Historic Homes
Halifax County, Virginia

Oak Grove Plantation - Poindexter
Oak Grove Plantation - Poindexter

by Pocahontas Edmunds, History of Halifax

Nathaniel H. Poindexter, who was born January 12, 1808, and died January 2, 1859, was the first owner of "Oak Grove" which was designed by Dabney Minor Cosby about 1835. There was a smaller older house on the place earlier. He had married Mary, the young widow, of Samuel Edmondson, Jr., who had died before his father did in 1827. The Poindexters married in 1832 and first lived in the cottage with slanting roof that was already on the place.

Timber from the plantation and brick made upon it were used. Flooring was 5/8 inch thick. One hundred and forty years after it was built, windows still reflected from wavy glass panes. Shingles of heart pine were used for roofing that clamped so snugly upon the old house that no further roofing was needed until 1920.

Stories abound about Nathaniel. One was that on a drunken spree he walked right out of an upper window and tumbled into the pond beneath. Another was that he sold whisky in the "lock" or basement storage room now used for gourds, peppers, etc., stored for winter.

His wife had Edmondson children, and she now had Poindexters. Edmondson clan financial security came to her aid as a widow Poindexter when Major H. Archer Edmondson lent essential funds to hold the place. He owned it when it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Townes Carter in 1886, whose granddaughter still owns it - Mrs. Brandon Stone and Mr. Stone.

The Stones bought the manor house and 34 acres of land from her sister and brother, Miss Margaret Carter and Charles Carter, in 1964, letting them hold over 300 acres that had been attached to the place. The Stones bought about a hundred acres near the place for space and privacy. Like the Carters, they added boxwoods for the oak grove that had been decimated by storms.

The Stones got a Lynchburg architect of the Everett Fauber firm to supervise the restoration which strove to keep all as it was of old. The rear entrance now faces Route 501 to Lynchburg. The front was approached from an earlier Lynchburg road, having a driveway at the front which curved to the right where there used to be a carriage house, stable and other dependencies. The summer kitchen, Mrs. Stone remembers, used to be where Route 501 is now. The dining room was in the basement which was brighter than most, having 8-foot windows, if not ones 10 feet tall like those on the first floor. The The house is rather square and three stories tall, each about 12 feet high. Twelve panes are in each sash. Each of the six rooms in the house had cross ventilation. Original colors as used for one hundred and forty years brighten woodwork and walls. Woodwork is putty colored, baseboard black, walls white.

The wide reception hall has steps with a broad landing brightened by a window at that point. Mr. Stone has made candle stands, dining room furniture and other pieces of furniture here and there all over the house. The dining room to the right of the hall was once a bedroom. The Stones had banquet ends on hand, and he had only to make the intermediate table out of walnut off the farm.

On the upper floor there are two big bedrooms and a bath. A Victorian poster bed has the original rope frame. A wardrobe and a washstand seem to belong here, if not necessary nowadays.

The first floor steps used to lead directly into the old dining room on the ground floor, but a partition in recent years has blocked that room off. Now the Stones use this as a bed sitting-room. There is a winter kitchen with old beams and other antique features. The keeping room, where things used to be locked away, is now a utility room. It is called the "lock room". Time was, 'tis said, when Nat Poindexter used to bootleg whisky through a cautious opening here.

The Carters still gather their clan for dinner on the grounds outside, if not in the dining room that was on the ground floor or the dining room that is on the first floor. They have opened the place on two tours given by the Halifax Woman's Club and shown it to other organized groups too as well as neighbors and friends. It is only about 4.0 miles from the village and can be seen from the new as well as the old road to Lynchburg.

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The Sam Williams estate sold Nathaniel Poindexter on July 30, 1836, the Ragland tract of 231 acres acquired from Robert Gilliland. Mrs. Poindexter sold to T. Carter, circa 1886. whose descendant, Mrs. Brandon Stone, owns it in 1976, i.e., "Oak Grove" 4.0 miles northwest of Halifax.

On July 30, 1836, Nathaniel H. Poindexter acquired Ragland tract of 231 acres sold earlier by Robert Gilliland. After 1886 it became property of T. Carter whose daughter, Mrs. Brandon Stone, owns it now. (July 26, 1977, it was bought by Robert Harrises.)
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