O brother, who art thou?


Ace: I’m gonna have to ask you again. Who is “Rives” of Rives Park?—Parker Nosey

Parker: Ace has never told you this, but he has a brother. A younger brother, to be exact. One who is mildly successful in his own right; he has a job, he’s in decent health, and he always drives the speed limit (which is more than he can say for his older brother). Still, with all his accomplishments, being the younger sibling to a wildly successful—and breathtakingly handsome—investigative reporter takes its toll. Little Bro, Ace is sure, feels a lot of “Why-can’t-you-be-more-like-your-brother?” pressure. But Ace isn’t perfect.

Case in point: He was wrong about Rives Park’s namesake. The first time you asked Ace that question, in the October 21, 2008, issue, he said Rives Park was named after William Cabell Rives, an Albemarle County politician and lawyer who lived at Castle Hill. But thank goodness you asked him again, because, truth be told, he was mistaken. It was actually named after William’s brother, Alexander. Of course, you can see how Ace got confused; the two brothers have strangely similar biographies.

William attended Hampden-Sydney College, Alexander attended Hampden-Sydney College. William became a lawyer, Alexander became a lawyer. William got hitched, Alexander got hitched. Though, Alexander did one-up old Billy on this one: He produced 10 (10!) children with his first wife, Isabella Wydown. Still, William lived on a handsome estate, and Alexander lived on a handsome estate. Specifically, the Carlton Estate, a large plot of land just north of Monticello that has since been divided into a subdivision through which Rives Street, Carlton Road and Carlton Avenue run. But that still doesn’t answer the question of where our Rives Park got its name. Ace called Brian Daly, the assistant director of Parks and Recreation, to confirm what he already assumed (though, we all know what happens when Ace assumes).

Brian said the park, which was acquired in the ’30s, was probably named after Rives Street, since that’s where it’s situated. And then he gave him the big confirmation: It’s located on a plot of land that was once the Carlton Estate. Bingo! Ace wins again!

But back to Alexander. After his brother died in 1868, Alex was appointed judge of the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia by President Ulysses S. Grant. Talk about living up to his potential.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 19 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to ace@c-ville.com.