Where did working people live in Scottsville?

Contributed by Evelyn Edson, president
Scottsville Museum

Scottsville boasts a number of large, beautiful houses, such as Old Hall, Cliffview, and The Shadows, but where did ordinary working people live?

There is a neighborhood of modest houses at the junction of Valley and Warren Streets.  Some of these were built in the 1940s to house workers at the Uniroyal plant, but at least one is much older.  This is 732 Valley Street, a house built in the 1870s on an earlier foundation, perhaps from the 1830s.  Charles L. Terrell, born in slavery in 1859, trained as a blacksmith, and in 1889 bought this property as well as another building on Valley Street, which served as his shop.  The 1870 census showed that there were 245 Black heads of household and 175 Whites in Scottsville, but only three Black people owned property.

Terrell and his wife, Martha Jane, had nine children, two of whom followed their father into the blacksmithing trade.  Another Terrell ran a restaurant at the corner of Jackson and Valley Streets.
Charles died in 1928, having spent the rest of his life in his house, and the 1930 census showed his widow living there.  His son, Charles, Jr., was continuing to run the family business.  At one time Scottsville had four blacksmiths, who not only shoed horses but made iron tools and plows and repaired machinery.

We know of several other Black families living in this neighborhood in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  In the 1930s, Dr. Stinson bought these houses, and Black families moved out to the edge of town.  Others left Scottsville as part of the Great Migration.  From a population that was more than half Black, Scottsville today has only a handful of Black citizens–32 out of 566 (2010 census)
The house looked pretty shabby in the late 20th century, but it has been wonderfully restored by Steven Meeks.  Meeks added an addition to the back, a front porch, and a parking space.  The little green house sits very close to the road, as was the custom of those early days.  Probably there was not so much noisy traffic on Rt.  20 at that time.  The Terrell house is an ornament to the entrance to Scottsville and reminds us of a time when there was a significant Black population here.

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