Cumberland County’s Lucyville gets state historical marker

Published 12:03 am Saturday, July 22, 2023

Within a month, you’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where Lucyville used to be. The Virginia Department of Historical Resources announced this month they’ll be adding a sign for the Cumberland community, telling the story of Rev. Coleman’s vision.

One of seven new historical markers approved during the department’s quarterly meeting, the sign for Lucyville will be placed on Trents Mill Road, just past the intersection with Oak Hill Road.

“The Rev. Reuben T. Coleman, enslaved at birth, became an entrepreneur after the Civil War. About 1.5 miles north of here he established Lucyville, named for his daughter, which in the 1890s featured a bank, post office, newspaper, and mineral springs resort that drew visitors from afar,” the marker reads. “Coleman, who challenged segregation, was the pastor of Mount Olive Baptist Church and a local Republican leader and officeholder. His brother-in-law Shed Dungee, formerly enslaved, represented the area in the House of Delegates (1879-1882) and aligned with the Readjusters, a biracial coalition that achieved major reforms and supported public education. Many Lucyville residents left during the Great Migration.”

Email newsletter signup

That’s what people will see in about another month, as they’re driving by the area. Cumberland Middle School was partly responsible for this, as the school and its students put together a submission as part of a project this past semester.

“I certainly think it is a wonderful addition to the other historical markers in the county, especially to see the school and students working on this type of recognition,” said Barbara Gamage. She’s part of the Cumberland Historical Society.


To find the community, go about two miles from Bear Creek Lake, between Sugarfork Road and Trents Mill Road. The community consisted of about 1,000 acres of land, which cuts through what’s now the Cumberland State Forest.

As you walk through, hikers can see two visible ruins, one on each side of the road. The most visible, and popular, of the two is what’s left of Rev. Coleman’s home. There are marked grave sites on the property. You can also find the legendary number 7 spring on the property, which was said to have once changed colors when people looked into it. The spring is dry now, and is the site of Rev. Coleman’s grave.

Coleman was buried next to the spring that served as the lifeblood for his community. Creating the Colemanville Mineral Spring Company, the pastor and his family produced mineral water that sold as far away as the Midwest. The failure of those springs in the early 20th century, as this one and many others in the area dried up, led to the end of Lucyville.