Historic Homes
Halifax County, Virginia


Woodbourne April 13, 2003

From the Pocahontas Edmunds volumes "History of Halifax"

In 1811 Thomas Gent, Jr., sold 10 acres to joint ownership of Sam Williams and Colonel John H. Wimbish, supposedly because it was just between the extensive holdings of each. The deed mentions that this had been the former home of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Gent, Sr.

Wimbish married Rebecca Williams, daughter of Joseph Williams, in 1811. They evidently set up housekeeping at what we call "Woodbourne" about that time. It included two big farms in 1820, 421 acres 1.0 mile west worth $7,788.50, and 530 acres 2.0.miles west worth $8,180.00, totalling about 900 acres. Wimbish's will inventory shows a house with handsome silver, china and furniture.

This house, which burned in 1922, had a slanting dormer-windowed roof and unpretentious but charming proportions. It may have been built in 1773 by Peterson Harrison.

"Woodburn" was the name given to the old Wimbish home in Halifax when Mr. Easley's daughter, Mrs. Paul Edmunds bought it, though it was never called that by the Wimbishes - the builders - who lived in it for several generations." - Halifacts, by Dr. W.B. Barbour - 1941

There was another house called "Woodburn" or "Woodbourne" located on Woodbourne Road, Rt. 610, on a hill overlooking Terrible Creek. This was the home of James Bruce (father of the builder of Berry Hill) and his second wife, Elvira Cabell Bruce (daughter of William Cabell of "Union Hill" Nelson County, Virginia, and widow of Patrick Henry Jr. - the eldest son of the orator, who died only a few months after their marriage.).

This house was destroyed by fire sometime about 1800.

Its genesis is like this:

Isham Westmoreland of Dinwiddie County - it was granted to him by Letters Patent at Williamsburg, July 14, 1769, with appurtenances, meaning that there were already improvements on it. He sold it to Peterson Harrison on April 16, 1772, 400 acres on the south side of the Banister River for 45 pounds of Virginia money.

It began at Kirby's Commissary on the river, went south, north, west, to pointers on William Gent's farm. The latter owned the nearly 400 acres along the river that became the mostly northern side of the Halifax community. Mountain Road below St. John's Episcopal Church was part of the John Hicks property of 1790, sold to a succession of owners from 1785 on after Wm. Gent. From the church lands the 110 acres of Thomas Gent farm, and later the reserved 10 acres, went up Mountain Road to Wimbish's line, Wimbish owning last 5.0 acres of this after 1811.

Gent also included the other (southern) side of Mountain Road, extending much further, certainly through the present library property. Williams bought Thomas Gent farm from John Barksdale in 1809. Barksdale having got it from the Gents in 1804. Williams bought Hicks end of Halifax in 1823.

Peterson Harrison on January 24, 1803, granted the place to his daughter, Frances, and his son-in-law, Joseph Poindexter. Harrison's estate November 23, 1812, leaves them interest in 450 acres on Banister River. This had been bought from Harrison's widow, now Mrs. Hurt, in 1802.

James and Agnes Hurt of Campbell County, September 6, 1802, let Poindexters have their third of the 450 acres for 100 pounds. Wimbish 1812, Thomas Leigh 1853, Emily Stevens 1877, Jackson and Miller 1884, R. H. Easley 1986, Mrs. Paul Edmunds 1893.

William Holt Edmunds, grantee from Mrs. P. A. Edmunds, Tr. and c., April 10, 1899, 80 1/2 acres on Mountain Road. (He also got 120 acres on Polecat Creek of "Round Hill," December 3, 1900.) R. H. Easley had deed of trust May 30, 1904 on 59 3/4 acres - and 22.13 acres. James E. Edmunds from Mrs. Holt Edmunds' estate, 1969.

More - - - James Easley Edmunds, III, October 21, 1915 - March 17, 2003
" . . . other mothers of artists are Mrs. John Stevens, mother of Clara Stevens Parsons, who is known for her garden sculptures at Brookgreen Gardens near Myrtle Beach. Above all there was Rebecca Leigh (Powell) once raised in the same house "Woodbourne" where Clara, who was born when her parents were in their fifties, was. Rebecca Powell was the mother of John Powell, Virginia's most famous musician in three centuries."
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