Thursday, June 28, 2012

Newspaper Tidbit: Spinks

Alexandria Gazette
December 4, 1909

IRATE BROTHER ARRESTED.   Charles H. Spinks, a farmer, who lives at Haymarket, last night called at the First precinct station in Washington to see the man who eloped with his fourteen-year-old sister, Nellie Spinks.  The irate brother was armed with a revolver, and the police took the weapon from him and locked him up.  Miss Spinks and Walter Robinson, nineteen years old, left Haymarket on Thursday night last for Washington, intending to be married in that city.  Detectives met the couple at Union station, sent the girl to the House of Detention, and placed Robinson in a cell at the First precinct station, awaiting word from the girl's parents in Haymarket.

Monday, June 25, 2012

July Events at Historic Sites

July 11
Family Night: Historic Toys and Games
6 p.m. –8 p.m., $1 when coming from the Sudley Manor Rd Chick-Fil-A, $2 for everyone else
Join us to create your very own corn husk and yarn doll.  Enjoy games from the 1800s.  Before Barbie came along, most children had to do with these simple but entertaining toys.  Learn about the history of Civil War era toys while you make your very own.
Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 20109; 703-367-7872

July 9 - 13
Rippon Lodge Colonial Camp
9:00 am – Noon. $150 per child, ages 8-12, reservations required.
Step back in time and spend your mornings in 18th Century Virginia.  Explore the daily activities and life of kids living in Prince William County during the colonial period.  Living history, live music, hands-on demonstrations and special guests will be featured daily. Activities will include; crafts, games, history, music, food and much more.
Rippon Lodge Historic Site, 15520 Blackburn Rd., Woodbridge, 703-499-9812

July 14
A Little Bit of Elbow Grease will Remove that Stain! Laundry in the 19th Century
11 a. m. - 4 p.m.; $5.00 per person; free for children under six
Today we set it and forget it.  Back in the 19th century, doing your laundry was labor intensive and time consuming.  Join the staff of Ben Lomond in doing some laundry with two washtubs, a washboard, soapy water and some elbow grease in this fun hands-on program.  Afterwards, you'll gain a new appreciation for your washer machine! 
Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 20109; 703-367-7872

July 14-15 and 28-29
Bristoe Station Battlefield Guided Tours
11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m., tours leave on the hour, donations accepted
Bristoe Station Battlefield staff and volunteers will provide guided tours of the battlefield. Learn about Camp Jones and the two battles that took place here in 1862 and 1863. Tours begin on the hour and depart from the kiosk in the parking lot on Iron Brigade Unit Avenue. Last tour at 3 pm.  Please dress for the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes. No pets please.
Bristoe Station Battlefield Heritage Park, The parking lot is located off of Iron Brigade Unit Ave., Bristow, VA 20136, (703) 366-3049

July 16-20
Basic Civil War Camp
9 a.m. – noon; ages 8 – 13, $130 per child; reservations required
Children will participate in activities designed to develop a better understanding of soldier life during the American Civil War. Activities include “Enlist in Virginia’s Army”, “Life in Camp,” “Infantry Drill,” “Did Civil War Soldiers Really Eat that Stuff?”, “Civil War Medicine” and a field trip to Manassas National Battlefield Park.
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Rd., Bristow, VA 20136; 703-365-7895

July 19
Fireside Stories at Ben Lomond: Forgotten General, E. K. Smith
6 p.m. –7 p.m.; free, donations accepted, refreshments available for purchase, weather permitting
Nearly 150 years ago, General Edmund Kirby Smith led the first Confederate invasion of the autumn counter-offensive.  From 1st Manassas (where he was wounded and carried to Ben Lomond) to leading the first Confederate army into Kentucky to eventually overseeing the Confederate war-effort West of the Mississippi, Smith had an important Civil War career.  However, today he is almost forgotten.  Join local historians as we explore the controversial life and career of E. Kirby Smith.
Ben Lomond Historic Site, 10321 Sudley Manor Dr., Manassas, VA 20109; 703-367-7872

July 20
Potomac River Blockade Boat Tours and Lunch
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.; $30.00 per person; reservations required
Cruise along the Potomac River shoreline and view sites that were critical to the Confederate forces’ successful blockade of Washington D.C. from September 1861 through March 1862. Local historians will discuss the significance of the blockade, gun batteries and camps that supported the Confederate efforts. The cruise will include the preserved batteries at Freestone Point and Possum Nose, as well as Evansport and Shipping Point. Tour includes snacks.  No pets please. Not appropriate for children under six. Please call 703-792-4754 for more information and reservations.

July 21
Nature Trail Walk
1:00 p.m.; $5 per person, free for children under six
Take a guided tour along the nature trails at Brentsville and learn about plants and animals that live in this part of Virginia. 
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Rd., Bristow, VA 20136, (703) 365-7895

July 28
Storytime at Brentsville
1:00 p.m.; $2 per child
Join Brentsville staff for children’s stories about local history, people, and events.
Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre, 12229 Bristow Rd., Bristow, VA 20136, (703) 365-7895

July 28
Chocolate-A History and Tasting
2:00 pm; $15 per person
For 2000 years, humans have been enjoying chocolate. Join artisan chocolate maker Ben Rassmussen of Potomac Chocolate as you sample your way through the history of chocolate. Participants will sample several gourmet artisan chocolates from across the country. Learn how chocolate is grown and made.  Reservations required.  Not appropriate for children under 12. 
Rippon Lodge Historic Site, 15520 Blackburn Rd., Woodbridge, 703-499-9812

