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Information about the Yanceys and Radfords of early Virginia

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Information about the Yanceys and Radfords of early Virginia

Posted: 1202588198000
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Yancey, Radford
The News & Advance - Lynchburg, VA - Sunday November 14 1999

Area Family Preserves More Than Freedom.

Their collective years of military service to the United States would be enough to warrant singling out the Radford family for Veterans Days honor this week.

The first of the family in Bedford County, William radford, raised a company of cavalry soldier for service in the War of 1812.

His son, Col. Richard Colton Radford served 16 years in the Army with duties that included the Mexican War. When the Civil War erupted, Radford organized the second Virginia Cavalry and earned rank of colonel.

However, it is not for military but another type of battle that future generations will honor the Radfords.

two of Col. Radfords great granddaughters have fought - and won - a small skirmish in the fight against urban blight.

When, several years ago, this paper began a weekly feature called "Places to Go" the first in the series was a listing of places to go to find beautiful views of Central Virginia. After the article ran, several readers wrote or called to point out that we had overlooked the most beautiful view in th eregion: the view of the mmountains from the intersection of US 221 and Virginia 811.

A large portion of the acreage between the roads edge and teh mounatians is Radford land, purchased in 1811 by William Radford and his kinsman, Major Joel Yancey.

According to Rosa Faulkner Yancey author of "Lynchburg and Its neigbor" Joel Yancey was the first of that side of the family to come to Central Virginia. Born in 173 he came to Campbell County as a young man. County records indicate his purpose here was to buy land for his friends.

In the process, he and Radford bought for themselves too, ending up with a huge connecting tract taht at one time reached from Forest to Clays Crossing (in the area of Lake Vista).

"There is no [more] beautiful stretch of land in Bedford than "Rothsay" as Major Yancey names his plantation" wrote Rosa Yancey in 1935, referring to the house that sits back from the road near the 811 intersection - the only structure interupting the panoramic view.

Radford's home "Woodbourne" is on a side road back behind "Rothsay".

In 1850 Radford purchased Rothsay, too, and this house became home to his son R. C. W. Radford, whose military career was mentioned earlier.

Family tradition records that "Rothsay" was used as a Union hospital during the Civil War and that family and house were spared destruction because Radford and Union Gen Hunter had been classmates at West Point.

In 1912 a chimney spark set off a fire that destroyed "Rothsay".

Within two years the house had been rebuilt - with the original brick and the original foundation - and the Radfords continued to farm the land as had the generations before them.

Today - two of Col.. R. C. W's great grand daughters, Laura radford Goley and Anne Radford Barrett have formed a partnership, Wolf Branch Farm, to keep the legacy thriving. And in July 1988, Goley was granted an easement by the Virginia OutDoor Foundation to ensure that there will be no development on her share of the farm - ever. Barrett was granted a similar easement on her land.

What this means to the general public is that while events like the Bedford Point to Point and school carnivals may take place on the land, there will never be a billboard or a parking lot or a complex of townhouses to mar the incomparable view across the fields of Wolf Branch Farm.

On behalf of natives and visitors and generations yet unborn - Thank You Radford family.

Additional information about Joel Yancey can be found at:

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