Friday, December 30, 2016

Friday's Faces from the Past: Genevieve and Alyce Keys Chapin

This family photo is a lost heirloom discovered by a good Samaritan in an antique store in Ashland, Oregon that found its way "home" to my cousin Gentsia.  Dated 1901, it shows Alyce Keys Chapin with her daughter, Genevieve.

Alyce was the daughter of Henry Armistead and Sarah Frances (Lynn) Keys of Prince William County.  She married Paul Chapin, son of Gurden and Julia Paul Chapin, on 7 October 1896 in Washington, DC.

(Thank you, Gentsia, for sharing!)

Genevieve and Alyce Keys Chapin, circa 1901
(used by permission of  Gentsia Zimmerman)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Wednesday's Child: James Bean

Manassas Journal
27 June 1935


James Bean Dies While Swimming

The Bradley neighborhood was deeply shocked Sunday afternoon when word was received of the death of James [Bean] Bradley, age 17, who apparently died of some unknown cause while swimming in Lake Jackson.

In company with his brother William and a friend, Edward Weeks, he was swimming in deep water when he collapsed and sank.  It is stated that Mr. Weeks made a great effort to save his friend, nearly losing his own life.

Upon receiving world in Manassas, representatives of the Manassas Volunteer Fire Department hastened to the scene, where, in the meantime, the body had been recovered by Earl Cox and Harry Whitmer.

Funeral services were conducted Tuesday at Bradley Church by Rev. J. Murray Taylor and burial was in the Bradley cemetery. The deceased is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Bean, and by six brothers and sisters, all of whom have the deepest sympathy of many friends in their deep bereavement.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday: Clerenda Fitzwater

Valley View Cemetery, Nokesville, Virginia


July 28, 1843
November 26, 1911
Aged 68 years, 5 mos., 28 days

Another link is broken
In our household band,
But a chain is forming
In a better land

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Society Saturday: Farewell Party (Ruby Russell)

Manassas Journal
16 June 1932


A very delightful party was given at the home of Miss Ruby Russell on Tuesday evening when she bid her friends good-by before leaving her home on West street.  She is soon to return to her country home at Canova.  She will be greatly missed by her many friends in Manassas.

Those present at the party were:  Misses Virginia, Ruth, Clara, Irene and Elizabeth Cross, Miss Edith and Virginia Carter, Miss Eula Shaw, Miss Sarah Vetter, Miss Mildred Cooke, Miss Mickie Lunsford and Mr. and Mrs. Emory Russell.

Messers. Floyd Vetter, Randolph Payne, William Ward, Edward Pattie, Douglas Dodson, Robert Leith, William Bowers, Paul Cooksey, Jake Terry, Shelmon Holmes, Russell and Willard Shaw.

[I love the reference to Miss Russell's "country home at Canova."  The Canova community was originally named Woodbine after Levi C. Lynn's home Woodbine, as well as the Baptist church and school of the same name that he founded.  It was renamed Canova in the early 1900's, largely in part to James Sullivan, who owned a general store in the area.  Eugene Scheel's "Crossroads and Corners" notes that Sullivan chose the name because it was easy to spell and was likely unaware of the famous sculptor Antonio Canova.  Today the area is called "Woodbine" once more but Canova Drive in Independent Hill remains -- Woodbine School on one side of the road and Woodbine Baptist Church on the other -- in the heart of the rapidly growing Coles Magisterial District.  Hardly "country" any longer!  --cgl]

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: James Edward Beale

Richmond Times Dispatch
25 November 1916

Manassas, Va., November 24 -- James Edward Beale forty-eight years old, Mayor of Haymarket, and worshipful master of Drinkard Lodge, A. F. & A. M. who died on Monday was buried on Tuesday at Haymarket, Prince William County. He had been Southern Railway agent at Haymarket for twenty-four years, and was a vestryman of St. Paul's Episcopal Church. Mr. Beale was a native of Albemarle County. He is survived by his wife, who was Miss Maude Laura Herrell, and five children, Edward, Page, Bowen, Herbert and Laura Beale.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friend of Friends Friday: Gift Deed: Renoe to O'Rear

Prince William County
Deed Book 11, pg. 42
Gift Deed - Renoe to O'Rear

KNOW all men by these presents that I Enoch Renoe of the County of Prince William and State of Virginia for and in consideration of the natural love and affection I bear to my grandchildren, John H. Orear, Ann M. Orear, William Orear, Charlotte Orear, Catherine Orear, and Martha Orear as well as for the further consideration of one Dollar to me in hand paid by the said Children at or before the unsealing & delivery of these presents the receipt where of is hereby acknoweledged, have given and granted and by these presents to give and grant unto the said John H. Orear, Anne M. Orear, William Orear, Charlotte Catherine Orear & Martha Orear their Executors administrators & assigns a negro Girl Slave named Susan. To have and to hold the said girl slave Susan unto them the said John H. Orear, Ann M. Orear, William E. Orear, Charlotte Catherine Orear, and Martha Orear with her future increase to them and their heirs Exors admins & assigns forever. In witness whereof the said Enoch Renoe hath hereunto set his hand & seal this 20th day of April 1827.

Enoch Renoe {seal}

David Jameson
John Keys

Prince William County to wit,
Clerks Office May 14th 1827

This deed of gift from Enoch Renoe to John  H. Orear, Ann M. Orear, Wm. Orear, Charlotte Orear, Catherine Orear, & Martha Orear was this day proved in the office aforesaid by the witnesses thereto & admitted to record.

