The History of Waverly, VA

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This article is presented by the abuse attorneys from Waverly. Discover the local history of the town and learn about its many historical sites.

History of Waverly

Waverly is an incorporated town of Sussex County, Virginia. Established in 1854, the town is located at the geographical coordinates of 37.033914 degrees north latitude and 77.095355 degrees west longitude. It is named after Sir Water Scotts' novel Waverley. Legend has it that while accompanying her husband, the Norfolk & Petersburg Railroad chief engineer William Mahone, as he traveled to each town along the railroad, Otelia Butler Mahone named several of the stations after characters and places in her favorite author's - Sir Walter Scotts – novel.

Waverly is the second largest among the many towns that Major General William Mahone has found. Out of any Virginia towns that are under 3,000 people, it has produced the most number of state senators and delegates members to the Virginia General Assembly. These officials are:

  • Delagate and Senator Junius Edgar West
  • Delegate Thomas H. Howerton
  • Senator William O. Rogers
  • Senator Garland "Peck" Gray
  • Senator Elmon T. Gray

In 1879, the Town of Waverly was incorporated. On March 18, 1925, one of the last lynchings in Virginia happened in the town. James Jordan, a black employee at the Gray lumber mill, was arrested after a foreman identified ham of attack a married white woman and still her husband's pistol. Hearing the alleged attacks, 500 people gathered together at the jail, overtook the police, dragged Jordan out, hung him on a tree, and shot him multiple times. When a corner's jury went to get Jordan's body the next morning, it had been stolen and dumped near the town of Windsor. E. Lee Trinkle, Governor of Virginia, arrived after and created a group of residents to preserve the order. He found it unacceptable that a mob had taken another person's life in the town, within view of everyone, without due process of law. A year later, the lynching of another black man in the town of Wytheville led the Virginia General Assembly to pass the Virginia Anti-Lynching Law of 1928.

In 2016, an EF1 tornado killed three people in Waverly. It also caused severe damages to the town.

Read more: Halifax, VA: A Guide of the Town

Historic Sites

Within and around the town of Waverly are a few landmarks and properties that are historically significant. These sites have been added to the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). It includes:

  • Miles B. Carpenter House
  • Hunting Quarter
  • Waverly Dounwton Historic District

Miles B. Carpenter House

The Miles B. Carpenter House was built in 1890 in Waverly. Located at the intersection of Hunter St. and U.S. Route 460, it is a two-story frame dwelling. In 1912, American folk artist Miles B. Carpenter bought the home. Since his death in 1985, the house has been preserved as the Miles B. Carpenter Folk Art Museum. It displays his tools and carvings and a gallery exhibiting the works of young artists in the region. On Nover 13, 1989, the Miles B. Carpenter House was added to the NRHP.

Hunting Quarter

Hunting Quarter is situated near the town of Waverly, southeast of the Sussex Court House, and south of the intersection of Hunting Quarter Rd. and Pool Rd. The historic plantation home was built by Captain Henry Harrison, the son of Benjamin Harrison IV of Berkeley, between 1745 and 1772. The one-and-a-half-story, five-bay, center hall, frame dwelling is of the Georgian architectural style. After his death, Captain Harrison was buried in the Harrison family cemetery in Hunting Quarter. The property remained in his family until 1887. In 1995, it was listed on the NRHP.

Waverly Downton Historic District

The Waverly Downton Historic District was listed on the NRHP and designated on the Virginia Landmarks Register in 2013. The national historic district encompasses 48 buildings, one site and two structures. Most of its buildings represent a number of popular architectural styles, such as Folk Victorian and Italianate. Notable buildings within the district are Atlantic and Danville Railroad Station, Masonic Lodge and Town Hall, Waverly Municipal Hall, Waverly Town Shops and Water Tower, Boarding House, Fleetwood Building, Moss Hardware Building, Wilcox Building, Warner Grammer Store, and the former Waverly Post Office and Palace Cigar and Pool Room.

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