By Linda McNatt
May 17, 2008
Harwood "Woodie" Watkinson will tell you that the stately white house on Main Street is just a home.
But give him an opportunity, and he'll take you on a tour. Heart pine, handmade timbers in the attic and on the floors, names and dates etched on window glass.
He'll point out the hill, where, less than a quarter-mile away, Nat Turner was hanged after his insurrection of 1831. Metal latches to bar the doors are still on the entryway in the front parlor. Historic Williamsburg has tried to buy the detailed crown molding.
Watkinson grew up there, and so did Gen. William Mahone, known as the "Hero of the Crater" during the Civil War and a founder of the Norfolk and Western Railroad. Dr. John Kindred, a U.S. senator from New York and a national pioneer for mental health care, lived there as a child.
When Watkinson decided to marry his longtime love and move to Madison County, he and his siblings grappled over what to do with the family home, designated earlier this year as a national and state historic landmark.
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