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Hugh Carr family papers and Riverview Farm

Identifier: MSS 10176

Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the history of Hugh Carr, an African American born in enslavement in 1843 and his family who lived on a tract of land (Riverview Farm) that Carr and his wife Texie Mae Hawkins bought in 1870 after emancipation. He became one of the largest African American landowners in Albemarle County, where he raised several generations of his family in the Union Ridge Hydraulic Mills community, until his death in 1914.

The papers show that Carr highly valued education for his daughters as well as his son. His eldest daughter, Mary Louise Carr Greer became a well-known educator and principal of Albemarle Training School. Her family continued to live on the farm until 1978 when it became the Ivy Creek Natural Area with the support of the Nature Conservancy.

There are documents, newspaper clippings, photographs pertaining to the history of this prominent African American family.

Included is the original receipt for the purchase of land for the farm by Hugh Carr in 1870 in the amount of $100 and contracts for when Carr worked as a farm manager for Richard Wingfield and A. A. Southerland.

There are legal and financial papers of Conly Greer (1883-1956) and correspondence of Mary Carr Greer and her husband, Conly Greer. Included is a letter written for Hugh Carr giving Conly approval to marry his daughter. (Hugh Carr could not read and write but he would sign his name with an X). There is also correspondence of their daughter, Evangeline Greer Jones while courting her husband, Hinton C. Jones.


  • Creation: 1843-1978

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Biographical / Historical

During the Reconstruction period of Virginia history, Hugh Carr (1843-1914), who was formerly enslaved by Richard Wingfield, began the long process of purchasing various tracts of land that eventually made up the model farm along Ivy Creek known as "River View" in the Union Ridge Hydraulic Mills community.

He and his wife, Texie Mae Hawkins,(1865-1899) raised seven children at River View Farm: Mary Louise Carr Greer, (1884-1973), Fannie Carr Washington (1887-?), Peachie Carr Jackson (1889-1977), Emma Clorinda Carr (1892-1974), Virginia Carr Brown (1893-1935), Ann Hazel Carr (1895-?), and one son Marshall Hubert Carr (1886-1916).The farm continued to grow and by 1890 it was over 125 acres making Carr among the largest African American landowner in Albemarle County.

As Hugh Carr was deprived of any formal education, he placed an emphasis on education for his daughters and son, all of whom went to school. Many of his children earned college degrees, becoming teachers and community leaders.

His oldest, Mary Louise Carr became principal of Albemarle Training School and was an influential educator in the local community. Later, she was honored for her commitment to education with the naming of Greer Elementary School after her. In 1916, Mary Carr married Conly Greer, the first African American extension agent for Albemarle County and the last family member to farm at Riverview Farm. After his death in 1957, Mary Carr Greer continued to live there but the land was rented to local farmers to farm. When she died in 1973, she left the estate to her only child, Evangeline Greer Jones, who in turn sold it.

Following its sale, the farm was slated to become one of Charlottesville’s newest subdivisions with a projected 200 homes. Elizabeth Conant, a biology teacher at the University of Virginia, realized that the land was ideal for a nature preserve. She contacted the Nature Conservancy who bought the farm and held it until the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County were able to buy the land. The Ivy Creek Foundation was incorporated on May 23, 1979, and the future management of the land lies with them. Paul Saunier, former University of Virginia administrator, was the first president of the Foundation.

The Ivy Creek Natural Area, which currently borders the South Rivanna Reservoir of the City of Charlottesville and consists of 215 acres of forest, field, and stream, was formed from several tracts of land. These include the original tract from the Mary Carr Greer Estate of eighty acres in 1975, a thirty-eight-acre tract from the City of Charlottesville in 1979, the James Fleming tract of eighty-acres in 1981, the Flamenco tract of sixteen acres in 1981, and four tenths of an acre from Bedford Moore in 1981. The Greer property was named the Rann Preserve when purchased by the Nature Conservancy and was renamed the Ivy Creek Natural Area. The organizers of the Ivy Creek Natural Area recognized the history of the Carr family and worked to save and preserve the land as well as the family documents that were found in the farmhouse.

Sources: Ivy Creek Foundation, Accessed 1/27/2023


1 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

MSS 10176,The Hugh Carr family papers and Riverview Farm was a gift from Evangeline Greer Jones to the Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia Library 25 October, 1976.

Related Materials

This collection MSS 10176 is related to the Ivy Creek Natural Area MSS 10770, about the history of Riverview farm and Hugh Carr family which is now the Ivy Creek Natural Area. MSS 10770 is a deposit. It also contains the history of Ivy Creek Natural Area and how it was purchased by the local government to preserve the land and history.

Hugh Carr family and Riverview Farm
Ellen Welch
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States