The Walton land and Walton’s Mountain at Pleasant Gap

 This is an 1888 survey of the Franklin Turnpike through Pleasnt Gap.  The “Mountain Road”  is shown headed north and then northeast towards Dry Fork and on to Chatham.  The circled area at right on the property line is the “burying ground” mentioned in the 1866 deed. 

A modern map shows no roads north and south across the White Oak Mountain range in the area of Pleasant Gap from miles to the east or west.  This passage was probably an old Indian trail.  The name is thought to have originated from Lt. Jesse Walton’s wife who was Ann Pleasant.  The Waltons and Ricketts were neighbors.  My third great grandfather William Ricketts received a lnad grant on White Oak Mountain south of what became the town of Dry Fork in 1780.  He bought adjoing land on the Dry Fork of White Oak Creek in 1786 and lived there until he died in 1832.  When Thomas W. Wooding, later of Meadowwood, came around in 1820, William Ricketts, born in the 1730s, was between 90 and 100 years old.  His wife was in her 70s and they had one female slave betweem 25 and 35 years old.  One of William’s older sons by a previous marriage lived nearyby.  William Ricketts II married Mary Hargaret (Hankins?) and later moved to Tennessee.  Just four families from William II was Jesse Walton and two more families away William Walton.  Even today the area along White Oak Mountain is relatively sparsely populated. 

When my 3rd great grandfather William Ricketts’ will was written on November 2, 1826, William Walton was named as an administrator.  My great great grandfather Nathaniel Ricketts (b 1795) reported on June 20, 1832 that his father had died.  His will was probated on July 16, 1832

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William Walton (b18 Sep 1776 d 20 Sep 1865), a son of Jesse and Ann, first married Sally Tanner (b 10 Jun 1775 d 12 Jun 1831).  It is said they lived in a large house across from the Pleasant Gap intersection.  William and Sally Walton, lived is what was described as “a beautiful show place with several acres landscaped with flowers from all over the world planted around the house.”  The house is no longer there and no one seems to know about the grave yard “in a grove of cedars with tombstones.”  William Walton was a member of the House of Delegates of the Virginia Assembly from Pittsylvania Co. and the City of Danville from 1808 to 1814 and from 1821 to 1829. He served during the War of 1812.

By the 1830s, Lt. Walton’s son William Walton owned a total of 2,434 acres mostly in the area from Pleasant Gap to Dry Fork.  The 1835 tax records for Pittsylvania County lists tracts which total 2,424 acres owned by William Walton.  The tracts which include both Sandy Creek and White Oak Creek, about 12 miles from Pittsylvania Court House in Chatham, would be the Pleasant Gap area.


100 acres Pole Cat Creek 9 miles southwest595 ½ acres White Oak Creek 10 south

16 acres Sandy Creek 13 miles south

310 acres Sandy Creek 11 south

100 acres 10 miles south

125 acres head of Sandy Creek 10 south

27 ½ acres White Oak Creek 10 south

33 acres Robin Branch 10 south

57 acres waters Sandy River

300 acres White Oak and Sandy Creeks 12 southwest

60 acres White Oak and Sandy Creeks 12 southwest

296 acres White Oak and Sandy Creeks 12 southwest (bal. To W. Stokes)

326 acres White Oak Mountain 16 southwest

43 acres White Oak Mountain 12 southwest

(In 1832, a tract of 444 acres on White Oak and Sandy Creeks 12 miles southwest is listed.)

Childern of William Walton and Sally Tanner::

(1)   Louisa Ann Walton (b 4 Nov 1800 d 19 Sep 1876 in Hopkins Co., Kentucky); married Cornelius Payne 1 Sep 1817 in Pittsylvania Co., Virginia.  Cornelius was a Primitive Baptist preacher. (2)   Robert N. Walton (b1802; d circa 1882) married Frances Sawyers 15 Nov 1824 in Pittsylvania Co., Virginia.(3)   Thomas Wingfield Walton (b 4 Jan 1806 d 18 Dec 1879) married (1) Nancy Washington Shelton (1828-1867); married (2) Rebecca Hughes 5 Mar 1868. (4)   Jessie Simeon Walton ( b 24 Oct 1807 d 1890 in Glen Rose, Somervell Co., Texas) married (1) Eliza J. Lanier 27 Sep 1827 in Pittsylvania Co., Virginia; married (2) Mandy Hankins 12 Oct 1843 in Independence Co., Arkansas; married (3) Elizabeth H. Williams 1850 in Navarro Co., Texas; married (4) Elizabeth Stapler 2 Jun 1878 in Granbury, Hood Co., Texas(5)   Pleasant William Walton (born 11 Jan 1816 d 8 Dec 1891 in Georgia) married Martha Ann Washington Robertson 7 Jul 1836 in Pittsylvania Co.Dr Aaron Herndon was born on April 27th, 1803 in Pittsylvania County, Virginia. He died at the age of 85 in 1888 in Danville. 
In 1866, Dr. Herndon bought 478 acres from Thomas W. Walton, son of William and Sally.  Most southern families lost everything during the Civil War, but in August 1866, just over a years after the War, Dr. Herndon paid $6,000 for this tract.  The Walton mansion was likely a part of this payment. 

In a letter dated 24 January 1938 Mrs. Delphia Jane (Herndon) Dickerson wrote:
” Just recently while driving out from town on Franklin Turnpike, I noticed that the famous old Capt. Doctor Aaron Herndon’s red brick house was being razed, much to my sorrow and regret for it had been a famous landmark bearing historical fame. Pleasant Gap was a post-office and directly across the Turnpike was the colonial type brick house. Artists liked to paint the old house so I know of two who have splendid pictures of the house and probably will keep them among their exhibit pictures.”
My great grandfather, Reuben B. Ricketts (1830-1891) operated a store across from the Herndon (Walton) house in 1879.  After his first wife died, Reuben married Eliza Elliott who lived nearby.  There was a post office located in the store.  

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