P. D. Dawe
Cl Court

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Wedding: Nicol/Wilson (1896)

Evening Star (Washington, DC)
18 September 1896

The social event of the season in Manassas was the marriage September 16 at 3 o'clock p.m. in the M. E. Church South of Miss Maude Nicol to Mr. Geo. S. Wilson of Fauquier county. The ceremony was performed by Rev. Geo. T. Taylor of Fauquier. The church was beautifully decorated and crowded with invited guests. An evergreen arch spanned the chancel, from which hung a marriage bell. As the wedding party entered the church Mrs. B. P. Bowen of Brentsville sang "Oh, Promise Me," accompanied by her daughter on the organ. Mr. D. B. Wilson, brother of the groom, was the best man, and Miss Grace Nicol, sister of the bride, was maid of honor.

The groomsmen and bridesmaids were Mr. Holtzman of Washington and Miss Hixson of Manassas, Mr. Compter of Front Royal and Miss Lyon of Manassas, Mr. Kendall of Fauquier and Miss Simpson of Manassas, Mr. Gibson and Miss Leache of Fauquier, and Mr. Weir of Manassas and Miss Kincheloe of Brentsville. The flower maids were Julia Nicol, the little daughter of Judge Nicol, and Basie Ransdell, both nieces of the bride. As the party retired from the church Miss Bowen of Brentsville played the wedding march. The bride received many beautiful presents of silver.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Crime & Punishment: Chose the Stripes (1874)

Alexandria Gazette
28 November 1874

CHOSE THE STRIPES -- Casper Redmond, a young colored man, was arrested on Thursday and taken before Justice D. W. Whiting on a charge of having "made way" with the contents ($11.50) of a pocket-book he found belonging to James A. Goodwin, whose father he was in the employment of at the time. He acknowledged he found the pocket-book, and that he knew whose it was, but said it only contained $1.50, which he spent.  He was sentenced to sixty days in jail or twenty stripes. He said he would rather be whipped than stay in jail one day. The Sheriff gave him the stripes.

-- Manassas Gazette

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: George W. Sanders

Alexandria Gazette
3 June 1875

OBITUARY. On Monday, June 21st, 1875, at his residence, Mount Pleasant, in Prince William co., Va., G. W. SANDERS, esq., in the 44th year of his age. The author of this obituary had known Mr. Sanders for several years, and always felt for him a sincere friendship and regard. Amiable and genial in his intercourse with his friends, by his sparkling and ready humor and intelligent and agreeable converse, he was the life and soul of the social circle in which he was intimate. By great and indefatigable industry and energy of character he had amassed previous to his death a comfortable independence, and his helping hand was always outstretched to give employment to the poor and needy. Hospitable to all and kind, generous and social to a fault, he was an affectionate husband, indulgent father, an upright citizen and an honest man. "Few know him but to love him, few named him but to praise." Stricken down by a disease which baffled all medical skill, and had been preying for some time on a constitution naturally weak and delicate, and bearing it with patience and resignation, he gradually sunk under its influence, and calmly, quietly and without a struggle, our friend George W. Sanders passed away from earth to the eternal world. Over his faults, whatever they may have been -- (for we all have them) -- let us cast the mantle of oblivion, and endeavor to imitate his many virtues and noble qualities. May that God "who tempers the wind to the shorn lamb" watch over and protect the widowed mother and children, and may we all so live as he did that it may be said of us in the language of holy writ, "The liberal deviseth liberal things, and by liberal things he shall stand" and in addition those other words of the great English poet:

"A wit's a feather and a chief's a rod;
An honest man's the noblest work of God."


Monday, November 21, 2016

Newspaper Tidbit: Unfortunate Occurrence (Stone House)

Critic-Record (Washington, DC)
1 September 1873

AN UNFORTUNATE OCCURRENCE -- Last week three lads of this city, John Bloudin, Harry Taylor, and Frank McNerhany, paid a visit to the old Stone House, where reside the Starbuck family, in Prince William county, Va.  During their stay all passed off pleasantly, until young McNerhany, in a playful mood, pointed a musket at a companion named Taylor, supposing it was not loaded.  He was horror struck when it was discharged ,and he discovered that the arm of Taylor was terribly torn with the contents.  Yesterday the arm was successfully amputated by Drs. Marsteller and Tibbs.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Travel Tuesday: William J. Sullivan

Richmond Times Dispatch
8 October 1916

The court took favorable action yesterday on the petition of the Southern and the Chesapeake and Ohio Railways for a rehearing of the suit instituted against them in the Circuit Court of Prince William County by William J. Sullivan to recover damages for personal injuries alleged to have been sustained when the Southern train, on which he was riding, collided with the wreckage of a Chesapeake and Ohio train, near Bristow. In the lower court, Sullivan was awarded $6,000 damages.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas Curtis

Alexandria Gazette
3 April 1856

DIED, at Occoquan, in Prince William county, Va., on the night of the 29th ultimo, THOMAS CURTIS, aged 76 years.  The deceased was, and had been, a member of the Baptist Church for the last half century or more of his life; during which his walk and conversation corresponded in an eminent degree with his profession. Nature expired and vitality passed away -- calmly and serenely.  Such is the end of the good and just man.  Let us imitate his life, that ours may end like his.


