Belle Grove and the 1920s

When we left off, we had talked about our owner, Captain John F. Jack or as he was better known “Alfalfa Jack”. We still haven’t been about to find much more on his personal life. Just that from the newspaper in our area and the photographs from California. We do know that he owned Belle Grove from 1906 to 1916. But the last piece of information about Captain Jack is a newspaper article dated July 20, 1911.

This article talked about a fire in the barn at Belle Grove. The barn and 250 tons of alfalfa were lost along with a large amount of farming equipment. The origin of the fire was never known. It resulted in a $10,000 loss. Captain Jack did not have insurance on the barn or equipment.

1911 July 20 Free Lance Star
1911 July 20 Free Lance Star

From here the trail grows cold. I have not been able to find any other information on Captain Jack. We had written that he had sold the plantations in 1911, but we have since found out that it was 1916 when he sold it.  So the fire had not been so bad that it was the “straw that broke the camel’s back”.  Only time will tell as we hope to under cover the mystery of whom Captain Jack was and where he ended up.

Captain Jack sold Belle Grove to William H. Allen and Otto F. Brandt also from California. But sadly, we have again run into a brick wall with their history. We haven’t even been able to find newspaper articles. So we are going to have to hope some oral history will come forward sometime to direct us in the right direction.

I can’t tell  you how much we have under covered thanks to oral history! Through the blog and through our newspaper articles that have come out we have found names of plantation managers, caretakers and field hands. This is history that would have been lost had these individuals had not come forward. This is the history we hope to save before all those who know are gone.

One of those who came forward is a family member of a past plantation manager. From our research on this plantation manager, we have placed him at the plantation some time in the 1920s. It was through this individual that I received several photographs of this plantation manager and his family at Belle Grove.

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles Kendall Hearn was born February 22, 1878 in Walnut Grove, Virginia. His father was Samuel Batson Hearn VI (1841 to 1917) and his mother was Mary Virginia Gibbs Hearn (1850-1921). Charles’s middle name “Kendall” came from his grandfather. His family lived in Port Royal, Virginia, which is just across the river from Belle Grove in the 1880.

Samuel B. Hearn circa 1869

Samuel B. Hearn circa 1869

Mary Virginia Gibbs Hearn circa 1900

Mary Virginia Gibbs Hearn circa 1900

Mary Virginia Gibbs Hearn circa 1900

Mary Virginia Gibbs Hearn circa 1900

In 1897, Charles was a pursuer on the Weems Steamship line out of Baltimore. He was appointed to the position of Purser on the Steamer Westmoreland, formerly held by Mr Ruggles Taliaferro of Baltimore.

In 1898, Charles married Mary Etta Bruce. According to a paper I found on Ancestry.com, Charles was not yet 21 when he married Mary. It seems back then you needed permission from your parents to marry if you were under 21 years old.

Permission for Charles K. Hearn to marry 1899

Permission for Charles K. Hearn to marry December 19, 1898

Marriage CertificateDecember 21, 1898

Marriage Certificate
December 21, 1898

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles Kendall Hearn

Charles and Mary would have two daughters, Nellie Brooke Hearn (1901-1993) and Lucy Kendall Hearn (1904-2001). In 1906, Charles was listed as a farmer, blacksmith and wheelwright near Port Royal. In 1916, he was part of a business called “Hearn Brothers” who were blacksmiths and wheelwrights.

Lucy Kendall Hearn

Lucy Kendall Hearn

Sometime in the 1920s, Charles became the plantation manager for Belle Grove Plantation.

Taken along the Rappahannock River at Belle Grove when he managed the estate there.

Taken along the Rappahannock River at Belle Grove when Charles K. Hearn managed the estate there.

Nellie and Lucy on the Riverside of Belle Grove 1920s

Nellie and Lucy on the Riverside of Belle Grove 1920s

Belle Grove Farm scenes

John Thomas Hearn, brother of Charles on the Riverside of Belle Grove

John Thomas Hearn, brother of Charles on the Riverside of Belle Grove

UChas. K. Hearn @ Belle Grove.ntitled-1

Belle Grove Farm Scenes no.6

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Belle Grove Plantation

Mary Etta, Luch and Charles Hearn

Mary Etta, Luch and Charles Hearn

In 1924, a group of citizens raised $75,000 and established a bank in Port Royal. There were seven directors of the bank and Charles Hearn was one of them. The bank would close in 1934.

Charles and his brother John Thomas Hearn purchased a home in Fredericksburg in 1922. Charles’s family and his brother’s family would live in this home until he later purchased his own home.

Charles Kendall Hearn, about 1940

Charles Kendall Hearn, about 1940

Charles Kendall Hearn, about 1940

Charles Kendall Hearn, about 1940

Charles would pass away on June 25, 1940 in Fredericksburg at the age of 62.

To see more pictures from Belle Grove Plantation’s History

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46 thoughts on “Belle Grove and the 1920s

  1. John says:

    Wonderful photography and history, so intriguing. One answer leads to another question…

  2. petchary says:

    Amazing photographs! I love Nellie and Lucy and the photos on the steps/verandah especially. We will come and visit you one day! 🙂

  3. isaiah43123 says:

    Belle Grove is revealing more and more about itself; just enough each time to keep the anticipation alive.

  4. Dianna says:

    Love, love, love these old pics! Did I miss your explanation about why the word “Grove” is added over top another word in the newspaper article?

  5. Amy says:

    Precious photos! Will come and visit you in the future 🙂

  6. terry1954 says:

    love all the photos. I tried researching Alfalfa but came up with nothing

  7. belocchio says:

    The photographs are really quit wonderful. V.

  8. paulheels says:

    this is awesome!

  9. Elephant says:

    Nice – to follow along so closely with the past is a gift.
    Elephant

  10. Lisa says:

    I love the pics and the wonderful history you are sharing of your beautiful plantation!

  11. CurtissAnn says:

    Enjoyed this. Looking at the photos was looking at my own people and where I grew up in Carolina.

  12. Goodness sake, you have a lot of work in these photos. So many people, so little time. Dianne

  13. David says:

    A very intriguing history. Having some of the old photos to accompany the history is quite nice.

  14. Kendall is the name of my protagonist in my girth coming book. Excellent post. Thank you.

  15. That is one mighty-looking white horse. It definitely impressed my horse-loving wife!

  16. dcwisdom says:

    So very interesting! I think it’s great that you’re putting all this history together for the NEXT owners. We all have a story, don’t we?

  17. Such wonderful research. It really brings the plantation to life. My humans’ last home was built in 1907 (old for Texas) and they researched all the people who had lived in it before them. As they embarked on the restoration, the felt that they were honoring each of its former inhabitants. You are also doing that through your reaearch . . . a beautiful gift to Belle Grove.

  18. adinparadise says:

    Fabulous history and photos. So enjoyed this fascinating post. 🙂

  19. Congratulations! You’ve been nominated for the Liebster Award! Hope you accept! http://tinyurl.com/a8ttahw

  20. I think it’s amazing that you are pulling together all of this oral history. If not for you, it would be so easily lost!

  21. Gregoryno6 says:

    Congratulations on what you’ve learnt so far with your detective work. May the discoveries continue!

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