In February of 1913, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas B. Gresham of Baltimore, Maryland, sold a 50-foot lot, number 11 on Sutherlin Avenue, to Mr. S. J. Slaughter. They had owned the property since 1894. When it was conveyed to Mr. Slaughter, the sale price of $2,250 included the cost of the present trim dwelling, then under construction. Actually a raised “cottage,” the house is typical of the simpler, less ornate structures built during the Edwardian era. Its clean lines are embellished with features such as the beveled, leaded-glass front door, and a Neoclassical front porch. The Neo-classical influence is evident inside as well in the divider between the front hall and sitting room. The floor plan, with its center hail running the length of the structure, is functional and eminently livable.
Stonewall Jackson Slaughter, the home’s first occupant, was a Danville tobacconist of some repute. He had married Elizabeth Maury, whose forebears, the Maury and Harvie families, are well known in the history of Virginia and Danville. Mrs. Slaughter continued to live here for several years after the death of her husband in 1945. In 1950 she sold the house to Mr. and Mrs. J. Kenneth Carter, who lived on Sutherlin Avenue for some 20 years. Mr. and Mrs. Elrod M. Long purchased the house in July of 1971, about a year before Sutherlin Avenue and nearby streets were included in Danville’s Old West End National Historic District. During the 1970s they, like many other neighborhood residents, refurbished their house. Renewed interest in preserving the area spurred the planting of Bradford pear trees along the curbside in 1977.
The home was included in the Danville Historical Society’s 1985 Holiday Walking Tour. The owners at that time, the Harrison Mitchells, ensure that the house got the attention it deserved. It was furnished with pieces from several generation of their families.
The home was again featured on the Holiday Tour in 1990 by new, preservation-minded stewards, who relocated to Danville from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Alex and Henrietta Mitchell purchased the home from Mrs. E. Harrison Mitchell that year. Tour visitors were pleased to see personal belongings of Vice President James S. Sherman, who was Henrietta Mitchell’s grandfather. Sherman was elected in 1908 along with William H. Taft, President of the United States. Family memorabilia includes Vice President Sherman’s study lamp and a photograph of his wife in her inaugural gown. The original is on exhibit in the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. Alex, a liturgical musician, was the proud owner of the antique Steinway (1885) in the front parlor.
In 1995, the property was purchased by Ms. Cynthia Eastwood, who spent several years bringing the house into top form structurally. Then, in 2007 and 2008, architect Richard Morris, and his comrade-in-restoration Mark Willard, benefited from Ms. Eastwood’s considerable efforts in preserving the house. The 2008 Holiday Tour included their extensive array of antiques and period collections appropriate to a trim Edwardian cottage.
At this writing, the home is owned by Myra Hereford and is listed for sale by Abby Manasco of Hauser Manasco Realty Group. See the listing.