LaCrosse Virginia

LaCrosse became an incorporated town in Mecklenburg County in 1901. This brief line in the newspaper (above) listed what was on the court calendar for the next session. This notice was printed 9 Feb 1901, so LaCrosse probably officially became a town in February or March 1901, depending on when court was held. The area was known as LaCrosse before officially becoming a town (incorporation). LaCrosse and it’s name are an interesting thing. It’s spelled like the sport of lacrosse. I’ve seen newspaper articles debating on whether the spelling is one word or two. But people can agree that the name comes from the town being located where two railroad lines crossed. I’ve read in some places the two lines were: The Atlantic and the Danville Railway lines. This news article below says the Seabord Air Line and Southern Rail Ways. My ancestors who were in what is known today as the Bracey area, were earlier referred to in newspapers and the Census as living in LaCrosse.

I really enjoyed this article written in 1902, a year after the town’s incorporation. It describes the buildings, economy, things sold, tobacco industry, lists a population of 500, and names the school and the principal.

My husband and I took these pictures of LaCrosse. In addition to this post, these pictures will show up (within a few days of this post) under the ‘pictures of places’ section of this website. I’m trying to include pictures both past and present from around the county; partly to preserve some history, and partly for those who haven’t been to Mecklenburg to see what places look like. If you have pictures you’d like to have included here, and be credited for, please email me. (hyperlink in the word “me”)

link to “pictures of places” on this website, where these pictures will also go: Mecklenburg County, VA places

LaCrosse train depot
LaCrosse town cemetery

Cole family Cemetery

Cole family cemetery is posted and indexed. A beautiful, and impressively well kept cemetery. To see the cemetery along with my transcription of the cemetery, click here: https://mecklenburgvagenealogy.com/cole-family-cemetery/.

The people in the cemetery are also now all indexed. Here’s a direct link to the index. All posts and cemeteries are indexed on this site: https://mecklenburgvagenealogy.com/portfolio/surname-index/

Great Creek Church & School: Bracey, VA

I found this church during a visit in October 2007. The church looked closed up, no longer in use. I walked around, trying to find a sign or name on the church, but couldn’t see any identification anywhere. The path to the door was overgrown with trees and tall weeds blocking the path. There wasn’t any parking area that I could see. I brought this church picture with me on my next few visits so I could ask about it. Each person I showed the picture to said they only knew that it was an African American Church, and no longer being in use. Last month, I was told this was Great Creek church and that it’s been torn down now. I’m also told close by was an African American School, called the Great Creek school. The church probably supported the school.

The blue circle (map above) is the area where I’m told the Great Creek school was located. The blue “C” is where I remember the church being, closer to the road 903. (before my GPS recording days) The distance between the school and church is about a quarter mile.

Do you know anything about this church or school? Do you know when the school existed? I’m told the school probably closed in the early 1950s when the small local schools started consolidating with the county schools. Do you know if the congregation built another church in a different location? Or if perhaps most the members moved away? Do you have an earlier picture of either the church or school? Please comment or send me a message.

Boydton train depot

Boydton Train Depot about 1956, from Marcus Woodford

When I first saw this picture, I wondered where the depot was? I’d been to Boydton several times but had not seen a depot. I’m told it had been torn down, and that it used to be located on the south side of the tracks on Washington street, (the street seen crossing the tracks in the picture). The old Depot location is circled on the map below blue.

Maps above: 1955, below 2020. Tobacco Heritage Trail is where the old tracks used to be.

I would like to know more about the depot. This wanted ad (from 1902) showed it took 5 hours to travel from Boydton to Richmond, VA. I wonder what it cost to ride? Where did trains go from there? West to Danville, east to Norfolk and northeast to Petersburg and Richmond? When was it torn down? When was it built? Was it there during the Civil War? If so, how interrupted was the service with blockades? Have you visited the Boydton Train Depot or taken the train from there? Do you have any memories of the Depot? If so, let me know.

Thank you Marcus Woodford for sharing your picture and also telling me the old location.

Old Great Creek Jones family land

Jones is one of the most common names in the world. Yet, all the Jones I’ve researched in the Great Creek area of Mecklenburg appear related. There are many cousin marriages between William Jones’ descendants. The family tree criss-crosses more than it branches out! William Jones had 1 daughter and 6 sons named in his will. A few of William’s grandchildren moved away. But the majority of William Jones’s descendants remained. Some of William Jones’s descendants still live in the same area, 200 years later!

