Sunday, April 23, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Franklin Turner

Alexandria Gazette
6 October 1860

The following notice of the death of Mr. Franklin Turner is from the Missouri Statesman, and its republication in the Alexandria Gazette is requested. Mr. T. was an intelligent citizen, firm in his political principles of the Whig school, and one of the most obliging neighbors I ever knew. "He was my friend, faithful and just to me.      S.

Prince William County, Va.,

     On Sunday morning, the 16th ult., at 2 o'clock at the residence of his son, George A Turner, in Columbia, Boone County, Missouri, after a protract illness of Typhoid Fever, which he bore with Christian fortitude, Franklin Turner, of Saline county, and formerly of Prince William county, Virginia, aged about 54 years and six months.

The deceased was a kind and loving husband and father, and was at the time of his death a consistent member of the Old School Baptist Church of which he had been a member for over twenty-five years; and die with the full hope of the Christian, loving, trusting and believing on the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. His last words spoken were that "he knew the Lord was on his side."

He breathed his last in sweet sleep, calmly and without a struggle; "blessed are the righteous who die in the fear of the Lord." His death is deeply mourned by an aged widow and four affectionate children, and many friends.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Mary F. Elgin

Baltimore American
31 December 1905

Mrs. Mary F. Elgin, who died on December 22, was buried Sunday, December 24, in the family lot at Fairfax, Va. She was 72 years old and was the mother of 13 children. She is survived by her husband and the following children: Mrs. Mary C. Brown of Prince William county Va.; Mrs. Sallie A. Dyer, of Birk [Burke], Va.; Mrs. Rebecca Fairfax, of Washington, D.C.; Ernest T. Elgin, of Washington; Thomas J., John and Isaac Elgin, of Fairfax county, Va.; Edgar Elgin, of Philadelphia, and Milton and Clinton Elgin, of Baltimore.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Indentured Servant - Ranaway (Walter Wilcoxen)

Alexandria Advertiser
14 April 1804

Twenty Dollars Reward

Ranaway from the subscriber on Saturday the 7 inst. an apprentice boy named Walter Wilcoxen, about 5 feet 6 or 7 inches high, he took away with him two long coats, one roundabout jacket, blue pantaloons, and some other clothes. It is expected he has gone to his fathers in Prince William County, about thirty miles from town, near Hoe's old mill, on Occ[a]quan Creek. The above reward will be paid for delivering the said Walter Wilcoxen to the subscriber, and all reasonable charges, provided he is not brought back by those who were accessary to his running away.

Thomas Preston

N.B. I forwarn all persons from harboring or employing him as I will prosecute them, as far as the law will allow.


April 11

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Edward D. Meetze

Richmond Times Dispatch
25 November 1916


[Special to the Times-Dispatch]

Manassas, VA, November 24 - Edward D. Meetze, an inspector in the United States engineer service, dropped dead in Washington yesterday.  He was fifty-nine years old, a native of Lexington, S.C. and for many years had been a vestryman of the Church of the Ascension, Washington.  He leaves his wife, five daughters, his father and six brothers, two of whom, C.J. Meetze, Prince William County representative in the House of Delegates, and H.Y. Meetze, live in Manassas.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Society Saturday: Independent Hill Items (21 December 1917)

Manassas Journal
21 December 1917

Independent Hill

An ice cream and box social will be held at Hayfield School tomorrow evening for the benefit of the School and Civic League. A very interesting program is to be rendered, including a popular girl contest. The young ladies are requested to bring boxes and cakes. The public is cordially invited to attend.

A party was given recently at the home of Mr. David Copen. Among the guests from this section were Mr. and Mrs. Philip Weber, Miss Lillian Garrison, Messrs. Earl Lynn, Austin Greenwood, Newton Sayers, Richard Thorp, Max Weber and Leslie Merritt.

Miss Lillian Greenwood has been visiting relatives in Washington.

Mr. John Norman has moved to Dumfries.

