There were at least two men in Loudoun County by the name of Hiram Valentine, one born circa 1852 and his son born in 1882. The man born in 1852 was the son of Alfred and Ann Valentine and was most likely born enslaved and possibly at Oatlands. Hiram married Elizabeth Buchanan, born circa 1853 to Mahala Jackson Buchanan and Robert Buchanan. Mahala was a free black woman and because the child took the status of the mother, Elizabeth was not born into slavery. Her father, Robert Buchanan, was enslaved by Elizabeth and George Carter at Oatlands. Elizabeth’s brother, Martin, also free-born, served in the U.S. Colored Troops during the Civil War.
Elizabeth and Hiram’s daughter, Nancy, had a son named Valentine B. Johnson. He served in World War I and was one of the first African Americans from Loudoun County to lose his life during the war.
The sons born to Hiram and Elizabeth are the two men whose names are on the Garden Shed wall. Hiram was born in 1882 and his brother, Harry, in 1886. As Harry’s signature indicates, he began work for Mrs. W.C. Eustis on December 9, 1922. Edith Eustis and her husband, William Corcoran Eustis, purchased Oatlands in 1903.
By the time of the 1930 census, Harry was married to a woman named Cora and they were renting a house on or near the Oatlands property. Hiram, unmarried, was living with them. Both men are listed in the census as laborers in a garden.
The elder Hiram Valentine died on July 29, 1893 and is buried in the Gleedsville Cemetery. It is not known when the sons, Hiram and Harry, died or where they are buried.
Sources: Kevin Dulany Grigsby. Leslie Wright. The Essence of a People, Portraits of African Americans Who Made a Difference in Loudoun County, Virginia; compiled and published by The Black History Committee of the Friends of The Thomas Balch Library, May 2001, p. 15. National Register of Historic Places, Mt. Olive Methodist Episcopal Church, DHR# 053-0994.