William was illiterate. He signed “his mark”. Interestingly the will states, “Pronounced and dictated by the said William Jones”. I have not yet found a record which gives a birth date for William Jones. If he was born about 1737- his approximate year of birth according to some estimates, then he would have been about age 25 at his first marriage (name of first wife unknown) and age 55 when he married Agnes Bolling Clask. He would also have lived to be about age 81, outliving his wife Agnes and his sons Frederick and Richard. Carrol, Charles and Milbury were unmarried and without children. William B. Jones(son of William Jones) sons, James and Zachariah, were teenagers when their grandfather William Jones died.

I don’t know where William Jones was born or when he first called Mecklenburg home. The mother of William’s children is unknown. Because of that, I wonder if William was married further north and moved to Mecklenburg as a young widow? Or if the old church record marriage was just lost over time? Or if we just aren’t sure because William Jones is such a common name? William’s children are estimated to be born in the mid 1760’s, which was still in Colonial days, and about the time Mecklenburg was being established. Were the children born on the frontier of Mecklenburg? Or further north in more established areas? William married Agnes Clask in Brunswick County VA in 1792. He may have been living in Mecklenburg at that time. I do know the Great Creek Jones family was in Mecklenburg before the War of 1812 because a few of them were witnesses on the War of 1812 pension depositions. By 1820, Jones children and grandchildren lived along currently named Nellie Jones Rd (Nellie was William’s daughter-in-law) and Blackridge Rd.

I’ve made changes to traditional versions of Jones family charts, by reducing the number of children William had: William’s will (Written Jan 1818) was somewhat confusing, especially regarding his son John. Many people’s trees and charts say that Mary was William’s 3rd wife (with some charts reporting her as a daughter) because the will says “I lend to Mary 100 acres of land.” But the will never says the word “wife”; Mary is actually William’s granddaughter. The will also doesn’t say “grandchild”. John’s information gets confusing because his children’s names aren’t consistent throughout the will. In Carrol Jones’ estate papers, he calls his brother John by the name of James, listing the same children. So in my chart, he is named “John James Jones.” John’s children are the only grandchildren specifically named in the will. There is a reference to “the children” of Frederick and “the children” of Richard. William B. Jones’ 2 children are not mentioned or referenced at all. I don’t understand the value of things in Virginia in this time period, but the division of William’s estate does not appear to be equally divided between his children. John’s children are mentioned twice with land, so I theorize he is the oldest child, and was probably considered the main heir.

There were 13 slaves listed by name as part of William’s estate. I will post more about these individuals in the future, when I am able to look at more records. William’s will also includes: 3 beds, furniture, and 580 acres. The land was divided into 5 pieces. I have not yet seen any indication that Frederick or Richard inherited any land. I do know where Frederick lived and was buried. I assume that Frederick purchased his land, but am still trying to find earlier land records. The land descriptions in William’s will sound to me like his sons were already living on these parcels of land, with the will officially transferring the title to his sons.

  1. Charles Jones was given 190 acres with “Blue Spring Branch”, a creek, James Burton, Winfield Wynn, Joshua Winfield & Black’s Rd as neighboring properties. This property later went to Lieu Jones and James B. Jones.
  2. John Jones was given 90 acres bordering his brother Carrol Jones land, a creek at Douglas Plantation patch, and Joshua Winfield as neighboring properties.
  3. Carrol Jones was given 100 acres bordering his brother John, the creek at Douglas Plantation Patch down to Mrs. Wynn’s line, Jesse Taylor, & Joshua Winfield as neighboring properties.
  4. Mary is loaned 100 acres, later to be divided with brothers James and Samuel. (siblings John & Morning were excluded) Jesse Taylor, Jesse’s spring branch to where the road crosses the branch, the creek, Muston’s line, Mrs. Wynne, Carrol Jones were neighboring properties. (John’s family gets 2 parcels of land. #2 & #4)
  5. William is given 100 acres. Jesse Taylor, to where the road crosses James Jones spring branch, to the creek, Muston, on the creek to Hinton’s line, and Love as neighboring properties. “8 or 10 acres to be included at the fork of the creek to his tract.” This property might have gone to the elder son, James B. Jones, who owned 100 acres. Zachariah Jones paid off his father William’s debt, and got 210 acres at age 23! I believe that William B. Jones lived on Zachariah’s land, and that he lived by his 2 sons the rest of his life

I’ve not yet found where Carrol Jones, Richard Jones or John Jones’s 2 properties were, but I expect them to be along Great Creek. Probably in between Charles and William’s land. Richard Jones died pre-1800, 26 years before his father William died. He might not have ever owned land. Milbury was not left any land, and is not known to have married. In this time period, that likely means she was dependent on a brother. If that was the case, I wonder which brother she lived with? I also wonder if the 100 acres loaned to Mary was where William (Senior) lived?

