Black Walnut District, Halifax County, Virginia
Mount Laurel
• The houses listed on this tour are private residences and are not open to the public.

Liberty Holly - The old Adkisson House

Click for larger image
This ~180 year old Holly tree is nearly 75 feet tall and its trunk is 30 inches in diameter. Another Holly, just as impressive in its own right, is located on the other side of the front yard and might have reached the same height if it were not under a massive Pin oak.
From the "History of Halifax" - The Mount Laural Area - by Pocahontas Edmunds

Adkissons have lived near Mount Laurel since 1835.

The huge house rambles in several directions, having many small halls and up and down steps. The holly tree in the yard is one hundred and fifty years old.

Click for larger image. Dr.  Paul J. Carrington's House
Dr. Paul J. Carrington's house.
(Across the road from it is a house built by Dr. Paul J. Carrington in 1850. Dr. Leandor Faulknor bought this in 1859 and lived there until 1873. See photo right.)

The oldest part of this house of many additions was built in 1829. Liberty Hall girls' school was once conducted here. A near tornado struck down several venerable oaks in the yard in June 1977, puncturing holes in the roof, but somehow not injuring boxwood in the yard. The 1829 tall slim holly tree escaped injury too, seeming to still touch the sky. Within the house an employee was praying with devoutness of extra intensity. William Adkisson, whose familv had lived there for generations, braced for the very worst. He and the house survived - some trees did not.

The Paul Carrington house on the opposite side of the road and facing the 1829 William Adkisson house was also admired by Robert Weekins in 1957. It is now owned by William Adkisson and is the home of his tenant. It has a slanting red tin roof with dormer windows, as most houses here did before 1800.

Stage coach stop & Post Office. Click for larger image.
Adkisson's Tavern (?)
  This stage coach stop, tavern, & post office has two sleeping rooms on the second floor. This building is located very near to the road and is about 200 yards west of the old Adkisson home. It was considered the center of the community.
It (the Adkisson house) is cozy in shape, and the rooms on different levels seem like terraces. The mantel of the room on the left now used as a kitchen was removed by Mrs. Janet Chalmers Meade, who lived as a nongenarian in Charlottesville and who owned county property on River Road and near Turbeville. She was a sister of Mrs. J. M. Carrington, daughter-in-law of Paul. Their grandfather had been born at "Springfield". Paul Carrington, M. D., was son of Walter Coles Carrington of "Long Branch".

The author and Mrs. Wallace Moore saw these Mount Laurel houses July 5, 1977, and Mrs. Moore (nee Ovid Webb) remembered when she and her father, David W. W. Webb, used to drive 20 miles to call on Mrs. J. M. Carrington, sharing tidbits of both gardens and gossip.

Click on photos to see a larger image.
Carriage House
Carriage House

      A carriage driver and his family were likely quartered on the second floor. Notice the windows on the upper floor.
Detached Kitchen

      Here the cook prepared the meals and delivered them to the main house.

      Another small building nearby was likely the cook's quarters. There is a folding vent near the ceiling on both north and south ends that indicate that people lived there and that this venting system was a means to relieve the accumulation of hot summer air. (See this kitchen/slave house at Brandon Plantation which has a similar feature.)
Kitchen Door Nail Pattern
Nail Design

      The kitchen door on the left has a design of nails. It seems that someone with creative talent put it to use.
Smoke House
Chicken Coop & Smoke House

      The chicken coop on left was a means to not only feed the family but was also a source of revenue. The smoke house on right.
Egg Crate
Metal Egg Crate

This metal egg crate was one of many used to ship fresh eggs to Richmond. The rectangular opening was for either of the two cardboard address labels that were found inside the box.
Upper Laural
Upper Laural

      Just east of the Adkisson home, but on the south side of the road is a home with a distinctive English basement thought to have been built in 1840. It has the name of Upper Laural on a sign in front of the house.

Home owner contact -

A Brief History of Mount Laurel

Written by
M. W. Lewis
a citizen of Mt. Laurel
(date unknown)

A brief history of the village of Mt. Laurel since the year 1825 to the present time.

1825, Mr. Glen Adkisson in his early manhood located in Mt. Laurel as a clerk in a store for some one unknown to the writer "as there are no records" and spent his life here engaged in farming and as the leading merchant of the community.

Mr. Elijah Hundley built the large mansion, known as the Doran place and raised a large family, and owned a large territory of land.

Adkisson was among the early comers and built the Robert Filk(?) home. Colonel Basvill(?) was a prominent farmer and lived and died at what is known the Bassvill(?) place.

About 1870 the Mt. Laurel Episcopal Church was moved by Wm Salmon and Miles Seay from the the Cemetary on the Clover road to the village where it now stands.

Back in the early Eightys Mr. John Salmon operated a large tan(n)ery in the vil(l)age.

The store house known as Adkisson store house was once a grainery and was moved from near the Fi(?)ts home to the place it now stands, and there is one thing about this store house that very few people know, and that is the water that runs off the roof of this store runs into four different creeks and is the headwaters of Lick branch, Adkisson creek, Reedy creek and Blackwalnut creek, and all four creeks flow into Staunton River.

Mr. W. S. Adkisson was one of the leading citizens of the community for a number of years and was one of the largest land owners in Halifax Co. at the time of his death.

J. E Green was for fourty odd years a prominent merchant of the vilage, but always maintained his home at Clover.

R. C. Carrington sold goods here for 40 years or more. He came from Charlotte Co. Henry Farrer operated a blacksmith shop here all his life and about 1902. J. J. Salmon, known as "big Tom" operated a wagon shop & blacksmith shop here all his life and was a very useful man but died practically a young man only 38 years old.

Mt. Laurel is one of the oldest post Office in the County. John Randolph of Charlotte co. received his mail for a long time from this office, (and) had (to) cross Staunton River on a boat to get his mail.

The stores in the village at the present time are operated by H. L. Hardee and Mrs. O. H. Lacks, and the shop is run by MWLewis who has served as Justice of the peace for nearly 30 years.

This handwritten history was contributed January 31, 2005 by Ann Lewis, wife of John W. Lewis, grandson of the author.
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