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Name:  Chester

Date:  unknown

Image Number:  Roll3Neg6A

Comments:    This beautiful home, located on Scottsville's James River Road, was built in 1847 by Joseph C. Wright, a retired landscape architect from Chester, England.   In 1853, George Walden Dillard purchased Chester while living at the Mill House in Glendower.  The Dillard family owned Chester for much of the next ninety-five years.

Major J.C. Hill ca. 1900 In March 1865, Chester played a part in the Civil War during General Sheridan's occupation and partial destruction of Scottsville.  As background, Major James Christian Hill, commander of the 46th Virginia Regiment and a Scottsville businessman before and after the war, was seriously wounded at Petersburg on 17 July 1864.  The Confederate Army transferred him to private quarters in Scottsville shortly thereafter, and Hill convalesced until early 1865 at Chester, the home of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Ragland.

On March 6, 1865, General Sheridan rode into Scottsville at the head of a troop of Federal soldiers intent on destroying the James River and Kanawha Canal locks.  As his troops looted the town, Sheridan chose Cliffside as his temporary headquarters.  Just down the street, the invalid James Hill feared for the safety of his children, Mrs. Ragland, and their servants.  Knowing he most likely would be arrested and carried away, Hill wrote General Sheridan, explaining the family's situation, and asked for a guard to protect the house.   He sent the note to Sheridan via his son, Allan, who was stopped at Cliffside's gate by a sentry.   Breaking away from the sentry, Allan ran for the door, ducked between another sentry's legs, and dashed into the house to deliver the note directly to Sheridan.  Sheridan read the note, patted Allan on the head, told him he was a brave little boy, and gave him an apple.  He also gave Allan a note, saying a guard would be posted at the Hill house.  The next day, two Federal soldiers came to find out the extent of Hill's wounds.  One said to the other, "No use taking him, we don't want dead Rebs."

Hill eventually recovered from his wounds and after the war served as editor of the Scottsville Courier. Today Chester is a gracious bed and breakfast with the elegant charm of an English country inn.   It keeps its Civil War history alive by hosting occasional reenactments and encampments on Chester grounds.


Copyright © 2018 by Scottsville Museum

Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CDB4



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