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‘We are a family’

South Boston News
The Chastain Home in Halifax / February 27, 2014
The historic Chastain Home in Halifax is considered by some to be “the best kept secret in Halifax County.”

What many don’t know is that the house is home to some of the loveliest people around, many who before becoming residents of the home found themselves living alone with no one to cook for them or provide daily companionship.

“We are a family,” says Director Dorothy Throckmorton. “We care for each other and we look after each other’s needs and we share our griefs and sorrows and celebrate our joys.”

The home is licensed to accommodate eight residents, all of whom must be able to carry out the basic functions of daily living. Perhaps the strictest rule is simply that any resident must be able to get out of the house within three minutes in case of an emergency.

“The Chastain Home is a great asset for our community. Over the years it has provided a wonderful atmosphere for many residents,” said Jane Carlton Confroy, one of the members of the home’s Board of Directors.

“The surroundings are lovely and the care is of such quality that it gives the ladies a true feeling of home,” Confroy adds.

Each lady has her own private room and bathroom with four rooms downstairs and four upstairs. Residents may bring some of their own furniture or use that which is available at the home. There is also a laundry room on each floor of the home, and laundry products are provided for the residents to do their own laundry or get help with it from family or friends.

Three meals are served daily: 8:30 a.m. breakfast; lunch at 12:30 p.m. and dinner at 5:30 p.m. with snacks available at other times. (On Sunday lunch is served at 1 p.m. in order that residents have time to go to church.) Some residents have their own vehicles and they are free to come and go as they please.

When the ladies leave they usually write in a sign-out book where they will be going and when they may be expected back, Throckmorton says, in case she might need to contact them.

The home hosts several social events during the year in which the residents are free to invite their family and friends. They are also encouraged to have picnic lunches in the gazebo when weather permits. They also enjoy special outings — last week they had a great trip out to the North Halifax Volunteer Fire Department’s spaghetti dinner where they were welcomed by fire department members.

Kermit Wright and his “Good Times Band” along with Scottsburg’s “Bluegrass Five,” two of the ladies’ favorite bands, entertain for them various times during the year.

The Home is in the process of obtaining an Organizational Library Card from the Halifax Library which will bring large print books every four to six weeks. The home has its own library which is available for their personal use.

The home was set up by the will of the late James B. Chastain with a mission of providing a safe, secure atmosphere for women where they would know that they are women of worth who are loved. It was 65 years ago that the first 2 occupants moved into the home in 1949.

In order to be eligible to live in the home, a woman must be a resident of Halifax County or a surrounding Virginia county (Person County, N.C. residents are not eligible).

They must be 70 years of age or older and in relatively good health and able to take care of themselves. Each potential resident needs to file an application for entry with a physical exam, three references as well as a financial report which determines the cost of monthly living on a sliding scale. All applications and financial information are kept strictly confidential. Call Dorothy Throckmorton at (434) 476-6057 to obtain an application or take a tour of the home. For more information or to view photos visit

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I believe you'll find that my cousin James Chastain originally specified that in addition to "gentlewomen" from Halifax and surrounding Virginia counties, ladies from Fayette County, Kentucky were also eligible to reside at the Chastain Home, as his wife Mary Chastain was from Fayette County (Lexington), Kentucky. I would assume that this is still applicable, as it was the clearly indicated wish of James Chastain, the Home's founder.

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