‘To Think Daddy Sold the House for $20,000!’

"One of the prettiest houses in town": Randolph Avenue home was built c. 1945 and purchased by the Wendell family c. 1958 for $20,000. The home remains in the family today. (Wave photo)

“One of the prettiest houses in town”: Randolph Avenue home was built c.1945 and purchased by the Wendell family c.1958 for $20,000. The home remains in the family today. (Wave photo)

September 2, 2014

Cape Charles Historical Society has for more than a decade been recording oral histories of the area’s earlier days.  A grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities enabled 15 interviews to be transcribed, and the Historical Society has made this one available for readers of the Wave. 

1990 Interview of Virginia Fitzhugh conducted by Virginia Savage


VIRGINIA SAVAGE:  There’s a house [southwest corner of Randolph and Peach] owned by Ham Hamilton.  He was married to a Whitehead [from Townsend — two doors east of Miss Iva].

VIRGINIA FITZHUGH:  They’re related in some way.  You know you can’t talk about anyone around here, Virginia, because everyone is kin!

You know, I found that early!  When I came to the Eastern Shore I found out in a hurry you don’t talk about anybody because everybody was kin!

That’s where Carrie King lived for years [before she built her house].  Yeah, she lived there for years and years, Carrie King.  Now who built it, I don’t know.

Now which house is that?

Where Ham Hamilton lived on that corner.

Tazewell and Peach.  Then Carrie built the house up Randolph Ave that the Wendells now live in.  And I think she must have built that about 1945.  You know, in about 1958 we bought what was the Dr. Lynch house, the Dr. Moore house before that, we didn’t pay but $7,500 for that house.  And the Wendells bought Aunt Carrie’s house not long after that and I don’t think they paid but $20,000 for that and that was one of the prettiest houses in town.

Dr. Lewis Belote, the dentist, only paid $20,000 for the Moore house.  [Jack Moore house on Bay Avenue.]  And that came right from Elizabeth.  Because you know when Joan wanted to sell it, she wanted $100,000 and Elizabeth had a fit.  She said, “My Lord, my Daddy sold that to Lewis Belote for $20,000 and I think left the piano in there.”  [Bobby Rittenhouse has it.]

And that was thirty years ago, because I think Wade was about two years old when they moved into that house, because I kept him during that period of time.  He and Jake were buddies.  So that was about thirty years ago, they paid $20,000 for that house.  Isn’t that amazing!

Elizabeth said she just couldn’t get over it.  To think Daddy sold it for $20,000.


And see that was a lot more land there.  The land I guess had been sold.  He sold a lot on each side.  He sold a lot to Jimbo Wise, Adelaide’s brother, where Tom Hartman later bought.  I can’t remember who Jimbo sold it to.  He sold it to someone else and that lot was later sold to Tom Hartman.  And the other side the Ernest Turners bought that, but I was trying to remember who they bought that from.

I don’t remember. [Bought it from Jack Moore.]

Ok, now Miss Amy Stevens told me that her Daddy bought the lot between the Fuqua’s and that brick house for she and Dr. Steve to build a house when they were married.  And she never would leave her mother.  She always regretted that, incidentally.  But who built that house between Old George and that vacant lot?

Dr. Carlyle Nottingham.  He was a doctor here in town.  [Maybe Mr. A.E. Findley lived there next.  He married Marion Nottingham of the Seaview Nottinghams and later moved to Raleigh, N.C.  Where he made his money building roads and with heavy equipment.]  I’m getting bad on names now.  He worked on the railroad and he left here and wanted Louis Restein to go with him and he made a fortune when he left here.

Oh, Findley!

Findley’s wife was Dr. Nottingham’s sister.

Ok, Ok, that was the Seaview Nottinghams!

And you know at one time, Mary Jean Nottingham and I were the dearest of friends.  That’s Dr. Nottingham’s daughter.  And course then, automobiles weren’t like they are today, if you were going to Cheriton, you thought you were going to Kalamazoo!  And she used to talk about her grandfather’s place in the country.  So the first time I went out there and saw that huge store in front of the house in back of it, I was so disappointed, Virginia, I didn’t know what I was going to do.  Because I thought I was going to see a fabulous old Southern home there.  But then he just took over and poured some money in that place.  And he took care of all of us.  He took care of Jim Nottingham [a brother who worked in Philadelphia and retired here.]

It was Jim and Dr. Carlyle Nottingham.

Right.  And Findley took care of all of them in their retirement.

There was another Dr. Nottingham up around Bridgetown.  But I believe he married a Nottingham, too, that’s how he’s connected.  Charlie Nottingham.  Do you know him?


Well, Dr. Carlyle did he sell that house or did he die there?

He died and then his wife left here.  Then I guess she sold it.

Oscar Harvis owned it when I came over here.  Did he buy it from the Nottinghams?

Oscar Harvis is the one that owned the lot that we bought next to us.

Because Oscar let that house go right down to nothing.  It was a beautiful house.


All the transcriptions may be read at the Cape Charles Museum. CLICK to read previous oral histories in the Wave.



2 Responses to “ORAL HISTORY
‘To Think Daddy Sold the House for $20,000!’”

  1. Allison Mills Duncan on September 3rd, 2014 9:49 am

    Really enjoy reading these oral histories of Cape Charles. My sisters and I grew up in the house near the Wendells at 102 Randolph Avenue. When people from out of town needed directions to our house Daddy always told them we were the house behind the ABC store. The house was sold in 1999 to a very nice couple.

  2. Wade Belote on November 26th, 2014 1:44 am

    My Dad, Dr. Lewis Belote, and Mom, Joan, did in fact buy Jack Moore’s house at 306 Bay Avenue for $20k in 1962. I was 4 1/2 when we moved in and I started kindergarten the next fall and got lost walking to Miss Gay’s house for the first day. Remember it like yesterday. 52 years ago. Mom and Dad sold the house to Steve and Linda Gedney in 1985 for $85k.