Miss Mary Weber, who teaches at Purcell, will spend the holidays with her parents.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: William M. Nalls (1856)

Alexandria Gazette
4 December 1856

DIED, Mr. WILLIAM M. NALLS, at the hour of 3 o'clock, A.M., December 3rd, in the 65th year of his age, after a lingering illness of three months.  Mr. Nalls was formerly of Prince William County, Va., and previous to his removal to this city, about twelve months since, he resided several years at the Columbian College, Washington city, D.C.  He was for many years a member of the Baptist Church.  The remains will be carried from his late residence, corner of Henry and Wilkes streets, this morning, to the Depot, thence by Railroad to Thoroughfare Station, where they will be interred.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

What's New: Partial PWCo Deed Index

For those researchers who are unable to visit the many historic sites and genealogical resources in PWCo, I highly recommend Ron Turner's website

For many years, this dedicated gentleman has been transcribing, annotating, and publishing a wide range of material -- including court documents, vital records, and census records. 

Ron recently updated his website under the published works page to include a partial index of PWCo Deeds (Books A-Z). 

Thank you, Ron!!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Sunday's Obituary Anna Ward (1852)

Alexandria Gazette
11 February 1852

OBITUARY - Died, on the morning of the 6th instant, in the village of Occoquan, at the house of Dr. A. H. Saunders, Mrs. ANNA WARD, relict of Z. Ward, esq., at the advanced age of nearly 87 years. Thus has terminated a very long and well-spent, and most exemplary life. Rare, indeed, are such examples set, as the life of the deceases has exhibited. None remain who knew her but to praise her, and revere her memory. Few have lived who so endearingly impressed their character upon the community around them. Her life was a daily and shining example of the affectionate mother, and exemplary and kind mistress, and useful, humane, and benevolent neighbor. It may be truly said of her that her whole life was one of duty and of usefulness in her day and generation. She was a professor of religion, a member of the Baptist Church, and died firmly relying on Jesus Christ as the Saviour of sinners, as the only name under Heaven whereby sinners can be saved.

Prince William, February 9, 1852
[Warrenton Flag, please copy]

[Anna/Anne Ward's Last Will and Testament can be found HERE. - cgl]

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Church Record Sunday: Prince William Auxiliary Bible Society (1829)

Alexandria Gazette
29 May 1829


Brentsville, May 3d, 1829

   The Annual Meeting of the Prince William Bible Society appointed to be held on yesterday, having been prevented by rain, the members thereof, sufficient to proceed to business, assembled to-day in the Court-House; and, the President being absent, on motion, the Rev. Elias Harrison, of Alexandria, late Corresponding Secretary to the Young Men's Bible Society of Alexandria, who favored the Society with is presence, was called to preside over the meeting.  The following Report was then read by the Corresponding Secretary, and adopted:


   The period fixed by the constitution of the Prince William County Bible Society for its Annual Meeting, and a Report of the Board of Managers, for the past year, having arrived, they beg lleave, respectfully, to present the following statement:

   In the first instance, its their duty to acknowledge the favorable circumstances under which they are permitted to meet together at this time, calling for the unreserved homage of their grateful acknowledgments to the Giver of all Good; and, although they are thus favored by their Divine Parent, they have to deprecate and lament the many deficiencies, on their part, in discharging those duties imposed upon them from the nature of their trust; but they, are nevertheless, encouraged to persevere, from the circumstances that they are not left wholly without hope of the ultimate success of the important work in which they are engaged. The means to perpetuate it are within their reach, and are attainable by proper management and renewed energies--which are alike indispensable to the accomplishment of all objects of importance. That Christianity has elevated the character of man, ,and blessed him, in the various relations he has sustained in this life, we presume will not be denied by many.  We must shut our eyes against the light of truth, if we do not yield implicit faith to the exalting virtues of our divine religion. We can, perhaps, form some estimate of its value and influence, by supposing that it had never shed its light and blessings upon us. -- What, then, would have been our condition, or the state of the world? In all probability, the gross darkness which benighted mankind int eh first ages, and, in some degree, now extends over our happy and beloved country, would have been perpetuated.  The "Star that attracted the curiosity of the Wise Men of the East," has become a sun of light to the  human race; and wherever its light reached, it has been the parent of civilization, of knowledge, and of virtue. Christianity being a revelation from God, recorded in the Bible, it must be obvious that we can never have a just and satisfactory view of its doctrines, unless we are possessed of the writings that promulgate them. In diffusing these sacred books, we, of course, render an all important benefit to our country; hence we should feel the importance of extending these lights to our fellow creatures of every condition, which would enable them to act correctly, and to appreciate justly the advantages and blessings we enjoy over every other nation, and above all, open the way to a state of unchangeable bliss.

