Chatmoss Errors


The Hairston Family is large and convoluted with many repetitions of names. These are a few errors that cropped up when we researched the name.

From Henry Wiencek’s The Hairstons An American Family In Black And White
Page 45-46
"Chatmoss survives only as the name of a country club. When the house burned in the 1930s, the family sold the land and the remains of the mansion to the club, whose architect salvaged the stairway of the old house but nothing else." Actually Chatmoss burned in the early twenties and was rebuilt in 1928 as a private residence with that original staircase. The house and land were sold to a group forming the current country club in 1955.

From the Martinsville Bulletin
Sunday November 16, 2008
Chatmoss Celebrates Half Century

"The country club, which now has 484 members, was organized in November 1958 on 324 acres of the former Harden-Hairston plantation. A group of community leaders envisioned building "a fine family-type championship country club" with a golf course, according to Gerry Lawicki, current Chatmoss president.
Descendant Ruth Schaeffer was the last resident of the Harden-Hairston plantation and sold the entire 2,700-acre plantation to the Chatmoss Corp. in 1955 for $125,000. The plantation house, built in 1928, was incorporated into the first clubhouse. Schaeffer's sister reportedly named the property "Chatmoss" after a location in a novel she was reading while the house was being constructed."
Schaeffer seems to be referencing the second home built in 1928 since she was born in 1901. However the Chatmoss name applied long before 1928. Click the image below to view a document listing Postmasters in Henry County. You will see that the postmaster, Delphine E.H. Hairston, for "Chatmoss" is there in 1900.

From the Website
"In 1928, an Old English style brick plantation home was rebuilt on the site which was later incorporated into the present clubhouse. The owner, Ruth Hairston Simms Schaeffer was the last resident and adopted the name Chatmoss from an English novel that she was reading at the time."
No longer Ruth's sister but Ruth herself is now given credit for naming Chatmoss.

From the Martinsville Bulletin
Chatmoss Marker Is Unveiled
January 2015
By Mickey Powell

According to Desmond Kendrick’s history, the name Chatmoss was chosen for the plantation because while growing up, Ailcey Hairston had read an English novel about a home by the same name, the construction of which never was completed. The term is believed to have been derived from “chateau,” the French term for a country home, and “moss,” the green plant.
The Chatmoss Country Clubhouse is surrounded on the south and east by boggy soil. The fifth fairway was once a swamp, as remembered and described to this author by Nat Hairston. As a boy Nat lived about where Mrs. Bach lives today. The low flat fairway has gone through 4 or 5 drainage systems over the years to keep it passable. In rainy weather little pools dot the fairway where the water saturates the soil. And the area near the intersection of state routes 777 and 620 and Leatherwood Creek is still boggy today. Imagine how it must have looked long ago ... something like the Chatmoss bog near Manchester, England? But not as deep hopefully!


Chatmoss Marker
Unveiling The Marker

Ceremony Program
Marker Ceremony Program

Ailcey and Harden Hairston
Ailcey And Harden Hairston

Chatmoss Women
3 Generations

Photo of Oak Hill

Read Ainsworth's Book Online

Newspaper Account of
the Fire at

Ailcey at

About The Bog

Errors Found
In Researching Chatmoss

©Copyright 2003-2019> . Elva A. Adams