The Worsham House

The Worsham House

The Italianate Victorian home at 871 Pine Street was built in the early 1870s for William W. Worsham, a local tobacconist.  William’s father Thomas Worsham was one of the 15 prominent citizens who petitioned the Virginia General Assembly to establish a local tobacco inspection station.  That petition was granted with the proviso that 25 acres be laid off in lots to establish the town of Danville.

Born just north of the river, William Worsham lived in his father’s town all his life.  He was a well-known and respected member of the community and was active in the city’s development.  He served on the City Council, the Committee on Water Works, and the Committee of Arrangements.  In 1888 William Worsham lived at the Pine Street residence with his wife, Mary Catherine Giles Worsham.  The couple shared the house with Mr. Worsham’s nephew, Thomas Worsham Henderson, a tobacco leaf dealer.  Two of Mrs. Worsham’s sisters, Mary Hattie and Julia, also lived in the home. Another of Mrs. Worsham’s sisters, Annie Giles Cole, lived next door at 861 Pine Street.

His obituary in the Richmond Dispatch of April 24, 1890 hailed him as, “one of the best men in this city and universally popular.”  The paper went on to say, “No man in the city was more generally esteemed and respected, and his death is a public sorrow.”  He left the house jointly to his wife and nephew.

In 1893, the 48-year-old nephew married Mrs. Worsham’s sister and housemate Julia, who was 51 at the time. When Mrs. Worsham died in 1908, she left Thomas Henderson the house and $1,000 “to do with as he wishes.”  Two years later, he sold the house to Alma Giles Lambert, a widow.  It seems likely that Mrs. Lambert was connected to the family, though it is unclear exactly how.

During the forty years of Mrs. Lambert’s residence, she took in boarders. When she died in 1950, the house passed to her brother, Hume Anderson Giles, a local florist who lived in Forest Hills. He lived only a few months before he too died, leaving the house to his wife, Annie Giles. She sold the house in 1951 to Mitchell R. Cope. Mr. Cope and his wife, Ruby, lived here until his death in 1986. Mrs. Cope lived on in the house until her death in 1994. The Copes also owned the Gothic Revival cottage next door at 879 Pine Street, which they used as rental property.

The Worsham house is currently for sale. Recently work has been done to stabilize the exterior of the home. Such work includes new roofing, as well as repairs to hidden gutters, siding, and windows. The house has been primed and painted and the chimneys and foundation have been repointed.  When finished, the home will have a living room and dining room downstairs off a central hall plan.  A one-story wing with separate entrance provides extra living space that might be used as a study or family room. Upstairs the layout provides for three bedrooms and one or two full baths.

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