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 Revolution.
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 that time.
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 stone.
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 them.
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 Cemetery.
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 Virginia.
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 classes."
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 site.
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 Jenning'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 old time 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. Freeman Epes.
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 Peter Randolph.
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 days.
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 his opponent.
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 county.
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 location.
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 Fowlkes 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 Crewe.
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 Lewiston Plank Road, which ran from Burkeville to Lunenburg: Court House, then known as Lewiston. 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 us."
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 ensuing."
Of the Methodist Churches, Crenshaw's is thought to be the oldest. Services in an old wheelright shop on the Crenshaw farm began 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 Irby.
The history of this church has been lately recorded and an appropriate marker placed on the spot where worship was first begun.
Of 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 Booth.
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 academy.
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 secession candidates.
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 speech.
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 valor.
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:
Private Asa Jennings, Co. H 24th Ga. Regt, Sept. 29, 1862.
W. H. 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, 1863.
James Holt, Co. D. 6th Tex. Regt.. Aug. 2, 1863.
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 back.
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 Appomattox.
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 inevitable.
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 Virginia.
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 Senators.
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 State Capitol.
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 remunerative employment elsewhere.
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 line.
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 Virginia.
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 with Cuba.
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 over.
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 State.
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 was aflame.
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 need.
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)
ARMY: White 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, Charles Edgar, Colored Farrar, Elisha L. Fowlkes, Fitzhugh Harris, Bennie L. Jones, Charles Lewis, Washington Moore, Eugene Parson, Ardis Williams, Charlie Henry
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 plantations.
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 Deal."
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 year.
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.
As 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 available.
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 workers.
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 volunteers.
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 follows:
Abernathy. Eddie J., Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Ethel M. Abernathy, Blackstone.
Andrews, Gilbert F., S/Sgt., A. Mother, Mrs. Kate B. Andrews, Blackstone.
Barlow, Robert Winfield, Jr., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Bessie Isabelle Deaton Barlow, Crewe.
Becker, Warren, Pvt. A. Mother, Mrs. Minnie EL Becker, Crewe.
Blanks, John B., Pfc. A. Wife, Mrs. Doris Blanks, Crewe. (7)
Blackwell, David Edwin, S/2c N. Mother, Mrs. Addie Estelle Blackwell, Crewe.
Bowlin, M. S., Pfc, A. Father, Alfred Bowlin, Crewe.
Bowyer, Nelson June, Pvt. A. Brother, William W. Bowyer, Beford.
Clements, Charles Mayo, S/1c, N. parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Wesley Clements, Crewe.
Cole, Clyde Sydnor, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Carrie Jackson Cole, R-F.D. 4. Petersburg
Cook, Lloyd James, Jr., CpL, A. Father, Lloyd J. Cook, Crewe.
Craddock. Jeffress Archer, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Greta Surrey C. Craddock, Staten Island, New York.
Dunn, John Newton, Maj., A. Wife, Mrs. Ruth Richardson Dunn.
Eppes, Corlee, T/5, A.
Fitzgerald, Moses L. Pvt., A.
Foster, William Edward, Private, A. Father, Perkin Foster, Crewe, Va.
Greene, Harry W., Jr., Pfc., A. Mother Mrs. Ulva Greene, Blackstone.
Gunn, Spencer R., S/Sgt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Spencer Gunn, Blackstone.
Hassett, Leonard W., Cpl, A. Wife, Mrs. Edith Hassett, Blackstone.
Hendrickson, John J., Pvt., A.
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, R.F.D.
Kingery, Raymond J., Pvt., A- Father, Frank O. Kingery, Crewe.
Love. Ray Gardner, Pvt., A. Mother, Mrs. Pearl F. Love, Crewe.
McKissick, Charles Clifton, Sic, N., Parents, Mr. and Mrs. A. McKissick, Blackstone.
Mahan, Reid Alvin. Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Eunice Thompson Mahan, Crewe.
Milton, George Wesley, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Annie Yeargin Milton, Crewe.
Moore, Randolph Creatham, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Lillian Huiet Moore, Charlotte, N. C.
Perk in son, Howard N., Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Lillian Per kin son, Blackstone.
Phillips. Ellis L., CpL, A. Mother, Mrs. Ellen W. Phillips, Blackstone.
Powell, William L., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Molly H. Powell, Blackstone.
Pridgen, James D., S/Sgt., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. I. L. Pridgen, Blackstone.
Rice, John K., Pvt., A Mother, Mrs. Lucyord K. Rice, Camp Pickett, Va.
Rives, John William, Jr., 2nd Lt., A. Wife, Mrs. Maxine H. Rives, Blackstone, also Dinwiddle County.
Roberts, William Woodrow, Maj., A. Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Talcott Roberts, Blackstone.
Robertson, Charlie C, Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Charlie C. Robertson, Blackstone.
Robertson, James Cleamons, S/Sgt., A. Wife, Mrs. Julia Robertson, Crewe.
Rockwell, Oscar T., Pvt., A Wife, Mrs. Dorothy Naugle Rockwell, Nottoway.
Saber, 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, Wellville.
Thomason, Matthew Louis, Jr., GM3c, N. Wife, Mrs. Juanita Flowers Thomason, Crewe.
Tinsley, Elwood Lynwood. Mother, Mrs. F. I. Smith, Lucasville, Ohio.
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, Sr., Crewe.
Wells, James E., Jr., Sgt., A. Father, James E. Wells, Wellville.
White, Marvin L., Fvt. A.
Yeatts, Damon Hundley, Pfc, A. Mother, Mrs. Nannie Maude Yeatts, Burkeville.
To this list should be added:
Fowlkes, Paschal Dupuy, Wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Williams Fowlkes, Richmond, Va.
Cox, Charles Emory, of Company 1,121 Inf., killed in action December 4, 1944.
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) per capita.
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 ways."
1.The old monthly County Court day has gone out of existence since Feb. 1. 1904, changed by tire Constitutional Convention of 1901-02.
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 incumbent.
3. For names of those who served 1861-65 see Confederate Monument at Nottoway Court House.
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 Clerk's Office.
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.
7. Parents. Mr. and Mrs. Willie Blanks, Blackstone.
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.
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