Friday, September 19, 2014

Friend of Friends Friday: Will: James Anderson (1806)

Prince William County Will Book I, pg. 171
12 March 1806; proved 1 Dec 1806

In the name of God Amen I JAMES ANDERSON SENIOR being in perfect memory but weak in body do make this my last will and testament.  I will that all my legal debts to paid and when it shall please God to call me hence from this trancetory world that my body to be decently bured in a certain hope of a joyfull resurrection through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.  Item. I will and bequeath to my well beloved wife MARY ANDERSON one third part of my estate during her natural life and at her decease to be equley divided among my children except my son JAMES that has got his part already.  Item 2 I will bequeath to my son JAMES ANDERSON one negro fellow named JOE one horse and mare two hogshead of tabco. & six poun cash which I consider as his part of my estate and he is not to have any more nor no clame hereafter. Item I will and bequeath that all and every part of my estate to be eqully divided among my other children only excepted as before excepted.  Item it is my will and desire that my well beloved wife MARY ANDERSON and PRESLEY WOOD[Y]ARD will be my Executors after my decease.  I have hereunto set my hand seal this twelfth day of March one thousand eight hundred and six.




At a Court held for Prince William County Decem 1st 1806.

The last will and testament of JAMES ANDERSON decsd was presented to the Court and being proved by the oaths of JOHN ROLLANS & HENRY HOPE was ordered to be recorded and MARY ANDERSON and PRESLEY WOODYARD the Exex. And Exor. mentioned in said will made oath to the same and having entered into bond with security, who justified according to law, certificate is granted them for obtaining a probate thereof in due form.



Thursday, September 18, 2014

Thriller Thursday: Sad Death of Two Sisters (1913)

Manassas Democrat
January 2, 1913


Sad Deaths of Two Sisters

Miss Mamie Cooper and Sister, of Near Bealton, Struck by Engine 15 of Southern and Killed

Last Sunday afternoon as a party of young people were returning from making social calls two of them were killed by train No. 15 when they were within sight of home.  The fatal accident occurred near Bealton when Miss Mamie Cooper and her sister, to avoid No. 44 on the north bound track, stepped immediately in front of No. 15 which was south bound.

Two years ago their father, who was employed as track man, was killed in almost the same place, in the same manner, by the same train run by the same crew.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Military Monday: Manassas Battlefield to be Purchased

Manassas Democrat
March 3, 1921

Option on Site has been Obtained and Incorporation Conference Will Be Held in Washington Next Saturday

An option has been obtained by Maj. E. W. R. Ewing, past historian in chief, S.C.V., and Mr. Westwood Hutchinson, commander of Ewell Camp, U.C.V., for the purpose of buying the land on which the first battle of Manassas was mainly fought, and on which the second battle of Manassas closed, known as the Henry farm, with the privilege of purchasing, within two years from January 1, 1921, at the price of $25,000.

The Governor of each state of the South, the United Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy are invited to attend an organization meeting to be held at the Raleigh Hotel, Washington, D.C., on March 5, 1921, at which plans will be arranged under which title will be eventually held, and pursuant to which monuments will be erected, and the splendid battle museum, which comes also with the land at this price, will be conducted.

This site is beautiful for a memorial park, thirty miles from Arlington, 15 miles from historic Fairfax, 18 miles from enchanting Mount Vernon, 20 miles from Warrenton, the capital of Mosby's confederacy, and not much further from Chief Justice Marshall's old home, with Richmond within two hours' ride by automobile, and quaint old Manassas at the doorway.