Friday, November 11, 2016

Friend of Friends Friday: John Underwood

Lowell Daily Citizen and News (Lowell, Massachusetts)
2 June 1859

JOHN UNDERWOOD, a magistrate of Prince William county, Virginia, was indicted some months ago for speaking too freely on slavery.  He was tried and fined, but the decision was reversed by the higher court.  Some of his neighbors, at the late election, insisted upon voting for him for the legislature, and the following is the vote in the town of Occoquan, where he has always resided:

For Governor.

Letcher, dem., 48
Goggin, opp., 70

For House of Delegates

Underwood, rep., 56
Lynn, dem., 42
Merchant, dem., 9

Very well for Occoquon, which is the first town below Mount Vernon, on the Potomac.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Alexandria Gazette
4 May 1859

At a meeting of the Justices of the County of Prince William, convened in the Jury Room, on the 1st day of April Court, for the purpose of expressing our protest against sitting as Justices in connection with John Underwood as a justice of this county, 14 out of the 16 Justices being present, viz: B. E. Harrison, W. L. Carter, J. C. Weedon, L. C. Lynn, Z. A. Kankey, C. A. Nelson, E. Nelson, W. W. Thornton, H. Love, L. B. Butler, E. Gaines, J. Ewell, A. F. Woodyard, and J. B. Grayson, B. E. Harrison was called on to preside, and J. B. Grayson to act as Secretary.

On motion of W. W. Thornton, B. E. Harrison, L. C. Lynn, H. Love, and L. B. Butler were appointed a committee to wait on Mr. Underwood and ask his determination, whether he persists in sitting as Justice. 

This committee withdrew and after a brief absence returned and by their chairman, Mr. Harrison, reported that they had conferred with Mr. Underwood, and that he adhered to his determination to sit as a Justice of Prince William County, when on motion Resolved, That the Chairman appoint one from each Magisterial District to report resolutions expressive of the sentiments of this meeting, to be place on the  minutes of the Court.

The chairman appointed W. W. Thornton, J. Ewell, Z. A. Kankey and E. Nelson, who withdrew and in a short time reported the following:

Whereas John Underwood had been charged and convicted of a misdemeaner by a Jury of this county, in uttering abolition sentiments, in contravention of law and repugnant to public opinion, and having been requested by a committee of Justices to waive his right to a seat on the bench of this Court, or to retract said sentiments, and having refused to do either: Therefore we unanimously resolve that in view of our duty to the public, we will organize this Court and place upon its minutes this our protest against the conduct and sentiments of said Underwood.

The Court being then opened, the foregoing preable and resolution were unaimously ordered to be entered on the minutes of this Court.

B. H. Harrison, Chairiman
J. B. Grayson, Secretary

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Maria Ann Quiqley Payne

Daily Union
28 August 1852

DIED. At Rustin Hill, Prince William county, Virginia, on the 25th inst., of bilious fever, MARIA ANN QUIGLEY, wife of William MacManus Payne, in the 21st year of her age.

The funeral will take place on to-morrow evening (Sunday) at three o'clock from the vault of St. Patrick's church.  Relatives and friends of the family are respectfully invited to attend.

[Alex. Gazette please copy]

Monday, October 31, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Gift Deed: Graham to Graham (1786)

Gift Deed
Graham to Graham
PWCo. Deed Book Z, pg. 116

Know all men by these presents that I Robert Graham of the County of Prince William in Virginia for divers good causes & more especially for the affection and good will I bear to my brother Walter Graham have given granted and confirmed and by these presents do give grant & confirm unto the said Walter two molatto [sic] slaves named Daniel and Esther to have and to hold the said slaves Daniel and Esther with the future increase of the said Esther to him the said Walter Graham his heirs ex[ecutors] adm[inistrators] & assigns and alll persons claiming under me my heirs do forever.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand & seal this sixth day of December, one thousand seven hundred & eighty six.

Robt. Graham {seal}

James Park
J. Murray
J. Lawson

At a Court held in the same County the 4th day of May 1787. 

This same Deed of Gift was proved by the oath of John Lawson and ordered to be recorded.

John Williams [clerk]

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Church Record Sunday: Churches of Manassas

Manassas Democrat
20 April 1911


The churches of Manassas were erected as follows:

A small edifice for the Presbyterian church was built in 1867 on the corner of Church and East streets and torn down when the present edifice of stone was erected in 1875.

The Methodist Episcopal edifice on West street is the oldest church building standing. It was built in 1968, but rented for a public school three years before the pews were installed.

Trinity Episcopal church was built in 1872.

The Old School Baptist church, one mile south of Manassas, was built about 1874.

The Colored Baptist church was built in 1879 and rebuilt in 1905.

The Catholic church was built about 1881.

The New School Baptist church was built about 1890, and rebuilt in 1906.

The Lutheran church was built in 1896 and the Primitive Baptist church on West street in 1898.

The first man to preach a sermon in Manassas was the Rev. Levi. H. York, of the Methodist church. The services were held in an unfinished store building occupying the present site of the Newman block.

Sunday's Obituary: Elizabeth Ratcliffe

Alexandria Gazette
17 February 1837
-- and --
Baltimore Gazette and Daily Advertiser
20 February 1837

At Dumfries, Va. on the 11th inst. Mrs. Elizabeth Ratcliffe, in the 64th year of her age. It is so common to eulogise departed friends, that little interest can be felt by the community, unless they died possessed of some extraordinary virtue or talent, and were extensively known. It is due however to the subject of this notice to say that no lady ever deserved the tribute of respect from her friends more than she did, for exalted generosity, benevolence, and kindness; and none through the various vicissitudes of fortune ever sustained herself with more firmness and independence.


