Halifax County is rich in historic homes. In accordance with the Society Mission Statement to preserve historical information for dissemination to the public, the Society may assist homeowners through the arduous process of documenting and helping to obtain the national recognition deserved of these homes.
Currently there are twenty-seven county properties that have been listed on either or both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and the National Register of Historic Places as well as five groups of homes and public buildings designated as “Historic Districts” in Virginia.
For additional information on the houses, please see An Architectural History of Halifax County, Virginia, published by the Halifax County Historical Society.
One home will be added periodically and will include a detailed description and photographs of the exterior and interior, if available.
Deer run road
Pleasant Grove, a large two-story frame dwelling with defining Italianate and Greek Revival characteristics, is one of thirty-five properties in Halifax County listed on both the Virginia Historic Landmarks Register and National Register of Historic Places. The house was built by David Samuel Farmer and wife, Mary Lovelace Farmer, in 1890.
The property was originally part of a number of farms in the area owned by Farmer’s great grandfather who moved to Halifax County in the mid-1800s. David inherited 290 acres of the Farmer property from his father, Pleasant William Farmer. David and his wife named their homestead “Pleasant Grove” after nearby Pleasant Grove Christian Church. The church had been named after his father Pleasant W. Farmer, who donated land for the church, but the family is also known to have selected the title because of the pleasantly cool elevation of the home site.
The home has many distinguishing features, including its double-tier front porch. The first-floor porch extends across the entire front, but the second floor porch is only as wide as the area protected by a gabled extension of the primary roof. Balustrades that extend onto the roof edges of the lower porch give the impression of a full porch on the second floor. Other notable exterior features include floral cut-outs applied to the fronts of brackets supporting the cornice and the molded panels on the frieze that are located between the brackets. Exterior windows have peaked hoods supported by brackets. The front entrance and the second-floor porch entry have peaked and bracketed hoods and the panes of the sidelights have translucent patterned stenciling.
Behind the house are a variety of farm buildings, such as an1890 granary, a cow barn and corncrib. The farm complex also features several tenant houses, each with various outbuildings.
The seventh child of David and Mary Farmer was born in 1902. Her name was Esther Emily Farmer, mother of Dr. William B. Blythe, who with his wife Gloria gained sole ownership of the farm in 1997. Ester Emily’s husband, LeGette Blythe, used the home as a retreat for writing two novels, and a grandson, William L. Blythe, wrote his prize-winning short story, “The Taming Power of the Small,” (included in The Best American Short Stories) at Pleasant Grove in 1988. The Blythe’s formed a limited liability company (LLC) with their four children in hopes that the house and farm will remain in the family for future generations..