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The Terrell House

The Terrell House

Name:  The Terrell House

Date:  March 2010

Image Number:   CG80cdCG08

Comments:  The Terrell House at 732 Valley Street in Scottsville was owned by Charles L. Terrell, an African-American blacksmith from the 1870's to 1920's.  Recently restored, the Terrell house was part of a community of African-American workers and business owners after the Civil War.  A spring was located in the next lot and used by the community.

Terrell purchased this house and a nearby blacksmith shop in 1889; this blacksmith shop was a brick structure and fronted on Valley Street.  Terrell purchased a second blacksmith shop in an adjoining lot in 1896 to expand his existing business.  According to the 1900 U.S. Federal Census of Albemarle County, Charles had two sons, William and Charles, who also were blacksmiths in the family business.

Charles L. Terrell was born in 1859 in Virginia, the son of Nelson and Patsy Terrell, and died in 1928 in Scottsville, VA.  Charles married Martha Jane (last name unknown), and they were the parents of William E. Terrell (b. May 1886, VA), Carry V. Terrell (b. January 1888, VA), Charles L. Terrell (b. November 1889, VA), Mary L. Terrell (b. June 1891, VA), Prentiss Terrell (b. December 1895, VA), Myrtle S. Terrell (b. December 1896, VA), James T. Terrell (b. November 1898, VA), Ethel E. Terrell (b. 1903, VA), and Dorothy Terrell (b. 1912, VA).

To learn more about the Terrell House, read the following history note entitled, "A Small House in Scottsville" by Evelyn Edson (2021):

A Small House in Scottsville

Scottsville boasts a number of large, beautiful houses, such as Old Hall, Cliffview, and the Shadows, but where did ordinary working people live?

There is a neighborhood of modest houses at the junction of Valley and Warren Streets.  Some of these were built in the 1940's to house workers at the Uniroyal plant, but at least one is much older.  This is 732 Valley Street, a house built in the 1870's on an earlier foundation, perhaps from the 1830's.  Charles L. Terrell, born in slavery in 1859, trained as a blacksmith, and in 1889 bought this property as well as another building on Valley Street, which served as his shop.  The 1870 census showed that there were 245 Black heads of household and 175 Whites in Scottsville, but only three Black people owned property.

Terrell and his wife, Martha Jane, had nine children, two of whom followed their father into the blacksmithing trade.  Another Terrell ran a restaurant at the corner of Jackson and Valley Streets.

Charles died in 1928, having spent the rest of his life in his house, and the 1930 census showed his widow living there.  His son, Charles, Jr., was continuing to run the family business.  At one time Scottsville had four blacksmiths, who not only shoed horses but made iron tools and plows and repaired machinery.

We know of several other Black families living in this neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  In the 1930's Dr. Stinson bought these houses, and Black families moved out to the edge of town.  Others left Scottsville as part of the Great Migration.  From a population that was more than half Black, Scottsville today has only a handful of Black citizens--32 out of 566 (2010 census).

The house looked pretty shabby in the late 20 th century, but it has been wonderfully restored by Steven Meeks.  Meeks added an addition to the back, a front porch, and a parking space.  The little green house sits very close to the road, as was the custom in those early days.  Probably there was not so much noisy traffic on Route 20 at that time.  The Terrell house is an ornament to the entrance to Scottsville and reminds us of a time when there was a significant Black population here.

1880 U.S. Census, Scottsville, Albemarle Co., VA; 1900 U.S. Census, Scottsville Township, Albemarle Co., VA; 1910 U.S. Census, Scottsville Magisterial District, Albemarle Co., VA; 1920 U.S. Census, Scottsville Magisterial District, Albemarle Co., VA; Terrell Family, .

Copyright © 2021 by Scottsville Museum

Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD CG08



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