3 Replies Latest reply on Jun 3, 2020 7:49 AM by Rebecca Collier

    Seeking documents relating to 1600s Virginia home called “Woodville”


      The name of the house is Woodville circa 1690 - located on US 360 in Essex County, VA. I know who some of the owners have been but not all. Most of the earlier were descendants of the Woods family (namesake) including Col. Thomas Woods, a Muscoe Garnett Woods, and a Fountaine Woods. It was later sold to a John Smith, and later owned by a George Baughan. My Great grandfather, Dr. CA Warner purchased it from him and gave it to my father.


      It has secret hiding compartments and panels, and a place to hide above the chimney to shoot at approaching Indians. It was used during Civil War to muster / train troops (possibly also Revolutionary war). It’s been studied by Mary Washington University and nominated for the Registry but they did not have very much context in their nomination. The Williamsburg foundation with great interest (they even wanted to take it apart to take there to rebuild as a era home).


      I have looked at the library of Congress online and have looked through ancestry trying to piece together the “people” side, but what other archives should I be using? I feel like I am at a *rut.* Are there any archives of maps or documents that would show this kind of thing to support “training sites” for either time period?  Working on trying to get my late 1600’s h on the national Registry so I can secure / utilize better funding options to be able to restore/ preserve / save it.

        • Re: Seeking documents relating to 1600s Virginia home called “Woodville”
          Alice Lane Pioneer

          Hi, Meredith,

          Is this the same place about which you have posted. If it is the same doesn't this article mean that it is already on the list of historic places in your community.



          Woodlawn - Sandy

          From Tappahannock: Take Rt. 360 West for 8.5 miles. at Millers Tavern turn right on Rt. 620. Proceed 1.9 miles to Woodlawn-Sandy From St. Paul's Church: Take Rt. 360 East, 1.9 miles to Millers Tavern. Left on Rt. 620 1.9 miles to Woodlawn-Sandy.

          The house, thought to have been built by members of the Wood family of Woodville, is a late-eighteenth century sister house of neighboring Cherry Walk. Characteristic of WoodlawnElizabethan tythe-barn construction, it is a frame, three-bay with dormered gambrel roof and a large chimney at each eave end over a high English basement. It was acquired by Captain P. A. Sandy in 1859 and passed through his granddaughter to Carl Lauther, Jr., from whom the current owners purchased it in 1990.

          Known locally as "The Circus House," it was the headquarters of a traveling circus with sideshow in the 1940s. Today, a resident ghost playfully tunes the CD or radio to country music and turns the water on and off. The owners have extensive collections of porcelain, stoneware, baskets, Toby jugs, glass and furniture. Of particular interest are the 18th and 19th century hyacinth vases.

          The period plantings and the charming kitchen dependency are sheltered by an enormous weeping willow. Open for the first time to Historic Garden Week visitors.


          House renderings by Edward P. von Walter

            • Re: Seeking documents relating to 1600s Virginia home called “Woodville”

              Hey Alice!


              Thank you for your response! I never get responses on these boards!


              No, Woodlawn Sandy is a couple miles through the woods from my home, Woodville.

              Woodlawn Sandy is in the Millers Tavern Rural Historic District, on which Woodville is mentioned by name and location in association with the Wood family - however, Woodville is several miles outside of the district. There are several homes in the county built by the Wood family with Wood in the name.  It is thought that Woodville is their ancestral home.


              Where it gets a little lost, if you will, is trying to pin down exactly who the builder was of Woodville, since the earliest land records have been difficult to locate. A very good friend of mine, a very highly regarded local historian (who also did a lot of the research for the MTRHD Registry) was kind enough to do a chain of title for me - he said that it is likely that the initial build was done by someone who inherited the land from a ancestor who received it by patent. That would make it likely that it was built by Thomas Wood Sr.


              I am hoping that with a chain of title I can find enough information on those that lived here to be able to make a pressing case! I went in the house the other day and took photos. It has held up surprisingly well, but it needs a new roof ASAP and replace the plywood that has been shuttering it with the windows it deserves.. will share the  photos once I can figure out how on this post.

            • Re: Seeking documents relating to 1600s Virginia home called “Woodville”
              Rebecca Collier Ranger

              Dear Ms. Trible,


              Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


              Since Essex County was formed in 1692 from part of what’s called Rappahannock County (Old), we suggest that you contact the Library of Virginia for access to the deeds and wills prior to 1692. The original owner should have recorded the land he received with Rappahannock County (Old). As the owners changed after 1691, these should also be recorded with Essex County in the deeds and wills records. All of these records are available on microfilm.


              We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!