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Altavista (Rectory)

Altavista – Photo Courtesy of Nelson County, Virginia Historical Society

Home Site – Nelson County, Virginia

This Norwood home was built about 1831 on property owned by Mayo Cabell of Union Hill. This Norwood home is located on Route 626 on a hill 300 yards above the site of Christ Church. It is designated as part of the Norwood-Wingina Rural Historic District by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.


The T-plan house with three chimneys has five rooms and a center passage on the first floor and two rooms and a hall on the second floor. The floors are of four-inch pine and there are four-paneled doors. There are two dormers in the front and a one-story porch. In a letter written in 1843, Frederick Goodwin, rector of the church said the house was “partly furnished with 100 dollars’ worth of furniture having been purchase by Mr. Cabell”. The house currently is in a state of disrepair.

Timeline of Altavista Ownership

Altavista served as the parsonage for the rectors of Christ Church in Norwood, Virginia. The following are the known owners of Altavista.

Enslaved Persons

While Altavista was not a plantation home, enslaved persons were known to support the gardening and household chores. Thomas Ferdinand Martin married Mayo Cabell’s daughter, Cornelia Mayo Cabell, who at the time owned nine slaves. Claracy, Charlotte, Henry, Dandridge, John, Judy, Emeline, Soppy, Matilda.

Additional Photos

Altavista – WPA Report, Courtesy of the Library of Virginia
Altavista – Courtesy Digna Gantt, 2010
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