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6742 PLANK RD BATESVILLE, Virginia
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1521 CRAIGS STORE RD BATESVILLE, Virginia
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Batesville is a quaint, historic village located in Western Albemarle between Greenwood and North Garden. The village consists of the Batesville Store and the post office inside its building. There are several historic churches nearby and home to the private Miller School of Albemarle.
Batesville VA homes for sale are popular and if priced correctly sell quickly. The majority of Batesville homes are historic. Surrounding the small village are numerous spectacular Charlottesville farms.
Batesville VA History
Batesville’s Early Settlement (1607-1750)
This portion of Albemarle County was first settled in the late 1730’s, at which time it was still part of Goochland County.
Since 1744, it has been part of Albemarle County. Probably the first land patent in this area was obtained by Henry Terrell of Caroline county, who patented a tract of 1,750 acres on the headwaters of Mechum’s river in 1737, including the site of the present village.
By the 1740’s, an additional settlement seems to have occurred in this area. Route 635 through Batesville is part of a very early road in Albemarle County that was authorized by road orders beginning in September 1741. Called the road to Morrison’s, it connected with Dick Wood’s road, just north of the village, and from there to Three Notch’d Road at the D.S. Tree near Ivy.
In later road orders the road sometimes appeared as the “road to Amherst Court House”. Thus, settlement between the Ragged Mountains and Blue Ridge was sufficient in the 1740s to require a better connection to the main route east, the Three Notch’d Road.
Numerous land transactions indicate that the Batesville area was probably settled by the mid eighteenth century. Davis Stockton patented 800 acres on both forks of the Mechum’s River in 1741, part of the family holdings that eventually numbered 4,000 acres in western Albemarle County.
His sons, Samuel and William, owned a mill, probably built by their father, near the present village of Batesville on the south fork of Mechum’s River.
They sold it in 1767; a stream near Batesville still bears the name Stockton Mill Creek (not to be confused with Stockton Creek, a larger stream roughly paralleling U.S. Route 250). The Stockton family also gave its name to Stockton Thoroughfare, more commonly know as Israel’s Gap.
Colony to Nation (1750-1789)
Israel’s Gap is named for the Israel family, early Jewish settlers in the area. In 1757 Michael Israel patented eighty acres near Stockton’s Thoroughfare in the Ragged Mountains just to the east of the village of Batesville.
Several other deeds suggest settlement activity in the Batesville area in the eighteenth century. In 1765 Henry Terrell sold 800 acres of his early patent, including Castle Mountain, to John Jones of Louisa County.
Jones also bought 1,300 acres on the north side of Tom Mountain near North Garden over the next eight years.
An early landowner, William Wood, bought property on the headwaters of the Mechum’s River in 1760 and in 1779 sold a plantation near the present site of Mount Ed Church in Batesville to Daniel White. William Wood’s grandson, John, still owned 1,100 acres in the Batesville area in the early 1800s.
Other families by the name of Wood also lived nearby. Robert Field began to buy land here in 1766. President James Monroe’s elder brother, Andrew, bought a farm near the village in 1781 and resided there for four years before moving to Limestone, a farm near Milton owned by the President.
Although prior to the Revolution, the Anglican Church was the established church in Virginia, several religious sects were active in Albemarle County in the late eighteenth century. Baptists established themselves in the Batesville area with the founding of Whitesides Creek Church in 1788, the forerunner of Mount Ed Baptist Church.
This was one of the earliest Baptist meetinghouses in the county. The first building stood across Route 635 from the present Mount Ed Church, and was replaced on the original site by anew brick building in 1806, at which time the name Mount Ed came into use.
There is conflicting information about the fate of this second building. One source says that the 1806 church burned down in 1840, but another indicates that the building was torn down in 1857 when the congregation moved across the street to the present structure.
Early National Period (1789-1830)
Despite its early history as a crossroads area, no buildings in Batesville date from before the early 1800s. Batesville’s first period of prosperity did not occur until around 1810, when increased travel along Routes 635 and 692 spurred the building of sevEral residences and possibly a tavern.
Today, Batesville is oriented more strongly along Route 692, an eighteenth century road that became part of a system connecting the Shenandoah Valley to the James River via Rockfish Gap. The road passed through Israel’s Gap in the Ragged Mountains to the east of Batesville and on to North Garden.