   It gives them pleasure to state, that no occurrence has transpired, in the discharge of their duties, calculated to injure the cause -- They have endeavored to act upon what they conceive to be the spirit and intention of the constitution, and feel assured no instance can be adduced, in which secrarian feelings have had any influence in the discharge of their duties.

   Since the appointment of Managers, in the first instance, the names of Joseph A. Williamson and Wallace McCrea, Esqs. have been added to the list--the former to supply the vacancy, occasioned by the death of James Howerson, and the latter that of Dr. James B. C. Thornton, who has not rendered himself eligible by signing our constitution.

   As yet we have accomplished but little in the distribution of Bibles and Testaments, in consequence of inattention on the part of some of the Agents, and for the ant of time by the Treasurer to make collections and reports of the state of the funds. We have not the means of ascertaining, with any degree of accuracy, the number of persons destitute of the Scriptures within the county but, from the facts that have come to our knowledge, there is a much larger number than was anticipated.

   From the Treasurer's account, as audited, it appears that the sum of $25 have been laid out in procuring 14 Bibles and 70 Testaments -- nearly all of which have been distributed in various parts of the county by Agents appointed for that purpose. There remains, at present, in his hands the sum of $9 89 cents, to be laid out as heretofore; and the sum of $26 is yet to be collected from the list of the year now closed.

   Some remarks having been made by the Chairman, on the importance of the cause in which the members of the institution are mutually engages; the necessity of free expression of sentiment by the members, as to the most advantageous measures to be adopted; and the salutary effect of a resolution to go forward; and not to be content with small calculations, as to the work to be performed during the year upon which we had just entered--

On motion, it was
   Resolved, That the members of this institution will, in the course of the present year, if accompanied by the blessing of Providence, furnish each destitute family in the County of Prince William with a copy of the Holy Scriptures.

On motion,
   Resolved, That the constitution be so amended, that the annual meeting of this Society shall, in future, be held on the 4th Sabbath in March; at which time a delegate shall be appointed to attend the subsequent annual meeting of the Young Men's Bible Society of Alexandria.

On motion,
   Resolved, That we now proceed to the election of Officers for the present year.

Whereupon the following persons were duly elected:

   William J. Weir, President
   Richard Foote, 1st Vice President
   Francis T. Cheris, 2d Vice President
   Thomas R. Hampton,   Corr. Secretary
   Joseph A. Williamson, Treasurer
   Larkin N. Sanders, Recording Sec'y.

John S. Trone, George Washington Renoe, Robt. Latham, Bazil Brawner, James B. Ewell, Fitzhuh Carter, Joseph R. Lynn, Henry L. Lewis, George W. Fitzhugh, and Wesley Fitzhugh, Managers.

   Resolved, That the thanks of this Society be tendered to the President thereof, for his activity and zeal during the past year.

   And the meeting is adjourned.

Teste:  TH. R. HAMPTON, Cor. Secretary.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Rut Johnson / Asa Pickett

Alexandria Gazette
7 October 1824

On the 30th Sept. at his residence in Prince William county, Va., Mr. Rut Johnson, sen aged 82 years; long a respectable inhabitant of that county. Of him, it may be truly said, he was an honest and good man, the noblest work of God.

Republican Farmer (Bridgeport, CT)
1 October 1844

In Dumfries, Prince William county, Va., Asa Pickett, Esq., formerly of New Milford, CT, aged about 38.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Philip Lewis Burwell

Evening Times (Cumberland, MD)
30 May 1909


Mr. P. Lewis Burwell Died Suddenly Yesterday, Aged 75 Years

Mr. Philip Lewis Burwell, formerly of Mt. Savage, and identified for many years with the business interests of this county, died suddenly yesterday at his country place, near Hay Market, Prince William county, Va., aged 75 years.

