The Ladies of Locust Grove: Women's Property Rights c.1850 - 1950

Research Paper
Author:Wills, Grace, School of ArchitectureUniversity of Virginia

A thorough investigation of legal property deed chains for five separate properties located in the Locust Grove neighborhood of Charlottesville reveals the variety of ways women were able to demonstrate legal agency in property ownership in the 19th and 20th centuries. Under English-derived laws in an American context, a woman’s ability to own and manage property autonomously was challenging, particularly if that woman had a husband or male relative who might be eager to subsume her autonomy. Amid changing legal and cultural frameworks, the women of Locust Grove able to wrest autonomy in land ownership via trustee relationships, inheritance work-arounds, and lawsuits, each with varying degrees of success.

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
University of Virginia
Published Date:
April 30, 2021