Well Known Houses in Gloucester County
During the Civil War
Compiled by Roger C. Davis
Gloucester County (Virginia)
Mary Wiatt Gray
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(On North River) Original crown grant from England to John Boswell and
John Booth; original house built about 1658 was burned. On "14 April 1705
this property was transferred by indenture to Thomas Booth, descendant of
John, and so on by direct descent through Frances Amanda Todd Booth and
Warner Throckmorton Taliaferro, her husband, to their son, William Booth
Taliaferro, whose daughter, Miss L. S. Taliaferro has indentures, deeds
and other papers relating to Belleville dating back as far 1696." (Massie,
192-193) Up to the Civil War (1861) it operated as a real plantation.
The later gardens were laid out by the second Mrs. Warner Taliaferro, Miss
Leah Seddon. (Massie, 194)
At the death of General William Booth Taliaferro, Bellville descended to
his son, George Booth Taliaferro and later after being in the one family
for two hundred and fifty years, was sold to A. A Blow. (Massie,194).
Part of the original Robins grant. Purchased by Mr. and Mrs. Robert
Colgate Selden in 1830. Recently in possession of Mr. and Mrs. Henry A.
Williams, the latter a granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Selden (Massie,195).
"Original grant was from George III to Samuel Williams and his son,
Thomas, who built the oldest part of the present house in 1782. About
1792 it was bought by John Patterson and at his death passed to his
daughter, Mrs. Christopher Tompkins, the mother of 'Captain' Sally
Tompkins." Once the home of Judge Taylor Garnet, later owned by Mr. and
Mrs. George Upton of Cambridge, Mass. (Massie, 197).
Located at the head of Ware River. The original part is believed to have
been built between 1750 and 1760. In 1856 the back building was built.
After the Civil War the estate came into the possession of the Perrin
family and recently was owned by Mr. and Mrs. George McCubbin, the latter
a descendant of the Perrin family (Massie, 201). In 1865 Major William
Kennon Perrin lived at "Goshen" (Jones, p.147).
"This is one of the Old Dominion's celebrated early homes." Founded by
Thomas Todd in the early part of the seventeenth century, this property
was once part of a "generous acreage in Maryland and Virginia." At his
death in 1676 his son, Thomas Todd inherited the estate where it "remained
directly in the Todd family for four generations before passing from
Christopher Todd to his nephew, Phillip Tabb, son of Lucy Todd and Edward
Tabb, whose home was in Amelia County. Phillip Tabb married his first
cousin, Mary Mason Wythe-Booth, daughter of Elizabeth Todd, leaving
Toddsbury in possession of two direct descendants of the first Thomas
Todd." (Massie, 189).
The house of colonial architecture style is surrounded by a wide expanse
of lawn facing the North River. "Seven generations of Todds lie in the
old family burying grounds at the East side of the lawn, their records
from 1703 inscribed on the monuments." (Massie, 191).
This house is located in Gloucester County on what was referred to as the
Tidewater Trail. It is thought to have been built about 1800. "In 1820
John Tabb, son of Phillip Tabb, of Toddsbury, bought out his
sister-in-law's portion of the estate, and with his wife, who was Matilda
Prosser, went there to live." (Massie, 191).
In 1865 poverty ruled the land in Gloucester County. Abingdon Church held
elections and selected the following people as vestrymen from these homes.
"LEVEL GREEN" Colonel William Todd Robins
"WARNER HALL" Colonel T. Lyle Clarke
"GREENWAY" Captain Richard Mann Page
"SHERWOOD" Dr. Charles Selden
"LANDS END" Richard P. Jones
"GOSHEN" Major William Kennon Perrin
"In September 1862, during the battle at Crampton's Gap, Lieutenant
Colonel Fielding Lewis Taylor, of "Belle Farm," was critically wounded.
He was taken to Winchester where he died." (Jones, 140).
This once magnificent mansion was built at Timberneck on the York River in
Gloucester County between 1725-1737. Mann Page I, grandson of Colonel
John Page who first came to Gloucester about 1650, started construction of
Rosewell in 1725. Mann Page I was the son of Mathew Page and Mary Mann.
Mann Page I died in 1730 before he was able to move his family into the
still uncompleted mansion. His son, Mann II, (md. Alice Grymes in 1743)
was able to complete the house and his family lived there, where John Page
was born in 1743/1744 and later married Frances Burwell in 1765.
(Sinclair, 1, 4)
Thomas Buckner Booth acquired Rosewell in 1836 and married Margaret
Sinclair on October 6, 1842 (Sinclair, 29, 38). They raised many of their
ten children here before selling to Martha Louisa and Tabb Catlett in 1847
(Sinclair,54). During the six years the Catlett's occupied Rosewell they
entertained a lot and made the home a mecca of social functions. In 1853
they sold to Josiah Lilly Deans The Catlett's moved to Baltimore where he
could better manage his business interests (Sinclair,75).
Josiah Deans was to suffer the agony and devastation of the coming Civil
War conflict. The plantation was raided and looted and suffered losses as
did most of the estates in Gloucester County. Josiah Deans died in 1881.
"The estate was divided among his heirs. His daughter, Ellen Yeatman,
inherited the mansion and surrounding acreage" (Sinclair, 75).
In 1889 Ellen married Fielding Lewis Taylor, "a lawyer who served as
Commonwealth's Attorney for Gloucester and as Judge of the County Court."
With their combined talents and wealth the Taylor's made Rosewell a "civic
and social center" during their residence. In 1891 Fielding Lewis Taylor,
Jr. was born at Rosewell At age eleven he "contracted a virulent fever
(diagnosed as typhoid) and died." (Sinclair, 75, 91, 92).
Tragedy strikes Rosewell. On a cold March night in 1916, after a
wonderful evening of entertainment, the family awoke in the early morning
to the smell of smoke and crackling of flames. This horrendous fire
destroyed the house and most of the family treasures leaving only the
charred remains of the brick walls.
"In 1979 Rosewell and almost nine acres of land were given to the
Gloucester Historical Society of Virginia." The ruins are open to the
public at scheduled times (Sinclair, 75-76).
There are so many more places to mention. Grouped in close proximity
along the North River were Waverley, Toddsbury, Exchange, Elmington, Burgh
Westra, Dunham Massie, and Belleville. Bordering the Ware River were
Goshen, Airville, White Hall, The Level Green, and Sherwood; and along the
Severn River were Land's End, Eagle Point, and Warner Hall (Gray,
Other properties scattered near the York River are Little England,
Timberneck, Bell Roy, Argyle and Marlfield (Gray, map). Still others were
Barren Point, Endfield, Wilson Creek, Mount Pleasant, Belle Farm,
Summerville, Poropotank (Chelsea) (Violet Bank), Cowpens Neck, Clover
Fields (Shabby Hall), Hickory Fork House, Glen Roy, and Lowland Cottage.
There are others that I have overlooked but this will give an idea of the
number of places in Gloucester County at the time of the Civil War.
Gray, Mary Wiatt.
Gloucester County (Virginia).
Richmond: Cottrell and Cooke, 1936.
Jones, Spotswood Hunnicut.
The World of Ware Parish.
Richmond: The Dietz Press, 1991.
Massie, Susanne Williams and Frances Archer Christian, ed.
Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia.
New York: Bonanza Books,1931.
Sinclair, Caroline Baytop.
The Four Families of Rosewell.
Virginia Beach: Grunwald and Radcliff Pub., 1989.