The Tracy Family History
Three Family Mansions
Home of Miss Margaret Rodgers
“Their large holdings (Michael Woods, Sr. and families) stretched from Ivy to Greenwood. Among them was William Wallace, who settled upon this plantation (Piedmont) which remains the home of his descendants. The early dwelling having burned, the present one was built after 1816. At “Piedmont,” there still flourish figs, box and altheas which were obtained from Mr. Jefferson (later to become President Thomas Jefferson) upon his return from France, in exchange for a wagon-load of clover seed.”
Ruth Petracek tells us about two of our people's mansions:
"William Wallace and Hannah Woods (First cousins. Hannah was the daughter of Michael and Mary Campbell.) built a home on the original land that was (and is) known as Piedmont; Hannah's sister, Margaret, after her marriage to Andrew Wallace (brother of William) constructed a home near Woodville (later known as Ivy Depot). The home of Andrew and Margaret was (and is) Springhill.
Both of these homes are still standing (and
occupied) today. Springhill is nestled in a spectacular setting and the home,
itself, is furnished in the rarest antiques. Piedmont is truly lovely. One wing
is a recent addition (recent as of around 1800). It is built of brick laid width
to end (as they did in those day) and many of the windows are of the wavy
imperfect glass of that early era.
One thing about Piedmont that sparks one's curiosity, is the two small cabins in back. They could have been smoke houses; slave quarters;…or I believe, they might have been the homes of the Woods family until they could build more imposing homes. They seem to be exact replicas (that one sees in pictures) of early pioneer cabins."
I have not personally visited this area, so I can not tell you how to get to any of the dwellings that are portrayed. They should not be hard to find if you ask around. I do not know who is living at Piedmont and Spring Hill (and Glentivar) today.
Front and side view of Piedmont. Photos taken in 1972.
Inscription on stepping stone.
Two cabins in back. Possibly slave cabins?
The following are comments from my mother, who comes from a long line of herbalists and farmers. She says that alfalfa was not yet introduced to this country. The main pasture was clover. It could be stored and goes on forever. It is quite possible that if Monticello still has clover today, then it is from our clover seed traded more than 200 years ago.
“Box,” she believes would be used today as an ornamental shrub. It was imported from Europe. In those days, it could also be used for forge for goats. Also, “box” could be a small imported shrub, which could be planted to grow up into being a fence post.
“Althea,” was a favorite plant imported from Europe.
Fig trees need a warm climate. The “fig” trees that still grow at Piedmont today were quite valuable during the Colonial times. They last forever. They do not have a short life-span of twenty years, like a peach tree. A peach tree must be cared for, watered, protected from insects. Sometimes it will bear fruit, sometimes not.
A fig tree is hardy and will last forever like a date tree. It requires little water or attention. Historically, they have been staples of life. Figs were eaten whole, preserved as jams (Technically, mother says it was a butter.) and dried to be eaten year round.
All you have to do is take a fig tree cutting, replant it, and it will grow.
One of the great dangers of the Colonial years were building fires. Fig trees are fire resistant and were used as fire breaks between buildings. This is why most kitchens were separate buildings from the main house.
For more on our family mansions go to the next chapter.
My family history web site has 79 chapters. If you would like to
know more about the other chapters then go to my
Home Page www.thetracyfamilyhistory.net