Sunday, October 16, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Elizabeth "Betsey" Carr Tebbs

Alexandria Gazette
23 March 1852

On the 15th of March, at Grassland, the residence of her son, Col. Samuel Tebbs, Mrs. Betsey Tebbs, in the 81st year of her age. Mrs. Tebbs was the widow of Col. Willoughby Tebbs, of Dumfries, Prince William county, and for the greater portion of her life resided in that section of the State. For some years past she has been a resident of Middleburg and its vicinity.  It will be gratifying to her numerous friends and relatives to learn that the summons of Death did not come to her unawares, or find her unprepared. She had been for many years a communicant of the Protestant Episcopal Church, and was gathered to her fathers, as we trust, in the confidence of a certain faith, in the comfort of a reasonable, religious and holy hope, in favor with God, and in charity with the world. Blessed are they who thus die--Even so, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their labors.

[Elizabeth "Betsy" Carr Tebbs, the daughter of William Carr, is buried beside her husband in the family cemetery, "Tebbsdale," in Prince William County. ~cgl]

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Newspaper Tidbit: Old Landmark Gone - "Eureka"

Alexandria Gazette
3 November 1873

OLD LAND MARK GONE -- The "Eureka," the first public house opened in Manassas after the war, has disappeared from among the institutions of the place, to give room for a more imposing structure. The "Eureka" was a small frame "baloon" built house, one and a half stories high, and was used as a private entertainment, and furnished room for the ticket office of the railroad, Adams express office, and telegraph office. It was purchased a short time ago from the owner, Mr. Wm. S. Fewell, by Messrs. F. J. Cannon and son, who are now engaged in the erection of a three story frame building 80 by 28 feet, and when finished will be opened as a hotel. It will contain thirty chambers, besides other necessary apartments.  It has not yet been decided who will open it. - Manassas Gazette

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday - Mildred (Tyler) Woodyard

Mildred V.

May 17, 1871
June 3, 1915

Gone home

[Valley View Cemetery, Nokesville, VA]

~ ~ ~
Manassas Journal
4 June 1915

Mrs. James Woodyard Passes Away

At six o'clock yesterday evening Mrs. James Woodyard passed away at her home at Brentsville in her forty-third year. Mrs. Woodyard, who was a victim of tuberculosis, was Miss Millie Tyler before her marriage.  She has resided at Brentsville all her life, and is well known in that community.

Mrs. Woodyard is survived by her husband and eleven children. The children are Roxier, Benjamin, James, Harvey, Peter, Paul, Daniel, Alice, Susie, Catherine, and Mrs. Lillie Keys. She leaves no brothers or sisters.

Funeral services will be conducted at the Brentsville Baptist church, of which the deceased was  a member, by Dr. H. L. Quarles to-morrow afternoon at one o'clock. Interment will be made in Valley View Cemetery.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Will of Hebron Molair

Hebron Molair Will
Prince William County Will Book Q, Pg. 309

In the name of God Amen I Hebron Molair of County of Prince William in the state of Virginia, being of sound mind and memory and understanding do make this my last will and testament, in manner following, that is to say. – It is my will and desire that my just debts and personal expenses be paid out of my estate. I give and devise to my wife Rebecca Molair for the term of her natural life all my estate, real, personal, and mixed, except the devise hereafter made to George W. Molair of one Bay mare colt, to be held by her without impeachment of waste.

I give and devise to my son George W. Molair, one Bay mare colt.  After the death of my wife, it is my will and desire that the estate above devised to her for life shall be equally divided between my five children, namely George W. Molair, Frances E. Molair, James E. Molair, John L. Molair, and Leroy Molair and their heirs.  I hereby appoint George W. Molair, executor of this my will. In witness whereof I have hereinto subscribed my name this fourteenth day of October one thousand eight hundred and fifty-five.

Hebron [X his mark] Molair

Signed and acknowledged by the testator in presence of us who at his request and in his presence and in presence of each other have subscribed our names as

M. B. Sinclair
W. E. Goodwin
John Molair

At a court of quarterly sessions held for Prince William Count on the 5th day of November 1855

This last will and testament of Hebron Molair dec’d was proved by the oaths of Mordecai B. Sinclair and William E. Goodwin witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of George W. Molair the executor therein named who made oath there to and together with Thomas R. Davis and James M. Sinclair his securities (one of whom Thomas K. Davis justified as to his sufficiency) entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of $1500.00 conditioned as the law directs, certificate is granted him for obtaining a probat[e] of the aid will in due form.

Teste, P. D. Lipscomb, clk

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Richard B. Tyler

Alexandria Gazette
30 July 1839

Suddenly at Hay Market, Prince William County Virginia, near his late residence, on the 22d inst., Richard B. Tyler Esq., in the 51st year of his age. The deceased was one of the most respectable and useful citizens of the County, a true friend and a man of the strictest integrity.

