Farmland Since the 1800’s

OCF Farm History Virginia

1840’s cabin (currently being restored)

The historic Old Crowe Farm sits on a 496 tract of land that was actively farmed in the mid-1800’s by John Nelson Bruce, Sr. (b.1812).  During this time period, Charlotte County was composed primarily of self-sufficient farms and plantations. Many families in 1800’s Virginia owned slaves and raised many crops consisting of corn, hay, soybeans, wheat, and tobacco. A two-story log cabin on the farm (pictured to the left) is rumored to have been home to one of these slave families when the land was owned by the Bruce family. The cabin is made of hand hewn logs with clay daubing, hand-made square nails, and V-shaped notching at the corners. The cabin is a truly individual and distinct creation made out of local materials by local people.  Preservation activities are currently underway with this cabin and plans are to furnish it with artifacts from that period. The numerous tobacco barns located on the farm also serve as constant reminders of days past.

Hand cut logs and square nails reflect the craftsmanship from days of old

Hand cut logs and square nails reflect the craftsmanship from days of old

“The Retreat”

After John Bruce passed away in 1890, 50 acres commonly referred to as “The Retreat,” were deeded equally to his five heirs.

Today, this very acreage is referred to as the Old Crowe Farm
and is located at the end of the road named after this serene piece of land,
Little Retreat Road. 

In 1921 The Retreat was sold to Mattie G. Wilmuth (her husband S.T. Wilmuth).  In 1926 the Wilmuth’s had to sell this land due to a default in payments.  T.E. Roberts bought The Retreat at public auction for $700 and then sold it on the same day to I.G. Jones.  In 1937 the land was once again sold at public auction to Mary J. Vaugh with a winning bid of $750.  She and her husband, A.O. Vaugh, requested that the property be conveyed to Jesse Marshall Crowe and his wife Louise.

The Crowes


Jesse Marshall Crowe atop his trusted tractor

Jesse Marshall Crowe and his wife Louise.

Jesse Marshall Crowe and his wife Louise.

The Crowes raised a small herd of dairy cows and raised crops, including tobacco.  They lived in the two-story log cabin while they built a home a short distance from the cabin.  The Crowe’s moved into their completed home and were known to rent the cabin. Ironically, the cabin was rented in the 1950’s to Carlton (Shorty) and Hazel Jackson and their 2 children (Donnie and Hazel Jean ‘Tiny’) who today are dear friends of the Moyers. The Jacksons have shared colorful stories of cabin life, from no indoor plumbing to taking baths in a large wash tub by the fireplace.

The Moyers

In 2003, the Moyers purchased the farm and named the farm in honor of Jesse and Louise Crowe.  Jim and Jacqueline share a passion for serving their community, raising endangered livestock, and self sufficiency, the Moyers encourage everyone to come to the farm and learn.  They have turned the original farmhouse into a FarmStay bed and breakfast so that those who visit have a cozy and restful place to stay. Farm tours and programs educate others as to the importance of saving rapidly vanishing traditional livestock breeds and crops that were raised by farmers in days past. Jacqueline is a certified Master Food Preserver and teaches a wide variety of food preservation classes, ranging from canning and brining to dry pack canning and dehydrating.  At the end of the day, the Moyers want all who visit to leave with their minds and spirits nourished.

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