Powhatan Road Trip: Rosemont

On my trips to Powhatan, I always park and take a few minutes to gaze down Bell Road towards Provost and Rosemont. These Virginia woods, rustling cornfields and nearby James River were home to generations of Taylors and I can see their stories here.

RosemontJust across Bell Road from the Provost home stands Rosemont, a stately dwelling built by C. L. and Rosezilla Dodd in 1898.  Like Provost, this house is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and you can read about its unique architecture and interesting history here. There’s a small graveyard behind the house where a subsequent owner and his family are buried. There are no known Taylors buried here. The site has also been known as Taylor’s Seat, Hard Scrabble and Oakville.

This house is not connected to the Taylors but it stands on land that was part of John Taylor’s 400 acres purchased in 1731. John’s nephew, Robert Taylor (my fifth great-grandfather), acquired the land in one of his many land purchases from John Taylor’s children and grandchildren. In his will dated 25 April 1825, Robert Taylor gave his son, Daniel Taylor, 200 acres, stating, “I give and bequeath to my son Daniel Taylor his heirs and assigns forever all that part of the tract of land whereon I now live lying on the east side of the road, leading from the main River Road along my lane and by or near my mansion house, commonly called the Courthouse Road.”

Road locations and names change over the course of time, but I believe the River Road is now known as Cosby Road and Courthouse Road is now Bell Road. Powhatan County deeds record that Daniel Taylor sold a small piece of property in this area in 1869, shortly before he died. There were probably houses on the site or nearby. Daniel Taylor most likely lived very close to this house.

Daniel Taylor, born in 1786, was the seventh of Robert Taylor’s nine children. He served in the War of 1812 with his brothers.  He was nearly 40 when he received the land from his father’s bequest, but most likely had lived and farmed there all of his adult life. It is curious that Daniel did not receive title to the land earlier like Robert’s other children. Robert surely loved and trusted Daniel as he named him co-executor of his estate along with his brother George, stating in his will,  “having implicit confidence in their integrity it is my will and that they should not be compelled to give bond and security for the due performance of the task committed to their charge.”  Daniel had seven children with his first wife, Susannah Moore Williams, and five more children with his second wife, Louisa Blagrave Davis. Daniel died on 12 of September 1869 from rheumatism and Louisa received a small widow’s pension for his War of 1812 military service. Daniel Taylor was my fourth great grand uncle.

Road Trip to Powhatan County

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Provost

The Provost area of Powhatan County, Virginia was home to my mother’s Taylor ancestors for nearly 200 years. It’s an easy drive from Richmond and it is possible to see sites where I believe the Taylors resided. Today’s post covers the house called Provost and the Taylor’s long association.

Typing Provost to your map software should deliver you to the intersection of Bell, Cosby and Cartersville roads. The Provost address is 4801 Cartersville Road. I like to drive west on Highway 60 and then turn right on Bell Road. As you turn right on Bell Road much of the land you see there was home to various members of our Taylor family for many years. The church they attended and the graveyard where their bones may rest, the Peterville Church, is located deep in the woods there. but that’s a story for another day. Continue down Bell Road until you reach the intersection of Bell, Cosby and Cartersville roads. The house on the left is Provost.

Provost was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2000. The report shares “The land on which Provost stands is part of 400 acres patented by John Taylor. The land was conveyed on September 17, 1731 for 40 shillings, “in this our colony and dominion of Virginia.” It became known as Taylor’s Seat. In 1758, Taylor devised [willed} part of his property to his granddaughter, Martha Taylor, and in 1772 her father gave her the piece of land her grandfather had bequeathed her. Martha Taylor married Thomas Smith and in 1793 they sold the Provost property to Robert Taylor. It is uncertain which of these owners built Provost. A county wide survey conducted for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in 1991 estimates Provost’s date of construction as circa 1783.”

John Taylor was my sixth great-grand uncle and he purchased the land Provost stands on 284 years ago. John was born about 1698, probably in Virginia, perhaps not far from his land grant. This land was a very good buy. There was abundant fresh water from springs and creeks, plentiful fish and game, the land was fertile and the cash crop of tobacco could prosper. The nearby James River was easily reached by the Deep Creek. Generations of Taylors could thrive in a place like this.

In October, 1742, 273 years ago, John gave his brother William 100 acres of his 400 acre parcel. This 100 acre piece did not include the land where Provost would be built, since we know from deeds that William’s son, Robert, purchased it in 1793. Robert is my fifth great-grandfather and he must have been a successful farmer because he purchased much of the original land grant (and more) from his Uncle John’s descendants as they moved west or needed cash.

Robert’s oldest son, Blagrave, (my 4th great-grandfather) married Judith Anderson on July 18, 1796 and later Robert deeded property to Blagrave. Perhaps the young couple lived in the house at Provost or Robert’s other adult children may have lived there as they matured and married, Certainly, as stated in the report, the residents would have taken advantage of the opportunities for commerce that the home’s location on a major wagon road presented. Do read the report and learn more about the home’s construction and more recent uses.

Provost

For today, gaze at this beautiful home and imagine the Taylors living and farming on this property in 1731, 284 years ago. Picture the house in 1800 surrounded by fields of tobacco and wheat, all land owned by the Taylors for as far as you could see.  If only this old house could speak and share stories of the Taylors and their kin. The Provost estate has been on the real estate market for over a year. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to own a piece of my ancestral heritage in Virginia?