The Martin Miley Home, a.k.a. Clover Hill Seminary

Location: One mile west of Saumsville, Virginia, on Route 600

Built: circa 1819


27 Sep 1819: Martin Funkhouser, one of the heirs of David Funkhouser dec'd (died in 1812), sold to David Miley. Deed Book Z, page 357

David Miley, dec'd., in division of land assigned to his son the home tract which contained 133 A. Submitted to court Feb. 23, 1837. Deed Book PP, page 513-514

10 Apr 1878: E.E. Stickley, Comm., sold to George W. Miley and P.W. Magruder (chancery cause of David Fisher's Admin. et al vs. Martin Miley et al, def.). Deed Book 16, page 389

4 Jan 1890: George W. Miley and Tirzah A. Miley sold to P.W. Magruder. Deed Book 32, page 348

17 Sep 1913: P.W. Magruder conveyed to his son, M.W. Magruder. Deed Book 62, page 346

17 Sep 1913: M.W. Magruder & Lelia M. Magruder sold to J.M. Bauserman for $12,000 "Clover Hill Farm" of 135 acres. Deed Book 78, page 39

Physical Description

It is a 3 1/2-story, square, frame house with hip roof of metal and four inside brick chimneys. The weatherboarding is medium-wide and plain. There are elaborate wooden cornices. There are 32 windows with panes 12x14, the front ones having 8 panes, double, and the others having 12 panes, single. A porch with fancy brackets and cornice extends across the entire front. The entrance is a heavy 2-panel door with side lights and transom. The porch columns are square.

There are 12 large rooms and the ceiling height is 10 feet. The open-string stairway has wide heavy steps, large flat-round smooth hand-rail, large fancy turned newel and wide panels. A basement extends under the entire house; one room has hard-packed dirt floor for a cellar. The 2-panel doors have very heavy fluted frames and ponderous cornices reaching to the ceiling. The walls are plastered and papered. There are heavy cornices over windows and doors, and panels under windows. The doors have outside iron locks and common hinges. The floors are of medium-wide boards. There are eight mantels with heavy top board, and colonial type pilasters set on pedestal bases varying in detail.

Historical Significance

Early in the settlement of this part of Virginia three sons of Jacob Miley left the paternal home in Pennsylvania for a home in the Valley of Virginia. David Miley, grandson of Jacob Miley, taught the first English school ever taught in Shenandoah County, near Woodstock. On Jan. 7, 1811, he married Magdalene Funkhouser. Locating at Clover Hill, he purchased several shares of the heirs of David Funkhouser.

Martin Miley married Christina Kaley, who was a fine manager and artist in housewifery. Her industry and perseverance were virtues often rehearsed for my edification (Mrs. Boyer). Knitting was a favorite pastime and under favorable conditions she could knit a pair of long stockings in a day. Occasional visits were made at our home, and when ready to return, a safe horse was provided to her. Father, then a little boy, accompanied her - riding on the same horse. Not willing to give up her favorite work or to lose the time, she knitted on the way, much to the discomfiture of her great-nephew. This not only deterred their progress but occasionally her ball of yarn was dropped, which, if unnoticed for a time, gave him quite a run.

In the summer of 1851 a schoolhouse was built.

Clover Hill Seminary was inadequate to its demands but an efficient instructor held them content, though cramped and crowded were 60 pupils in one room. Boarders were domiciled within a mile of the school. Including teacher, seven of these went forth from our home, the home flock swelling this number to twelve.

For ten years or more Clover Hill Seminary was so ordered that home advantages were equal to and possibly excelled the high schools of modern times. The teacher for the first two years was William H. Hamman, a graduate of the University of Virginia. Joel Swartz, a graduate of highest honors of Capitol University, Ohio, occupied as principal from 1853 to 1854. Sister Rhoda Hite taught the three succeeding years. From 1857 to 1859 J.H. Kibler (later a captain in the Civil War) conducted the school with much success. One year more with my favorite teacher in the chair and we have passed our antebellum days and have come to the time of calling to arms from our homes. Four years of carnage, two years of invasion, of robbing and theft, such was the 'Civil War.'

-- Mrs. Elizabeth Boyer

Source: Virginia W.P.A. Historical Inventory Project, 1937

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Created October 29 2001