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Peter Valentine Foland

Peter Valentine Foland, ca 1900

Name:  Peter Valentine Foland

Date:  ca. 1900

Image Number:  B01_RollOneNeg2A

Comments:  Peter Valentine Foland was born on January 22, 1845, in Virginia; he was the son of Valentine Foland (1810-1893) and Frances Ann Jefferson (1820-1860).  His mother, Frances, was the only daughter of Peter Field Jefferson and granddaughter of Randolph Jefferson, who lived at Snowden across the horseshoe bend of the James River from Scottsville.  At the time of Peter Valentine Foland's birth in 1845, his parents had left Scottsville and moved to Jefferson County, Tennessee.  But Peter Valentine Foland's grandfather, Peter Field Jefferson, generously provided handsomely for his grandson in his 1854 will. 

After serving in the Civil War, Peter Valentine Foland returned to Virginia to claim his inheritance and marry Elizabeth "Betty" Clarke Stratton (1845-1921) in Scottsville.  Peter went on to live at Mt. Walla in Scottsville and to run the Scottsville Ferry.  He also served as Scottsville's postmaster, as a member of the Scottsville Town Council, as Scottsville's Mayor, and as Sunday School Superintendent for over 25 years at the Scottsville Methodist Church.  Peter Valentine Foland passed away on July 27,1915, and is buried at his family cemetery at Mt. Walla in Scottsville.

Gravestone of Peter Valentine Foland at Mt. Walla, Scottsville, VA
Peter Valentine Foland's Gravestone at Mt. Walla

To learn more about Peter Valentine Foland, please read the following article written by Joanne Yeck about Peter Valentine Foland.  Joanne has been fascinated with Buckingham County for over twenty years and shares her collection of Buckingham facts in her blog, "Slate River Ramblings" at .

Peter Valentine Foland:  Great Grandson of Randolph Jefferson
by Joanne Yeck, October 2019

Occasionally, my ramblings take me outside the boundaries of Buckingham County following a Buckingham connection.  Such was the case with Peter Valentine Foland, great-grandson of Randolph Jefferson, who spent his life living at Snowden at the Horseshoe Bend of the James River.  Randolph's son, Peter Field Jefferson, was born at Snowden but spent his adult years living at Scottsville, owning various businesses, including the ferry which ran from Scottsville to Snowden on the south side of the James.

Last Crossing of the Scottsville Ferry, 1907
Last Crossing of the Scottsville Ferry, 1907
Samuel R. Gault stands in the lower right corner of the Scottsville Ferry on its last crossing of the James River in 1907.  The new bridge, which made the ferry obsolete is shown behind this group of young men and women as they enjoy their last ride on this historic ferry.  The ferry had been in operation since 1745 when Daniel Scott, son of Edward Scott was commissioned to build it here
on the James River at a place known as Scott's Landing.

Peter Valentine Foland was the son of Peter Field Jefferson's only daughter, Frances Ann Jefferson, who married Valentine Foland, a Virginia-born cabinet maker.  Young Peter Foland's parents left Scottsville before his birth in 1845, and he grew to manhood in Jefferson County, Tennessee. 

It is likely that Peter Field Jefferson never saw his grandson, though he generously provided for his daughter's only child in his 1854 will.  At twenty-one, Peter Foland would receive a handsome inheritance.  In the near term, he had a war to fight.  By 1866, Peter Foland had claimed his inheritance (which included Mount Walla, the family home at Scottsville) and had married a local girl, Elizabeth "Bettie" Clarke Straton.  Foland would spend the rest of his life in Scottsville, living amongst his Jefferson cousins, who were scattered across Buckingham and Albemarle counties.  An upright Virginia citizen, he operated his grandfather's ferry from Scottsville to the landing at Snowden in Buckingham County, the home of his great-grandfather, Randolph Jefferson.

Mt. Walla, ca. 2000
Mount Walla, ca. 2000, home of Peter V. Foland and family. 
Courtesy of Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Thanks to Civil War records maintained at the National Archives, we have a glimpse into Peter Foland's war experience.  On October 19, 1861, he enlisted for twelve months of service in Company G of the 43rd Tennessee Volunteers.  In January of 1862, he was appointed fifer for the company.  Described as having gray eyes and light hair, with a fair complexion, at 5'3" he was a small young man, likely still anticipating a growth spurt.  His discharge papers from this company state that he was born in Richmond County, Virginia.  A fact that later will be contradicted.  Having served his full year and owing no funds to the Confederate States, in November of 1862, Foland headed home with $6.80 in back pay.

From the Fall of 1862 until the Fall of 1863, Foland apparently took a break from defending the Confederacy.  Then on September 15, 1863, at a place called Panther Springs, Tennessee, he reenlisted for a term of three years.  He now was described as 5'6", indicating that his long-awaited growth spurt was behind him.  This time his eyes were described as blue.  Contrary to his previous discharge papers, this enlistment record states that he was born in Scott County, Virginia.

Foland joined Company F of the 9th Regiment of the Tennessee Cavalry and, a month later, appeared on the October 15, 1963, muster at Knoxville.  Within a month, something was amiss.  On November 15, the record shows that he had deserted his company, which remained in Knoxville.  No other details were given.  Over twenty years later, on July 8, 1885, this charge was removed from his war record, documented in a notation from the War Department: "The charge of desertion of November 5 (or 15), 1863, against this man is removed."

On February 5, 1864, Foland was captured by the Union Army, released the same day, and returned to his company.  On November 14, 1864, he was captured again near Morristown, Tennessee.  This time he was taken to Camp Chase in Columbus, Ohio.  He may have been transferred to Danville, Virginia, and then to Camp Parole, Maryland.

Peter Foland's final release from duty came on May 18, 1865.  He was promoted to Corporal and given two months' pay in US currency.  For many Confederate veterans, physical, psychological, and emotional wounds persisted long beyond the war.  Peter Foland was no exception.  On March 19, 1883, he applied for a pension as an invalid.

Despite any suffering from long-term wounds, Foland led a long and productive life, enjoyed a pleasant home in Scottsville at Mount Walla, served the community as postmaster, as a member of Scottsville Town Council, and, eventually, as Mayor of Scottsville.  In 1907, he still operated the ferry between Scottsville and Snowden when it made its last run.  A new steel-girdered bridge, with its noisy plank road, had made it obsolete.

Peter Foland died on July 27, 1915, of uremic poisoning, a complication of chronic nephritis.  On August 12 1915, his wife, Bettie, applied for a war widow's pension.  She lived at Mount Walla until her death in 1921.

To learn more about Scottsville's Foland family, please visit Joanne's Slate River Ramblings blog online at: The Foland Family of Scottsville.

Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville

To learn more about Scottsville's Foland family, please read Joanne Yeck's book, Peter Field Jefferson: Dark Prince of Scottsville and Lost Jeffersons, which may be purchased at Scottsville Museum or online at or online at Braughler Books.

Copyright © 2019 by Scottsville Museum

Top Image Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CDB01

Image of Peter Valentine Foland's Gravestone at Mt. Walla Cemetery, Scottsville, VA, provided courtesy of Joanne Yeck.

Image of The Last Crossing of the Scottsville Ferry Located On:  Capturing Our Heritage, CD B16

Image of Mount Walla Located On: Virginia Department of Historic Resources
VIR 298-0009 Mount Walla



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