Historic Buildings in Halifax County, Virginia
Fourqurean - Traynham
Taken from the book "History of Halifax" by Pocahontas Edmunds
As for the earliest history of the Traynham house still nestled in its grove of boxwoods and other trees, it was first part of the lands of Thomas Easley of "Oak Grove" and then that of Wm. L. Owen whose own home from 1842 to 1857 was "Elwood Farm", now standing on the other side of Traynham's store, another Cluster Springs institution. Owen sold to Reuben D. Fourqurean, who married Mary B. Boxley, on January 14, 1835.
Fourqurean owned other land at Traynham Grove near Coleman Creek and Harmony, but he was already living on his 18 acres in Cluster Springs, having bought it on September 28, 1847, from Owen. He owned the store lot and the lot adjoining it "on which Fourqurean now resides". It began at the lower corner of the road near the tailor's shop and included stable, corn house, garden and extended to the northeast corner of Wm. L. Owen's homeplace.
After Reuben died, his widow married Thomas E. Owen, a brother of William L., and Robert E. Owen, in 1853. She made a cautious marital agreement which allowed him only one-third of her property, the other two-thirds going to her Fourqurean children. She died in 1857, and her children later conveyed the property to him. R. E. Jordan, George, Thomas and Anne Fourqurean, John Fry, Joseph Stebbins, William McCorckles signed conveying 594 acres in 1873.
Owen's daughter, Nannie, married Colonel Henry Easley son of Dr. Easley, Sr., and brother of Dr. Andrew Easley, now of "Elwood Farm" and of J. W. Easley of South Boston. Owen and she both had property. She sold to Mr. Thomas and Sally Traynham the farm earlier sold to Charles Herbst who could not meet the notes, W.D. and Birdie Hill of South Boston financings the transaction.
Before this Sally and her husband, Thomas B. Traynham, had been living at Traynham Grove near Harmony. This was on the Alton road, 5.0 miles to the right off Route 658. A left turn led to Harmony.
Thomas B. Trayhham was born at "Three Oaks", a farmhouse later owned by Montford Faulkner, now owned by Crowder S. Robertson. Later the house burned.
They lived briefly at the turn of the century at the "Glenmary" farm on Route 58 which had been bought from James and Susan Glenn. Here their daughter, Ruby, married the Reverend Charles Houston in April 1900. Their son, Charles Houston, became the inimitable newspaper journalist on THE RICHMOND NEWS LEADER until circa 1973 when he died. A daughter, Lucy Lawson Houston, became a perennial Cluster Springs summer visitor. She married Frank Christian and lives at Urbanna.
Sally's husband, Thomas B. Traynham, was a courier to General Robert E. Lee. He had lost a leg in the Battle of the Wilderness on May 8, 1864, also fighting at Malvern Hill in 1864. After moving here in 1901 the Traynham children played with the leg as a toy in the attic.
Theirs was a happy home. Every Saturday afternoon their aunt, Mrs. Barksdale, came calling with "brown sugar biscuits". There were many family dinners as well as visits. At one time the mother of John and Horsley Easley of Lynchburg boarded with them. Mrs. Easley spurned the Presbyterian church of the Traynhams, making sure that she could be driven 12 miles to services at St. John's Episcopal Church in Halifax!
When Mrs. Traynham sold the place to J. E. Traynham and children in 1920, she arranged that it could still be a lifelong home for her and also that she could take in guests whenever she chose to invite them.
Miss Ella Traynham and her brother, grandchildren of Mrs. Sally Traynham, lived there in 1976 and ran Traynham's store next door.
Giant boxwoods line the short walk to the house. The wide hall features ornate carving on the wainscoting framing the staircase. In the square parlor on the left the square piano and tall secretary containing books, albums and papers long cherished by the family, seem there for keeps.
There is a family cemetery at some distance. A family reunion here in the summertime of 1976 drew much of the clan back for "dinner on the grounds".
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The transcription and the updated photos are the work of Dan Shaw. In some cases modifications to the original text have been made to improve the flow of the story, correct typos, and insert new or clarifying information. Additional facts or further corrections are welcome. This author takes no credit for the original publications and its research. These local historians should be honored for the their endless hours of efforts to document this county's history for posterity.