I’ve been researching the Jones family and their land in the Great Creek area for almost 20 years. There is still much more to understand, learn and find! So far, the few possible Jones burial plots I’ve found contain only graves without tombstones. (Except for Frederick). I’ve only found a few possible Jones graves for a whole lot of people though, so I keep searching. It would be helpful to know exactly where Joshua Winfield, James Burton, Mrs. Wynn, (Mr?) Muston, and Jesse Taylor lived about 1815 to 1820. I’m also looking fo the location of “Douglas Plantation Patch near a creek”. I’m thinking the creek mentioned is Great Creek. There’s also a “Blue Spring Branch” I’ve not heard of before. Have you heard of these places? Or heard rumors of where their cemeteries are?

Gray & Slayton: please help ID picture

Unknown Gray family picture, from Hazel King

I’m looking for the family of Lillie Slayton from Danville, Virginia to see if they recognize this picture. Hazel King shared a few Gray family pictures that were unlabelled, hoping some Gray kin could help her identify the people in them. So far the pictures have all been of children and grandchildren of John Gray and Sarah Jones. It took me 10 years to find someone from Frank Gray’s family to look at these pictures. This descendant positively identified this picture of Frank Gray’s house with his family out front (Pictured below. This house is no longer standing.) I believe these two pictures go together.

Frank Gray’s house and family, Alberta, Brunswick County, VA

Frank Gray was born in Mecklenburg, VA. He was raised on a farm on Hall Rd. He married Elizabeth “Bettie” Clary in Brunswick County in 1885. Soon after Frank’s parents died (late 1890’s), Frank and 5 siblings (all except Alginon and Nannie) moved their families to Danville, VA. In 1911, Frank’s wife Elizabeth “Bettie” Clary died. Six years later, Frank married Eula Bernard. Frank had 5 children from his marriage to Elizabeth, one of which was John Robert Gray. Eula had 2 children from her previous marriage to Adrian Jeffries. Frank and Eula moved their family from Danville to a farm near Alberta VA soon after their marriage, where Frank lived the remainder of his life.

John Robert Gray was born in Brunswick County, VA in 1886. He moved to Danville, then later to Brunswick with his family. He married Lillie Slayton in Brunswick in 1910. Lillie had a daughter named Gracie Bailey from a previous marriage. Lillie and John had 3 daughters: Donna, Leona and Odell. They attended Bethel Methodist church in Alberta. John died after 10 years of marriage, (March 1920), of flu followed by pneumonia. I saw two graves without tombstones in the cemetery on Frank Gray’s old farm. Frank Gray’s grand daughter, who was there at the funeral and burial, said Frank is buried in the cemetery on his farm. John preceded his father in death. I theorize that John and his father Frank Gray are the two burials beside each other without tombstones. After John died, Lillie and her children moved in with her sister Bessie, in Danville, VA. On the 1940 Census Lillie is living with her brother Thomas Slayton.

John Robert Gray was a tobacco farmer according to his death record. John was age 24, and Lillie was age 22 when they married in 1910. I’m wondering if this picture at the arbor was John Robert Gray with Lillie, and Lillie’s parents: Henry Washington Slayton and Eliza Jane Owen. I’m also wondering if this picture was taken about the time they married, since the families didn’t live near each other. Lillie was widowed young and moved away about 1920. That could be a reason why the Gray descendants I’ve corresponded or spoken with did not recognize the people pictured. Lillie’s parents and siblings lived many years in Danville. I’m not sure if this unlabelled Gray picture by the arbor was outside of Danville or Alberta. I asked Frank Gray’s grand daughter if she recognized the picture. She pointed to the younger man and said, “he looks like he’s part of Frank’s family, but I really don’t know anyone in this picture. I think this was long before my time”, which it was. If you know this Gray or Slayton family or might know of pictures you can compare this too, please let me know. Or if my idea is wrong, & you think this looks like different people please let me know.