Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins

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Coordinates: 37°22′43″N 78°47′47″W / 37.37861°N 78.79639°W / 37.37861; -78.79639

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Old county jail at ACHNHP.jpg
Site of "old" county jail, now ruins
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins is located in Virginia
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins is located in the US
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins
Nearest city Appomattox, Virginia
Area 1,325.1 acres (536.2 ha)
Built 1865
NRHP Reference # 66000827[1]
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966

The Appomattox Court House National Historical Park ruins are part of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park,[2] which was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.[3]

Old county jail[edit]

The first municipal structure the county officials wanted soon after the newly formed Appomattox County was official was a new county jail, not a new courthouse. The original wooden jail built in 1845 was placed behind the courthouse on the north side of the Richmond-Lynchburg stage road. The "old" jail burned down around 1866 to 1867. It was replaced by the New County Jail, a brick jail, that was already in construction from 1860. The "new" jail was finished in 1867, but not used until 1870. The size of the "old" jail was about 40 feet (12 m) wide by 18 12 feet (5.6 m) deep. The only parts left to the ruin are four corner brick foundation remains.[4] A marker at the site reads:

COUNTY JAIL - The county jail in 1865 stood just beyond this marker. Shortly after the war it burned. The jail across the road replaced it in 1870.[5]

R.J. N. Williams cabin ruin[edit]

The R.J. N. Williams Cabin ruin is identified as structure number 20. The National Park Service has identified this as a ruin of a former log structure. The remains of a stone chimney is what remains in the ruin rubble. The original structure was about 16 feet (4.9 m) wide by 18 feet (5.5 m) deep. It was built with 6-by-8-inch (150 by 200 mm) log planks of full dovetail notching. The loft area in the cabin was evidenced by mortising of the second-story joists. The once tin roof was covered with wood shingles. The cabin was constructed in 1850 to 1899 by James N. Williams. A Civil War Map identified this cabin as being 12-mile (0.80 km) north of the courthouse and as the residence of one "James N. Williams", a carpenter and mechanic.[6]

Williams appeared in the United States Census of Appomattox in 1850, 1860 & 1870. In 1860 Williams shows as 39 years old and his wife Aramah is 32 years old. Their children are Richard D. (13), James E. (8), John C. (5), and Thomas G. (2). It shows his profession as a "mechanic."

The R.J. N. Williams Cabin ruin is significant by being likely to yield information important in history in Virginia before the American Civil War. It is also significant by virtue of its association with the site of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant that took place on April 9, 1865. It is a part of the holistic landscape typical of both a seat of county government in Piedmont Virginia in the mid-nineteenth century and of a farming community in Virginia at the time of the American Civil War. The site was preserved in 1985.[6]

McDearmon–Tibbs–Scott house ruin[edit]

The McDearmon–Tibbs–Scott ruins[7] is a house on the Civil War-era Tibbs property built 1849-1850 and identified as structure number 31. It is a nineteenth-century plantation with a main house and an associated well and slave cabins. Because it existed at the time of the surrender of General Robert E. Lee to General Ulysses S. Grant, it is significant under certain criteria of the National Park Service. There are certain Civil War-era maps that show that there were approximately 10 buildings on this site then.[8]

Samuel D. McDearmon purchased the undeveloped 206-acre (0.83 km2) "Clover Hill" tract from Hugh Raine in 1846, cutting off 30 acres (12 ha) for a county seat for the new Appomattox county. In 1849 he began improving the now 176-acre (0.71 km2) property adding $1,056 worth of buildings. By 1851 he had made improvements totaling $2,800, likely indicating that the mansion house had been completed. This chronology also corresponds to his known political and financial zenith. Although he offered the tract for sale in October 1854,[9] Jacob Tibbs did not purchase McDearmon's property until 1856 and then only 140 acres (57 ha) of it, which included the $2800 "improvements." The following year Tibbs's "improvements" had been reduced to $2000.[10]

The McDearmon–Tibbs–Scott house foundation ruins of the 1840s are constructed of hand-made masonry interspersed with window openings. On the perimeter of the brick foundation are poured-in-place concrete piers for a later wrap-around porch. The 1840s section measures about 48 by 53 feet (15 by 16 m) overall with an end chimney foundation of 3 by 5 feet (0.91 by 1.52 m). The outer porch measures 61 by 58 feet (19 by 18 m).[8]

