South of the Dan Driving Tour
Historic Buildings in Halifax County, Virginia
Red Hill

Red Hill
1105 Wilkins Road

Red Hill was built around 1905 by Josephus Percy Wilkins for his wife, Sudie Bruce, following their marriage on September 25, 1902. Miss Bruce was ftom a "good family" in Culpeper, VA, and Percy felt that she should have a home that was befitting her social status. His father, William J. Wilkins, gave Percy his choice of several parcels of land and Percy chose this site because it was one of the highest points around. The name Red Hill was probably chosen because of the color of the clay soil.

Percy was the youngest of thirteen children born to William J. and Catherine Stokes Perryman Wilkins and was bom September 2, 1873; he died November 28, 1944, and is buried in Culpeper beside his wife.

Mr. Wilkins hired Luther Bradshaw of Cedar Grove to build the house. Mr Bradshaw was the grandfather of current owner Carol Foster. "I never knew any of my grandparents so it was interesting during the reconstruction to see the guts of the house and to know that my grandfather's fingerprints were on everything," Carol states.

Percy and Sudie did not have children but shared their home with two loyal employees, "Aunt Vennie" and "Uncle Effe." When Mrs. Wilkins died in the mid-1930's, Mr. Wilkins moved into The Dormitory at the Turbeville School nearby. The Dormitory was a large white house built to the left of the school and was used to house the teachers at the school. There Mr. Wilkins had the company of other people and was able to have three meals a day.

During those years, several families lived at Red Hill, the first of whom were Marshall and Katherine Slayton, the parents of Juvenile Court Judge Frank M. Slayton. Dub and Margaret Wilkins moved into Red Hill following their marriage in February 1941 and lived there until Dub left to serve in World War II. Neighbor T. C. Howell visited Dub and Margaret often at Red Hill and would always comment that the young couple "fit loose" in the large house. Next to live at Red Hill were Mr. & Mrs. John Myers, Mr. Myers being the agriculture instructor at Turbeville High School.

At the death of Mr. Wilkins, Red Hill was purchased by Mr. & Mrs. T. A. Adams. The Adams were the parents of Carol Foster, who lives at Red Hill today. During its almost 100-year history, Red Hill has been owned by only two families - the Wilkins and the Adams. Carol and Mark bought Red Hill from her mother, Sallie Bradshaw Adams, in 1967. Mr. Adams had died in 1961 and Carol felt that her mother, who was only several years older than Carol is today, was too old to live there alone! Mrs. Adams later moved to Westminster Canterbury in Lynchburg and lived there until her death at the age of 94.

The Fosters lived at Red Hill for two years - from 1967 until 1969. In 1969 Mark was transferred to Mississippi. During the sixteen years they lived in Mississippi, Red Hill changed hands twice. The Fosters sold the house to Carol's nephew, Ted Ratcliff, who, in time, sold it to his mother and Carol's sister, Polly Adams Ratcliff. In 1996, the Fosters bought the house again - from Polly; and Mark was overheard to say at the real estate closing, "I believe I've done this before!"

"I was the one of the three Adams girls who moved into the house as a child so it has always been special to me," says Carol. "We knew when we bought the house we needed to stabilize the outside quickly so there would be no further deterioration. We had to tear out the old maple trees that had lined the driveway and most of the fencing around the pastures. Replacing the maple trees has been ongoing since it has rained everywhere else in the world for the last few yeare except Turbeville!"

"There were three major areas of construction and remodeling that we knew were needed from the onset: the kitchen, back porch and pantry; the upstairs master bath and closets; and Mark's office, closet and bath. All of these areas were gutted and the space reconfigured. The old back porch became a breakfast room, a keeping room with fireplace and a laundry room. The breakfast room I had grown up with reverted to its original use as a butler's pantry."

Local painter Bill Snead commented that our master bathroom was 'the second prettiest one in Halifax County' and nephew Ned Strange remarked that it looked like the baptistery at Mt. Vernon Baptist Church!"

"We had a large number of books and no bookshelves; we knew we needed a library, so a downstairs bedroom became a wonderful room filled with bookshelves that were faux painted by Phil Ramsey. This room now houses our books as well as Mark's collection of duck decoys."

"Mark and I are both collectors and pack rats so we made use of every bit of space we could find. People seem to enjoy seeing our collections and memorabilia of our lives and there is a lot of it. When our daughter came to visit before we had gotten the house straight, she said to me, 'Mother, you cannot die until you get this house in order!' It was her wedding reception here last November that spurred us on to get finished."

"This is the fourth extensive rehab we have done and with each one I have become a bit more adventuresome with colors and patterns. The dining room paper was my starting point in this house. I had seen a wallpaper that had monkeys featured in it and I loved it. I found a similar paper that had strong colors of red, yellow, green and a hint of lavender along with the monkeys. I used the same red from the paper for both the downstairs and upstairs halls, and I used the yellow for the living room walls. I had never used a lot of yellow in decorating but it seemed to be my color of choice this time, and I have used various shades of yellow and gold throughout the house. The comment we most often get from visitors is about the multiplicity of colors and patterns that we have used."

"It is wonderful to be back home again after forty years. There are few places where you can sit on your front porch and see the same view that you saw as a child. I wake up in the mornings to the same sounds I heard as a child. The same step creaks when you go upstairs as it did when I tried to sneak in a few minutes past my curfew."

" Mark always said the only thing he ever wanted to do was to make me happy, and I'll says he's gone far beyond the limit by giving me this house twice!"

From Red Hill, continue south about 1 mile to Lynwood.

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   The transcription and the updated photos are the work of Dan Shaw. In some cases modifications to the original text have been made to improve the flow of the story, correct typos, and insert new or clarifying information. Additional facts or further corrections are welcome.    This author takes no credit for the original publications and its research. These local historians should be honored for the their endless hours of efforts to document this county's history for posterity.