The Tracy Family History
Albemarle Dwellings

    Thomas Jefferson’s home, a friend and neighbor. His father “settled on the lands I still own, called Shadwell...the third or fourth settler, about the year 1737...” ( three years after we settled)

    It was in this region of the Piedmont of Virginia that our people became the first settlers. Soon the Scotch-Irish would come flooding into Virginia and the Carolinas. Most came from the sea.
    Who were our neighbors? There is a wonderful, rare book, titled Ante-Bellum Albemarle, with historical comments by Mary Rawlings. There are 92 sketches (drawings) of some of the more prominent mansions of the Colonial and later era done by H. Heyward and A. Robinson. The book was published by a local bank, Peoples National Bank in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was published in 1935, nearly 70 years ago. The book is not available in reprint. But it is available through the Interlibrary Loan system.
    I have copied a few of the drawings that I thought would be of interest to our Woods-Wallace cousins.
    Remember that these dwellings stood as of 1935. Some may no longer exist today.


Ash Lawn
         Owned by Mr. Jay W. Johns
(Left) Home of James Monroe (president). He purchased the farm, adjoining Monticello from Thomas Jefferson (president) so he could be near his friend. The building was erected by his friends, Jefferson and Madison (presidents), while he was in France. James Madison would witness many of the documents of Michael Woods, Sr. Usually, only your good friends witnessed your signature.

           (Old Lynchburg Road)
               Home of Mr. Charles D. McCormick
(Right) The home from early childhood, not the birthplace, of John S. Mosby, the famous guerilla colonel. He went to a log school, then attended a school in Charlottesville, riding or walking, and latter attended law school at the University of Virginia. In 1867 this became the home of Gen. L B Northrup, Commissary General of the Confederate Army. Jefferson Davis is said to have been a guest here.


Michie’s Old Tavern
    (Monticello Road)
         Home of Mr. Milton L. Grigg
(Left) Built on a land grant taken in 1735 by Major John Henry, father of the great orator (Patrick Henry).

(Stony Point Road)
                  Home of Mr. Henry McComb Bush
(Right) The home of Sarah Franklin and her husband. She was the daughter of the great philosopher and statesman, Benjamin Franklin.


Buena Vista
   (River Road)
     Home of Mr. A. E. McMurdo
(Left)  Born and raised to the age of five was the great Revolutionary War hero, George Rogers Clark. He would return to visit only once during his manhood. My Proctor kin (chapters 22-23)  served under this man, fighting the Indians on the Kentucky frontier.

           (Stony Point Road)
                 Home of Mr. J. Oscar Thurman

(Right) The home of Dr. John Gilmer, son of Dr. George Gilmer. He was a successful and progressive physician, and was the first in the State to attempt the treatment of smallpox by inoculation, about 1802. His smallpox hospital on the plantation so alarmed the community that he was taken to the courthouse and put under bond for good behavior for three month, “especially in not alarming the neighborhood.”


 Plain Dealing
     (Keene Neighborhood)
        Home of Mr. Robert Hancock

 ...Later, the “Plain Dealing” cottage was bought by Theodore Roosevelt (president), renamed “Pine Knot” and used as a hunting lodge.

Albemarle County Courthouse
    In the colonial and frontier days, the center of your world was the county, and the county courthouse. Thomas Jefferson referred to it as “the common temple” and was accustomed to attend worship here. Pillory, stocks, and whipping post stood here.

Stocks: The first necessity for the county courthouse were the stocks: “...a former instrument of punishment consisting of a wooden frame with holes for confining an offender’s ankles, and sometimes his wrists.”

Public whipping post:
Women as well as men were lashed at the public whipping post. In 1751, two women with children out of wedlock were given two lashes.

Ducking stool: Was used to punish women convicted as “common scolds.” “A "scold" was a person, especially a woman, who habitually used abusive language.” “Then found out there was no water deep enough near the courthouse.” This obviously negates the purpose of the ducking stool, as you have to duck the “scold” in a pond of water.            

In my research I have come across references to three books that might be of interest. I have not read these books and suspect they are rare. I do not know their availability through reprint or the Interlibrary Loan System.

Early History of Two Albemarle Churches, by Rev. Samuel Black
History of Albemarle County, by Rev. Edgar Woods
The Albemarle of Other Days (1925)
, by Rawlings

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