1899-1900; Prancis
R. Lassiter, 1900-1903; Robert G. Southall, 19O3-1907;
Francis R. Lassiter. 1907-1909; Robert Turnbull,
1910-1913; Walter Allen Watson (Nottoway), 1913-1919;
Patrick Henry Drewry, 1920-1947; and Watklns Aobitt, of
Appomattox, the present incumbent.
6. See "The
Final Roster, Nottoway County, Va, 1917-1918," by W W
Cobb for list of names ot those who served their country
from Nottoway County in the First World War.
Parents. Mr. and Mrs. Willie Blanks,
8. Both the Cox boys were the sons of
Mr. and Mrs. William Marshall Cox, of Blackstone, Va.,
and left Blackstone with Company F., 176 Inf.
[Old Homes and Families in Nottoway by W.R. Turner 1950,
Transcribed by Friends Of Free Genealogy]
Copyright ? Genealogy Trails
All data on this website is Copyright by Genealogy Trails with full rights reserved for original submitters.