It is planned that the meeting arrange for Incorporation, giving each Southern state and organization one member of the board.  ~Richmond Times Dispatch

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday's Obituary: Maria M. Hooe

Daily National Intelligencer (WAshington, DC)
September 19, 1834

At the residence of Mordecai Throckmorton, Esq. in Loudoun county, Virginia, on Friday, the 12th instant, after a protracted period of extreme suffering, Mrs. Maria M. G. Hooe, wife of John Hooe, Jr., Esq. of Locust Grove, Prince William County, and only daughter of the late Robert Gaines Beverly, of King George county.  A faithful and devoted wife, a most attentive and fond mother, an affectionate sister, and excellent neighbor -- her loss to her husband and daughter is indeed irreparable, and will be severely felt by her numerous relatives and friends.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Friend of Friends Friday: Will: George Huber (1826)

Prince William County Will Book  M, pg 392
21 Mar 1826; proved 01 May 1826

I GEORGE F. HUBER of the Town of Dumfries County of Prince William and State of Virginia do make and constitute this my last will and testament hereby revoking all other wills by me made previous to this date.  Item, 1st it is my will that all debts by me owing should be first paid.  Item 2nd I will and bequeath to my wife VERLINDA HUBER all the real or landed property with its appurtenances (with the exceptions hereinafter mentioned) to which I have a title or interest during her natural life.  Item the third I give and bequeath to my nephew JOHN STANGLE and his heirs forever the house and lott in which he now lives known by the name of the Bake house lott.  Item 4th the land which I have by Item the second disposed of to my wife during her life it is my will that after her death it shall belong every part and parcel thereof to my nephew JOHN STANGLE and his heirs forever.  Item fifth I bequeath my gold watch to my wife VERLINDA during her life and after her death to ANN ELIZA STANGLE forever.  Item sixth I will and bequeath to my wife VERLINDA HUBER all my slaves during her life, and after her death I will to ANN ELIZA STANGLE negro girl Eliza and her increase, if any forever.  Item 7th after the death of my wife I will the slaves and their increase heretofore bequeathed to my wife to JOHN STANGLE forever.  Item the 8th I will that all the rest of my personal property not herein before specifically bequeathed be sold and the proceeds thereof applied to the payment of my debts.  And if there should be a balance remaining after my debts are paid I bequeath it to my wife.  Item the ninth I leave my tanyard and everything belonging thereto to my Executors hereinafter named to be by them or such of them as may qualify sold and the proceeds of the sale to be applied to the payment of my debts.  It is my will that the proceeds of the sale of my tan yard be first applied to the payment of my debts, and that the proceeds of the sale of my perishable property bequeathed to be sold be not applied in that way unless the money arising from the sale of the tanyard should be inadequate to the discharge of my debts.  Lastly I constitute and appoint Barnaby Cannon and James B. E. Thornton executors to this my last will and testament.  In testimony whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this the twenty first day of March one thousand eight hundred and twenty six.  I also appoint Wm. R. Chapman one of my executors.


Signed sealed and acknowledged in the presence of

At a Court held for Prince William County the 1st day of May 1826.  This last will and testament of George F. Huber decd. was presented to the Court and being proved by the oaths of John Merchant, Wm. E. Williams, & Davis Duty, witnesses thereto, is ordered to be recorded.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Current Affairs: One Last Word

On the Monday after the Memorial and Dedication Ceremony for the Lynn Cemetery on the 12th High School site, I was contacted by Moriah Balingit of The Washington Post for one last interview regarding the controversy and events of the past year.  I was a bit surprised but very grateful that The Post was interested in the ceremony and the closure that it brought to both Prince William County Schools and the Lynn family.

The Media is an interesting animal.  In this age of the Internet and instant information, it's a mighty tool that can be wielded to inspire and galvanize people and organizations into action for a common good.  Unfortunately, it can also be a weapon to perpetuate negativity.

It was the Media that first brought to light the discovery of the 11 graves on the 12th High School construction site and PWCS's rush to remove them to make way for their football stadium.  At the beginning of the storm, I and several of my Lynn cousins were contacted by reporters from many different newspapers and television stations.  That media scrutiny helped galvanize the public and historical community to fight for a tiny 19th century cemetery on the brink of extinction.

