NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY, named for the English county of the same name, was originally the Indian district of Chickacoan that lay between the Rappahannock and
Potomac Rivers, tributaries of Chesapeake Bay. Settlement began in 1635 with Colonel John Mottrom, the first white man to settle permanently in the region and the first burgess
for the territory. Other settlers soon arrived and by 1648 Northumberland County was created by the Virginia General Assembly. Three counties, Lancaster, Richmond and
Westmoreland, were formed from Northumberland, known as the "Mother County of the Northern Neck." It now comprises about 222 square miles. In early times the county was
without a sufficient system of roads and consequently remained isolated for hundreds of years. In 1926 a bridge was constructed linking the Northern Neck with Essex County and
the once isolated area began to grow. During its history Northumberland was home to many prominent families including the Balls, Carters, Hardings, Lees and others. For further
information about historic properties in Northumberland contact the NORTHUMBERLAND COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY.
THE ANCHORAGE was built near Mill Creek around 1757 by Isaac Hurst who purchased 100 acres from
Abraham Shearman, his father-in-law. According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, it is
typical of homes built by successful farmers in the mid-1700s who made their living from both agriculture
and fishing. In addition to Shearman and Hurst, the property was also owned by the Kent family and
others. A Kent family cemetery located north of the house in a grove of trees contains six markers dating
between 1842 and 1889.
The Anchorage, ca. 1757, Photo 2009
The original three-bay, side-passage plan house was built of reclaimed timbers from an 18th century kitchen. It sits on a brick foundation laid in English bond with a shed-roofed
porch covering the entrance. Interior walls in the original section are plastered and have single-beaded baseboard and sparse trim. Flooring is yellow random-width pine fastened
with hand-wrought nails. This portion probably consisted of an entry hall and main room that served simultaneously as a parlor, dining room or chamber. The west gable end, clad
in mill-sawn weatherboards, has a massive, double-shouldered exterior chimney laid in Flemish bond serving two fireplaces on the first floor and one on the second. The rafters
retain hand-wrought nails. In 1856 a 25' square two-story, two-bay, single-room wing was added and is accessible only from the second floor of the main house. It was clad with
modern weatherboards and built on a three-course Common bond foundation and basement. Floors are yellow pine. Other 1850s additions were a first floor parlor, a second floor
master bedroom and additional attic space. In 1948 a 1½-story, two-bay wing with a gable roof, supposedly an outbuilding dating to the 1850s, was moved and added to the east
end of the 19th century wing. At the same time an internal stairway to the basement was added under the main stairs. In 1984 a one-story frame ell with a gable roof was added on
the north side of the original house along with a screened porch. Dependencies include two framed 20th century sheds with gable roofs and a rare antebellum corncrib. An 18th
century kitchen, originally 16' square, is enclosed in a woodworking shop and garage.
THE ACADEMY was built in the early 1800s on a portion of John Heath's plantation in Heathsville. Along
with its sister house, CHICACOAN COTTAGE, it is said to have been one of the gatehouses to William
Harding's Springfield plantation. Both homes were included in early sales of Springfield and shared the same
owners, including John Heath, William Harding, Foushee Tebb, and others. In 1815 the Academy was
identified as Foushee Tebb's house. It has been occupied continuously since shortly after its construction.
Both homes have been used as rental properties.
The brick, 1½-story, three-bay, center passage plan "I" house has two rooms on each floor. The 39' x 20' dwelling was built of brick laid in Flemish bond over an English basement
containing a modern kitchen/dining and family room. Brickwork includes 18" thick exterior walls and a mix of Flemish bond (the façade and west wall), Running bond (the chimney
stacks above the roof ridge line) and American bond (east wall). Roofing is standing-seam metal and porches were rebuilt to the dimensions of "ghost" images found during a
restoration. First floor rooms include the central hall, the east parlor and the west parlor, retaining much original woodwork and an original hall stair. Flooring is of random width
oak installed over original white pine. Second floor rooms include two bedrooms with 7' ceilings and original doors. Alterations in 1929 include the addition of a bathroom wing and
three dormers; a side porch and east-side basement entrance; enlargement of the front porch and reconstruction of the fireplaces, leaving the original fireplace on the west end of
the upper level. Utilities were also up-graded. Dependencies include a rare brick 19th century smokehouse laid in American bond and measuring 12' x 10.' Completely restored, it
bears traces of meat hangers along the lower portion of the roof trusses. A barn, replicating the original barn, was constructed of salvaged framing materials showing mortises,
tenons, broad axe scars and other elements of early buildings.
