If you missed the Introduction to the series which provides some background information, you can read it here.
Lots 228 (and 94)
The study prepared by Alonzo Thomas Dill provides extensive details about lot 228 which is described as the Healy-Martin House, 429 4th Street, West Point, VA. For purposes of this series, we will focus only on expanding and supplementing that information to include details found in the images of the burned records created by local historian Bibb Edwards and his team, thanks to the cooperation and participation of Patricia M. Norman, Clerk of the King William County Circuit Court. Other resources such as census records, court cases, and newspaper articles have also been reviewed as part of this analysis.
Dill’s report indicates that
“Certain chancery papers relating to Healy’s acquisition of the property name an earlier owner — B.E. Guthrie, who was said to be in possession of the site at the time of his death. Unfortunately, the records do not show the death date or when B.E. Guthrie acquired the property, so the chain of title (because of the burning of county records) stops with Guthrie’s possession. Nor can B.E. Guthrie be identified, but he was evidently a member of the Guthrie family that at one time owned the ferry landing on the north side of the Mattaponi, which later became known as Brookeshire. Later the family lived in the Shanghai section of King and Queen County.“
In order to address these questions, there are several sources of information referenced below:
Images of Deeds from Burned Records and the King William Land Books:
- On October 12, 1859, B.E. Guthrey (a.k.a. Guthries) purchased lots 94 (fronts D Street) and 228 (fronts 4th Street) for $200 each from the West Point Land Company.
- On January 23, 1860, B.E. Guthrey and wife Matilda convey lot 94 to Edwin Fleet. The King William Land Book for 1860 shows the value of lot 228 as $150 for buildings and total value of $350.
- In the 1862 King William Land Book, Edwin Fleet’s Est. has lot 94 with a value of $1000 for the building and total value of $1200 (currently 226 Main Street). B.E. Guthrey still has lot 228, value of buildings $150, total value $350.
- In the 1865 King William Land Book, lot 94 is listed for Mary Fleet ($1000/1200) and B.E. Guthrey is listed for lot 228 ($150/350).
- In the 1870-1883 King William Land Books, B.E. Guthrey remains listed for lot 228 (total value in 1875 however is now listed as $100 buildings/$150 total).
- In the 1884 King William Land Book, lot 228 is now listed for Wm. H. Healey with a note that it is conveyed by Thomas Bagby. Research continues, but an index reference or deed has not yet been located in the burned records for that transfer.
- In 1885, Wm. H. Healy is listed for lot 228, but the total value is now $635.
Census records indicate that Buckres(sic)E. Guthrey was born about 1827 in King and Queen County, Virginia (other records show name as Buckner). In 1870, he is living in West Point with his wife Matilda and children. In the 1880 census, he is no longer living on 4th Street but he still owns the home. He is listed as a farmer and his wife Matilda is sick with consumption. They have another daughter, Jeanette, born about 1878.
(Year: 1870; Census Place: West Point, King William, Virginia; Roll: M593_1658; Page: 169A; Family History Library Film: 553157)
Households listed on the page from top to bottom are:
- Household number 394: Fanny A. Anderson (white, age 63, keeping house), Eudora Anderson (white, age 24, without occupation) and Hansford Anderson (white, age 33, retired merchant); real estate value listed next to Eudora’s name $700; personal property for Hansford $200 and for Fanny $1634.
- Household number 395: George Tate (black, age 42, domestic servant), John Thomas (black, age 21, domestic servant); no real estate value or personal property value recorded
- Household number 396: Buckres E. Guthrey (white, age 43, sailor), Matilda (white, age 35, keeping house), Ular? (white, age 13, at home), Cornelia (white, age 10, at home), Susan M (white, age 7), Pocahontas (white, age 4) and John (white, age 8 months); real estate value $900, personal property $350.
- Household number 397: James Wynn (mulatto, age 33, fisherman), Sarah (mulatto, age 28, keeping house), James M (mulatto, age 8) and Crusada? (mulatto, age 1); real estate value $225, personal property not listed
- Household number 398: Beverly Allen (black, age 42, oysterman), Harriet (black, age 39, keeping house), William (black, age 17, oysterman), Sarah (black, age 15, domestic servant), Beverly (black, age 12, at home); real estate value $475, personal property $175.
- Household number 399: Lucy Smith (mulatto, age 42, domestic servant), Moria? (mulatto, age 10, domestic servant), Bettie (mulatto, age 6), Hiva? B (mulatto, age 5), and Hattie P (mulatto, age 1); no real estate value or personal property recorded
- Household number 400: Claiborne Robinson (black, age 64, fisherman), Julia (black, age 64, keeping house), William (black, age 21, works on railroad), Roland (black, age 17, farm laborer), Ellen (black, age 16, domestic servant), James (black, age 10, at home), Augustine (black, age 8), William Green (black, age 19, works on railroad); no real estate value or personal property recorded
- Household number 401: Adeline Tuppence (mulatto, age 44, domestic servant), Dutch Tuppence (mulatto, age 17, domestic servant), and Wm Littlepage (mulatto, age 31?, domestic servant); no real estate value or personal property recorded
- Household number 402: Bolivar Stark (white, age 40, merchant ret), Martha A (white, age 30, keeping house), Isabella (white, age 13?, attend school); real estate value $4500, personal property $6000
From the court case J.M. Davis and wife, Plaintiffs, versus J.E. Bland TRST, Defendant , we learn the following:
- Pocahontas Guthrey became Pocahontas Merriman
- M. Davis had been appointed guardian of John Guthrey
- Susan (Sue) Guthrie married M. Merriman
- J.E. Bland was the trustee for Mollie Bland
- The property was not conveyed without dispute
There is additional research needed. To date, I have not located the original deed in the burned records which was recreated after the fire of 1885 and referenced in the Dill study. I will update this post when and if I do.
What is particularly interesting is the 1870 census. Lot 228 fronts 4th Street. In a sparsely populated village at the time, the census taker Hansford Anderson, Assistant Marshall, would most likely have recorded house to house. If so, then this range would have included properties from B.E.Guthrey on 4th through Boliver Stark at the corner of 5th and D (Main Street).
The journey continues . . .
This series is meant to highlight answers to a few questions and encourage further dialog. If you are interested in having additional research completed for a particular property, family history, or court case, contact Theresa Sirles with REACH Consulting for a quote: (804) 843-3495, via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by text at (804) 310-0516. You may also purchase full reports which include copies of all source documents and detailed footnotes. Follow us on Facebook at REACH Consulting, LLC and view snippets of local history at Three Rivers Reflections.
The next story will feature early property owners of color in West Point, Virginia from 1872—Beverly Allen Sr., George Washington, Oliver Armistead, James Wynn (a.k.a. Winn), Hattie Quarles, and William Twopence (a.k.a. Tupponce). I sincerely hope you enjoy this series and it inspires other local historians, especially young people, to actively research history.
Rarely is a story finished; it’s simply on pause until the next discovery.