BUCKNER, Anthony T.
    by Julia Munro


Anthony T. Buckner was a well-known Charlottesville merchant and former enslaved servant of the Fife family. He was born in 1846, and died December 24, 1923; he is buried (along with family) at the Daughters of Zion Cemetery, Charlottesville.

He is photographed by R. W. Holsinger on August 12, 1918 (photo ID: X06569A) (likely mislabelled as, "A. J. Buckner"). A young girl with him in the portrait is likely his granddaughter, Eileen Woods Buckner, born 3/11/1909 (given the date of the photograph).

Anthony had been the body servant of James Fife throughout the Civil War, and later became a grocer running a store at 904 West Main for nearly forty years (Blue Ribbon Commission p.26-7). His wife was Mary Churchman Buckner (1859-1934). 

Other businesses/owners photographed by Holsinger include Acme Shaving ParlorWilliam F. and Charles H. Brown (Brown Barber Shop), A. T. Buckner (and son George F. Buckner, grocers), George Carr's Second Hand ClothingDr. George F. FergusonDr. George R. JohnsonMr. J. P. HawkinsW. G. Layne (Layne and Whitlock, Wheelright/Blacksmith), J.F. Taylor, and D. J. Ward. See "Freedman's Tally" for more information about African Americans operating businesses in the Jim Crow Era.

The Charlottesville 1895 "People of Property" record (tax asessments of taxable property - land acreage and building values) listed owners by "colored" or "white"; Buckner in this year owned lot and buildings together valued at 1000$ and more ("People of Property").

In 1902, A. T. Buckner was registered as a qualified voter in Charlottesville's Fourth Ward for the November 1902 election (the first one following the change in Virginia's Constitution, which had disenfranchised many African Americans). The below article from the Daily Progress notes, “The Board of Registrars for the fourth ward of the city was comprised of Messrs. Thomas S. Jones, chairman, Roy K. Flannagan and Water Dinwiddie. The board registered during its sitting the following qualified voters": 

"J. Allen, Robt. Bullock, A. T. Buckner, G. W. Brown, Henry Blue, J. W. Burns, Charles Burley, R. T. Brown, J. L. Coles, Wm. E. Catlett, Wm. Dickerson, Robert Flood, Charles Fuller, C. D. Goodloe, Charles Goodloe, [C] S. Hooker, Elder Harris, Albert Hooker, Hudson Jenkins, Robert Keller, G. W. Lawson, W. O. Lewis, J. E. Moon, J. P. Michie, Thos. Preston, R. C. Quarles, Warner Rivers, Albert Southall, B. E. Tonsler, Lee Watson, Allen Watson and P. Y. Wyatt." 

List of Colored Voters, 1902

Anthony T. Buckner had a son, George W. Buckner (father to Eileen). His son George W. Buckner (1887-1921) was also a well-known individual. A 1914-15 listing in the Charlottesville City Directory notes that George continued the grocery store, listing him as "grocer, 904 West Main h[ome]" living at "322 6th S W." He was the Executive Secretary of the St. Louis Urban League.

Anthony, George Buckner's wife Geneva Tonsler Buckner and daughter Eileen, and Geneva's parents (Horace and Pocahantas Tonsler) are all buried near one another at the Daughters of Zion Cemetery (Blue Ribbon Commission p.27).  

Update: the Burial List (May 22, 2019) notes the following Buckner family members buried at the Daughters of Zion Cemetery: Annie, Anthony T., Eileen, Geneva J., Hattie M., James A., John T., Louisa E., Robert, and Susie J.

The Charlottesville Messenger, edited and published by John G. Shelton, principal of the Albemarle Training School, was Charlottesville’s African American newspaper from 1910 until about 1927. On February 12, 1921, Shelton published an important article by George W. Buckner entitled “The New Negro.” Buckner, Anthony T.


"A. J. Buckner," 1918-08-12 photograph in UVA Catalogue (#X06569A) [note the portrait is labelled as A. J., not A. T., Buckner in the Holsinger ledgers]

J. F. Bell Funeral Home Records: Buckner, Anthony L., died 12/24/1923, spouse Mary; also Buckner, Eileen Woods b. 3/11/1909]

Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces December 19, 2016.

Charlottesville City Directory, 1914-15 [Hathi Trust]

- Daughters of Zion Cemetery Burial List, 16 July 2019 (courtesy The Preservers of the Daughters of Zion Cemetery)

- "Colored," Daily Progress, October 29, 1902, p. 4. 

 "People of Property," Burke-Brown Steppe Chapter of the Afro-American Historical and Geneaological Society of Virginia website



Holsinger Image Gallery of African Americans


J. F. Bell Funeral Home Records


Charlottesville City Directory, 1914-15 [Hathi Trust] 


1870 & 1910 U. S. Census - Charlottesville & Esmont Communities

Cite This Entry
  • APA Citation:

    Munro, J.F. (2022, February 10). Anthony T. Buckner. Holsinger Portrait Project. https://juel.iath.virginia.edu/node/1190

  • MLA Citation:

    Munro, Julia F. "Anthony T. Buckner." Holsinger Portrait Project. Univ. Virginia (2022, February 10). Web. [Date accessed].

First published: June 6, 2019    

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