A Little Unscheduled Stop

12/08/12 10:07 PM

After Brett and I finished with our Afternoon Tea at The Blue Willow Tea Room in Petersburg, I made the suggestion that we head over to Hopewell, Virginia to see a plantation that I had read about the night before at La Villa Romaine. When I saw this plantation, the first thought that came to mind was, “This is what Belle Grove looked like before Carolinus Turner changed it by adding the porticos, porches and extensions.”

Weston Manor

This plantation is called Weston Plantation. It was built in 1789, right around the same time as Belle Grove (1791) was built.  Weston Plantation is located in Hopewell and sits on the Appomattox River. The house was built by William and Christian Eppes Gilliam. Today it is the only 18th Century plantation on the Appomattox River. Weston Manor is an example of late Georgian plantation architecture.  It is located on a bluff overlooking the river and still retains its rural atmosphere. Today the house contains 85% of its original architectural fabric including the original beaded weatherboards, window sash and interior woodwork.

Weston Manor (Riverview)

Door to basement and Winter Kitchen

Door Handle for the Basement door. We have the same Door Handle on the Front Entry Door to Belle Grove.

William Eppes Gilliam’s family came to the colonies in the 17th Century as indentured servants. But by the 18th century, the family had amassed several plantations in the area, most notably being Eppington Plantation. One family member of the Eppes Family, John Wayles Epps would become the son-in-law of Thomas Jefferson. Christian Eppes Gilliam was the daughter of Richard and Christian Robertson Eppes of the Appomattox Plantation. Her maternal grandfather was a descendant of Pocahontas.

John Wayles Eppes


Weston Manor

Weston Manor – During the Civil War

Weston Manor

During the Civil War, the Appomattox River was patrolled by Union gunboats. From these gunboats, many of the Confederate Plantations were either damaged or destroyed. Weston Plantation would also share in this fate. A Union gunboat fired upon Weston, leaving the house damaged, but not destroyed. During the shelling of Weston, one of the cannon balls lodge in the wall in between the first and second floor. It wasn’t until much later that the cannon ball was discovered when it finally fell to the floor from the ceiling in the dining room. Weston would also be used as the headquarters of Union General Philip Sheridan.

Major General Philip Sheridan

In the mid-1970s, Raymond Broyhill donated the house to the Historic Hopewell Foundation. Weston Manor continues to be maintained by the Historic Hopewell Foundation and is now open to the public as a historic house museum and cultural center. The Historic Hopewell Foundation has worked to find and fill Weston with period antiques and reproductions.

Main Hallway looking towards the Riverside of the Manor

Main Hallway looking towards the Front Door

Library and Office – Where they would have conducted business for the plantation

Library and Office

Dining Room

Dining Room

Dining Room

Dining Room – I want to find a table like this! Can you image the lenght on it when those extensions are opened?

Dining Room – They said this picture isn’t someone from the house. It was just a nice period piece.

Formal Parlor

Formal Parlor

Formal Parlor

Formal Parlor

Clock in the Front Hallway


Staircase – Belle Grove has the same kind of stair rails. We don’t curve like this, but the look is the same.

Staircase – Second Floor landing

Second Floor Hallway

Second Floor Hallway

Children’s Room – We want to get beds like this for Belle Grove… not.

Children’s Room – Note how plain this fireplace is compared to the downstair rooms

Children’s Room – Children’s Doll House

Children’s Room – Children’s Doll House

One of two bedrooms on the second floor

One of two bedrooms on the second floor

One of two bedrooms on the second floor

Black Mourning Dress

Second of two bedrooms on the second floor

Second of two bedrooms on the second floor

Second of two bedrooms on the second floor

Second of two bedrooms on the second floor

Second of two bedrooms on the second floor

What to know what it was like during the Civil War in this area? Here is a good resource.

If you find yourself in Petersburg, I would recommend a stop by this plantation. But make sure you have a good GPS system. Hopewell is laid out in winding roads, not grid blocks. So it takes a little looking to find it.

Summer Kitchen

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 25 Comments »

25 Comments on “A Little Unscheduled Stop”

  1. Beautiful – I love the staircase! And how nice they allowed photos inside. Thanks for sharing!

  2. They were just so helpful and allowed us full access for as long as we wanted. You are welcome!

  3. terry1954 Says:

    oh i loved everything about this place, the personality, the history, the rope beds, the frame around the downstairs fireplace, the furniture, everything!!!!! oh i wished i lived in this area……..