Alexandria Gazette
14 July 1846

At Occoquan, Prince William county, Va., on Monday the 29th ult., Miss Mary Ellen Taylor, aged 20 years. She was an amiable and kind-hearted girl, and her loss will be seriously felt by a large circle of friends and acquaintances.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Deed: Gift Deed from Larkin to Renoe

Prince William County Gift Deed
Deed Book 13, pg. 141

Know all men by these presents that I Leanah Larkin of the County of Prince William for and in consideration of the natural love and affection which I have to Penelope D. Renoe wife of George A. B. Renoe of the County aforesaid and for and in consideration of the sum of one dollar to me in hand paid by Daniel Larkin of the said County at and before the unsealing and delivery of thee presents have given and granted and by these presents doth give and grant unto the said Daniel Larkin his heirs executors and administrators one negro girl named Tener and her future increase to have and to hold to him the said Daniel Larkin his heirs and assigns forever upon trust nevertheless that the said Daniel Larkin will apply the profits and hires of the said slave to the use and benefit of the said Penelope D. Renoe during her natural life and after her death deliver the said slave and her future increase to the children of the said Penelope D. Renoe to be divided equally among them if there be more than one, but if there be no child or children then the said slave and her future increase shall devolve [?] on my legal representatives it being the object of this deed of conveyance to secure to the said Penelope D. Renoe the use and services or the hires and profits of the said negro girl Tener and her future increase during her natural life and after her death that the said negro girl Tener and her future increase should belong to and be vested in such child or children of the said Penelope D. Renoe as might be then living and I the said Leanah Larkin for myself my heirs executors and administrators do hereby warrant and defend the title of the said negro girl Tener to the said Daniel Larkin forever for the uses and purposes in this deed contained and set forth against the claims of all persons whatsoever.  In Witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal this 30th day of March 1833.

Leanah Larkin {seal}

Signed Sealed and delivered in the presents of

James W. Wallace
Francis D. Bowen
William F. Matthews

At a Court held for Prince William County the 1st day of April 1833

This Deed of Gift from Leanah Larkin to Penelope D. Renoe wife of George A.B. Renoe was proved by the oaths of Francis D. Bowen and William F. Matthews two of the Witnesses thereto and ordered to be recorded.

Teste, John Williams
ct clrk

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Sarah Green / Francis H. Dunnington

Alexandria Gazette (VA)
1 May 1827

DIED, on the 28th instant, in the town of Dumfries, Mr. FRANCIS H. DUNNINGTON, in the 46th year of his age. In the death of Mr. Dunnington, Dumfries has lost one of its most active, industrious, enterprising and useful merchants. He sustained a character without reproach in every relationship of life; in his intercourse with society he was liberal and just; to his friends he was warm-hearted and sincere; to the poor and distressed, he was kind and charitable; in fine, his integrity, liberality public spirit, and urbanity of manners commanded the respect and esteem of all who knew him. He has left a distressed widow and children, to whom he had endeared himself by being one of the kindest and best of husbands and fathers, as well as numerous friends to deplore his death.

Daily National Intelligencer (DC)
11 November 1835

DEATHS.  At her residence, in Prince William County, Virginia, on the 3d instant, in the 65th year of her age, Mrs. SARAH GREEN, relict of the late Mr. JAMES GREEN, and sister of Mr. JOHN WIATT, of Mason county, VA.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Latham / Metzger / Renoe / Speaks

Richmond Times
22 May 1909


Wealthy Farmer Throws Himself in Front of Train

Manassas, Va., May 21 -- William Metzger, seventy-four years of age, one of the most prosperous farmers and largest land owners of this county, committed suicide near his home yesterday by throwing himself in front of a Southern Railway train.

Mr. Metzger arose early in the morning, and after telling his wife that, as no one cared for him, she would not see him again alive, left the house. Mrs. Metzger, thoroughly alarmed, aroused the hands on the farm and sent them in search of her husband. They found the dead body near the railway track.

Mr. Metzger lived on a splendid farm near Wood[b]ridge.

Richmond Times Dispatch
21 August 1908


Joseph Speaks, of Manassas, Despondent, Shoots Himself

Manassas, Va., August 20 -- Mr. Joseph Speaks, a respected farmer of this county, living about two miles from Manassas, committed suicide at  his home this morning by shooting himself with a shotgun. The entire load took effect in the right side and death was almost instantaneous. Mr. Speaks had been in ill health for some time past. He was very despondent, and his act is attributed to the condition of his health.

Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
8 January 1909

Virginian Found Dead.

Manassas, Va., Jan. 7 -- Carroll Latham, a member of the board of supervisors of Prince William county, was found dead in his room today shot through the heart. Whether death was the result of an accident or suicide is not yet definitely known, though the latter theory prevails.

Richmond Whig
3 July 1855

SHOT HIMSELF. -- William Rennoe, residing near Brentsville, Prince William county, shot himself last week, and died soon afterwards.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK(8255), the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in our national network of more than 150 crisis centers. The Lifeline’s national network of local crisis centers provide crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Amanuensis Monday: Will: Samuel Beavers (1872)

Samuel Beavers Will
Prince William County Will Book S, pgs. 60-61

In the name of God Amen, I Samuel Beavers Senr. Of the County of Prince William and State of Virginia being of sound mind and memory, and considering this frail and transitory life, do therefore make ordain publish and declare this to be my last will and testament, that is to say first after all my lawful debts are paid and discharged residue of my estate real and personal, I give and bequeath and dispose of as follows to wit: To my beloved wife Anna Beavers the land and appurtenances thereof situated thereon, lying in the aforesaid State and county, near Occoquan River about five miles S.E. of Manassas now possessed by me, during the term of her natural life, and after her death to be divided between my two sons, Samuel Beavers and Harrison Beavers, the land to be divided equally. He Samuel Beavers retaining the portion he at present occupies. 

Harrison Beavers to have the other portion to wit the Homestead with provisions that the said Harrison shall remain with me & his mother in the discharge of his duty upon the farm, as heretofore during our natural lives and further if there should be any personal property left after paying all just debts, it is my wish that it should revert to my son Harrison Beavers provided he complies with the above conditions.