Legislation in 1790 sought to connect the Shenandoah Valley to the James River ports of Scottsville and Warren in Albemarle County by way of a road through Rockfish Gap.
Road orders beginning in 1791 show construction of this road, which connected already existing roads with some new sections
The final transportation link came in 1794 when part of today’s Route 692 from Batesville west to Route 637 (referred to as Dick Woods’ Road in the eighteenth century) was completed. This road was called the Warren Road in county road orders until at least 1812.
Thus the crossroads village was already established when William Oliver and his wife Elizabeth came to Albemarle County and purchased land in the Batesville area in 1796.
The name Oliver’s Store, an early name for the community, originated with a store presumably operated by this family in or near the present village, although no clarifying documentation has been found. Their son Henry Oliver bought a farm near North Garden, and many of his descendants have lived in this general area since then.
The Warren Road was later incorporated into the Staunton and James River Turnpike, completed in 1827. This turnpike connected Scottsville, on the James River, with Staunton, in the Shenandoah Valley.
Batesville is located about halfway between Scottsville and Staunton on this trading route, which carried heavy traffic in the early nineteenth century, as farmers from the Valley took their produce east to the James River for shipment.
In 1829 Roland Bates bought from William Bowen the 500 acre White Plantation southwest of the village. Bowen had taught a school near Ivy in the 1820s and in 1822 moved the school to a location near Mount Ed Church (most likely his farm). Here he took in eight to ten borders.
In 1826, Roland Bates’ daughter, Mary, married William Nicholas Oliver, son of the Oliver who gave the earlier name of Oliver’s Store to the village. Around 1830 the village name was changed to Batesville in honor of the Bates family.
Account ledgers indicate that Rowland Horsley Bates operated a tannery several miles away at North Garden from 1842-1850. The tannery was opErated by his son Edwin James Bates from 1865 to 1882. One source says a Mr. Bates had a blacksmith shop in Batesville.
Samuel O. Moon was another prominent resident of early Batesville. Moon was born in Albemarle County in 1801, grew up near Scottsville, and in 1828 began a mercantile business at Israel’s Mountain (Israel’s Gap). However, his store burned two years later.
He then moved to Batesville, where he bought a farm and built the first portion of the house now called Westbury. Although its present appearance is the result of an extensive remodeling in the 1860s, it remains one of Batesville’s oldest surviving buildings.
Two other houses, both located east of Westbury, also date from the first quarter of the nineteenth century. One of these is a significant, early log house with a second story of frame construction, and retains much of its exterior appearance intact.
Among the earliest buildings standing in Batesville today is the Walters-Page house, a two story brick house on Route 635.
Although its exact date of construction is not known, architectural evidence suggests a date during the first quarter of the nineteenth century. It was probably built by Polly Walters, who bequeathed it to her nephew Nicholas Murrell Page in 1859.
Page, born in Nelson County in 1810, moved with his family to Kentucky when he was a child. In 1827, he returned to Nelson County and went into business there in the early 1830s. A few years later he moved to Batesville and entered the mercantile business with his uncle, J. H. Rodes. He operated the store until the outbreak of the Civil war.
Antebellum Period (1830-1860)
During the antebellum period, Batesville retained its position as a way-station on the turnpike and as an agricultural trading center. In 1835, Batesville was described as having twelve scattering dwelling houses, three general stores, one tan yard and one blacksmith shop. In the vicinity is one Baptist and one Methodist house of worship. The population is seventy, of whom one is a physician.
The physician was probably Dr. E.L. Williams, who settled near Batesville after the Revolution and also appeared as a customer in the Mount Israel cobbler’s ledger in the early 1830s. The Martin’s gazetteer entry also noted that it was “generally called Oliver’s Old Store and that it was an election precinct and had a post office.
Building activity increased in Batesville in the 1850s and 1860s, reflecting the wealth of several of its residents, as well as the growth of two competing religious congregations. The result of this religious activity is two excellent examples of brick antebellum architecture in Batesville. The earliest of these is the present Mount Ed Baptist Church. It was dedicated in 1857, and replaced the building across from it on Route 635.
Soon after the Baptists built their new church, the Batesville Methodist congregation built a new church as well. In the 1830s, and probably earlier, the Batesville Methodists were meeting at Midway Chapel.
