Hometown Tuesday ~ 7 Oaks, Nelson County, Virginia

hometown tuesdayWith the establishment of the Virginia Colony in 1607, English emigrants arrived in North America by the thousands. By the late 17th century English explorers and traders had traveled up the James River to this area. Early trading posts were established between 1710 and 1720. By 1730, many families moved into the area currently known as Amherst County. They came because of the abundance of land and the good tobacco-growing soil.

Originally known as “The Oaks” and “Seven Oaks Villagethis town started as a stage station on the Charlottesville-Lynchburg road. In 1806 the county took its present proportions when Nelson County was formed from its northern half. The county seat was then moved to the village of Five Oaks, which was later renamed Amherst. The original courthouse was built in 1809 on two acres of land purchased “from a Mr. Coleman for ten shillings.” The original courthouse was torn down 1872 and the present courthouse was built “from the homemade brick of Amherst County clay.” All Amherst County records have been stored in the courthouse since 1761 when Amherst-Nelson counties were divided from Albemarle County. The county was named for Lord Amherst, known as the “Conqueror of Canada“, who commanded the British forces that successfully secured Canada from the French during the Seven Years’ War and had been named Governor of Virginia although he had never been there. 

When 7 Oaks Town’s name was changed to the Town of Amherst in 1807, it was also named after Sir Jeffery Amherst. By this time tobacco was the major crop grown as well as apples. The soil was rich and there were still plenty of lands to be had.

After the death of my 3rd Great Uncle, John Rucker (1680-1742) in January 1742, his wife Susannah (1684-1742) moved their 12 children (7 sons and 5 daughters) from Orange, Virginia to 7 Oaks. John Sr had purchased 5850 acres of land here in 1738. Unfortunately, she died in September of that same year. The Rucker’s were very prosperous making a good name for themselves and growing tobacco which they exported to England. Two of the sons, Anthony (1728-1821) and Benjamin (1726-1810) invented a new type of riverboat to transport the tobacco to Jamestown. These boats were also used to move supplies and munitions up and down the inland rivers during the Revolutionary War. Another son, John Jr. (1720-1780) was a dispatch rider for George Washington during the war.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.













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