My other children to wit William Beavers, James Beavers, John Beavers, Mary F. Cornwell, Lydia Banks, Martha Mack, Eliza J. Wearing, Elizabeth Cornwell, I give and bequeath one dollar each.  I appoint and desire that my sons Samuel Beavers and Harrison Beavers shall act as Executors of the Estate. In witness whereof I have hereunto subscribed acknowledged my name and affixed my seal this 13th day of June in the year of our Lord 1872.

Samuel [X his mark] Beavers {seal}

The said Samuel Beavers acknowledged this to be his last will and testament.

L. C. Lynn
Jas. R. Sullivan

In Prince William County Court August 5th 1872

This last will and testament of Samuel Beavers was this day presented to the court & being proved by the oaths of L. C. Lynn & J. R. Sullivan subscribing witnesses thereto is ordered to be recorded.


L. A. Davis     Clerk

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Thomas Thornton

The Mail (Philadelphia, PA)
9 May 1792

On the 25th of March, in the town of Dumfries, in Virignia, departed this life, in the 76th year of his age, the Rev. Thomas Thornton, late Rector of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Fredericksburg.

In his sermons he was accurate and persuasive, more attentive to sense than sound; to elevation of sentiment than loftiness of, stile; expatiating on the evidences of Christianity, and strongly urging the practice of Christian virtues. He possessed a steady faith, benevolence, and unaffected piety. With the dignity of the minister, he associated the familiarity of the man; with the sentiment and manners of the gentleman, he united the mildness of the Christian; and was truly an ornament to human nature; his amiable qualities secured him universal respect, and his death is now the theme of general lamentation.

"At church with meek and unaffected grace,
His looks adorned the venerable place;
Truth from his lips prevail'd with double sway,
And fools who came to scoff remain'd to pray."

Saturday, September 3, 2016

PWCo. Item: 14 January 1873

Alexandria Gazette
14 January 1873

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY ITEMS. -- Mr. James Vowels, aged 72 years, died on the 25th of December, at the residence of Mr. Matthew Priest in this county. Mr. V. was a native of Talbot county, Md., but had been a resident of this county upwards of thirty years. He was a member of the order of Free and Accepted Masons, and probably the oldest member of that order living in the county. He was buried in the family burrying ground on the farm of Mr. Priest.

On the motion of Judge C. E. Sinclair a rule was entered against Mr. Geo. W. Jones by the Court, on Monday last, to show cause why he should not be removed from the office of constable, for having charged improper fees, Mr. Jones contends that the fees charged were proper.

Mr. Charles H. Whittington, telegraph operator for the Western Union Telegraph Company at this place, was taken down a few days ago with a severe attack of inflamatory rheumatism. Mr. H. S. Sneed of Gordonsville has taken his place until he gets able to resume his duties.

We learn that Mr.s Vanderhoof, the widow of a man by that name, who purchased a farm near Nokesville, about a year ago, is in very destitute circumstances, her husband having died leaving the widow and six children without support.

A man by the name of P. H. Smith, a resient of Monroe county, West Va., passed through here on Wednesday last in charge of three guards who were conveying him to the lunatic Asylum at Weston, West Va.,

Messrs. Nicol and Hunton, commissioners, sold on Monday last in front of the court house, 200 acres of land, a portion of the homestead of Seymour Lynn, near Independence Hill, to Burress Norman for $4 per acre.

Messrs. Sinclair and Nicol, commissioners, sold on Monday last four lots of land, each containing half an acre, of the estate of the late James Purcell, to Jas. R. Purcell for the sum of $399.50.

Mr. M. M. Roseberry who has been confined by sickness for the past three months at his home near Brentsville, is we are glad to report nearly recovered and will soon be out again.  -- Manassas Gazette

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Linton / Muschett / Peake

Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, DC)
25 September 1821

On Sunday the 9th September, in the 26th year of his age, of a violent bilious fever, which he bore with exemplary fortitude, John Tyler Linton, only child of John Linton, Esq. of the town of Dumfries, in Virginia.

Daily National Intelligencer
18 February 1823

DIED, at the residence of Col. Gibson, in the town of Dumfries, on the 14th ins. of a pulmonary disease, Dr. Alexander Muschett, aged 31 years and 29 days. He was eminently distinguished for his professional and general acquirements. He has left a wife, one child, and a numerous circle of friends to mourn his loss; but they have the happy consolation in the reflection that, for some time previous to his death, he had the most satisfactory hope in a future state.

Commercial Advertiser (New York, NY)
01 February 1826

In Prince William county, James Peake, 89.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Newspaper Tidbit: Politics: Jackson Corresponding Committee

United States Telegraph (Washington, DC)
22 April 1828

Pursuant to public notice, the Jackson Corresponding Committee for Prince William county (consisting of John W. Tyler, Charles S. Carter, Stuart G. Thornton, Dr. James W. P. Macrae, Major Luke Cannon, Thomas R. Hampton, William Tyler, Major Ashmere, Redmon Foster, William E. Alexander, James G. Bryce, Wm. Cleary, James Foster, Peyton Norvill, Major George Jackson, John S. Fairfax, Wm. B. Tyler, and Geo. W. Macrae) convened at Brentsville on the 7th inst. at the tavern of Thomas R. Hampton.