The Academy, Early 1800s, Photo 2010
CHICACOAN COTTAGE, named for a local Indian tribe, was built in the early 1800s as the sister house to
the Academy. Both houses are identical in plan except for the three dormers added to the Academy in 1929.
Built about 50 yards apart both were built of brick, with the fronts laid in Flemish bond and the sides and rear
in American bond. Both have perfectly symmetrical proportions and formal interior end chimneys. Deed
records note that until 1891 Chicacoan Cottage was sold each time Springfield was sold.
Like the Academy, Chicacoan Cottage is a 1½-story, three-bay, center passage plan "I" house built of brick
laid in Flemish bond over an English basement. The gable roof is covered by standing-seam metal. First-floor
windows are nine-over-nine and six-over-six on the basement level. The center front door, with a transom
above, is surrounded by the ghost image of a pedimented porch. Much of the woodwork is original,
including the floor in the central hall and in the attic. There are two rooms on each level, including the
basement and attic, each with its own fireplace. Alterations include a kitchen and dining room added to the
rear of the house and a basement room created under this section by later owners.
Chicacoan Cottage, Early 1800s, Photo 2008
Cobb's Hall, 1853-55, Photo, VDHR
COBB'S HALL, built between 1853-55, is the third structure built on the plantation of
Colonel Richard Lee (1618 - 1664), who came to Virginia in 1639 from Shropshire,
England, and acquired land on Dividing Creek from local Indians. In 1651 he patented
800 acres and by 1658 owned 1,350 acres. In 1640-41 he married Anne Constable (1622
- 1706), daughter of Francis Constable, and had children including John (1642-44 -
1673), Richard (1644 - 1714), Francis (1646-48 - 1714), Hancock (1653 - 1709), William
(1651 - 1696/1703), Anne (Abt. 1652 - 1701), Elizabeth (1654 - ??) and Charles Lee (1656
- 1700-01). Although Richard Lee maintained a home near London, he became a
prosperous planter and trader in Lancaster, owning at least two ships. At his death in
1664 his plantation was divided between three of his sons.
The first Lee family house either burned or was demolished and a second dwelling
was built in 1720 by Richard's grandson, Charles Lee Jr. (1684 - 1734). The third and
present structure, built in 1853 by Lewis Giles Harvey and his wife, Martha Lee, is of
Georgian style constructed of brick laid in Flemish bond over an English basement.
The dwelling, with four chimneys serving ten fireplaces, still retains its original wood
floor and hardware. On the first floor, facing the front doors, are double parlors to the
left and a central hall on both floors measuring 12' x 36' long. Both sets of exterior
doors are surrounded by stained glass and granite lintels. Over the years the
surrounding property has been reduced to about seven acres and as of 2009 Cobb's
Hall was for sale after having been lived in by nine generations of the Lee family.
Not far from the house is the Cobb's Hall Burial Ground, located about 400' from his dwelling on Prentice Creek and once Richard Lee's garden. The cemetery, enclosed by a wall
constructed with salvaged bricks from other Lee family properties, contains the 1664 grave of immigrant Richard Lee I along with other family members; however, there are no
stones. On 5/3/1958 Mr. and Mrs. E. Walter Harvey deeded the graveyard to the Society of Lees of Virginia who erected a memorial to Richard Lee and his family. These
photographs were taken in 2009.
Ditchley, 1762, Land Front, Photo 2009
DITCHLEY, outside the town of Kilmarnock, was built by Kendall Lee around 1762 on property
owned by his ancestor, Richard Lee (1618 - 1664). At Lee's death his property was inherited by three
of his five sons. Hancock Lee (1653 - 1709) inherited the southern portion of his father's land and built
a house sometime after 1688. Hancock's son, Richard Lee II, named the property Ditchley and his son,
Kendall Lee (Abt. 1728 - Living 1762), built the present house around 1762. It was sold by Kendall's
son, William Lee, to his nephew, James Ball and the property remained in the Ball family for years. In
1932 Ditchley, Inc., a corporation formed by Alfred I. duPont of Wilmington, Delaware, and his wife
Jessie Dew Ball (1884-1970) of Northumberland County, acquired the house and 63 acres. As of 2010
Ditchley is maintained by the Jessie Ball duPont Trust for the use of her Virginia relatives.