I am sincerely grateful to each and every periodical and reporter that took an interest and kept the story in the pubic eye until all parties were able to come to an amicable solution.  Of them all, two stand out for special thanks:

(1) Thank you to InsideNova for breaking the story in August 2013 and staying with it!  This small Northern Virginia newspaper led the charge.

(2) Thank you to The Washington Post.  Mike Ruane's front page article on December 3, 2013 was a balanced, well written piece that fairly reported both sides of the controversy and brought the story to an unexpected national level.  I'd also like to thank The Post for being the only periodical interested enough to stay with the story until its full closure with Saturday's Memorial and Dedication Ceremony, when former "adversaries" came together in compromise to honor the resting place of a 19th century farming family.

Following is the full text of Ms. Balingit's (9 September 2014) article, which can be found on the The Washington Post website.

By 2016, a now-rocky plot south of Manassas will be home to rowdy football games and a new high school.
But on Saturday, it was the site of a solemn moment as Prince William County school officials and members of a local family gathered to dedicate a burial plot for the remains from a more than century-old grave. The grave, which likely belonged to ancestors of the Lynn family, was unearthed when contractors were preparing to build playing fields for the new school.
With the ceremony, Prince William County Public Schools put to rest a controversy that pit the system against local historians and the Lynn family, whose roots run deep in the area.
Concerns arose in September 2013, when school officials announced their intentions to move the remains to a cemetery to make way for the football field. In November, local historians traced the land back to the Lynn family, and although the graves were unidentified and the remains were too degraded to extract DNA, strong circumstantial evidence — including land records — suggests that they belonged to ancestors of the Lynn family.
But by then, the dig couldn’t be stopped, school officials said. And the plan for the school could not be reconfigured to avoid the family grave site, schools spokesman Phil Kavits said.
Carolyn Lynn, a local genealogist and a direct family descendant, initially was upset that the remains were unearthed without thorough attempts to identify whom they might belong to and protested when officials said they would move them to another cemetery. They came to an agreement to rebury the remains in a spot not far from where they were discovered last month, Lynn said.
“I’m really quite pleased that ultimately we all came together and compromised,” Lynn said.
The remains are now in a fenced-in burial plot, marked with a plaque, that will sit not far from a school parking lot. The school system also commissioned a 197-page report by an archaeology firm that details the artifacts and human remains found at the site.
Lynn said she still wishes that the family grave had been left undisturbed.
“At the same time, if they hadn’t found the cemetery in their surveys at all, they could have just bulldozed and no one would have known it was there,” she said. “They’re still home. They’re about 925 feet further away.”

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Memorial & Dedication of Lynn Cemetery on PWCo High School Site

The Memorial Ceremony and Dedication of the Lynn cemetery on the 12th High School site took place on Saturday, September 6, 2014.  It was a poignant, respectful conclusion to a 12 month journey that began with a whirlwind of miscommunication, frustration, and media frenzy, but ultimately ended with Prince William County Schools (“PWCS”), Lynn family members, leaders in the historical community, neighbors, and the general public coming together to rescue a small 19th century family cemetery from oblivion.

When I saw the newly relocated and restored cemetery for the first time before Saturday’s ceremony, it brought me to tears.  The original field stone markers stand clean and upright amid newly planted periwinkle.  A shiny new memorial plaque near the entrance of a simple but attractive black fence reads:

This 19th century cemetery was moved from its original location in 2014 by Prince William County Schools during the high school construction.  The original location was 925 feet south-west from this spot.  Historical research and archeological evidence suggests that the cemetery includes the burials of William and Cordelia Lynn and their family.  This new cemetery is rededicated on William Lynn’s original tract of land.

With the aid of GPS and laser measurements made during the archeological excavation of the original cemetery, the 11 graves were reinterred as close to their original orientation and layout as possible.  All of the remains and artifacts were reinterred in the new cemetery.

