WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION OF VIRGINIA
This write-up is a part of the Virginia W.P.A.
Historical Inventory Project sponsored by the
Virginia Conservation Commission under the
direction of its Division of History. Credit to both
the Commission and W.P.A. is requested for
publication, in whole or in part. Unless otherwise
stated, this information has not been checked for
accuracy by the sponsor.
Research made by
Port Royal, Virginia. January 28, 1937.
14.3 miles northwest of Port Royal, Virginia, on Route #17
and 1.2 miles west of Route #17.
"Prospect Hill", for 200 years a Battaile estate, descended
from father to son thus: John Battaile (came from Essex,
England to Virginia) (1680 - 1707) to Lawrence I, (1698 -
1749) to Lawrence II, (1735 - 1772), to Lawrence III, (1776 -
1846), he married Ann Hay Taliaferro, June 10, 1790. Just
who the next owners were is not definite but during the period
1846 to 1909 it was owned by a Gordan family and Charles Hern-
don. In 1909 Mrs. Lucy W. Herndon, widow of Charles Herndon,
sold "Prospect Hill" to Hugh Kline. August 18, 1910 Hugh C.
Kline sold to A. W. Kelley. April 20, 1911 A. W. Kelley sold
to Mrs. Anna Warner. May 13, 1813 Mrs. Ann Warner sold to
Mr. and Mrs. C. L. Gage, the present, 1937, owners.
This is a brick house of the square Georgian Colonial type.
The bricks are laid according to the Flemish bond and were
made on the farm. The house has a hip roof and is covered
with slate. There are four chimneys; two are on the east side
and two are on the west side of the house.
The house faces west and has three porches. One on the front
side, one on the back side, and one to the kitchen that was
recently added. The front and back porches are 12 x 18 feet.
The kitchen porch is 5 x 10 feet. There are four enormous
size columns on the front porch that were made from solid trees
on the farm.
There are ten rooms in the house, not including the five in
the cellar. The average size of these rooms is 18 x 18 feet.
The ceiling height on the first floor is 11 feet, 3 inches,
that on the second floor is 11 feet. Several of these rooms
are attractively furnished with colonial furniture. All the
woodwork in the house is hand-turned and very beautiful.
There are five rooms in the cellar. All the beams here can be
seen; they are hand-hewn and show splendid work on the part of
There are two very large halls here. They are thirty-eight
feet long and the flooring does not have a break or knot
hole in it.
There is nothing about the house that has worn out. It is
as it originally was except an occasional door that has been
added. A partition has also been added. Most of the con-
struction was done by mortise and pins. The nails that were
used here were made by hand.
6. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
This house was built in 1773. It is located on a hill which
is a very healthy location. Sarah Battaile said that her home
was situated in a low place surrounded by pondy sunken ground
exceedingly detrimental to the health of the family as had been
found from many years of experience. It was then decided that
the family would move to a higher and a more healthy site.
They moved to "Prospect Hill" only a short distance from their
home and on the same tract of land. On this account they neg-
lected to build or repair their own residence until the house
had become almost uninhabitable.
During the Battle of Hicks' Hill, "Prospect Hill" was covered
with the army and their tents. One of the boys who was a sol-
dier in the battle told people in the community about it. Sev-
eral gun pits and breast works can be seen in the woods and
there are two gun pits near the house.
There is a spring a short distance from the house, which gives
an abundant supply of water. It was around this spring that a
tribe of Indians made their camp grounds many, many years ago.
Captain John Battaile of Rappahannock, afterward Essex County,
and one of the owners of this estate, commanded a company of
rangers against the Indians in 1692. He was burgess for Essex
in 1622 and in 1692.
John Battaile sworn under sheriff for the south side of Rappa-
hannock County for ensuing year of 1684.
The will of John Battaile was probated September 10, 1708.
Legatees under his will were his wife, Elizabeth, and children,
John, Hay, Lawrence, Nicholas and daughter, Elizabeth. There
is no further allusion to Hay and the inference is that he
- 3 -
8. SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
Informant: Mrs. C. L. Gage, Howison, Virginia, well educated
and well informed about her home, "Prospect Hill".
She has documentary evidence to substantiate some
of her statements.
Essex County Court Records
Will Book 13, page 46. 1707-1711.
Rappahannock County Court Records.
Order book, 1682-1692.
ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING CALLED FOR IN
5-A. of BULLETIN 3400
Name of Building "PROSPECT HILL"
1. Building Plan Square Georgian Colonial Cellar ( x )
2. No. of stories ( 2 1/2 ) Attic classed as 1/2 story.
3. Material: Brick (x) Frame ( ) Stone ( ) Log ( )
4. If brick, state what bond: Flemish ( x) English ( ) Common ( )Other ( )
5. Kind of roof: Hip ( x) Gabled ( ) Gambrel ( ) Lean-to ( ) Deck ( )
6. If church, describe or draw sketch of roof on reverse side.
7. Roof Material: Slate (x) Shingle ( ) Metal ( ) Tile ( )
8. Chimneys: Number (4) Brick (x) Stone ( ) Location 2 on the west end
and 2 on the east
end of house.
9. Weatherboarding: Beaded ( ) Plain ( )
10. Cornices: Plain or Elaborate Georgian Colonial trim Material Heart pine
11. Window: Number (18) Size and number of panes 6 pane sashes; 12 1/2 x 20
12. Shutters: Describe: There are shutters on all the windows.
13. Dormers: Number, and Shape of roof None
14. Porch: There are three porches, one on east, one on west and one on kit-
chen. The east and west are 12 x 18; kitchen one 5 x 10
15. Type of Entrance: Double transom door with side lights; it made of pine.
16. Columns: Doric ( ) Ionic ( ) Corinthian ( ) Square ( )
17. No. of Rooms: (10) [5 in basement] Large (x) Small ( ) Approximate ceiling height 11'3" first
11' second floor.
18. Stairway: Open String ( ) Closed String ( ) Describe: Stairway of one
flight and one landing, with beautiful mahogany hand rail.
19. Cellar: Describe Five very large rooms. All the beams can be seen.
20. Doors: Style and type of wood Doors of six-panel, double cross type,
made of heart pine and painted white.
21. Walls: Panelled, papered, or painted. All walls are plastered, some papered
22. Interior Cornices Cornices have recently been added to the dining room
23. Hardware: Locks and hinges With the exception of several wooden knobs, others
are brass. Large English locks on several doors,
others common type.
24. Floors: Boards 4 1/2 inches, were tongued and grooved by hand, also hand-planed
25. Mantels: There are six hand-carved mantels.
27. Present condition and state if spoiled architecturally by remodelling:
This house is as it was originally, with exception of a few doors
and a partition that has been added.
28. Does occupant seem to appreciate old architectural features? Yes, very much.
Your Name Selma Farmer.