Berry Hill Plantation
Berry Hill Plantation
More Photos: Drawing Room Main Stairway Plot Floor Plan

(This information is was originally published in a sales brochure
especially prepared for the sale of Berry Hill in 1948 (est.))

The Mansion
BERRY HILL MANSION was built by James C. Bruce about 1842 on a site purchased by him from his cousin, General Edward C. Carrington. The Carrington house, which it replaced, was probably built around 1750 and the grounds date back to that period.

The Mansion is the finest example of Greek Colonial Architecture in the country. It is built of brick, covered with plaster and whitewashed. The outside walls are about three feet thick. The attic floor is insulated and the house is cool in summer and warm in winter. Water for the house is pumped by an electric pump from a spring about a quarter-mile in front of the house. The supply is ample and the water is soft. The house is heated by steam, coal fired. There are ten fireplaces with marble mantels in the main house. The mantels in the drawing room and library were imported from Italy and are handsomely carved.

The house is wired for electricity with a line from South Boston.

The floors are wide board heart pine.

All of the bathrooms are tiled.

The attached sketch shows the layout of the first and second floors and adequate servants' quarters are provided on the colonnade with a servants' bath in the cellar.

The mansion is furnished and it is probable that most of the furniture, with the exception of family portraits and silver, can be purchased from the estate of M. G. Bruce, deceased.

Out Buildings

There are a stable with three stalls, a corn house, a garage, a smoke house, an ash house, a cow-barn, a pig shed, a stableman's cabin and an ice house.

There are also two miniature reproductions of the main house on each side of the circle in front of the house, one of which was formerly used as an office and the other as a billiard room.


The grounds contain about thirty acres and all except the small stable area is enclosed in a stone wall. The area inside of the stone wall is about two thirds lawn and shade trees and one third pasture and orchard.

There is a row of bush box about seventy feet long by fifteen feet wide by eight feet high and three rows of tree box about one hundred feet long by twenty-five feet wide by thirty feet high. There are also numerous other bush box of more recent planting.

The Plantation

The plantation contains approximately sixteen hundred and eighty acres. A survey to determine the exact boundaries and area is now in progress and the boundaries shown on the attached sketch are only approximate.

There are about seven hundred acres suitable for growing bright tobacco, about eight hundred acres suitable for corn, wheat, hay, etc. and about two hundred acres of river bottom (low grounds). The total area is about half cleared and half in woods. The plantation has four tenant houses and share-croppers' houses, barns, etc. too numerous to enumerate here.

The farms are rented on the tenant system, the tenant paying a fourth of the crop.

In 1948, over twenty-eight thousand dollars worth of tobacco was sold from the plantation. Owing to the high price of tobacco, the other crops have been pretty much neglected in recent years.

State highway 659 runs through the plantation which has a frontage of about three and four-tenths miles on this road. Owing to the opening of new industrial plants in South Boston, which is about one mile from the edge of the plantation and in Halifax which is about four miles from the edge of the plantation, there is quite a demand for lots along this road. At a recent sale, quarter acre lots on this road only a few hundred yards from the point where it enters the plantation, sold for as much as two hundred dollars apiece.

The low grounds are subject to occasional floods but were once protected by a dike which is in good shape except for several large holes which have washed in it and it is thought that this dike can be repaired at an expenditure which would be warranted by the quality of this land. About three hundred additional acres which can be protected by this dike are available for purchase now.

Part of these low grounds is now under cultivation and part is rented for pasture.

There is quite a lot of valuable timber on the place. A timber survey is being undertaken and it is hoped that the results will be available shortly.


This is good riding country and foxes are available but no hounds have been kept at Berry Hill since the Civil War. There is excellent cover and food for quail and at one time it was possible to find over fifteen covey per day; but, owing to the lack of posting and protection in recent years, the place has been pretty badly shot out. The food available for quail has increased considerably in recent years due to the spread of lespedeza and it is believed that with proper protection this place will provide excellent shooting. Ducks are sometimes found on the fish pond or the river and woodcock in the low grounds.

There is a fish pond of about seven acres, about one half mile north of the mansion, which has been stocked with large-mouth bass.


Berry Hill mansion is connected to State Highway (Hard Surface) No. 659 by six tenths of a mile of private road which is in good condition and joins the highway at a point about three miles west of South Boston, a town of six thousand people.

South Boston is at the junction of the Richmond and Danville division of the Southern R. R. and the Lynchburg and Durham Division of the Norfolk & Western R. R. and lies sixty-two miles south of Lynchburg, thirty-two miles east of Danville and one hundred and eighteen miles southwest of Richmond.


The taxes on the Berry Hill Mansion and plantation for 1947 were $596.75.

It is proposed to sell the Berry Hill Mansion and about sixty acres which include the grounds, spring, outbuildings, etc. for one hundred and fifteen thousand dollars.

The mansion and the home farm which surrounds the mansion and contains about 306 acres will be sold for one hundred and thirty-five thousand dollars.

The entire plantation, including the mansion, will be sold for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars and an adjustment in price of sixty dollars per acre will be made for each acre by which the survey shows that the total acreage is greater or less than sixteen hundred and eighty acres.

The farms will be sold subject to existing yearly leases in force at the time of sale.

As the plantation is being sold for division, a cash transaction is desired but, if necessary, it is probable that a part of the purchase price can be taken in the form of a mortgage.

The family cemetery, located in the grounds, will not be included in the sale.

Information and Inspection

For further information, address Col. W. A. Pendleton, Malvern Avenue--Ruxton--4--Md.

Inspection is by appointment with the firm of W. L. Seymour and Co., Harris Bldg., South Boston, Virginia, which has been employed to show the place on a per diem basis.

The place is available for sale by any broker acceptable to the Attorneys and a commission of five per cent (5%) on the sales price will be paid.

This offering is made subject to errors and omissions, change and withdrawal without notice, prior sale without notice and approval of sale by the three Attorneys, authorized by the heirs to sell the property. They are Attorney John Randolph Tucker of Richmond, Virginia, Attorney Frank L. McKinney of South Boston, Virginia, and Col. W. A. Pendleton of Ruxton, Md.

This information is was originally published in a sales brochure especially prepared for the sale of Berry Hill in 1948 (est.),
and provided by The South Boston-Halifax County Museum of Fine Arts and History
For comments, suggestions or inquiries, email the Webmaster of Halifax.Com.
This page was last updated on March 12, 2002.