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Toma Hund: 1935

Toma Hund: 1935

Charles City County, Virginia, circa 1935. "Toma Hund, Barrett's Ferry vicinity." Gambrel roof, double-decker portico and a curiously Germanic sounding name. 8x10 inch acetate negative by Frances Benjamin Johnston. View full size.


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Long gone?

I can't find anything other than brief mention of Toma Hund in local history and I haven't seen this house, although Charles City is pretty sprawled out. It would be neat to find it if it still exists though.

Lost History

Every time I see pictures like this of a house which was outstanding in its day but has gone to ruin makes me sad to think of the history which has been lost. Are there any records or family pictures of the people who were born, raised, or died here? What was life like when this house and its occupants were in their heyday? Why was the property not kept up? Was it because of the Depression that the house went without repair? So many questions which will probably remain unanswered.

[For a lot of these places, things started going downhill when the slaves got better jobs. -Dave]


Nice to see someone actually had screens on their windows and porch.

What a house

I want that pie safe - I guess it's a pie safe leaning against the house by the side porch. I'd love to have that screen door, too.


It could be that "Toma Hund" is an abbreviation: In that part of Virginia it was common to name plantations "Hundreds". For example, one well known plantation in the 19th century in that area was named, "Bermuda Hundred". Maybe the real name of the place in the photo is "Toma Hundred."

[A quick google shows that "Tomahund" is a much-used place name in Tidewater Virginia. -Dave]

Not as German as you'd think

"Tomahund" is probably from the Powhatan language, an extinct member of the Algonquian family. In the 19th century it was common to break up house and plantation names not of Anglo-Irish origin into phrases. "Tomahund" became "Toma Hund", "Miramar" became "Mira Mar", "Bellevue" became "Belle Vue". I suppose they thought it sounded high class.

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