A majority of the committee being present, John W. Tyler, Esq. in the chair, on motion, Geo. W. Macrae was appointed Secretary, whereupon it was resolved unanimously that that the following persons, freeholders of the county of Prince William, be added to the committee heretofore appointed by the Legislative Convention, to wit:

Stephen French, Joseph R. Lynn, Alexander Foot, Richard B. Tyler, Jas. Fewell, William P. Cundiff, Benj. Johnson, John Fitzhugh, Wm. A. Harrison, Joseph Johnson, Moses Cockrell, Peyton Mills, James G. Watkins, John Hutchinson, James M. Tyler, Thomas Nelson, Jr., George Carney, Benson Lynn, George G. Tyler, Wittoughby W. Tebbs, Samuel Janney, Richard Britt, John W. Williams, Richard B. Scott, Alfred B. Tyler, Travis Davis, John Dogan, Geo. N. B. Renoe, Hezekiah Martin, Samuel H. Fisher, John Tansill, Strother Renoe, John Lee, James Florence, Jno. Graham, John G. Kubleman, Maj. Enoch Grear, and James H. Reid.

On motion, Resolved, that the editors of the Richmond Enquirer, and the United States Telegraph, be requested to publish the proceedings of this Committee.

The Committee then adjourned to meet again at Brentsville, on the 1st Monday in May next.

John W. Tyler, Chairman
Geo. W. Macrea, Sec'ry

The above is a true and correct copy of the proceedings of the Jackson Corresponding Committee for Prince William County, convened at Brentsville on the 7th of April, 1828.

Geo. W. Macrae
Secretary to the Committee
Brentsville, April 12th, 1828

[During the 1828 Presidential election, Andrew Jackson's campaign included hundreds of local Jackon committees and a large network of newspapers. ~cgl]


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Tansill

Alexandria Gazette
6 March 1846

At the residence of her father, Rev. J. E. Weems, Summerfield, Prince William County, Va. on the 1st inst, in the 24th year of her age, Mrs. FRANCES ANN, consort of Lieut. Robert Tansill, of the U.S. Marine corps., of pulmonary consumption. During her protracted sickness, the beauties of christianity were made manifest in her patient and cheerful acquiesence under the afflicting rod of Him, who,
"Behind a frowning providence
Doth hide a smiling face.
How blest is our sister bereft
Of all that could burden the mind!
How easy the soul that has left
This wearisome body behind!
Of evil incapable, thou,
Whose relics with envy I see,
No longer in misery now,
No longer a sinner like me."

Alexandria Gazette
20 July 1846

DIED, at his residence in the County of Prince William, Va., on the 30th of June, Mr. SAMUEL TANSILL, in the 39th year of  his age, leaving a wife and four children, to mourn their irreparable loss.

Alexandria Gazette
1 June 1849

DIED, in Dumfries, Va., on Tuesday, the 29th ult., after an illness of five days, Mr. JOHN TANSILL, in his 70th year.

Alexandria Gazette
7 January 1856

On the 4th inst. at 6 o'clock, LUTHER TANSILL of the United States Coast Survey, aged 20 years and 5 months, son of the late Samuel Tansill, of Prince William co., Va., 

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Will: Theodore Vandenburgh (1853)

Theodore Vandenburgh Will
Prince William Co. Will Book Q pg. 147

In the name of God, Amen I Theodore Vandenburgh of the County of Prince William and State of Virginia, being of sound mind and memory, do make and publish this my last Will and Testament. I give and bequeath to my mother Emily Vandenburgh all of my personal property, also one hundred acres of land from the South end of the last I purchased from Jesse E. Weeks Senr. Known as the home and mill tract, commencing at the Spriggs and Dumfries road and running Easterly on the line between Mr. Keys and myself to the first corner at the stock yard and then running an easterly course until it strikes the east line of sufficient width to make one hundred acres, the aforesaid land and chattels I wish to be freed from all encumbrance out of the avails of the balance of my Estate, after my just and lawful debts are paid. The balance I give and bequeath unto my father, John W. Vandenburgh to have the use of or interest during his lifetime for the support or so much of it as he may need of either principle or interest at his decease the balance I give bequeath and devise unto my brother Wyndent Vandenburgh and my sisters Frances, Mary, Elizabeth, and Caroline Vandenburgh to be divided in equal shares between them. I do nominate and appoint my Father Jno. Vandenburgh to be the sole Executor of this my last Will and Testament, and I do hereby empower him as such to dispose of my Estate, except the one hundred acres bequeathed to my Mother Emily Vandenburgh, either at public or private sale as he may judge best, and invest the same in real or personal property after my just and lawful debts are payed, and the one hundred acres bequeathed to my Mother shall be discharged from all encumbrances. In testimony, whereof I hereunto set my hand and seal, and publish and decree this to be my last Will and Testament, in presence of the Witnesses named below, this 9th day of April one thousand eight-hundred and fifty-three.

Theodore Vandenburgh {seal}

Signed, sealed, declared and published by the said Theodore Vandenburgh as and for his last will and testament in the presence of us who at his request and in his presence and each others have subscribed our names as Witnesses hereto

John M. Payne
Robt. E. Utterbach

A. B. Between the 10th and 11th lines from the bottom of the first page the word principal was omitted through mistake, and afterwards ad[d]ed.