The two-story, five-bay dwelling with a low hipped roof was built of brick with walls and foundation laid in Flemish bond and chimney stacks laid in American bond. Two
pedimented porches cover the east and west entrances and windows on both sides have what appear to be original architrave frames. Those with nine-over-nine sashes
probably date to the 1930s. There are two small windows on the north wall of the second story but none on the end walls. First floor rooms include the Chamber with original
raised-panel doors, chair rail and an ornate mantel; the hall, remodeled in the Federal period; and a backroom or study. Second floor chambers have Federal period mantels and
some original doors. In the southeast room a closet to the left of the mantel has a narrow opening leading to the attic, with most of its original framing. Alterations include a
southwest corner bath and dressing room and small bathrooms added in the chimney closets of the two north chambers. During the Federal Period two one-story wings with
gable roofs were added. The south-end wing, housing a bedroom, was laid in Flemish bond with bricks salvaged from another structure. The north-end wing was also laid in
Flemish bond and contains a kitchen and service area. Later modifications included extensive and largely undocumented restoration under ownership by Mrs. Jessie Ball
DuPont; however the original character was respected. Dependencies include the remains of an 18th century frame kitchen located north of the house, two smokehouses dating
to the 18th or early 19th century, and a farm manager's home built in the 1930s. Other buildings were constructed during the 20th century.
Edge Hill, 1832, (Unknown Photo)
EDGE HILL, built in 1832 near Wicomico Church, sits on a bluff overlooking the Great Wicomico River. It
was built in 1832 by William H. Harding, who amassed a tract of over 6,000 acres, including what is now
the Athena Vineyards winery, and several surrounding homes. The house was constructed near the site
of an earlier dwelling built by his ancestor, Hopkins Harding (1737 - 1792) on an 800 acre tract. The
original dwelling is said to have been destroyed by fire. A family cemetery and remains of the original
basement are nearby.
Edge Hill Farm Plantation, a 2 ½-story Federal style dwelling, built over an English basement, has five bays and is clad with wooden siding. Three dormers peer from the
shingled roof with interior chimneys on either end. Windows on all levels are six-over-six flanked by wooden shutters except at the basement. On the land front, wooden steps
lead to covered two-story flat-roofed portico built over a brick foundation with arched openings at the sides. Wooden columns support a second-floor porch reached through a
door on that level. A family cemetery at Edge Hill once held the graves of Dr. Hiram William Harding and his three wives, Dr. Hiram William Harding, Jr. and his wife Bettie
Wells Harding; Richard Otis Harding and his wife Loganetta Hurst Harding, and other members of their family. They have all been moved to the cemetery at Wicomico
Gascony, 1848 ~ Old chimneys at Gascony, Photo 2009
GASCONY was built in 1848 at Balls Neck by Lucius Thorwalsen Harding (1828 - 1895). It was named for the owner of the original house, Thomas Gascoyne/Gaskins (1601 -??),
an immigrant of French origin from the West Riding of Yorkshire, England. Gascoyne came to Virginia in 1619 at age 18 on the Bona Nova and by 1623-24 was living at
Flowerdieu Hundred. In 1636 he was issued a patent for 250 acres on Virginia's Eastern Shore but came to Northumberland County in 1649, patented land on the Great
Wicomico River and established his plantation, called Gascony. The site provided an ideal location for growing and shipping tobacco and the family prospered. In fact,
Gascony remained in the family throughout many generations and was burned by the British during the Revolutionary War. In 1787 the current owner, Thomas Gaskins VII,
was listed at the plantation as the owner of 30 slaves. In 1845 the Gaskins family sold the property to John Hopkins Harding of Cloverdale. Harding gave the home to his son,
Lucius Thorwalsen Harding (1828 - 1895), who built another home in 1848 on the foundations of the original house. Gascony remained in Harding family hands for many years.
The 46' long central structure was built atop two cellars with additions, each measuring 20' square, at either end of the house. It is a medium size dwelling common in late
colonial Virginia. Remains of two chimneys from an earlier house stand not far from the present one.