The McDearmon–Tibbs–Scott house was originally a two-story, ell-plan Greek Revival house with low-slung hipped roof. A broad four-column portico marked the original entry[11] It was modified in the beginning-to-early twentieth century (1900 to 1920) with a one story wrap-around porch and a second-story walkway and porte cochere. The front lower-story entrance has a double-leaf door with side and transom lights, the same for second-story porch. The windows were of 6/6 thin muntin double-hung sash with an alteration on the east facade of 4/1 sash. The roof appears to have had a widow's walk. The house was removed between 1965 and 1970.[8]

The McDearmon-Tibbs estate was an early-pre-Civil War plantation that was a working farm up to the mid-twentieth century. A well served the main house and slave cabin area. The well was located northeast of the McDearmon–Tibbs–Scott house. There is a cast-in-place concrete cover over the original 4-to-5-foot-diameter (1.2 to 1.5 m) brick-lined well. The cover is about 9 feet (2.7 m) square with a 2-foot-square (0.61 m) opening. The abutting cover at side is an 8-by-2-foot (2.44 by 0.61 m) basin with 4-inch-thick (100 mm) wall. The basin rests on top of cover and is supported by two cast-in-place piers. The well is filled except for the top 8 feet (2.4 m).[12]

Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #1-West[edit]

The Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #1-West is given the structure number 31A. It is one of two tenant house ruins behind the Tibbs–Scott main house ruin. It was built within line of original slave cabins as depicted on the Micheler Map. The slave houses date from post Civil War to 1880s, but construction components appear to be from earlier structures; possibly slave cabins or other structures. This house is believed to post-date the eastern house due to its smaller size and use of bead board for interior finishes. It was built in 1865 to 1880 and altered in the later part of the twentieth century.[13]

It was originally two stories, four bay wide by one room deep. It had a gable roof with a central chimney, centered within roof ridge. Its size was about 23 feet (7.0 m) wide by about 14 12 feet (4.4 m) deep. It was 14 12 feet (4.4 m) high to the roof peak. It had 8-inch (200 mm) boxed eave/fascia with heavy timber brace framing with earlier nails found embedded in sill beam in inverted position. There were two doors offset from centered chimney, flanked by double-hung sash. The second story has collapsed to the first floor level in the center. It is intact on the east elevation. The interior exhibits bead board finish applied to frame.[13]

Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #2-East[edit]

The Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #1-West is given the structure number 31B. It is one of two tenant house ruins behind the Tibbs–Scott main house ruin. It was built within line of original slave cabins as depicted on the Micheler Map. The slave houses date from post Civil War to 1880s, but construction components appear to be from earlier structures; possibly slave cabins or other structures. This house is believed to pre-date the western house due to its larger size and use of plaster and lath on interior finish. It was built in 1865 to 1880 and abandoned in 1950 to 1960.[14]

It was originally two stories, four bay wide by one room deep. It was a gable roofed tenant house. Its size was about 14 feet (4.3 m) wide by about 31 12 feet (9.6 m) deep. It was about 14 12 feet (4.4 m) to the bottom of the exposed sill and about 15 feet (4.6 m) to the bottom of the foundation. It was built in braced timber frame. The interior has ghosts of plaster and lath on wood members. The central chimney is centered on ridge. The western wall is still standing, and the remaining majority of the house has collapsed inward. The western sill beam has mortised holes for roof rafters and the eastern sill is 14 inches (360 mm) in height.[14]

Coleman house ruin[edit]

The original Coleman Family homestead was given to Samuel H. Coleman and his wife Armanda as a wedding present from the bride's father. The farm existed in 1862 and continually worked into the early 20th century. The Coleman house ruin is located north of the Oakville Road trace in an area of heavy Civil War fighting leading up to the end of the war.[15]

The Coleman house ruin is significant under certain criteria of the National Park Service by virtue of its association with the site of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant. It is significant under certain criteria as being likely to yield information important in Virginia history of the 19th and 20th century. The house was abandoned between 1920 and 1950.[15]

The above ground remains are 10 inches (250 mm) high by over 13 feet (4.0 m) long, however the lines of the remaining foundation are clearly visible. The north elevation contains ruins of an exterior stone fireplace, 3 feet 2 inches (0.97 m) deep by 6 feet 3 inches (1.91 m) long by 3 feet (0.91 m) high. There are indications of a brick chimney stack. The upper wall configurations or construction is unknown. The theory is that it was log plank.[15]

