Dillwyn Turns 100

Much of the recorded history of the Dillwyn area (once known as White Hall) has been lost over the years. But at least four accounts of this area can be found in the following: A History of Buckingham County by Eugene A. Maloney. A Pictorial History of the Town of Dillwyn, VA by Jeanne Stinson.

Buckingham County (Black America Series) by Charles White & E. Renee Ingram. The Courthouse Burned by Margaret Pennington & Lorna Scott. All of the above can be found in the Buckingham County Library in Dillwyn, and A Pictorial History of the Town of Dillwyn, VA can be purchased at the Dillwyn Town Hall. The following drawings were done by Margaret Pennington (deceased).

Some Events of the 1800s

• 1835 -Booker Gold Mine established January 10th. According to Historical Marker F55, “This was the most notable gold-mining region in the country before the California Gold Rush of 1849. The Morrow mine here, opened before 1835, was one of the earliest gold mines in which underground mining was employed. Profitably worked for a number of years, it was finally closed. Many other unworked mines are near by.”
• 1871 – Morrow Mine chartered, and on March 28th, the General Assembly passed a bill to incorporate the Buckingham Branch Railroad Co.

• 1881 – the first post office is established on November 11th on the Joshua Davis Farm

• 1883 – General Assembly passes a second bill focused on the Buckingham Railroad directing that it must start building in one year and complete the project in 5 years.

• 1884 – Buckingham Branch Railroad, having sold stock to raise funds for its building project, finds its largest shareholder, also a rival railroad, makes continuing impossible; the Buckingham Railroad declares bankruptcy.

• 1892 – The first train rolled into the C & O Railway Dillwyn Station May 31.

• 1895 – The new S.B. Pearson Store opens, offering groceries and hardware.

Dillwyn Railway Station – The first train arrived at the station 5/31/1892. The original building burned down, but the building pictured stands today. The Buckingham Branch extends from Bremo Bluff to Dillwyn and is less than 15 miles long. Stations like Arvonia, Penlan, Dutch Gap, Alpha, and Johnson’s Station, among others, are along the track. Many products have been hauled , but the most consistent have been wood products and slate. From The Courthouse Burned by Margaret Pennington & Lorna Scott.

Some Events of the 1900s

1912 – The Virginia General Assembly grants a full charter for the new Town of Dillwyn March 12.

1914 – the following is noted as Dillwyn’s preparation for the WWI war effort, accounted for in A HISTORY OF BUCKINGHAM COUNTY by Eugene A. Maloney:

“According to the official records used in preparing a history of the state in war-time, “BuckinghamCounty affords an excellent illustration, if one were needed, of the loyal spirit of war-time Virginia. The Buckingham Guard, organized in Dillwyn by Mr. E.L. Fortney, contained 64 men, although the population of the town was only about two hundred. While waiting to be taken into state service , these men met Friday nights and drilled in the streets of Dillwyn until an old mill was restored to usable condition. The
Buckingham Guard was evaluated as being “… well organized, properly officered and capable of rendering effective service.”

1920’s and ‘30s For the first time in the county’s history, two rival newspapers were published in Dillwyn. The Buckingham News became the town’s newest newspaper when it printed its first issue on January 5, 1925, in direct competition with the Virginia Union Farmer which had been operating for a decade.

As late as 1955, a Canadian company, operating under the name of the Virginia Mining Corporation , was surveying an area north of Dillwyn, including the site of the old London and Virginia mine, testing to see if zinc and copper could be mined profitably there. Although this company’s survey indicated almost one million tons of saleable ore, the problems in obtaining options to the land the ore was on and the high cost of mining it have prevented any operations from taking place. From A HISTORY OF BUCKINGHAM COUNTY by Eugene A. Maloney.

The publisher of this Buckingham County Guidebook is especially grateful for assistance from Martha Louis, of Historic Buckingham Inc., and Joyce Nelson, Buckingham County Library manager, in producing this brief account. Everyone is invited to join Historic Buckingham, Inc. “Preserving the Past for the Future”