This building, located along Route 636 to the west of Mount Ed Church and Harmon’s (later Moon’s) Mill, is clearly marked on the Hotchkiss map of 1866. In July 1860, the church trustees bought a new lot, located in Batesville on today’s Route 692.
Under the direction of carpenters, James Shepherd and John Via, the building was erected using slave-made bricks. Mrs. Samuel Overton Moon of Westbury helped pay for its construction.
Completed in 1861, Batesville Methodist Church was modeled closely on Mount Ed Church. Both display identical brickwork, including pencilled mortar joints, as well as a pedimented gable end, Greek revival door and window lintels, and two front entrances on the gable-end façade.
These two churches were probably built by the same masons, as was the somewhat later Dr. Smith House, also known as Methodist parsonage, located along Route 635.
Comparatively little military activity occurred in Albemarle County during the Civil War. Unlike the rest of Virginia, most of the county’s town and villages were spared. No military activity occurred in Batesville and the village’s stores, commercial enterprises and farming activities continued uninterrupted during the war years.
Reconstruction and Growth
Much of Batesville’s architecture dates from the post-Civil War period, reflecting Batesville’s continued importance as a trading and commercial center for the surrounding farming community. Significant historic resources surviving from this period include several residences, at least three stores, a church for Batesville’s black Baptist congregation, and two schoolhouses.
One of Batesville’s most famous native sons was Samuel Miller, born in a cabin in the Ragged Mountains near Batesville in 1792. The Miller boys went to public school in the village taught by schoolmaster William Black, and later, Samuel became a teacher there.
He moved to Lynchburg sometime between 1814 and 1824 to join his brother, John, who had entered the grocery business. Both brothers prospered, but never married. Samuel inherited a considerable estate at his brother’s death, which he in turn increased through shrewd trading in agricultural commodities.
At his death, Samuel Miller left, among other charitable gifts, an endowment to establish a unique vocational school for poor children in Albemarle County.
Batesville merchant and farmer, Nicholas Murrell Page, served as executor of Miller’s will, and is credited with skillfully preserving much of the $2 million estate and overseeing the construction of Miller School. The will was contested by people claiming to be Miller’s illegitimate children, but the estate was finally settled and the Miller Manual Labor School of Albemarle was established by an act of the General Assembly in 1874, known today as The Miller School of Albemarle.
The main building at Miller School of Albemarle was completed in September 1878 on property Miller had previously purchase for that purpose. In 1883 the school installed the county’s first electric lights, powered by the school’s own generator. Miller School, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is located about a mile and a half north of Batesville on Route 635.
Construction of the school undoubtedly gave employment to numerous Batesville residents, and the school remained an important stimulus to Batesville’s economy for several years.
Dr. E. Lee Page, son of Nicholas Murrell Page, was Batesville’s physician for many years. He used student labor from Miller School to build his home, Castlebrook circa 1903 or slightly later.
According to tradition, the timber was cut on his property and the brick made at the site. One of the largest and most architecturally significant homes in Batesville, Castlebrook continued a long tradition of brick architecture in the village.
By 1870, longtime Batesville resident Samuel O. Moon of Westbury had become so prosperous as a farmer and genEral merchant that he was by far the wealthiest man in the county, with a net worth of $190,000.
In the 1860s he transformed his home to its present appearance with a major remodeling, adding the superb two story porch with its wood work.
Another locally prominent resident was the Rev. John E. Massey, minister at Mount Ed Baptist Church at the time of its construction in 1857. On retiring from the ministry in 1862, he moved to Ash Lawn (now called Ash Lawn-Highland), the former home of President James Monroe adjoining Monticello.
There, Massey farmed and pursued his political career. He was elected Virginia’s lieutenant governor in 1885, having earlier served as state auditor. He also served eight years as the state’s superintendent of public instruction during the early years of the modern public school system.
Batesville maintained a steady population in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It was bypassed by the railroad, and in 1867 the Staunton & James River Turnpike was taken over by the county. Despite these setbacks, however, Batesville remained a center for local commerce.
According to Chataigne’s gazetteer, Batesville in 1884 had four general merchants, one corn mill and flour mill (Moon’s Mill), one attorney, one physician, and twelve principal farmers. The remains of Moon’s Mill can still be found near where Route 636 crosses Stockton Mill Creek.
