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Hyco Road, Virgilina Community
Although this two-story frame Greek Revival building is no longer standing, its connection between the Ragland family of Virgilina and the William C. Slate Seed Company, makes it a valuable marker in the history of commerce in Halifax County.
The building, constructed in 1871 for “Ned” Ragland, operated as Hyco Store until it closed in the early 1900s. The front was close to the current highway while the back was within walking distance of the Hyco River, offering the merchant additional means to procure and transport goods.
The store had many refined architectural elements not found in most small communities. For example, the front-gabled roof featured Italianate brackets, boxed cornices with returns, and corner pilasters with panels and square crowns. The heavy upper panels in the double-leafed entrance doors and adjacent window sashes were designed to be removed from the inside via large wooden screws so that screens or louvers could be installed in the warmer months.
Ragland’s brother, Major Robert L. Ragland, who founded what would become Slate Seed Company, may have used the basement or a part of the building to store and/or package tobacco seed. Major Ragland’s nearby farm was the largest producer of tobacco seed in the world and after his death in 1893, the business was operated by his sons and William C. Slate. Slate married the Major Ragland’s adopted daughter Fanny Brooks and after her death in 1898, married “Ned” Ragland’s daughter, Janie. Around 1900, Hyco store closed and the Slate Seed Company moved to South Boston.
Preservation Virginia listed Hyco Store as one of eleven architectural sites that faced imminent or sustained threats to their integrity or in some cases their survival. Unfortunately, the store was dismantled in 2017.