Nimrod Bramham

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Nimrod Bramham (February 28, 1769 - June 18, 1845) was a Charlottesville merchant and politician in the mid-19th century. He hired James Dinsmore to design and build the Oak Lawn property south of West Main Street. Bramham died in 1847. [1] At his death, he left a personal estate worth $24,420 ($766,388.94 in 2019 dollars), including twenty shares in the Rivanna Navigation Company and nineteen slaves.


Source: Rev. Edgar Woods, History of Albemarle County, Virginia, The Michie Company, Printers, 1901. [2]

Nimrod Bramham first appears, when he commenced business as a merchant at the point where the road over Turkey Sag comes into the Barboursville road. His store there was a noted centre for many years. He purchased the place in 1797 from James Sebree and Gravett Edwards. He was highly esteemed both for his commercial skill and energy, and for his civil and military abilities. In 1800 he succeeded William Wirt as Lieutenant in the militia, and in 1806 Francis Walker as Colonel of the Eighty-Eighth Regiment.

In 1801 he was appointed a magistrate. He represented the county in the Legislature in 1812. In 1805 he gave the ground for the Priddy's Creek Baptist Church, and was one of the first trustees of the Charlottesville Baptist Church. He probably removed to Charlottesville in 1806, as he then bought part of the lot on the west side of the Square, where for years he did business under the firms, first of Bramham and Jones, and afterwards of Bramham and Bibb. In 1818 he purchased from Jesse W. Garth the place southwest of Charlottesville, on which he built the large brick house, the present residence of Herndon Fife, where he spent the remainder of his life. He died in 1845. His wife was Margaret Marshall, of Culpeper, and his children, Sarah, the wife of William A. Bibb, Nimrod, James, Lucy, the wife of John Simpson, Gilly, the wife of William Eddins, and Jane, the wife of Dr. Wyatt W. Hamner.

Oak Lawn

Colonel Bramham lived outside of Charlottesville at Oak Lawn, which is now located within the city. This plantation was bounded by Fry's Spring on the west and Ridge Street on the east. Colonel Bramham had the home built in 1822. After his death in 1847, Bramham was buried in his family’s cemetery on the property. James Fife, for whom Fifeville is named, bought the property from the Bramham estate.[3] The Fife Family Cemetery is also located on the property.

Aerial view of Fife Estate and Oak Lawn, ca. 1940

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