State adds 15 historic sites to the Virginia Landmarks Register – Fredericksburg
Among 15 places approved for listing on the Virginia Landmarks Register are a site that traces back to Nottoway tribal reservation lands established in the colonial era, a historic district where one of the largest textile mill villages in the South evolved during the 20th century, and a rare surviving former “poor farm” established in the 1890s. The VLR is the commonwealth’s official list of places of historic, architectural, archaeological, and cultural significance.
In Southampton County, the 1.8-acre Millie Woodson-Turner Home Site, located near the communities of Capron and Courtland, is where a farmstead once stood that Nottoway tribal members occupied from around 1852 to 1953. The Woodson-Turner site was part of the Nottoway tribal reservation lands established during the colonial era after the Nottoway entered a treaty with officials of the English Crown. It also is the first identified 19th-century Nottoway house site.
The tribe held Nottoway reservation lands in common until around 1830, when it began distributing allotments of the Nottoway lands to private ownership of tribal members. The Millie Woodson-Turner Home Site was one such allotment, which occurred around 1850. As one of the last remaining farms of the Nottoway’s Indian Town, the site has connection to the living memory of Nottoway descendants today.
After a 1953 chancery court-ordered auction of the land, the site left possession of Nottoway descendants, meaning prior to then the Millie Woodson-Turner Home Site had an uninterrupted indigenous tenancy, making it the only Iroquoian reservation site documented (to date) in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
The listing of the Millie Woodson-Turner Home Site was facilitated by a Multiple Property Documentation (MPD) Form, The Nottoway of Virginia, c. 1650–c. 1953, that the Virginia Board of Historic Resources also approved. The MPD for the Nottoway also will support future nominations of Nottoway-affiliated sites to the VLR and the National Register of Historic Places.
The Nottoway MPD recognizes the Nottoway as indigenous to the interior coastal plain of Virginia and North Carolina and closely related to the region’s other Iroquoian-speakers, the Meherrin and Tuscarora. After intermittent contact with Europeans from around 1560 to 1650, a brisk trade emerged from around 1650 to 1675 between the Nottoway and the English colonists who settled in the eastern Tidewater region.
The Nottoway, along with the Pamunkey, were signatories of the 1677–1680 Articles of Peace negotiated at the Camp of Middle Plantation, later established as the colonial capital of Williamsburg. Through the articles in the agreement, the Nottoway became “tributary” to the English king—a quasi-alliance—that forced the Nottoway and other tribes to acknowledge the dominion of the Crown, but confirmed Indian governments and territories as dependent sovereigns.
The Nottoway tributary status was again confirmed by treaty in 1714 at the conclusion of the Tuscarora War. As stipulated in these treaties, the Nottoway lands were surveyed and two reservations established around their Indian Towns, in the landscape of what is today Southampton County.
In Danville, the roughly 512-acre Schoolfield Historic District encompasses the remaining buildings associated with the mill village of Schoolfield, an independent company town the textile giant Dan River Mills developed southwest of downtown Danville beginning in 1903. The…