Approximately 25 people attended Saturday’s Memorial Ceremony, which began with an opening prayer by Rev. Gene R. Wells of Woodbine Church and a greeting from David S. Cline, PWCS Assoc. Superintendent of Finance and Support Services.  It was a nice touch that the attendees in the audience were given the opportunity to introduce themselves and their interest in the proceedings.  More than a dozen of my Lynn family cousins were there to honor their ancestors and support the new cemetery.

Pastor Gene Wells
Pastor Gene explained that his church, Woodbine Baptist Church on Canova Drive in Independent Hill, was founded by Levi C. Lynn in May of 1875.  In a wonderful homage to the past, he used Levi's original 1875 Bible to tell the Biblical story of how Joseph’s bones were taken out of Egypt and into the Promised Land by his descendants.  Pastor Gene also spoke a bit of how his own search to discover the history of his church had led him to learn about the Lynn family and their involvement in PWCo. 

David Cline, Marte Nohe, and
Pastor Gene Wells
I was honored to be one of the speakers at the ceremony and used the opportunity to tell a bit more about the contributions made to PWCo by my Lynn ancestors.  I spoke about the land itself, and how much of Independent Hill in the 19th century was made up of farms owned by the Lynns or neighbors who married into the family.  But mostly, I spoke about the family we believe to be buried in the cemetery itself – that of William and Cordelia Lynn, my 2nd great grandparents, and their children.  I’m not quite certain how the attendees felt, but it was a moving moment for me to be able to speak those 11 names aloud just a few feet from their newly dedicated resting place.

Wreath laying - John Windley,
David Cline, Lillie Jesse, & Marte Nohe
Marte Nohe, County Supervisor for the Coles Magisterial District, acknowledge the contributions of the Lynn family to PWCo and how the county and community came together to work in compromise.  The new high school being built on what was once the William Lynn farm is just one more contribution toward the good that can be done for PWCo and its students.  One day soon, the 12th High School will begin to educate the county leaders of tomorrow.

Bagpiper Kevin Byrne, the husband of a PWCS teacher, played Amazing Grace as David Cline, Marte Nohe, School Board member Lille Jesse (Occoquan), and John J. Windley (PWCS Director, Office of Facilities Services) laid a silk wreath of autumn colors in the cemetery beside the new memorial plaque.

After the wreath laying, three generations of Lynn family descendants went into the cemetery to lay white roses on each of the 11 graves before Pastor Gene concluded with a closing prayer.

All in all, it was a touching and respectful ceremony to honor the final resting place for William and Cordelia Lynn and their children.

~ ~ ~

It was noted by David Cline that, because the cemetery is still within an active construction site, visitations in the immediate future will need to be coordinated with PWCS’s Office of Facilities Services.  However, when the 12th High School is completed in 2016, a small, tree-lined path will lead from the parking lot to the cemetery so that family may visit at any time.

~ ~ ~

Over the course of the past year, many people and organizations stepped forward to help resolve the issue of William and Cordelia's final resting place -- far too many to thank them all by name!  However, there are a select few that I personally would like to single out for special thanks:

(1) Bill Olson of the PWCo Historical Commission, who is a fierce advocate and force to be reckoned with when it comes to the preservation of PWCo's cemeteries, large or small.

(2) The wonderful staff/volunteers at RELIC for their invaluable research in determining that the cemetery is (almost certainly) that of William and Cordelia Lynn and their children.

(3) John Windley, PWCS Director of Facilities Services, who has worked closely with the Lynn family to come to a respectful, appropriate solution.  His professionalism and calmness throughout is greatly appreciated.

(4)  Last, and certainly not least, I would like to thank Pastor Gene Wells of Woodbine Church.  From the very beginning Pastor Gene has been a calming voice of reason in a raging storm.  He worked hard to bring all of the parties together (PWCS, Lynn family, county, and neighbors) to reach a peaceful conclusion to what began as a heated, volatile situation. Pastor Gene also planned the beautiful and touching Memorial Ceremony and Dedication from beginning to end, for which I will be forever grateful.

The Author standing with her ancestors.  (Photo by Pastor Gene Wells)