For many years, I searched the Chalk Level area, so often mentioned in the diary of William C. Shelton, for the
home of Captain Vincent Shelton, his father. I had believed that his land on George's Creek was east of the old
Hickey's Road (now State Road 685).
Then I searched the land transactions for the Estate of Captain Vincent Shelton. (The 1822 land book lists:
Maj. Vincent Shelton, his father, with 820 acres on Whitethorn Creek and in 1833: 396 1/2 on Stinking River.)
Capt. Vincent Shelton, Jr. owned 240 acres until 1837 and afterward he owned 288 1/2 acres on Georges
Creek. The old road from Ray Mill to Greenfield Church was the northern boundary of his land (240 acres were
a gift from Major Vincent Shelton, Sr. in 1820) until he bought 48 1/2 acres from the estate of Richard
Whitehead, Sr. in 1838. This land was north of the old Ray Mill and Greenfield Road. In 1771, before his death
on November 16, 1872, he sold his land to his son-in-law, William B. Swann of Caswell County, North Carolina.
Swann sold the land to C. C. Pugh in 1878. In 1902, Pugh sold 225 acres of the land "known as the old Captain
Vincent Shelton tract" to C. M. and J. L. Scott.
On a chilly November day in the early 1990's, I traveled up to Gretna from my home at that time in the Mount
Hermon community. When I arrived in Gretna and walked in the Crossroads Restaurant, the first person I saw
had "Shelton" printed on his coat. He directed me to another farmer who told me of John Scott a few miles east
John Scott was friendly and eager to talk about the Sheltons. He said that he was born in a small house a half
mile north of the site of the Capt. Vincent Shelton house. Scott said the old cemetery was across the road from
the Shelton house site.
The beautiful property overlooks the Georges Creek valley just below the old Ray Mill site. The house with
large brick chimneys at each end is old. John Scott's uncle used to live in this house. I found out later that the
original Shelton plantation house had burned and the present house was built in 1898. The old cabin nearby,
with a larger, more primitive rock chimney, is much older. The tall old smokehouse out back is typical of
construction during the 1700's and 1800's.
I could not find the cemetery. After returning to John Scott for better instruction to the cemetery, which was a
long distance to the northeast, I found both Scotts and Sheltons buried there, including W. M. Scott who
married Pauline Shelton in 1854. There were some graves with only field stones, but the cemetery appeared to
be too far from the Capt. Vincent Shelton house site to be their family cemetery.
The next week, I was referred to Anderson Scott, who is very interested in Pittsylvania County history and the
Sheltons. He was born in 1918 in the old house on Captain Vincent Shelton's land. Anderson said that the
house (called the old Pugh home), which was the Shelton house, burned and his father had Josh Haymes build
the present house in 1898. He said that James D. Shelton (born in 1866) had a job to tote water from the spring
for Nancy, Captain Vincent Shelton's widow, after both her son and husband died. William C. Shelton died in
1869 and the Captain in 1872. Unfortunately, there appear to be no male Shelton descendants who carried on
the Captain Vincent Shelton line.
Before she died on June 17, 1875, Nancy Shelton, Vincent's widow, went to live with her daughter and son-in-
law, William B. Swann, at his 1,000-acre plantation “Woodfern” at Pelham, North Carolina. She is buried at the
Pelham Methodist Church in Pelham
|Pittsylvania County, Virginia
|Land of Captain Vincent Shelton, Jr.
|3 DIARIES FOR THE YEARS 1850, 1851 AND 1852
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