Heathsville Courthouse, located in the town of the same name, was established as the county seat in 1681 on land owned by John Hughlett about a mile south of Rowes
Landing on the Coan River. According to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the town itself has the largest assemblage of antebellum buildings in northeastern
Virginia, including six early plantations which define its outer boundaries. VDHR indentified 104 contributing historic resources including the Courthouse, the Old Jail, Rice's
Hotel/Hughlett's Tavern and the plantations of Springfield, Sunnyside and Oakley.
THE HEATHSVILLE HISTORIC DISTRICT
The Heathsville Courthouse & Monument, Photo 2010
THE COURTHOUSE, ca. 1900, was originally constructed in 1851 and, in its present form, dates to a remodeling and
enlargement in 1900-01. It is a two-story brick building with a five-bay front, one-story porch, gable roof, and Greek
Revival detailing. Interesting features include an oversized front dormer with a brick parapet and round-headed
window and a plaster ceiling medallion in the central passage that probably dates to 1851. The front veranda may be
a later addition and the one-story wings were added in 1964 and 1974. The four acre courthouse square was carved
from a portion of a 900 acre grant to John Hughlett in 1663 and the first courthouse was built about 1681.
THE BRICK JAIL, located just southwest of the courthouse, was constructed in 1844 as a three-bay, two-story
building with a gable roof, interior end chimneys, iron bars at the windows and corbelled cornice. The date,
"1844," is inscribed in a stone lintel over the door. The interior remains as it was when inmates were transferred
to the new jail, completed in 1960. The building is owned by the Northumberland Historical Society.
RICE'S HOTEL, or HUGHLETT'S TAVERN, was also built on a portion of John Hughlett's 1663 grant. The
Hughlett family plantation was nearby and by 1812 John Hughlett the Elder, great-grandson of the original
grant holder, applied for a license to operate the tavern. His 1795 will stipulated that rents from the ordinary be
applied to the schooling and raising of his grandson. In 1824 he sold the property to Griffin H. Foushee who
later sold it to William H. Harding who rented the tavern to Thomas G. Bains. In 1844 Richard A. Claybrook
purchased the property and sold it the following year to S. M. Conway. Sometime between 1845 and 1852
William Sydnor acquired the property and in 1852 it was purchased from Sydnor's estate by William Middleton.
In 1866 Benjamin Middleton sold it to John and Felicia Rice, who lived there with their three children.
RICES HOTEL prospered under their ownership and when John died in 1892 his widow continued operation
until leasing it about 1906 to her cousin, George Daniel Shirley, who changed the name to"SHIRLEY'S HOTEL"
and lived there with his family until about 1909. J. G. Rice, Sr. and Leila Palmer Rice acquired the property from
heirs of Felicia Rice and lived at the hotel with six children, continuing to operate the hotel until the mid-1930s
when many clients became permanent boarders. The building remained in the hands of the Rice family until
1990 when it was deeded, along with 1.2 acres of land, to the Northumberland County Historical Society.
Today, the building is the site for the HEATHSVILLE TAVERN, a popular restaurant.
LYNHAMS was constructed sometime after 1678 on Indian lands that now surround the Indian
Creek Golf and Country Club. The three-bay dwelling, clad with beaded siding, is of peg
construction with hand-hewn beams with Roman numerals. The gable roof, with two exterior
end chimneys, is covered by hand-split cedar shakes. A pedimented porch covers the entry.
The original dwelling is contained in the present structure and has two rooms down, one room
up, and three fireplaces. The traditional hall, now a living room, retains the original mantel and
fireplace and the bedroom in this section has a 300+ year old mantel. A kitchen and bath shed
addition were constructed about 200 years after the original house was built and a master
bedroom and screened porch were added in the 20th century. A breakfast room, located in the
hyphen, is a former screened-porch.
On 2/19/1678-79 John Lenham/Lyinum/Lynham and his wife, Jane, purchased part of a 1611 acre tract in Wicomico Parish near Indian Creek and it was Lynham who probably
built the original house. On 10/4/1692 John Lynham of Cople Parish wrote a will leaving the 50 acre tract he lived on to his loving wife Joshan (sic). He was still living on
5/16/1694 when records noted that Jno. Lynum (sic), "impotent and poor," is freed from levy. He died sometime before 3/29/1699 when his will was proved. On 6/24/1699 his
widow, Joshuan (sic), was shown as the wife of Robert Isles, a weaver of Cople Parish, Westmoreland County, when they sold 65 acres between Robert Bennett and John
Lenham, deceased, located near the head of a swamp in the forest of Yeocomico in Cople Parish.
