Virginia


WFP Historical Society

Contributed from the 1973 Audubon Pilgrimage Booklet
by the WFP Historical Society

On a dark night in January, 1826, a shutter latch was stealthily pried open and the one-room store, now the back room of this house, was robbed. Shrewd Charlie McMicken, its owner, came down from Philadelphia, took the culprits to court, and recovered his stolen goods. Afterwards he built a story-and-a-half cottage onto the front of the older building, and Virginia began its metamorphosis from provincial store into stately town house.

The man who blended the three parts into an harmonious whole was Lorenzo D. Brewer, who had arrived from Massachusetts in 1846 to practice law. In 1855, he added a two-storied wing with a classic pediment to his recently purchased home, and moved in with his wife, three small children, new baby, and newer furniture. He formed a satisfying partnership with J. Hunter Collins, built up an enviable clientele, and settled down for a long and prosperous practice before the renowned Feliciana Bar.

Fate willed otherwise. On Sunday morning, February 27, 1859, L. D. Brewer walked down his elegant front steps and went to the fog-shrouded landing. It was the last day of his life. The swift packet Princess, packed with lawyers headed for the opening of the Supreme Court in New Orleans, exploded just below Baton Rouge. As Brewer lay dying on the floor of a rescue boast, he dictated a will remarkable for its clarity. To his partner he left his law library and his trust -- "for him I loved, and was loved by."

In later days, another lawyer lived at Virginia. Charles L. Fischer practiced law with former Governor Robert C. Wickliffe, a genial raconteur who, with tall tales and tobacco smoke, regaled passer-by and brought in more business than the careful, diligent Fischer could handle. In the parlous times of Reconstruction, Feliciana citizens came to rely on the quiet courage of this unassuming lawyer.

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