Historic Structures

Green Hill Plantation, Long Island Virginia

Date added: July 8, 2016 Categories: Virginia House Plantations & Farms

Green Hill is located in the southern part of Campbell County near the village of Long Island. The buildings are grouped into two distinct parts; the main house with its dependencies was designated as "Upper Town," and is situated on a plateau overlooking the Staunton River. In its original state, probably just the rear portion of the main house existed with the main driveway or entrance coming from what is now considered the back of the place.

When the two-story front portion was added, the orientation of the house was changed and the main entrance was made to enter from the south. In addition to the main house there are several dependencies; the kitchen, laundry, slave quarters, loom house (?), duck house (?), ice house, office (?), and two barns, one log and one frame. At a further distance away from this grouping of buildings and still standing are the granary, tobacco barn and the ruins of a carriage house, stables, spring house and the like. All of these buildings seemed to be connected with cobblestone walks and drives that still exist in remarkably good condition.

Nearer the Staunton River was located the second group of buildings forming a community known as Pannill' a or "Lower Town." A grist mill formed the nucleus of this community with the miller's house, store, chapel and additional quarters for slaves and tenants nearby. Nothing remains of these buildings except portions of their walls and foundations. It is known that Pannill operated a ferry and later a toll bridge over the Staunton River suggesting that buildings probably existed across the river in Pittsylvania County.

The following report on Green Hill was prepared by F. 0. Briggs, Jr., Jones Memorial Library, Lynchburg, Virginia, June, 1960:

Green Hill, near Long Island, Campbell County, Virginia, is on an elevated plateau overlooking the Staunton River. It is believed this house was built by Samuel Pannill on land he purchased from William and Moses Fuqua in 1797.

The house is L-shaped and the rear wing may be older than the main portion. As you enter the front hall, the parlor is to the left. There are glass fronted cabinets on either side of the fireplace with blue-tinted glass panes. I do not know the original or present use of the room on the right. There is no access to the rear wing except by going on to the side porch. This porch has fine round brick columns and, according to old timers, the original road came up through an avenue of cedars (none remaining) to this porch, so this may have been considered the "front.” The room on the ground floor of this portion has fine panelling, chair rail high, and the one room above has dormer windows on the porch side only.

The abundance of roek on the estate allowed free use of it in construction of roads, outbuildings and walls. It is a reddish sandstone and was abundant, also, across the Staunton River in Pittsylvania County where Pannill owned land and where he is supposed to have built a stone chapel for the slaves.

The buildings which surrounded the dwelling, most of which are still standing, were designated as "Upper Town." These included a loom house, kitchen, double laundry with water and waste connections of stone, a duck house and quarters for the house servants. Also included would be the stables, carriage house, grainary, and ice house.

The store, chapel and mill near which were the more extensive slave quarters, the miller's house, etc., formed a community known as Pannill's and also referred to as "Lower Town." Near the mill was a ferry operated by Pannill which he later replaced with a toll bridge. Flour ground at Pannill's mill was shipped by batteaux to Weldon and Gaston, North Carolina. The large stone chapel for the slaves in Pittsylvania County is reported still standing, though I have not seen it.

The six hundred acres Pannill originally purchased from the Fuqua family were enlarged by him to about five thousand acres before his death in 1364 at 94 years of age. The estate was inherited by his son, John Pannill, who died unmarried. A daughter, Judith, married John Wimbush and they acquired Green Hill. Wimbush sold it to a purchaser named Randolph, who, tradition says, paid for it with fraudulent bonds for which he was shot by one of Wimbush's sons. The homicide was tried in court but was acquitted. Later Green Hill was purchased at public sale by James Franklin, Senior of Lynehburg, who bequeathed it to his nephew, Samuel Hale in whose family it remained until fairly recently. It is now owned by the Holland family.

There is still standing a large, partitioned stone tobacco barn in the four corners of which are small, windowless rooms used as breeding rooms for the slaves.

All the buildings were connected by stone paths and roads. The lawns, gardens and some of the fields are separated by stone walls. The wall about the house has small openings for cats and dogs to enter.

The house is of brick and the side porch has refined, round, brick columns. There is a large brick dependency to the rear with a loft above and a wine cellar beneath. The duck house is of brick. All other dependencies are of native stone. The stables, carriage house and an unidentified building near them are in ruins, as is the mill. The grafts - «£ry and tobacco barn are in fair condition, though there is a large crack running from roof to ground in the tobacco barn caused by lightning some years ago. Much of the stone roads and paths (each building was connected to every other and to the house by either a road or path of stone) are still discernible. The fine garden is now a hog lot; several huge old box trees only remain.