The Proffit Community Once Called "Egypt"
Land along the north fork of the Rivanna River was patented between 1730 and 1737 by a landowner named Major Thomas Carr. This was at a time when Northern Albemarle County was still part of Hanover County. The Proffit area was one of the first areas in Albemarle County to be patented. Another landowner in the area was James Minor who married a member of the Carr family. Descendents of the Carr and Minor families built the Estates know as Gale Hill (1770s), Red Hills (1797), and Glen Echo (1760s). All of these estates were located in Proffit. These early settlers in Proffit were farmers who grew tobacco, and wheat and other cereal grains.
Albemarle county experienced little hostile activity during the Civil War, which allowed the farms and the Proffit area to remain free from destruction and disruption. Following the Civil War some freed slaves stayed in the Proffit area and either worked as tenant farmers or bought property to establish small farms.
One of the former slaves was Ben Brown, the great-great-great-grandfather of Christopher Howard. (Christopher was an 8th grader at Burley Middle School who did some of the research about the Proffit area. Christopher's mother is Marsha Howard, an Assistant Principal at Burley Middle School).
In 1876 Ben Brown purchased seventy-five acres along Route 649 (the west side of Proffit Road). Ben laid out his property into lots and referred to the area as "Egypt". Another former slave who laid out his property on the east side of Route 649 was James Flanagan. The Brown and Flanagan families became the first African-American family landowners in the Proffit area. These families farmed their own "food and livestock, and did some sharecropping", according to the oral historical accounts of the day. A few of the original early structures built by Ben Brown and James Flanagan and their descendents have survived today.
In 1881 a railroad line opened between Charlottesville and Orange, Virginia. A white landowner and resident in the Egypt community, Samuel Proffit, sold some of his property to the Virginia Midland Railroad (later to become the Southern Railroad and now the Norfolk-Southern Railroad) for the right-of-way. The railroad depot became known as "Proffit" in honor of Samuel Proffit.
For a brief time Proffit was also known as 'Bethel". This was due to Bethel Church in Proffit. Members of the Brown, Lott, Payne, Turner, and Estes families organized the black congregation that founded the Evergreen Baptist church in 1888.
By the turn of the Twentieth Century Proffit had three stores, a post office, and a railroad depot. There were two schools. One school was for the white students and another for the black students. When the school for the black students was closed, black students began attending a school in Earlysville, Virginia known as the Rivanna Industrial School.
In 1932, Route 29 was built and replaced much of the business that was being conducted by the railroad. The last of the stores and businesses in the Proffit area closed in the 1960s.
There are many current residents who are descendents of the original Proffit families. They feel that the Proffit area is still a great place to live in. The community or "Village" as it is now called, organized several years ago the "Proffit Homeowners Association." This organization meets quarterly at the Evergreen Baptist church and holds an annual community picnic.
The opening of Baker-Butler Elementary School, named after two Albemarle African-American citizens, is an appropriate tribute to the heritage of the Proffit community.