Whittle Flanagan’s Red Hill in Louisa County, Virginia- a study

Let me just preface this by saying I did not set out to find errors in previously published genealogical work. I simply love maps, history, and genealogical research. But I did find an error, and below are the results of my research.

The land grant map below was prepared in DeedMapper (Direct Line Software) using original metes and bounds from land grants (not by me, but by others who have far more experience). James had two grants dated 20 August 1747, one for 250 acres and the other for 400 acres. The James Flanakin grant at the top is dated 1774 (116 acres), so this is probably James Winwright Flanagan (b. c. 1750).

The east-west highway is Louisa Road (State Hwy 22), and the north-south highway is the James Madison Hwy (State Hwy 15).

It has long been said that Red Hill was built on one of James’s land grants. But now that has to change.

Here’s why: If we use Red Hill Trail as a guide (which we can confidently do, since the house Whittle built is still standing and is marked with a small red circle), the home called Red Hill was situated very close to the west of James Madison Highway. It sits on land that was granted to James Stuart in 1735, but by the time Edward Clark patented his land in 1745 (the light gray plat), the southern border in Clark’s property is referred to as “Whittle’s line.” This means that at some point between 1735 and 1742,* Francis Whittle purchased the land patented by James Stuart, and later it became the property of Francis’s widow Sarah (her dower) and later of Ambrose and Whittle Flanagan, just as Francis bequeathed in his will.

In 1780, Sarah sold her dower portion to her grandson Whittle. The property was the subject of a chancery cause a couple generations later, when Ambrose’s grandchildren sued Whittle’s grandchildren because Whittle sold a portion of the land to other, non-family parties. Whether intentional or not, the sale completely ignored the fact the Ambrose owned half of it. The court case specifically states that the land had belonged to Francis Whittle.

In addition, in 1825, Whittle, his wife Judith, and their son Reuben sell about 57 acres of the southern portion of the land to William Morris (outlined in red in the James Stuart plat). The most fascinating aspect about this deed is that one of the waypoints is defined as “a stone near a grave yard.” The waypoint is marked with a red X. Surely this must be a Flanagan/Whittle family cemetery. I expect the cemetery remained on Whittle Flanagan’s land in the 1825 land transaction. Do any remnants of it remain? Who might be buried there?

Conclusion: Red Hill sits on land that was owned by Francis Whittle, not on land owned by James Flanagan, which is what was previously thought.

*Louisa County was formed from Hanover County in 1742. Since there is no record of this land transfer in Louisa County records, the transaction probably occurred in Hanover County; Hanover County Courthouse burned in 1865 and land records (along with most everything else) were destroyed.

Here’s Red Hill and the approximately location of the cemetery; I used Google Earth for this.

What do you think?

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