After a series of owners Lynhams was sold in 1825 to William and James Kelley, two unmarried brothers who are buried on the property. William Kelley died in 1848 and his
will stipulated that his slaves be emancipated at the death of his brother and a plantation purchased in a free state where the slaves would be moved. James Kelley died in
1856 and his will also stated that his slaves should be freed, except for two who may have been too old to travel. If so, they were to have lifetime rights at his home, which he
left to his nephew James W. Kelley. The slaves were to be moved together, either to a free state or to Liberia, and $15,000.00 was set aside to accomplish this. By the time the
will was settled 43 slaves, valued at $19,425.00, sailed onboard the Elvira Owen to Liberia. The expenditure for their outfitting and passage was $13,500.00. The total estate
expenditure for emancipation and relocation of the slaves was somewhere between $630,000.00 and $830,000.00 in current U.S. dollars. Years later a descendant of one of these
slaves came to Christ Church from Liberia to visit the graves of the Kelley brothers and read the plaque placed there by James Kelley in memory of his brother William.
During the Civil War three Union boats landed near Lynhams and soldiers slaughtered all the animals and stole the slaves, horses and valuables, including a diamond cross
worn by the lady of the house. They also shelled the house, striking one of the chimneys. Today the house is maintained as a bed and breakfast and guests tell of a resident
Lynhams, ca. 1678, Photo, 2010
Oakley, ca. 1820s, Photo 2010
OAKLEY was built on property originally owned by John Hughlett. His descendant, John Hughlett
V, sold the plantation and 200 acres in 1815 to Thomas Towles, who built the present structure
around 1820. In 1838 Towles' wife and daughter, Margaret D. and Sally Towles, sold Oakley and
195+ acres to William Harding of Springfield, who began major renovations. Oakley changed
hands several times and in 1972 the current owners gave a portion of the property to the
Northumberland County Historical Society.
The 2 ½-story house, built in the Federal style with Greek Revival details, is a five-bay, central-passage plan house built on an earlier raised brick foundation laid in American
bond. Two brick interior chimneys in the earliest section and an interior chimney on the ell were laid in Stretcher bond. The exterior is clad in weatherboard and the roof is
standing-seam metal. Beams in the two-room basement were joined in mortise-and-tenon fashion with joints secured by dowels. Most of the ceiling beams bear adze marks
and those over the stairs carry Roman numerals. A one-story front porch with paired Doric columns covers the entry. Window and door surrounds, closely matching those in
were probably added around 1838-1841. Windows, many with hand blown glass panes, are flanked by louvered wood shutters. The name "Addie W. Lippincott" was etched
into one of the panes.
A frame two-story ell with original Federal style trim and a random width pine floor was added in 1898, more than doubling the size of the house. The roof was covered by
closely matching synthetic siding. This addition is connected to the original section by an entry hall. Also on the first floor in the original section are a dining room with
random-width pine floors and a north library with a large brick fireplace flanked by bookcases A south room has a fireplace with a raised brick hearth and a door leading into a
bathroom in the addition. On the econd floor are two bed chambers with small fireplaces. The attic, accessed by a continuation of the hall stair, has a small hall dividing two
rooms with two small windows. The ell includes a hall with doors leading to the kitchen and pantry, and a one-story glass-enclosed porch with a fireplace added in 1978. The
second floor, accessed by the hall stair or the back stair in the kitchen, has original flooring and rooms lead one to the other without a hall.
Dependencies include a two-story, six-bay frame barn (Est. 1940s) clad in weatherboard with a gable roof of standing-seam metal. A late 19th century building of unknown
origin is clad with weatherboard, covered by a cat-slide standing-seam metal roof, and has a brick interior chimney and original random width board flooring. A 20th century
un-floored shed also has a cat-slide roof of corregated metal and sliding plank doors. A pyramid shape 20th century framed gazebo was built near the house.
Roanoke, Photo 2010
Information needed on this house.
