Colleton- Wirt Robinson Diaries

Home Site- Nelson County, Virginia

Colleton was located on the Union Hill property and was built in 1760, prior to Union Hill. Col. William Cabell, Sr.  (1730-1798) lived in the house prior to building Union Hill in 1775. The house, which was located between Union Hill and Rock Cliff, was dismantled in the 1960’s.


The original small house was incorporated into a larger home. According to a 1937 WPA report, the enlarged house consisted of eight rooms with carved mantles and wide chair boards. There was an elaborately carved archway between the dining room and the hall.

The WPA report also states that in 1910, a two-story addition consisting of five rooms on each floor was added to the back of the house. This addition was plain and had no woodwork.

Timeline of Colleton Ownership

  • Abt. 1769 – William Cabell, Sr.
    • As early as 1769, a tutor was teaching his son, Col. William Cabell, Jr. (1759-1822) in this home.
  • In 1781 Col. William Cabell, Jr. was living here with his wife, Anne Carrington, and in 1783 he moved the house in the Union Hill yard to the Colleton estate which had previously been given to him by his father.
  • Col. Cabell, Jr. remained at Colleton until he moved to Union Hill in 1803 and later gave the property to his son Mayo Cabell who turned over the property to his son Joseph Carrington Cabell, Jr.
  • After Joseph Carrington Cabell, Jr.’s death in 1863, his younger brother, Robert Stuart Cabell (1842-1929) and his wife Alice Durell Boyd of Blue Rock (1845-1869), moved to Colleton in 1865. Alice and their three young children died before 1870 and are buried at Union Hill.
  • Evelyn Carter Byrd Cabell (1844-1910) purchased Colleton with her husband, William Russell Robinson (1841-?) in 1885. Russell Robinson “with characteristic if deplorable 1885 efficiency tore out all the beautiful paneling at Colleton and he substituted for the fine old wood mantles, new ones in either marble or soapstone. He also put in a modern steam heating system which proved to be a failure.” Evelyn (Eva) was the daughter of Clifford, granddaughter of Frederick and great granddaughter of John. The Robinson’s had two children, Wirt and Clifford Cabell Robinson. 
  • Clifford Cabell Robinson inherited Colleton in 1910 and upon his death in 1934, his second wife, Emma Simpson Robinson, inherited the house. Both Emma and C. Cabell Robinson are buried at Soldier’s Joy. 

Additional Photos

Photos from Wirt Robinson Diaries, West Point Special Collections