John M. Payne
Robt. E. Utterbach

At a court held for Prince Wm. County on the 2d day of May 1853 this last Will and Testament of Theodore Vandenburgh decd was proved by the oaths of Jno. M. Payne and Robt. E. Utterback witnesses thereto, and was ordered to be recorded and at a Court of quarterly Sessions held for said county on the 6th day of June 1853 on the motion of Jno. W. Vandenburgh the executor named in the last will & testament of Theodore Vandenburgh decd. who made oath and together with Thomas B. Alexander and Maklow S. Lindsly his Seryd. entered into and ackd. a bond in the penalty of $500.00 conditioned as the law directs certificate is granted the said Jno. W. Vandenburgh for obtaining letters of administration on the said decedents estate in due form.

Teste, P. D. Lipscomb, clk.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Chandler Keys

Evening Star (DC)
25 April 1895

Mr. Chandler Keys, one of the oldest and best known citizens of the county, died yesterday evening, after a brief illness, at his home, one mile north of this place, in the ninetieth year of his age. Deceased was a native of Prince William county, but had resided here since early manhood. During his long life he was a man of much energy and accumulated a handsome property. For a number of years he acted as a justice of the peace for the fourth district. He leaves two children, a son and daughter. His funeral will take place on Friday at 3 p.m.

[Chandler Keys is buried in Rockville Cemetery in Montgomery County, Maryland.  As a man with "a handsome property," at one time Keys is known to have owned 229 acres and the historic Watt's Branch Miller's House, "...reserving the right of way into the family burial ground and the privileges of the stream..." ~cgl]

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Will: Anne Ward (1852)

Prince William County Will Book Q, pg. 79

I Anne Ward of the County of Prince William do make and ordain this to be my last will and testament, hereby revoking any and all other will or wills by me heretofore made whereas my deceased husband Zachariah Ward did by his last will and testament, which is of record in the clerks office of the County court of Prince William, Give and devise to me during my natural life all his estate both real and personal consisting of the small tracts of land, two in the County of Fairfax and one in the County of Prince William, together with all his negroes, horses, cattle and house hold furniture, after my death, the one half to be equally divided between his four children, Barbara, Berkely, Hetty, Mariah, the other half of his estate be left at my disposal to give it to whom I please among his children and grand children. I give and devise to my daughter Mariah Ward the one half of my said husband’s estate which was left at my disposal. In testimony whereof, I have hereunto let my hand and seal this 24th day of October 1851.

Anne Ward

Signed, sealed, published and delivered by said Anne Ward as and for her last will and testament in presence of

B. Ward
A. H. Saunders
Jno. A. Saunders
Robt. E. Utterback

At a court of quarterly sessions continued and held for Prince William Count on this 3d day of August 1852 this last will and testament of Anne Ward decd. was presented to the court and being proved by the oaths of Berkely Ward and Addison H. Saunders witnesses thereto and was ordered to be recorded.

Teste, P. D. Lipscomb, clk

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sunday's Obituary: Hopkins / Muschett / Risen

Alexandria Daily Advertiser (VA)
2 February 1807

Departed this life, at Dumfries, on the 30th ultimo, Mr. C. H. MUSCHETT, merchant, of that place, in the 26th year of his age, after a short but severe illness.  He has left a number of connections and acquaintances to deplore his loss.

Daily National Intelligencer (DC)
14 July 1824

DIED, on the 6th inst. at the residence of John Gibson, Esq. in Dumfries, Va., Mr. CHARLES EDWARD MUSCHETT, of a pulmonary affection.

Alexandria Gazette (VA)
8 February 1875

January 25th, near Independent Hill, Prince William county, in the 21st year of her age, Mrs. FRANKLIN RISEN.

January 28th, near Independent Hill, Prince William county, at the residence of Mr. C. Corbin, Miss BETSY HOPKINS.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Newspaper Tidbit: PWCo Items - July 3, 187

Alexandria Gazette
3 July 1871

PRINCE WILLIAM COUNTY [from the Manassas Gazette] -- The County Seal of Prince William county, which disappeared during the war, was recovered on Tuesday last, by Mr. Lawrence Cole, in Alexandria.  Mr. C. did not know who possessed it, as he received it through the hands of a third party.

The new brick depot of the O.A.&M. Railroad has been completed and is a credit, alike to the energetic and capable General Superintendent of the road, and to the village of Manassas.

One day last week some one on entering the Clerk's office at Brentsville was surprised at seeing a large black snake resting in one of the corners of the room near the ceiling. It is needless to say that his snakeship did not remain long in that position.

A lady while gathering blackberries near Brentsville last week, made a very narrow escape from the bite of a copper head moccasin. Fortunately she saw it just as it was coiled to strike, and it was dispatched before it could do any harm.

An effort is being made to induce the O.A.&M. R.R. Co. to put a train on their road to carry milk, produce, and local travel early in the day and to return at night.

On Saturday last while some of our farmers were congregated in the store of Mr. F. J. Cannon, two of them became engaged in wrestling, and one of them, named Henry Payne, falling heavily against the counter, broke two of his ribs.

Mr. Homer who recently purchased in the vicinity of Greenwich, met with a painful and dangerous accident on Thursday last. He was going through a gate and while leading his horse through, the animal took fright, and starting to run, caught Mr. H., between one of the wheels and the gate post, inflicting severe injuries.

~ ~ ~ 

[I love reading the local items that go beyond "news," providing snapshots of lives, personalities, and lore.  They help to flesh out the images of our ancestors.  As an example, through this particular news article I learned that my 3rd great grandfather, Lawrence Cole, was responsible for recovering the "lost" PWCo seal "through the hands of a third party."  I can't help but wonder how my grandfather became an intermediary and the circumstances leading up to the exchange that lead to the seal's recovery. ~cgl]