Shalango, mid-1800s, Photo 2009
SHALANGO, on the Great Wicomico River with Chesapeake Bay beyond and Shell Creek to the
north, sits on property owned by the Gaskins family during the 18th and early 19th centuries. In
1832 Colonel Edward Coles purchased the 483 acre property at public auction. At his death in 1842
it was inherited by his son, John Hopkins Coles (1825 - 1880), whose guardian was William
Harding of Springfield. In 1851 Coles married Louisa Josephine Harding (1832-1884), daughter of
John Hopkins Harding of Cloverdale where the couple lived until 1855 when Coles began building
Shalango. The property remained in the hands of the Coles family for some time and the tiny
handprint of 5 year old Louise Coles Bouldin can be found between two shelves on the back wall
of a closet. The unusual name of the house first appeared in the Northumberland Land Tax Book in
The 2 ½-story, five-bay, frame I-house has a central passage plan and was constructed over a brick basement, laid in random American bond, that housed the original kitchen.
There was also a detached kitchen. The gable roof, covered by standing-seam metal, has three dormers and matching interior end chimneys serving three flues each.
Windows are flanked by original louvered shutters. There are no windows on the gable ends. A one-story front porch, built ca. 1890 on a tall brick foundation with arched
openings at the sides, has paired solid-wood posts said to have been carved on the farm. The porch illustrates both the Eastlake style, popular at the time, and the earlier
Italianate style. A two-piece window centered over the porch probably replaced an original doorway, suggesting the existence of an upper deck. On the first floor the 12' wide
central passage has a rare three-story open stairway that may have been built in Baltimore or another Chesapeake port city, brought in by steamboat, and installed by local
workmen. The north parlor trim is of Greek and Italianate style while other rooms have a simpler Greek Revival style trim. A one-story rear wing along two-thirds of the river
front is probably original and houses a single room at the south end and a porch overlooking the river. Alterations in the 1890s include the creation of a kitchen from a former
bedchamber, rebuilding the original single-bay front porch and the enclosure of a rear porch to form a dining room.
Dependencies once included a dairy, kitchen, smokehouse, springhouse and a large barn, said to be older than
the house. A formal garden, planted between the house and the river, was removed after the Depression when
the plot became farmland. Most significant are remains of former slave cabins, documented during the Virginia
Department of Historic Resources certification in 1986 and located on a map in their records.
Probable Slave House, Shalango, Photo, 2009
Springfield & Dependency, Photo 2010
SPRINGFIELD, located at Heathsville, was built on land owned during the Revolutionary War
by John Gordon who sold 649 acres of the property to John Heath in 1791. After several
owners, William Harding (1797 - 1878) purchased 700 acres of the tract in 1826 and began
construction of the house in 1828. "W.H. 1828" is carved on a stone step at the west entry.
The house is a 2 ½-story, 5-bay, Federal style brick dwelling with a center hall plan, gable roof and a foundation laid in Flemish bond. A pedimented two-level portico at the
front retains original fanlight transoms, paneled double doors and louvered and paneled shutters. First floor rooms, containing paneled wainscots and elaborate stucco
ceiling medallions, include a central hall with an open-well stair to the attic; the east parlor with an original Roman Revival-style mantel; and a dining room with a
Federal-style mantel. The den has a raised-panel wainscot and a mantel flanked by cupboards. Windows are mainly six-over-six flanked by shutters. Alterations include an
1850 addition of two 1½-story wings with round-arched windows, stuccoed keystone lintels, and a lunette on the ½-story. An asymmetrically positioned door on the second
floor and an outline on the rear wall suggest removal of a two-level porch.
Dependencies include slave quarters, a three-bay, one-story brick building laid in Flemish bond with a gable roof of standing seam metal. Three original doors survive. There
is also a one-story brick office laid in Flemish bond, a one-story brick dairy, also laid in Flemish bond and a carriage house laid in five-course American bond. An elaborate
boxwood maze was planted in the rear garden but later plowed under and converted into a field. To dispose of the boxwood, it was fed first to hogs and then to cows. Both
refused to eat it and it was finally carted away.
Sunnyside, ca. 1827 - 45, Photo 2010
SUNNYSIDE, located just before entering the town of Heathsville, was built in 1827 according to
stories of a long-missing corner-stone, but tax records suggest a building date of 1845. The property
was owned by the Haynie family until purchased by Royston Betts, Jr. who married a Haynie
daughter. It then passed to their son, John J. Betts (?? - 1861), who left the property to his widow,
Arabella. After the Civil War the property was sold by court order to pay debts and purchased by
William Harding, owner of Springfield and Arabella Betts' uncle. Harding allowed Arabella and her
three children to remain in the house and the name "Arabella" is etched in one of the widow panes. It
wasn't until 1885 that the name "Sunnyside" appeared on county tax records.