August 4-5
Confederates Invade the North! Robert E. Lee’s Campaign of Second Manassas to Antietam Two Day Bus Tour 
8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. on Sunday
$325 with hotel, $250 without hotel, reservations required, space is limited
Join local historians for an exciting and in-depth two day tour covering Robert E. Lee’s most brilliant campaign of the Civil War from early August through mid-September 1862. Tour includes stops at sites such as Jeffersonton, Bristoe Station, Manassas Battlefield, Chantilly Battlefield, South Mountain, and Antietam Battlefield.  As much as possible, we will be following the exact route that the armies took in 1862.  Learn the strategies of the commanders, outcomes of the battles and personal stories of the soldiers who fought during the bloodiest month of the Civil War. 

$250 cost includes transportation, entrance fees to all sites and three meals (Lunch and Dinner on the first day; Lunch on the second day).  $325 cost includes all the above PLUS hotel accommodations at Four Points Sheraton Manassas on Saturday night and breakfast on Sunday morning.
Ben Lomond Historic Site, mailing address: 17674 Main St., Dumfries, VA 22026; 703-367-7872

For more information about the Prince William County Division of Historic Preservation visit their website at

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Will: Sarah Davis

Will Book I, pg. 21

January the 9th, 1804

I give to my grand daughter Sally Davis, one feather bed and furniture after my death, this is my last will and testament, the balance of my property to be divided between my daughter Lydia Jones and Peggy Mills.

Sarah {X her mark} Davis

At a Court held for Prince William County May 7th 1804

This writing purporting to be the last will and testament of Sarah Davis dec'd was presented to the Court and being proved by the oath of Dennis Ensey was ordered to be recorded. 

Teste, J. Williams

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Howsin Pinn

Sometimes you just don't realize what's sitting in your own backyard until you accidentally stumble upon it.   An acquaintance recently told me that they thought there was an "interesting cemetery" on an industrial road near my home.  He was several streets off, and the cemetery proved to be much closer than expected.  Right across the street, as it happened.

Nestled between two townhouses in the heart of urban western Prince William County, concealed behind a discrete wooden fence, is a small family cemetery.   There is no name on the fence.  No plaque announcing the cemetery.  It sits quietly, shaded by walnut trees.  It is well maintained and cared for, so I can only assume that there are still family members who visit to pay their respects.

Researching the land with the help of the wonderful staff at RELIC, I learned that the land once belonged to Howson/Howison Pinn, a free, educated black man.

 Richmond Whig, 09/24/1872

On March 18, 1897 "application was the heirs of Howison Pinn deceased to survey the land of said Pinn left to them by will executed the first day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and seventy six and recorded in Will Book S page 507."  (PWCo Deed Book 47, pg 193)

A plat in the Deed Book shows the survey of the land, including the 181 acres containing the cemetery.

That land has long since been divided and sold and parceled out, and is now a suburban bedroom community.  All that remains to hail back to 1897 is the tiny little cemetery behind its well kept fence.

A cemetery listing and photos of all of the remaining headstones therein can be found by searching PINN on

Friday, June 1, 2012

Buckland Obituaries

Alexandria Gazette - 27 April 1813
   DIED, at Buckland (Prince William Virginia) the seat of John Love, Esq. in the 16th year of his age Mr. Samuel L. Watson, son of Mr. James Watson of Washington City.
   The death of this young gentleman was by an unfortunate accident; and the suddenness of his fate adds fresh poignancy to the feelings which are excited in his friends by the recollection of his amiable heart and generous spirit, and of the talents whose early expansion was the joy and pride of his family.

Alexandria Gazette - 27 July 1836
   DIED. On Sunday afternoon the 24th inst. at the residence of Mr. Hugh Smith, Eliza G., daughter of Thomas Smith, of Buckland, Va.  She died at the age of 14 yeras, 7 months.  Her illness was short but severe, and the ters of her associates and school-mates around her grave showed their warm attachment to her.

Alexandria Gazette - 8 February 1843
   DIED. At Buckland, Prince William county, Virignia on Monday, 6th instnat, Mrs. Hannah Dean, for many years a resident of this plance, in the 76th year of her age.  Her friends and acquaintances are invited to attend her funeral from the upper end of Duke street, this afternoon, at half past three o'clock.

Alexandria Gazette - 7 May 1866
   DIED At the residence of his son, in Buckland, Prince Wm. co. Va., on the 3rd inst., John Pattie in the 83rd year of his age.  

Alexandria Gazette - 3 February 1873
   DIED. At Buckland, Prince William county, on the 27th of January, Oscar M. Pattie, in the 46th year of his age.  He was a member of the Methodist Church, and died in the full hope of a glorious resurrection.  Honest, industrious and unobtrusive, he leaves behind him a good name.  He leaves a wife and four children to mourn his death.

Alexandria Gazette - 21 June 1875
   DIED At his residence, near Buckland, in Prince William county, Va., Edmund Basye, aged 66 years.

Alexandria Gazette - 26 December 1876
   DIED. At Buckland, Prince William county, on December 22d, Delilah, wife of John S. Trone, aged 80 years and 3 months.  She had been a wife for more than 53 years.

Baltimore American - 31 October 1904
   HAYDON.  Mrs. John Trais Haydon of Buckland, Prince William county, Va., passed away on Friday morning, October 28.