Jamestown Bridge, Cumberland County 
side of Appomattox River

Jamestown Meetinghouse
Jamestown Bridge condemned, 1920's, 
washed away in a flood, 1930's

Willard Vaughan & Sallie R. Vaughan 
Jamestown Meetinghouse cemetery
What Happened 
to the Second Oldest Town 
in Prince Edward?

on the Appomattox River

Jamestown main street now

    Why did a community that started in 1796 die away and disappear into the briars and trees?  Economics, the railroad, and political influence changed the course of activity in Prince Edward making Farmville the hub instead of Jamestown on the Appomattox River.
    In November, 1796, a petition was presented to the General Assembly for a town to be established on the land of John Townes at Buffalow Falls on the Appomattox River in Prince Edward County.  A month later Jamestown was established with a layout of twenty-five acres consisting of half acre lots with convenient streets.  Warehouses, stores, taverns, a church and a girls' school made up the community, but no record shows that it ever expanded beyond its original twenty-five acres.
    Among the trustees of this new town were such Prince Edward names as Abner Watkins, Robert Goode, George Eggleston, Josiah Perkinson, Christopher Walthall, William Worsham, Richard Pincham, Thomas Gibson, and John L. Crute.
    In 1802 the General Post Office in Washington established mail route 50 to run from Richmond to Farmville.  It was a two-day run beginning at 8:00 am on Wednesday in Richmond and ending in Farmville at 8:00 pm on Thursday.  Friday morning the route was run back to Richmond, ending Saturday evening.  Stops were made at Genito Bridge, Amelia Court House, Painsville, Ligontown, and Jamestown.
    Licenses for an ordinary (tavern) were granted in 1801 to Benjamin Dennis; in 1817, to Alexander Patteson and Edmund Booker; and in 1830, to William White.
    Besides the taverns, William White, Edmund Booker, and William Woodall were merchants in the community.  They sold fabrics, rum, sugar, salt, pepper, tea, whiskey, molasses, nails, hats, saddle blankets, saddles, bridles, and other household needs.
    It was common to see livestock being driven to market on the county roads.  William Woodall wrote of the drivers stopping in Jamestown at his store and home.  This practice continued well after the railroad had become established.
    Doctors Philip T. Southall  and Thomas C. Overton practiced from this community.
    Tobacco was brought to Jamestown to be sold at Towne's Warehouse and to be shipped on the bateaux further east to Richmond.
    In 1817, Jamestown Female Seminary, the first girls' school in Prince Edward County, was established.  Lottery tickets for cash prizes were sold to raise money for a building.  Mary R. Cowardin was in charge of the school in 1817-1818 and William White was in the early 1830's.
   Early (1862-1870) Presbyterian congregations would meet at the Jamestown meetinghouse once a month to hear Dr. Richard McIlwaine.  In 1876 an organized Presbyterian church was set up in the free meetinghouse.
    About 1920 the bridge that crossed the Appomattox River to Jamestown was condemned and there was not enough traffic to justify the expense of repairs.  Church members abandoned the old building since those in Cumberland County no longer could reach it and it was inconvenient for the people in Prince Edward.  A. M. E. Zion Church started using the old meetinghouse in the late 1920's.  The  Jamestown Presbyterians built a new church nearer Rice.

- Edwina Covington

source: Bradshaw, Herbert Clarence, History of Prince Edward County, Virginia From its Earliest Settlements through its Establishment in 1754 To its bicentennial Year, 1955,  reprinted by Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors.

Jamestown Tidbits from Society Members

Website created and maintained by
Farmville - Prince Edward Historical Society
Edwina Covington, webmaster
created March, 2003
last modified June, 2003
hosted by NTelos