The two-story Federal style "I" house with additions has three styles of brickwork, Flemish bond on the main façade, American bond on the foundation and the other three
sides and Running bond on the kitchen addition and interior end chimneys. The gable roof is covered with standing-seam metal. The original house has plaster walls and
ceilings and wood flooring, while the addition has random-width pine. Entry is through a one-story flat-roofed portico with paired Doric columns. First floor rooms include a
central passage with an open-string staircase; a living room with crown molding, chair rails, and a fireplace mantel supported by Tuscan-style columns; and a dining room
with chair rails, a built-in china closet and a fireplace. The second floor mirrors the first and has a west bedroom with painted paneled walls and two built-in closets; an east
bedroom, and adjoining bath. Both bedrooms have fireplaces. Alterations include an 1883 kitchen addition with a built-in pantry, a rear addition clad in weatherboard, and a
two-story guest house. Dependencies include a smokehouse and dairy, said to have been constructed in 1845, both with batten doors and decorative brickwork vents. A
two-story kitchen, built sometime before 1841, is clad in weatherboard and retains original floors, beamed ceilings, a narrow closed stairway leading to a room above, and a
fireplace with a metal rod for hanging pots. Other outbuildings include a pre-1841 carriage house built of weatherboard with a metal-sheathed roof, a corncrib also clad in
weatherboard and a barn built on a stone foundation with entrances on two sides.
Versailles, 1853, Photo 2010
VERSAILLES, at Burgess, was built around 1853 for Samuel Benedict Burgess (4/8/1811 - Living
1780) on part of a 208 acre tract called High House. Construction was by an unknown master
carpenter who built other period houses in the area. Burgess, a planter, gristmill owner, and leader
of Fairfields Methodist Church, represented Northumberland and Westmoreland Counties in the
1879-80 session of the Virginia House of Delegates and was a county supervisor from 1875 until his
death. His estate inventory indicated that Versailles was the site of extensive farming activity.
The main house is a 2½-story, central-passage, five-bay structure built over a raised brick basement laid in American bond. It is sheathed in weatherboard and covered by a
standing-seam metal roof with interior end chimneys. A two-story pedimented porch has Greek Revival detailing and the entry has a paneled wooden door topped by a
four-light transom. Original wooden flooring and steps on the first floor porch were replaced by poured concrete. The second floor porch has a railed balcony. There are
bulkheaded entrances to the basement on the east and west sides constructed of brick with gable roofs. The west entry provides access to the dining room with wooden
plank flooring covering an original dirt floor and an original mantel. On the north side of this entrance are bricks inscribed with the initials "S.B.B." and the date "1853." A
door from the dining room leads into the basement kitchen, with flooring, baseboard, windows and ceiling identical to that in the dining room. Lath and plaster was removed
to expose the beams in the basement ceiling and in 1985 baseboard was added and fireplaces were reworked with original bricks.
The first floor contains an ornate central passage with an open-string staircase ascending to a landing and turning south to the second floor. Flooring is original
random-width pine and plaster is original horsehair. Doors have Greek Revival detailing and a portion of molding has metal hooks, probably used for hanging cloaks. The
west parlor off the central passage has original flooring, baseboard, horsehair plaster walls, window and door surrounds. There is also an original mantelpiece and a
decorative paneled dado below the windows. The east parlor is used as a family room and retains much of its original character. The door and window surrounds are of
reeded molding with bull's eye corner blocks. First floor bedrooms, accessed from the parlors or the central hall, were created during the late 19th century and have doors and
windows similar to those on the first floor. The second floor has a central passage and two rooms, one on each side. The flooring, baseboard and walls are identical to those
on the first floor and windows, doors, trim and mantelpieces are generally simpler. A stair, similar to the main stair, leads to the attic with windows located on either side of
In the late 19th century the northwest and northeast sections of the original shed roofed porch were enclosed to form two additional rooms with an open porch between
them, later enclosed with windows. During the 20th century a portion of the front porch was enclosed, creating a hallway on the south and a bath and laundry area to the
north. The basement was extended under the porch and a second floor built above it. A pair of French doors and two windows were installed at basement level, one near
each corner of the building. The first floor portion, entered from either the kitchen or dining room, serves as a mudroom, bathroom and pantry. The second floor addition
provided two small bedrooms and a double bath with skylight. Original weatherboarding on the second floor rear wall was removed and replaced with reproduction siding. A
raised deck was added and is accessible through a rear door.
