Waverly Estate’s Historic Tie to Richmond and Charlottesville, VA

If you have been following our blog, you know that I am no history buff whatsoever so I am going to give this my best shot.

Did you recognize those two beautiful homes in the last blog? They are pictures of Maymont in Richmond, VA and Swannanoa in Charlottesville, VA. So, how do we fit in with those two homes?

As I stated in the previous blog…we were told that the house was originally built by the Lunenburg County Judge. That is all sorts of false. After the Lunenburg Historic Society started researching the estate, they found some really neat information!

Tax records were searched at the courthouse and they were able to find that in 1834, two lots were purchased by Dr. Henry May and his wife Julia Ann Jones. Oe of those lots is where Waverly Estate currently sits. In 1838, tax records show that Dr. Henry May and Julia Ann Jones were taxed for a house valued at $1,000, which at the time was a significant amount of money.

The original part of the home was three stories with an english basement, a parlor room, and a winding staircase up to a bedroom. All of this still stands today and the original bedroom is our popular bed and breakfast guest room called The Hackberry.






Dr. Henry May and Julia Ann Jones had 9 children. The youngest daughter was Sarah “Sally” O. May who was born on July 23, 1846. It is believed that Sally spend several of her young years at what is now Waverly Estate. When Julia Ann Jones passed away around 1850, the lot and the home went into trust to Dr. Henry May’s sons.

Sally spent much of her life living with her older sisters after her mother passed away. Sally then met James Henry Dooley, a wealthy lawyer and philanthropist. They married in 1869 and moved to Richmond, VA where they purchased land on the James River and developed the Maymont residence. So, the May family name lives on today through Maymont in Richmond which was named after Sally’s maiden name. 

In 1911, James Henry Dooley built Swannanoa which is near Charlottesville, VA as a token of his love for wife, Sally. The Italian Renaissance Revival took 3 years to build and is complete with Georgian marble, gold fixtures, tiffany windows, and immaculate gardens.

Swannanoa and Maymont are both available for tours and I highly recommend if you have the time to go see these stunning homes!