  4. I don’t know if I want to sleep in that rope bed though 😉 But I would say if I didn’t have Belle Grove, I would want Weston!

  5. terry1954 Says:

    oh definitely yes. you have been the greatest treasure to me. to walk with you through the greatest loves of my life antiques and history, is beyond words for me to explain. i look forward to each of your blogs and so wish i could be there, but wanting and doing are two separate things, so thank u for letting me walk with u in spirit1!!

  6. Terry, that has to be the sweetest comment I have ever gotten! You know, we are so glad to have you and everyone else along with us! It has been one of the greatest thing I have done starting this blog. It has brought us together with wonder people like yourself. But don’t worry, one day you will be able to come and see and do too!

  7. vanbraman Says:

    I took a quick look at the ancestry of Carolinus Turner. I don’t find a connection with my Turner family, but I can’t take mine back before Fielding Turner who was born in 1706. Carolinus is descended from a Thomas Turner who was born in England in 1622 and died in Maryland around 1662.

  8. Well, you never know, there may still be a connection somewhere.

  9. lovely elegant simplicity, and such good taste in those days…

  10. I agree with you! After seeing and staying in the grand house of La Villa, but the simple is still the best.

  11. jmmcdowell Says:

    An absolutely beautiful home, and I love the decor.

  12. It really was! I could see George Washington stopping by for a visit!

  13. Gemma Says:

    The doll house and child’s bed gave me a chill. Cool door knocker. Great place.

  14. I don’t think I have ever seen a doll house that old. It really was cool. I liked the door knocker. Belle Grove doesn’t have a cool one like that. We may have to find one to change that!

  15. What a pleasant break you afforded me this evening. All of the “noise” of the day just faded away in my trip back in time. Your research is so good, so thorough, I can just imagine life in the house. Again, thank you! I’m going to post it on facebook so some of my friends can take the same trip.

  16. Thank you! We appreciate you sharing us with our Facebook friends! It has been a pleasure taking all of you along for our journey! Maybe soon we can all meet at the plantation!

  17. Jen Says:

    What a handsome home. It’s really beautiful! The formal parlor is so pretty.

    Thanks for reminding us who the Eppes were—I recognized the name, but it has been a wild and wooly day!

  18. It was a really beautiful home. I could really feel the history there. And it wasn’t hard to image what Belle Grove was like before the Turner’s made the grand changes.

  19. This post and your entire blog are full of great photos!

  20. Thank you! I love to take pictures, can you tell? 😉 But we love going and seeing these places. I think it is going to help us make our place better than ever!

  21. belocchiob Says:

    Engrossing photographs. Everything is perfection. I lost my heart to the dollhouse. Virginia

  22. Looks beautiful! I love touring historic houses from the late 1800s, early 1900s…great photos!

  23. Thank you! We love historic homes too! Any period is fine with us! More to come!

  24. The Old Country Store Antiques Says:

    Weston Manor is simply a great place. I grew up in Hopewell for 25 years until I moved out and in with my wife. My mother actually spent nights in Weston Manor because she was born and raised only 3 doors down from the entrance to the manor. Not 100% sure on the date but I believe this was in the late 60’s. After the passing of my grandparents she inherited the house she grew up in and currently still lives there. She actually takes the dog walking down there and her and my brother frequent the fishing dock behind the house (down the hill) to do some fishing. She has told me many interesting stories about the manor house. One of her good friends from her school days actually lived there with her family before the house was donated. She would tell me of all the noises and weird things they would hear and see overnight. Soldiers coming in the door and marching up the stairs is the main one that I can recall. There is also a story of at certain times you can see the image of a woman in black on the second floor looking over the river. I’m sure looking for a loved one that may have never returned. There is so much history there. Hopewell has it’s fair share of up’s and down’s but the history is something you cannot dispute. Downtown Hopewell (City Point) is rich with it as well. Right outside the city they have many plantation houses (Shirley Plantation and Berkeley Plantation) that are simply beautiful as well. You can even go see the home of John Tyler (Sherwood Forest Plantation). I’m glad you enjoyed your viewing of Weston Manor. Take care. — James

  25. What stories you have! Weston Manor was just beautiful. And I can see where there might be a ghost or two hanging around. So much happened there. We have been to the James River Plantations and just love them! It is one of the places we enjoy drivig to see on a day trip from our current home. I hope we can return and see more of Hopewell’s downtown and enjoy its rich history! We also hope your wife is doing well! We can’t wait to hear that you have a new addition to the family!