This house has had few owners during its nearly 200-year history. It was apparently built shortly before 1820 when David and Elizabeth Janney, members of the Society of Friends (Quakers), sold it to fellow Quaker farmer and merchant Isaac Walker (1781-1851) for $350. After his death, Walker’s widow, the former Susan Talbott, lived here until her own passing in 1872. Two years later her executors, sons James M. Walker and J. Edward Walker, sold it to Elizabeth Janney Sidwell Phillips (1827-1913). Elizabeth was herself a widow of Thomas Phillips (1813-1865). She had already raised four sons (losing a daughter in infancy) and helped run the family farm, today’s “Phillips Farm,” with her sons. The Phillips farm adjoins the property at the rear and has been protected in perpetuity by the Waterford Foundation.
In 1874 Mrs. Phillips moved from the farm “into town” with son Arthur, his wife and their own son, as well as her two spinster sisters, Martha and Ann Sidwell. Farm account books indicate that she had been making payments for items as diverse as construction of a ladder and arranging for carriage and shoe repair. In 1872, she credited Matthew Harvey, one of several trustees for the school for African-American children down Second Street, for 18 days of husking corn and cutting a cord of wood in partial payment for the house he rented on the farm.
Elizabeth Phillips left the town house and contents to her son Arthur when she died in 1913. He sold it to Peter H. Carr (1843-1922), a veteran of the Confederate Cavalry and the first non-Quaker owner. The property remained in the Carr family until 1941. That year, Carr’s commissioners sold the house to local dairy farmer Ernest M. Edwards, beginning a long chapter of residency by that family. Sarah Holway bought it from Ernest’s descendants in 2014.
Two acres of this property, behind the house, is protected through a preservation easement donated to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.
The Walker-Phillips House is open through the courtesy of Sarah Holway and Matt Rasnake.