The Coleman Tobacco Barn was an original agricultural outbuilding to the Coleman estate and the only remaining still-standing structure. The building located north of the Richmond-Lynchburg Stage Road Trace existed at the time of the American Civil War and is representative of the grain culture. It is significant under certain criteria by embodying the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, and method of construction in rural Virginia of the nineteenth century. The buildings and resources constitute a holistic landscape typical of both a county government seat in Piedmont Virginia in the mid-19th century and of a farming community in Virginia.[16]

Sweeney dam ruin and mill race[edit]

The original Sweeney dam and mill race were built by Alexander Sweeney around 1790 to power his milling operation that are now ruins. The structures are located south of the prizery and were built in the 18th century. It was used up to the time of the end of the American Civil War. They were abandoned in 1930 to 1940. The earthen dam ruin was stone infill of over 100 feet (30 m) in length by almost 9 feet (2.7 m) high and bridged the Appomattox River. It is tapered shape with a walkway at approximately 27 feet (8.2 m) west at the base. It varies at the top from 3 to 4 feet (0.91 to 1.22 m) wide.[17]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ Marvel, A place called Appomattox, has an extensive bibliography (pp. 369-383) which lists manuscript collections, private papers and letters that were consulted, as well as, newspapers, government documents, and other published monographs that were used in his research of Appomattox.
  3. ^ Jon B. Montgomery; Reed Engle; Clifford Tobias (May 8, 1989). "National Register of Historic Places Registration: Appomattox Court House / Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (version from Virginia Department of Historic Resources, including maps)" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 12 photos, undated (version from Federal website) (32 KB) and one photo, undated, at Virginia DHR
  4. ^ Marvel, A Place Called Appomattox, pp. 4-6
  5. ^ Sign at ruin site of original "old" county jail
  6. ^ a b "R.J. N. Williams Cabin Ruin". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  7. ^ Historic American Buildings Survey: Virginia Catalog (Charlottesville: 1976) p.53. [1]
  8. ^ a b c "Tibbs-Scott House Ruin". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  9. ^ Marvel A Place Called Appomattox p.42-3.
  10. ^ Appomattox County Land Tax Records 1845 - 1857, microfilm Library of Virginia, Richmond.
  11. ^ The existing HABS photo shows the "ghost" of an outer column indicating an approximately 22-foot-wide (6.7 m) porch. The missing fascia board at the roofline may indicate that the porch was at one time two stories. Library of Congress website HABS VA, 6-APPO,-8.
  12. ^ "Tibbs-Scott Well". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  13. ^ a b "Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #1-West". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  14. ^ a b "Tinsley–Scott Tenant House Ruin #2-East". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  15. ^ a b c "Coleman House Ruin". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  16. ^ "Coleman Outbuilding". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  17. ^ "Sweeney Dam Ruin". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 

References[edit]

  • Bradford, Ned, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Plume, 1989
  • Catton, Bruce, A Stillness at Appomattox, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 53-9982, ISBN 0-385-04451-8
  • Catton, Bruce, This Hallowed Ground, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 56-5960
  • Chaffin, Tom, 2006. Sea of Gray: The Around-the-World Odyssey of the Confederate Raider Shenandoah, Hill and Wang/Farrar, Straus and Giroux,.
  • Davis, Burke, The Civil War: Strange & Fascinating Facts, Wings Books, 1960 & 1982, ISBN 0-517-37151-0
  • Davis, Burke, To Appomattox - Nine April Days, 1865, Eastern Acorn Press, 1992, ISBN 0-915992-17-5
  • Featherston, Nathaniel Ragland, Appomattox County History and Genealogy, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1998, ISBN 0-8063-4760-0
  • Gutek, Patricia, Plantations and Outdoor Museums in America's Historic South, University of South Carolina Press, 1996, ISBN 1-57003-071-5
  • Kaiser, Harvey H., The National Park Architecture Sourcebook, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008, ISBN 1-56898-742-0
  • Kennedy, Frances H., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990, ISBN 0-395-52282-X
  • Korn, Jerry et al., The Civil War, Pursuit to Appomattox, The Last Battles, Time-Life Books, 1987, ISBN 0-8094-4788-6
  • Marvel, William, A Place Called Appomattox, UNC Press, 2000, ISBN 0-8078-2568-9
  • Marvel, William, Lee's Last Retreat, UNC Press, 2006, ISBN 0-8078-5703-3
  • McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford University Press, 1988,
  • National Park Service, Appomattox Court House: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 2002, ISBN 0-912627-70-0
  • Tidwell, William A., April '65: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War, Kent State University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-87338-515-2
  • Weigley, Russel F., A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861-1865, Indiana University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-253-33738-0