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Interview: October 2013

“Author Comes to Scottsville Shop to Talk Buckingham Co.”

THE RURAL VIRGINIA

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 12:45 am

By Heather Harris

After nearly a year, author Joanne Yeck is returning to her adoptive home of Virginia. The Ohio resident spent time last fall promoting her sophomore book, “The Jefferson Brothers,” around Central Virginia, even making a stop at the Scottsville Museum to do a lecture and book signing.

Since then, Yeck has remained busy with her research on Buckingham County and surrounding communities. She recently wrote about the Moon Family’s brick factory at Snowden, which provided building material for what is now the Dollar General and Victory Hall in Scottsville.

During the five years it took to complete “The Jefferson Brothers,” Yeck became fascinated with the descendants of Randolph Jefferson, the younger brother of Thomas Jefferson. With nearly a year of research under her belt, Yeck is ready to announce that she is working on a book that chronicles the life of Peter Field Jefferson, one of Randolph’s sons. It will pick up after the death of Randolph and cover the years through Peter Field Jefferson’s death and the end of the Civil War.

“It perfectly parallels the rise of Scottsville,” said Yeck. “It will kind of double as a new history of Scottsville.”

Peter Field Jefferson, who once resided at the historic Mount Walla estate in Scottsville, is considered to be the most influential of Randolph’s sons. He purchased Mount Walla and its 88 acres in 1836 at a cost of $2,800.

“He’s one of the founding fathers of Scottsville and is a character,” said Yeck.

Finding information on Peter Field Jefferson has been a difficult task, as there is no personal correspondence of his left in existence that Yeck is aware of. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Yeck faced similar difficulties while researching Randolph Jefferson.

“I still have a lot of research to do. It’s still a long way from seeing the light of day,” said Yeck. “I’m not in a hurry.”

Yeck will kick off her trip back to Virginia with a book talk at the Library of Virginia in Richmond. While there, she also hopes to make use of the library’s massive archives. On Oct. 4, Yeck is expecting to attend an event at the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Though it is unconfirmed, authors Richard Nicholas and Phil James are also expected to attend.

On Saturday, Oct. 5, Yeck will be meeting friends and fans at Baine’s Books and Coffee in Scottsville. The gathering runs 1-3 p.m., but Yeck anticipates that she will stay longer.

Yeck continues to operate a blog where she shares stories and photos about the Buckingham area. She has noticed that many people who aren’t originally from Buckingham, but have family ties to the region, are becoming interested in tracing their roots to the county. Her loyal blog followers often share their family stories with her. Before her third book is finished, Yeck said it’s possible that a follow-up to “At a Place Called Buckingham” will likely be released.

“My audience is strong. We may be small, but we’re strong,” said Yeck.

Yeck’s blog can be found at Slate River Ramblings.

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