Staunton River Tour, Halifax County, Virginia
Chester Plantation
• The houses listed on this tour are private residences and are not open to the public.
The 1797 Chester home was built by David Clark on land he inherited from his father, Thomas Clark, who had received an 800 acre land grant in 1750.

Click on map for full scale version.
1856 map commisioned by James Coles Bruce. Click on map for full scale version.
Although he died suddenly in the same year as he bagan to build Chester Plantation, David Clark's home was to become a linchpin for many of the original plantation families. Chester is located near the Cove in the northeastern part of the county.

David married Elizabeth "Betsy" Simms in 1793. He died shortly thereafter in 1797. She became sole heir of Chester. Her second husband was David Simms who died in 1802, and her third was Thomas Read, Jr. A son of Thomas and Betsy was named Clement, who inherited the estate and eventually sold the property to John Coleman, II, in 1843. It was John Coleman, II, who fathered Henry Embry Coleman of Woodlawn.

David's brother, John Clark, married the first time to Maria Wilson, who was the sister of Isabella. Isabella had, in 1796, married James Anderson Glenn of the Bloomsburg Plantation. John was later married to Priscilla Sims of Black Walnut.

John Clark and had three children, one being the Reverend John Thomas Clark of the Clark-Roller house. He was Rector of the Christ Church in Mount Laurel. He married Henrietta Maria Coleman in 1834, who was the daughter of Henry Emory Coleman . They lived at Chester, the home of her grandfather, John Coleman II, and had issue of three children, two sons and a daughter. She died January 12, 1844, and is likely buried at Chester.

Another child of John Clark was Charles Adolphus Clark. John had purchased the Clarkton Plantation estate and had left it in his will to Charles Adolphus Clark.

The third child of John was William Howson Clark. He was the owner of "Banister Lodge". He had married the daughter of Patrick Henry, Jr., Elvira Ann Henry.

John Clark, when he died in 1827, had a fortune of half million dollars, second only to that of the Bruces.

One of the slave quarters at Chester. Photo by Faye Royster Tuck, 1997.
A sister, Martha Ann, married Thomas Gordon Coleman of "Long Branch" plantation 8 miles north of Halifax (Rt. 750 Long Branch Lane) that is now demolished.

Dr. E. A. Coleman, the builder of Creekside, was the son of Henry Embry Coleman and Ann "Nancy" Gordon. He was born at Woodlawn, near Clover.

Dr. Coleman was twice married. He and Elizabeth Simms were married in 1834, only 12 days after he purchased "Rose Hill". He married secondly, in 1839, Martha Frances Ragsdale, daughter of Nathaniel and Ann Boswell Ragsdale of Riverside. To them were born 12 children. Their youngest son, Thomas G. Coleman sold Creekside to Robert G.D. Pottage. His decendant, Robert, III, is the current owner of his grandmother's home called Seaton.

The original part of the Chester home was built by David Clark and consisted of only the front area between the two chimneys. The left part, of the now L-shaped home, was likely added by John T. Coleman, II, sometime after 1843. Surrounding the house were many outbuildings which included a law office that later became a store, a carriage house, kitchen, dairy, and slave quarters. Remnants of a blacksmith building has been dicovered recently. Most of these still remain but are in need of restoration. Some appear to beyond hope of repair.

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