On Friday, I went up to the battlefield and had a long talk with the docent. Then I went to the Historical Society and had a long visit with the history of Amelia County. Didn’t turn up much. The people who really know about the Deatonville area weren’t around that day. But I did pick up a few things.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, this little corner of the world was known as either as Hendrick’s Ordinary or Thompson’s Tavern (depending on who’s telling the story). Then in 1784 Levi Deaton bought the tavern and it’s been Deatonville ever since. As far as I can tell, it’s really never been much more than a country crossroads and a pretty tatty looking one at that. Here’s a picture of Deatonville as it appeared in 1936 and according to the Charlottesville people who took this picture, this is how the hamlet probably looked when Custer and the Yankees galloped through on April 6, 1865 in pursuit of Lee and the remnants of the army of Northern Virginia. The rebs left one “battalion” at the crossroads to delay the enemy, which they did by taking down a fence, stacking the posts on the ground and firing when the Yankees came into view. That delaying action probably took place up near the cemetery. It’s the highest ground around and has a good sight line back to the crossroads.
I counted 21 stones up at the cemetery. Most of them were unmarked. Of the ones that had markings, all but one were Tuckers and it seems death visited the family quite frequently in the years just prior to the Civil War, despite one of the Tuckers being a physician. There is one grave for a 16 year old Victoria Tucker. Just a few feet down from her marker are two small stones. Makes you wonder if she died giving birth to twins. The only non Tucker was Hubert L. Vaughn who died in 1939. I don’t know what the Tuckers or the Vaughns did with the place, probably grew tobacco, corn and wheat, just as farmers here still do. That’s your history lesson for today.
In totally unrelated news, Momma Orpington managed to lose her turkey chick this past week. Of the four eggs in the incubator, she hatched out one and it survived quite well for a bout a week and a half. Then it disappeared. So I’m still turkeyless, but Momma is no longer broody. She’s back with the flock and all the hens have decided to celebrate the Fourth of July by not laying any eggs. And lastly Michael and I found the carcass of duck number 5 out in the back pasture.