Belle Grove Plantation, Middletown, Virginia
The above picture is the facade of Belle Grove Plantation’s manor house. I have been a docent here giving house tours for about two months. Belle Grove was completed in 1797 by Major Issac Hite and is located in Middletown, Virginia. The house is listed on the National Register and is apart of the Historic Trust. Here is the link:http://www.bellegrove.org/index.php.
I am not going to get into the history; you can research that yourself. I am going to tell you that the serenity and beauty will soothe you. It has, at any rate, helped me be less homesick for northwestern Georgia and my family farm, Longfield. My new best friend Vickie Mae Puckett, I know we are somehow related as my great-grandmother was a Puckett with family ties in Virginia, got me involved with this historic house. Last Summer she gave Scott and I a behind the scenes tour and I completely fell in love with the house. It is beautifully situated on a slight knoll overlooking the landscape. The house was completed in 1797 in what was still frontier area of our budding nation. Belle Grove is at once elegant and simple.
I approached Vickie in January about volunteering and she sponsored me in February. I have been giving house tours for the last two months. I love being the host for however few hours to visitors seeing this beautiful property. I always hoped my family farm in Georgia would convey this feeling to guests. I think at times it did. I was always so proud of our house and grounds there and enjoyed the times I was able to welcome people to it, even if my parents were rather reluctant.
When I was thirteen years old after some years of looking my parents bought 27 acres of property in Bartow County Georgia. They had decided to become poultry farmers. Actually the poultry farm was Daddy’s idea. Mother really never wanted any part of it though it fell to her to run it. Despite her unhappiness at doing so , Mother consistently won awards for the quality of chicken she “raised.”The land they purchased was in an area known as Old Cass Station. There are some railroad tracks near the property and in antebellum times there was a train station there. This is where passengers would disembark for Cassville, Georgia in those days a sizeable town and destination. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cassville,_Georgia After my parents purchased the property my maternal grandparents came up for a visit. We were shocked to learn that my parents purchase were part of an original 2000 acre estate owned by my Grandfather, Papa’s family.
As with most families, after the matriarch Grandmother Cox died, there were some hurt feelings over inheritances and final wishes. This resulted in my Grandfather and his siblings to be estranged for over 20 years. Someone I know once remarked to me at a funeral,”Death should bring us together but it usually pulls us apart.” I was a very young man then, grieving at my own Grandmother’s funeral and didn’t completely understand what she meant. Now I do. It was incomprehensible to me, at the age of thirteen,that my Mother had never been to this old home place of Papa’s. Later after I aged and began to experience more death and the resulting aftermath I began to understand my friend’s comment and why Mother was unfamiliar with this beautiful property and why I am now becoming a stranger to it as well.
The view to the left is from Belle Grove Looking out over the lawns and pastures. When I am waiting for visitors between tours and stand in the front hall, I feel for a moment what many previous owners must have felt here, a sense of belonging. It may be fleeting but in my own small way I am fortunate to be a part of this place as I was at Longfield.