On July 6 1812, Dr. Robert Butler bought the property and undertook an artful remodeling.
In 1938, after a succession of occupants, the 176-year-old building was scheduled for demolition. The US Postal Authorities had bought the property for a new post office, however, through the efforts of Emily Delk Simpson, Segar Cofer Dashiell, and others, the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities (APVA) was persuaded to buy the historic landmark.
For years the Local Branch of APVA raised funds by cake sales, house tours, and Private donations. In 1959, P.D. Gwaltney III, Howard Gwaltney, and Julius Gwaltney offered financial support to proceed with the final restoration and Katherine Langhorne Gwaltney provided the funds to build a brick wall around the property in memory of her mother, Kate Vanderslice Langhorne. This initial restoration was completed in 1961.
In 1998, with grant money from the Camp Foundation, the County of Isle of Wight and the Town of Smithfield, a second major reconstruction was undertaken on the interior and the building now presents a very compelling historic interpretation of a colonial courthouse.
In 2011 Preservation Virginia made the decision to divest itself of several properties, including this courthouse. Agreement was reached by October of 2013 and ownership of the historic courthouse was deeded to Historic Smithfield. The operations and maintenance of the building are now the responsibility of 1750 Isle of Wight Courthouse, a program of Historic Smithfield.
Historic Smithfield raised more than $200,000 for a much needed remediation project. The project was completed and the building was fully restored, its future now secure.
All rise—and come see how court cases were handled in the 1750s, coming this April 29th!