WORKS PROGRESS ADMINISTRATION OF VIRGINIA
SEE PICTURE COLLECTION
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
Sue K. Gordon,
Fredericksburg, Va. September 28, 1837
Fredericksburg, Va., 309 Hanover street, between Prince Ed-[ward]
and Princess Anne streets, south side of street.
Charles Yates, 1780.
James Carmichael, approximately 1816-1831.
This is a two story, frame dwelling, trees in front, and
a yard of approximately half an acre, which extends from
the corner of Hanover and Prince Edward streets, and also
a large lot in the back. The yard is filled with old
trees, shrubs and variegated flowers. An old sun dial,
still intact and serving its purpose, is in the garden.
You enter a most attractive, one story, square porch, with
pillars and front door blinds.
There is a small open stairway, a hall through the middle,
rooms on each side, which are filled with lovely mahogany
furniture, family portraits and many artistic articles
which have been collected for generations by this family,
and are cherished and well preserved.
There are eight rooms in the house, four on each floor,
attic and basement. There is an entrance from the house
into the office, which is an antique, brick building,
stone steps, stationary blinds, or shutters.
See form 3686 attached.
6. HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE:
Dr. James Carmichael was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on
the 30th of November, 1771, and came to this country
prior to 1816. He settled in Fredericksburg and purchased
the Carmichael home from Charles Yates.
Dr. Carmichael had three sons, Richard, George, and Edward,
and three daughters, Ann, Ellen and Janet.
Dr. Carmichael was much beloved in Fredericksburg, and
Mr. R. R. Howison relates the following incident about
him. Mr. Howison's mother was very ill for some time, and
Dr. Carmichael constantly attended her. One morning the
family thought she was better. The doctor came in as usual,
and went to her bedside, looked on her face, looked into
her eyes, took her wrist in his fingers and felt her pulse.
A look of relief passed over his features, and these were
the exact words he uttered: "Well, I am glad to tell you
that the devil will not get you this time". She knew his
ways very well, and answered him: "Doctor, you ought not
to talk so. I hope that if it had pleased God to take me
away from this world, he would have saved me from the
Evil power you speak of". He shook his head, but a smile
beamed over his face, as he answered: "I don't know about
that. Not so certain, Satan is very busy with all of us."
The doctor was eccentric, but skillful, had a large prac-
tice, and was very successful. As a rule he never indulged
in liquor of any kind, but at long intervals, often more
than six months apart, he got into what was called a "spree".
When he was indulging in this manner he would spend several
days, sometimes a week, in doing the most eccentric things.
He would stop at the houses of some of the families, where
he practiced, and after knocking, if there was no response,
he would break out the lower panels of the front door and
creep in. While the old doctor was indulging in these
sprees, his patients were carefully attended by other physi-
cians of the town. He would never make a professional call
while he was in the slightest degree under the influence
Four Carmichael doctors have practiced their profession in
this original, attractive little brick office, - Dr. James
Carmichael, then his son George, grandson Spotswood, great
grandson Randolph Carmichael. Each of them made a great
success of their profession, and were much beloved by the
At the corner of the lot, now the yard, there was an ice-
house which was filled and supplied the family with a plen-
tiful supply of ice.
It is indeed pleasant to linger in this historic home, sur-
rounded by massive mahogany, strong, kind, intellectual
faces of the Carmichael doctors looking down from oil paint-
ings and photographs. Ann Carmichael's portrait hangs over
the mantel. She was one of the beauties of Fredericksburg,
so vividly portrayed in this oil painting. The two Misses
Carmichael now living in this home represent very well the
manners and traits of the older generation.
Dr. James Carmichael rests in the Masonic graveyard, with
the following inscription on his tomb:
CARMICHAEL: Erected to the memory of Dr. James Carmichael
by his family. Born in Glasgow, Scotland, on
the 30th of November, 1771, and died in Fred-
icksburg on the 14th June, 1831, in the 60th
year of his life. James Daniel, Edward Smith,
Peter Gordon, and Harriet Randolph, infant
children of James and Elizabeth Carmichael.
Elizabeth Hackley, Francis Taylor, Wil'l Henry
Taylor, infant children of Edward H. and Sarah
8. SOURCES OF INFORMATION:
Minor Sketches of Major Folk, by Dora C. Jett, Vol. 1,
pages 25-26, Old Dominion Press, 1928, Richmond, Va., at
Wallace Library, Fredericksburg, Va.
Old Home and History Around Fredericksburg, Vol.1, page
41, by John T. Goolrick, Garrett & Massie, Inc., Richmond,
Va., 1929, not in circulation.
William & Mary Quarterly, by J. A. C. Chandler and E. G.
Swem, Vol. 4, pages 233-235, William & Mary College, at
State and City libraries.
Spotsylvania County Court Records.
ARCHITECTURAL DESCRIPTION OF BUILDING CALLED FOR IN
5-A. of BULLETIN 3400
Name of Building CARMICHAEL HOUSE
1. Building Plan Rectangular Cellar (X)
2. No. of Stories (2-1/)2 Attic classed as 1/2 story.
3. Material: Brick ( ) Frame (X) Stone ( ) Log ( )
4. If brick, state what bond: Flemish ( ) English ( ) Common ( ) Other ( )
5. Kind of roof: Hip ( ) Gabled (X) 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 (3) Brick (X) Stone ( ) Location Two at east end
and one at west end.
9. Weatherboarding: Painted white. Beaded (X) Plain ( )
10. Cornices: Plain or Elaborate Elaborate. Material Wood
11. Windows: Number (22) Size and number of panes 8 x 10, 12 panes.
12. Shutters: Describe: Stationary, painted green.
13. Dormers: Number, and Shape of roof None
14. Porch: 1 Story with gabled roof.
15. Type of Entrance: Door without side lights, fan shape over door.
16. Columns: Doric (X) Ionic ( ) Corinthian ( ) Square ( )
17. No. of Rooms: (8) Large (X) Small ( ) Approximate ceiling height 9 ft.
18. Stairway: Open String (X) Closed String ( ) Describe: Back of the hall.
19. Cellar: Describe Bricked up and used only for furnace room.
20. Doors: Style and type of wood 4 panels, painted white.
21. Walls: Panelled, papered, or painted. Papered.
22. Interior Cornices Elaborate.
23. Hardware: Locks and hinges Original.
24. Floors: Broad planks, most of them.
25. Mantels: Plain, hand carved mantels, painted white.
26. Misc: None.
27. Present condition and state if spoiled architecturally by remodelling:
Fine condition, kept beautifully inside and outside, architecture
28. Does occupant seem to appreciate old architectural features? Yes.
Your Name Sue K. Gordon.