Wheatland, 1840s, land front (Photo, VDHR)
WHEATLAND, located at Cherry Point, was built in the 1840s by William H. Harding (1816 - 1856),
son of Thomas Everett Harding (1795-1830) of Edge Hill, as the centerpiece of his 1300 acre
plantation. Also known as Level Green, the family changed the name to Wheatland after profiting
from a bumper crop of wheat.
The 2½-strory, Federal-style, five-bay dwelling has a modified central-passage plan. Attached to the main house are matching 1½ story, two-bay brick wings, all supported
by 3' high brick foundations laid in American bond. Four interior end chimneys serve ten fireplaces and the gable roof is standing seam metal. Two, two-tier porticos
supported by four columns on each level, rest on brick foundations with arched openings. Original transoms of colored glass crown the front and rear doors and large
windows have original louvered shutters. On the first floor, heavy paneled doors with period hardware open into a wide central stair hall connected to an unobstructed 5' x 54'
rear hall providing access to the wings. Flooring is random-width heart pine and ceilings are 10 ½' high. All rooms have closets built beside the interior end chimneys. The
south wing houses the library, while the north wing serves as the formal dining room and retains a door leading to a hidden stairway to the room above. Originally this stair
was the only access to that room, but another passage was cut from the first-floor landing in the 20th century. A one-story, two-room frame wing housing a kitchen and
pantry was added off the dining room during the late 19th or early 20th centuries. The second floor houses the bedchambers, all featuring Federal-style trim.
Dependencies include an original one-story, three-bay frame kitchen with a brick foundation, gable roof and an interior end chimney. An office, built at the same time, has the
same specifications. A North Yard House and a South Yard House were constructed ca. 1848-50 and are one-room, one-bay frame structures on masonry foundations with
gable roofs. The barn, built in the late 19th or early 20th century, is of frame construction with an asymmetrical three-bay front, gable roof and a newer south addition. Other
20th century outbuildings include a tenant house, smokehouse, garage with upstairs apartment and a storage building. A large stand of boxwoods, over 6' in height, remains
in the center of the circular drive at the end of the ¼ mile lane from the road to the house.
Wheatland's sister house, CLOVERDALE, is located at Balls Neck on Clover Dale Creek, an estuary of the Chesapeake Bay near Dameron Marsh. Built about 1848-49 by John
Hopkins Harding (1803 - 1875), it has long succumbed to the elements. The Harding family, prominent in Northumberland County history, is credited with building at least four
houses - Cloverdale, Gascony, Springfield, and Wheatland. An old drawing of Cloverdale shows how similar it was to Wheatland, built in the 1840s by William H. Harding.
(1816 - 1861). Architectural evidence suggests that the same builder worked on both houses and also remodeled nearby Springfield, built around 1828 by William H. Harding
Sr. (1797 - 1878). A ca. 1843-49 manuscript in Dr. Harding's handwriting compared builder's fees and materials for Wheatland with that of Cloverdale when the homes were
under construction. Wheatland is 3' longer than Cloverdale and includes a rear cross-passage, whereas Cloverdale had a standard central-passage plan. The interior
detailing of the two houses was in many cases identical. Cloverdale had large rooms, handsome mantels, ornate paneling and high ceilings. The entry hall ran from front to
back of the house with a wide stairway. A back porch with small rooms at each end was added in later years. The wings on either side of the house had secret entrances
through closets into the bedrooms.
According to legend, family members who had joined the Confederacy hid from Yankee soldiers in the wings. Boxwood bordered the front lawn and brick walkways and was
arranged in the form of a cross in the rear garden. A family cemetery at Cloverdale holds the remains of Lucius Thorwalsen Harding of Gascony and his wife Adeline Hudnall
Harding and several members of the family.
FOR BIBLIOGRAPHY: See Richmond County
Old Jail, Heathsville, Photo 2010
Rice's Hotel/Hughlett's Tavern, Photo, 2010
(c) 2010 - Website & Photos by Gayle N. Mandell. Use of content or photos is prohibited without written permission.
The Heathsville Courthouse & Monument, Photo 2010