Francz von Schilling Jr. and More Recent Owners

On March 28, 1941, John Tucker Battle deeded the 449 acre Mount Pleasant tract and its improvements to Franz Von Schilling Jr.and his wife, Elizabeth Livingston Von Schilling.  At that time the property was described as 449 acres, “the residue of a tract conveyed to the Ingersoll Manufacturing and Development Company by James P.Beatty and his wife.”  The Battle-Von Schilling deed succinctly recounted the property’s recent chain of title (Surry County Deed Book 44:493).  Between December 17th and 21stFranz Von Schilling Jr. had Mount Pleasant surveyed.  The plat that was prepared contains a tiny and somewhat crude sketch of the house (a central block to which were attached two wings).  The property abutted the James River on the north, the James River and Gray’s Creek on the east, the land of Garland Gray and B. T. Eppes on the south, and B. T. Eppes on the west (Surry County Plat Book 5:137-138). The Von Schillings made Mount Pleasant their personal residence for many years.  A newspaper article written around 1962, which indicated that Franz Von Schilling Jr. was an oil company executive, indicated that he and his wife refurbished Mount Pleasant and furnished it with period antiques they had collected in various parts of the world (Robins, September 26, [1962]).

On July 6, 1974,Stanley and Cecelia Yeskolski, who owned some neighboring property, made a legally binding agreement with Franz Von Schilling Jr.whereby they consented to straightening the common boundary line they shared. They agreed to make the public road to Swann’s Point their property line. The description of the old boundary line reveals that it meandered slightly as it followed the trace of the old road to Swann’s Point (Surry County Deed Book 78:195).  Shortly after Von Schilling signed the agreement with the Yeskolskis, he conveyed to the U. S. Government a scenic easement on 130 acres of the Mount Pleasant tract, including the promontory known as Swann’s Point. Von Schilling stated that he was conveying the easement to the government in order to protect the scenic view of his property, which lay across from Jamestown Island and the Colonial Parkway.  He referred to the 130 acres as the “Black Duck Gut tract” and stated that it lay east of the 284 acres of Mount Pleasant that he had retained.  OnJuly 1, 1974, a plat was made of the land upon which Franz Von Schilling Jr.had conveyed a scenic easement to the federal government (Surry County Deed Book 78:262, 266-277).

On January 9, 1975, Franz Von Schilling Jr.of Mount Pleasant deeded all of his real estate to his son and daughter, who were identified as his trustees.  It was then that ownership of Mount Pleasant was passed to Virginia Von Schilling Eley of Rumson, N.J., and FranzVon Schilling III of Bath County, Virginia.  On December 20, 1999, Franz Von Schilling III transferred his legal interest in the Mount Pleasant tract to Claud Von Schilling Eley and others.  He indicated that Claud Von Schilling and his wife, Elizabeth, 149 and D. Prentis and Kevin Eley were entitled to an interest in the property as part of the January 1975 trust agreement.  Finally, on September 28, 2000,Claude Von Schilling and his wife,Elizabeth; D. Prentis Eley Nottebohm and her husband; Thomas R.; and Keven P. Eley and his wife,Susan M.; conveyed the late Franz Von Schilling Jr.’s Mount Pleasant tract to Nicholas and Shelley D. Schorsch of Meadowbrook,Pennsylvania.  A notation was made that the land being transferred was what remained of Mount Pleasant  after 130 acres had been transferred to the U. S. Government (Surry County Deed Book 158:424; 162:719-728).

[149] On August 28, 1986, Mrs. Claud E. Eley sent a letter to a Mr. Elliott in which she said that they were having trouble keeping cattle out of the graveyard at Mount Pleasant.  She said, “Now that we know there were cedars planted there, we would like to replant them; at the moment there are two weeping willows on either side of the cenotaph in a 19th century mourning picture.  There are no other stones remaining in the graveyard”  (Cocke Family Papers MS 2433 Box 36).