John Richard Whitehead (1844-1902)

By Henry H. Mitchell

John Richard Whitehead

Sgt. John Richard Whitehead, Company G, 6th Virginia Cavalry, CSA.


J. Richard Whitehead was the son of Andrew Jackson and Drusilla Wade Whitehead. (Andrew J. Whitehead had represented Pittsylvania County in the Virginia House of Delegates 1853-1854.) Born and raised near Berger's Store on Frying Pan Creek in northwestern Pittsylvania County (see his grandfather Richard Whitehead's home), Whitehead attended Emory & Henry College 1858-1861. In March 1862 he enlisted in Captain A. H. Owen's Company G, 6th Virginia Cavalry, under General JEB Stuart's command.

In Confederate service, he was promoted to sergeant in September 1862. He participated in the battles of Culpeper Court House, Brandy Station, Cedar Run, the Wilderness, Spotsylvania Court House, and others. He was taken prisoner at Beverly Ford (Brandy Station) in June 1863, and then paroled shortly after from Old Capitol Prison. He was shot in his right side at Spotsylvania Court House in May 1864, hospitalized in Richmond for a period of weeks, then furloughed for 60 days before returning to his unit until the end of the war.

For two years after the war, he was a farmer with his father-in-law Jeremiah White Graves. He then became a merchant, sheriff of Pittsylvania County, and then served as county treasurer from 1879 until 1895. After retiring as treasurer he continued his mercantile business in Chatham until his retirement in 1900.

During his medical furlough in June 1864, J. Richard Whitehead was married to Sallie Hunt Graves. They had ten children: Jeremiah Jackson, Joseph Webster, Nannie Drusilla, John Hurt, Sallie Barclinia, Richard Douglas, Kate Graves, Walter Munford, Andrew Jackson, and Ethel Martin.

J. Richard and Sallie Whitehead built their very attractive home at 335 South Main Street in Chatham. (The structure is currently known as the “An Inn for All Seasons,” and is operated as a bed & breakfast by owner Anna Martin Craik.) The Whiteheads and their descendants have had a profound influence on the town and region for a century and a quarter.


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This website is sponsored by Mitchells Publications and the Sims-Mitchell House, Chatham, Virginia.