The plantation that became known as White Plains originated in a 362 acre tract that Robert Ellett Jr. had acquired by 1787, land that formerly was owned by William Lemay whose heirs sold it to Thomas Ellett in 1786. By 1791 structures had been built on the property, which became the Ellett family’s ancestral home, White Plains.

After Robert Ellett’s death around 1824, his widow, Frances, retained life rights to White Plains but promptly moved to Henrico County. Temple Ellett, who married the former Mary W. Acree in 1828, probably lived at White Plains before he inherited it outright in 1838.

Temple Ellett died in 1848, leaving life rights to his widow, Mary, but bequeathed the family home and 125 acres to his eldest daughter, Lucy Ann, who wed Cornelius H. Dabney in 1846.
Click on any of the images on this page for a full-sized image.

Rear view of White Plains, circa 1935. The front and rear of the building had porches before a rear wing was added in 1957-1958.

A group of outbuildings to the west of White Plains, circa 1935.

Mary W. Ellett lived at White Plains until her death in late 1864 and Dabney, who had remarried, lived near Hopewell Church, on his own property.

In May 1863 Mary W. Ellett’s 22-year-old daughter, Bettie H., sent word to Confederate troops that the Union cavalry was moving toward Tunstall’s Station. Thanks to her timely warning, four companies of the 46th Virginia Regiment were sent by train to intercept the Union cavalry, and the attack upon the railroad was averted.

A remarkably detailed account of the estate sale held after Temple and Mary W. Ellett’s deaths reveals how their home was furnished in February 1865. It also tells us that the Ellett family’s crops and livestock had escaped wartime intrusions, probably because their domestic complex was off the beaten track.

In 1873 Lucy Ann Ellett Dabney’s three surviving children sold the White Plains dwelling and 125 acres to the children of blacksmith John C. Winn and his wife, Ann Elizabeth, who were Native Americans and formerly lived in western New Kent County near Black Creek.

Mrs. Winn, upon being widowed, retained possession of White Plains until her death in the early-to-mid 1880s. She and her sons farmed the land, and her daughters supplemented the family income by working as seamstresses. Upon division of the Winn estate, White Plains passed through a series of owners, including Christopher H. White and his wife Susan Virginia, who sold the property in 1938.

Between 1957 and 1958 Dallas H. and Eugenia E. Smith, who then owned White Plains, enlarged the dwelling by adding an architecturally appropriate wing.

Today, White Plains and its 52 acres are owned by the Honorable and Mrs. Christopher K. Peace.

A note about historical accuracy: Finding definitive information about the historical sites of Hanover County is a daunting task. If you have reason to suspect that any aspect of the histories presented at this website are inaccurate, please email the webmaster and we'll do what we can to get it right.

White Plains' southern side, with the architecturally appropriate wing of 1957-58 to the left, at the rear of the building.

The History of White Plains, Hanover County, Virginia
Martha M. McCartney, 2011

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