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JoLee Gregory Spears

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Golden Hills

Fire struck Golden Hills at 6:50 pm on a cold February night in 2003 

Drakes Branch, Charlotte County, VA

Photographs owned and submitted by Frances McGowan

37° 00' 52"N, -78° 35' 20"W
TopoZone location furnished by Bruce Hall

See "T. T. Boulding" on Section 9 of 1864 Gilmer map

For a span of two hundred forty-three years, Golden Hills served as the homestead of the distinguished Bouldin family.

The original Golden Hills was built about 1744.  The recent 1 ½-story house was begun around 1810 and completed in 1854.

Thomas Bouldin The Elder with his family settled on the tract in 1744, then in part of Brunswick County.  Golden Hills fell in Lunenburg County in 1746 and in Charlotte County in 1765.  Bouldin was active in county affairs and served in the French and Indian War.

After the death of Thomas Bouldin The Elder in 1783, a property division left the Golden Hills home portion to son Wood Bouldin.

After the death in 1800 of Major Wood Bouldin, a Revolutionary War veteran, Golden Hills passed into the hands of his widow, Joanna.  In 1815, she transferred the home to her son Thomas Tyler Bouldin (I).  Thomas Tyler Bouldin (I) was reared in a setting of music, culture, and education and became a highly respected lawyer and judge.

Golden Hills by 1847 passed to Thomas Tyler Bouldin (II), lawyer and educator.  Thomas Tyler Bouldin operated Golden Hills Academy for several years, beginning in 1853.  Golden Hills saw various structural changes.  Upon the death in 1891 of Thomas Tyler Bouldin (II), the home and surrounding farm passed to his widow, Fannie Bouldin, who enjoyed a lifetime right to place.  Upon her passing, it went to the “unmarried daughters.” As the daughters lived away from the home, their brother Claiborne Bouldin continued to live there and served as caretaker.

In 1976, family papers and books went to The Virginia Historical Society.  Colonial Williamsburg purchased Joanna Tyler Bouldin's spinet.  As part of a lawsuit, the family agreed to sell the Golden Hills home with twenty-five acres to Thomas Tyler Bouldin, son of Claiborne.  The son continued to reside there as long as he could, and in 1987 sold Golden Hills and the twenty-five acres to Richard and Sheila Dunaway.

Fire struck Golden Hills at 6:50 pm on a cold February night in 2003 

The fire of 2003 heavily damaged the roof of the 1850's section and gutted the older section.

See The SouthSider article by Gerald Tate Gilliam for Bouldin family information and other rich sources.

Gilliam, Gerald Tate. "Fire Damages Golden Hills."  The SouthSider, Volume XXII,
     No. 4, 2003, pp 75-82.
Ailsworth, Timothy S., et al.  "A Man's Home is his Castle: Golden Hills" Charlotte County,
     Rich Indeed: A History from Prehistoric Times through the Civil War
. Charlotte
     Courthouse, Virginia: Charlotte County Board of Supervisors, 1979, pp 372,373