In 1899, within two years of its initial organization, the Albemarle Telephone and Telegraph Company had extended telephone lines to Batesville. An Odd Fellows Hall was built in the early 1900s and stood on the south side of Route 692 near the Methodist church.
In addition to the family of Nicholas Page, yet another Page family is associated with Batesville’s commercial history. David Page, a carpenter who moved to Batesville from Nelson County in the late nineteenth century.
In 1913 his son, Charles Page Sr., a schoolteacher, purchased the store which bears the family’s name from Mr. Charles Joseph, and it was operated by two succeeding generations of the Page family until it closed in 1994 but recently reopened.
Charles Page Sr. also built a house sometime between 1905 and 1915, which still stands in the village about fifty yards to the northwest of his father’s home. In 1914 the post office was incorporated into this store, and the Page family has also served as the town’s postmasters.
When Charles Page Sr. bought his store in 1913, one source says the community had a coffin factory, brick factory, blacksmith shop and livery stable. No evidence of a brick factory, coffin factory or livery stable could be found in Chataigne’s gazetteers for 1893-94 or 1911.
World War I to World War II (1914-1945)
Throughout the interwar period, Batesville remained a small rural community, tied economically to the Miller School and the surrounding farms and estates. An economically self-sufficient community, it supported a wide variety of stores and businesses, gas stations, and a blacksmith shop. Many of these buildings remain, although most have been converted to residences or are vacant.
The three churches in the village (Mountain View Church was built in the early 1900s for a black Baptist congregation), were centers of Batesville’s social and religious life. Batesville Elementary School built around 1914, remained in operation until the 1950s. It is one of the best preserved former school houses in Albemarle County.
The village also supported a number of unusual businesses during this period in addition to the usual complement of general stores. The Batesville Printing Company operated in Batesville in the years around World War I.
Examples of posters and broadsides printed by this company between 1917 and 1934 are held in Special Collections at the University of Virginia’s Alderman Library.
An advertisement lists Elmer T. Batten as manager. Batten lived in the house adjacent to Page’s Store, and operated his printing business from the same location.
Two other businesses in Batesville in the early decades of this century were an extract plant and a barrel factory. The extract plant and sawmill were located on the hill behind Mountain View Baptist Church on the east end of the village.
Chestnut trees were cut in the nearby mountains and brought by wagon through Batesville to the factory where they were ground into pulp; the juice extracted, and packed in barrels for shipment by train. Miss Lillian Foster, a resident of the community since moving there as a child in 1909, remembered the wagons of wood and barrels of extract passing along Route 692 in front of her family’s home outside the village proper
J.B. Harding founded the barrel company that made staves and put barrels together for use by the burgeoning orchard industry in the area. This operation was located on Route 692 roughly across the road from Batesville Methodist Church where the one-hoop basketball court sits today. It closed down at Harding’s death.
There was also a small grist mill on Stillhouse Creek near the center of the village, to the west of the crossing of Route 635 and the creek (some of the foundations are still visible). One of the more architecturally significant houses in Batesville is Woodlea, across Route 635 from Castlebrook. Woodlea was built by a Dr. Smith around 1915 and later bought by Miss Foster’s grandfather, R. A. H. Foster. Although the architect or carpenter is unknown, the house is one of the best preserved Colonial Revival-style houses in the area.
During the 1910s and the 1920s, many of Batesville’s residents worked on the surrounding large estates and farms, such as Blue Ridge farm, Wavetree Farm and Seven Oaks.
In fact, the economic basis of the community shifted markedly toward orchard activities centered in the Greenwood-Crozet area. Nonetheless, Batesville continued to support a number of small businesses and trades, as well as at least five stores. At least three of these store buildings are still extant, although none are still in operation.
By the early 1920s, enrollment at Miller School had dropped to half of its high point of over two hundred students, due largely to the increasing popularity of county public schools.
Improvements in the road and communication systems in Albemarle County in the 1930s and 1940s spelled the end of Batesville’s self-sufficiency.
Residents received public electrical service in the 1940s; previously, houses such as Westbury had generated their own electricity. Improved roads reduced the travel time to Charlottesville, making shopping and commuting to work easier. Many businesses closed in Batesville during the late 1930s, with this trend accelerating after World War II.