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Coordinates: 37°22′43″N 78°47′47″W / 37.37861°N 78.79639°W / 37.37861; -78.79639

File:Connor-Sweeney Cabin.png

Sweeney-Conner cabin

The Sweeney-Conner cabin is a structure within the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park.[1] It was registered in the National Park Service's database of Official Structures on June 26, 1989.[2]


The Sweeney-Conner cabin or Conner-Sweeney cabin was originally built for Jennings W. Connor and his bride Missouri Sweeney in 1860 to 1865.[3] The National Park Service identifies it as structure number 55 and as the Sweeney-Conner cabin,[4] while many references refer to it as the Conner-Sweeney cabin or Connor-Sweeney cabin. Sometimes Conner is spelled Connor in references.

Connor enlisted as a private in the 46th Virginia Infantry on June 18, 1861. He was captured during the Appomattox Campaign at the Battle of Sailor's Creek on April 6, 1865.[5] Missouri was a younger sister to Joel Sweeney, eighteen years his junior.[6] Joel is the earliest documented white banjo player and is the one who popularized the five-string banjo.[7] When Jennings Connor and Missouri Sweeney (last of the Sweeney musical siblings), took their marriage vows on October 3, 1860, she lied about her age. She was only thirteen years old. Jennings was born July 1839, while Missouri was born sometime in 1847 in St Louis, Missouri. There was almost a decade between their ages.[8]

The Sweeney and the Conner clans were very poor people and their cabins were smaller than many of the slave cabins. They lived about two miles from the center of the village on the Richmond-Lynchburg stagecoach road.[9] At the time Appomattox Station was called Nebraska, Virginia, where they received their mail. United States Census records for Appomattox County and Clover Hill District for 1900 show that Jennings by this time had remarried in 1886 and they were living in this cabin with three of their children.[10]

Historical significance[]

The Sweeney-Conner cabin is a vital part of the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park by virtue of its association with the site of General Robert E. Lee's surrender to General Ulysses S. Grant.[4] It is also noteworthy because of its distinctive characteristics as an example of vernacular architecture of a "hall" type cabin common in rural Virginia at the time of the Surrender.[2] In Virginia small one room cabins were designed to be as a hall-and-parlor house with chimneys at each end, not in the center as a New English style cabin.[11]

The National Park Service says the Sweeney-Conner cabin is also distinctive because of its characteristics as an example of an original antebellum single pen log cabin and representative of typical homesteading construction within southcentral Virginia prior to the American Civil War. The National Park Service restored it in 1986 and 1987.[2]


The Connor-Sweeney cabin is a single story log plank cabin similar to the R. J. N. Williams cabin with a sleeping loft. Its foundation is a deeply-pointed fieldstone foundation. There is a shake roof supported by a box cornice at the eaves. It is about sixteen feet wide and about eighteen feet deep with a gable roof. The logs are half-diamond notch interlocking ends with each log approximately six inches wide by nine inches high. The chinking material and composition is unknown.[2]

The logs are shimmed and sheathed in six inch exposure weatherboard with two to four inch wide corner boards. There are plain boxed cornice overhangs on north and south elevations. There are flush tapered rake boards on the gable ends. The exposed end chimney on the east side is of stone with a gap between the stack and the gable end. Flanking the chimney are two small four-light casement sash windows. There are entries on the north and south sides. There are two windows on the east side with the loft space that are on both sides of the chimney. There is one window on the west side in the loft area.[2]


  1. Marvel, A place called Appomattox, has an extensive bibliography (pp. 369–383) which lists manuscript collections, private papers and letters that were consulted, as well as, newspapers, government documents, and other published monographs that were used in his research of Appomattox.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Jon B. Montgomery, Reed Engle, and Clifford Tobias (May 8, 1989). National Register of Historic Places Registration: Appomattox Court House / Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (version from Virginia Department of Historic Resources, including maps)PDF (32 KB). National Park Service.  and Accompanying 12 photos, undated (version from Federal website)PDF (32 KB) and one photo, undated, at Virginia DHR
  3. National Park Service, p. 122
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Conner-Sweeney Cabin". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  5. National Park Service, Appomattox Court House: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia, p. 122
  6. Marvel, p. 173 Lee's Last Retreat
  7. "Joel Sweeney Grave and Bohannon-Trent Cemetery". Retrieved 2009-01-21. 
  8. Marvel, A Place Called Appomattox, p. 296
  9. Marvel, p. 62 A Place Called Appomattox
  10. Census Place: Clover Hill, Appomattox, Virginia; Roll: T623 1699 Page: 5B; Enumeration District: 15.
  11. Glassie, pp. 126–129


  • Bradford, Ned, Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, Plume, 1989
  • Catton, Bruce, A Stillness at Appomattox, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 53-9982, ISBN 0-385-04451-8
  • Catton, Bruce, This Hallowed Ground, Doubleday 1953, Library of Congress # 56-5960
  • Davis, Burke, The Civil War: Strange & Fascinating Facts, Wings Books, 1960 & 1982, ISBN 0-5173715-1-0
  • Davis, Burke, To Appomattox - Nine April Days, 1865, Eastern Acorn Press, 1992, ISBN 0-9159921-7-5
  • Farrar, Stuart McDearmon, Historical Notes of Appomattox County, Virginia, self published by Farrar, 1989, Original from the University of Virginia
  • Featherston, Nathaniel Ragland, Appomattox County History and Genealogy, Genealogical Publishing Company, 1998, ISBN 0-8063476-0-0
  • Glassie, Henry H., Vernacular Architecture, Indiana University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-2532139-5-9
  • Gutek, Patricia, Plantations and Outdoor Museums in America's Historic South, University of South Carolina Press, 1996, ISBN 1-5700307-1-5
  • Hosmer, Charles Bridgham, Preservation Comes of Age: From Williamsburg to the National Trust, 1926-1949, Preservation Press, National Trust for Historic Preservation in the United States by the University Press of Virginia, 1981
  • Howard, Blair et al., The Virginia Handbook, Hunter Publishing, Inc, 2005, ISBN 1-5884351-2-1
  • Kaiser, Harvey H., The National Park Architecture Sourcebook, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008, ISBN 1-5689874-2-0
  • Kennedy, Frances H., The Civil War Battlefield Guide, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1990, ISBN 0-395522-8-2X
  • Korn, Jerry et al., The Civil War, Pursuit to Appomattox, The Last Battles, Time-Life Books, 1987, ISBN 0-8094478-8-6
  • McPherson, James M., Battle Cry of Freedom, Oxford University Press, 1988,
  • National Park Service, Appomattox Court House: Appomattox Court House National Historical Park, Virginia, U.S. Dept. of the Interior, 2002, ISBN 0-9126277-0-0
  • Tidwell, William A., April '65: Confederate Covert Action in the American Civil War, Kent State University Press, 1995, ISBN 0-8733851-5-2
  • Tyler, Lyon Gardiner, Tyler's Quarterly Historical and Genealogical Magazine, 1952
  • Weigley, Russel F., A Great Civil War: A Military and Political History, 1861-1865, Indiana University Press, 2000, ISBN 0-2533373-8-0

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