Mr. Burwell is survived by his wife and three children: Mrs. Reginald L. McAll, of New York city; Miss Louisa Burwell, and Mr. Lewis Carter Burwell, of the home place, near Haymarket, Va. He was a brother-in-law of Dr. B. M. Cromwell, of Eckhart, this county, who married Mr. Burwell's sister, the latter having died some years since.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Newspaper Tidbit: Jail Escape: James Cornwell

Alexandria Gazette
10 October 1810


ALEXANDER HENDERSON, one of the Commonwealth's Justices of the Peace of the said County, to all Sheriffs, Mayors, Bailiffs, Constables and Headboroughs, within the Commonwealth of Virginia.

WHEREAS complaint is made to me this day, upon the oath of Samuel Davis, that James Cornwell, laborer, who was lately committed to the jail of the said county of Prince William, by warrant from Henry Washington, a Justice of the Peace for the said county, on suspicion of felony, did on the night of the twenty-sixth instant did forcibly escape from the said jail, and is now going at large. These are therefore, in the name of the Commonwealth, to require you, and every of you, in your respective counties, cities, towns and precincts, to make diligent search, by way of hue and cry for the said James Cornwell, and, having found, to sieze [sic] and retake, and safely convey, or cause him to be safely conveyed, to the jail of the said county of Prince William, there to be kept until he shall be thence discharged by due course of the law.

Given under my hand and seal this twenty eighth day of September, 1810.

A. Henderson (Seal)

Dumfries, Sept. 30-Oct. 3. d2w

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: Chap Steel / Jason Ketcham

Alexandria Gazette
17 February 1875

FROZEN TO DEATH. -- An old man living in Prince William county, near Burke's Station, named Chap Steel, is reported to have been found dead and frozen stiff in his house a day or two ago.  He lived alone.

Alexandria Gazette
16 November 1874

On Friday morning, November 13th, 1874, at his residence, in Manassas, of bilious intermittent fever, Mr. Jason Ketcham, aged 51 years.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Friend of Friends Friday: Ranaway (Wallace)

Alexandria Gazette
1 January 1850

$100 REWARD -- Ranaway from the subscriber, on Thursday 27th ult., negro man WALLACE, who is about 21 years old, stout and well built, dark color, bushy head of hair, 5 feet 6 or 8 inches high; he had a scar on one of his legs; had on when he left a dark mixed full Cloth Short Coat, light Cassinet Pants, and black Cloth Cap; he had two or three suits of Clothing with him, among them a pair of black Cassinet Pants, and a pair of full Cloth ones; also a blue Cassinet Sack Coat.

I will give the above reward of $100 if taken out of the State of Virginia, and $50 in said State; in either case he must be secured in jail, so that I get him again. All reasonable expenses paid if delivered to me in Dumfries, Va.

Robert Alexander

Dumfries, Va., jan 1-eo2w
[Leesburt Washingtonian]

Monday, January 16, 2017

Mystery Monday: John Henderson

United States Telegraph (Washington, DC)
1 January 1829


Of a Mr. JOHN HENDERSON, about 45 or 50 years of age, a native of Scotland, who lived near Dumfries, Prince William County, Virginia, and moved from there about 20 years ago and more. Settled afterwards, not far from Bath, then of Berkely County, Virginia, and who, about six years ago, left there for North Carolina. Should this reach the eye of any one who knows where he resides, the information will be thankfully received by one interested in his fortunes.  Address to M. H. Georgetown, D.C.

Dec 29-3t

[I wonder if the seeker ever caught up with Mr. Henderson.  --cgl]

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday's Obituary: James Nokes

Critic-Record (Washington, DC)
4 Septmeber 1875

Died.  NOKES. -- At his residence, Nokesville, Prince William county, Virginia, on Thursday, September the 2d, James Nokes, in the sixty-eighth year of his age, a native of Winchester, Virginia, but for forty-five years a resident of this city.

His funeral will take place on Sunday afternoon, September 5th, at 3 o'clock, from the residence of his son, No. 509 Second street north west.  The friends and acquaintances of the family are respectfully invited to attend.

[In 1865, James Nokes was a witness for David Herold in the conspiracy trial before the military court with regard to President Lincoln's assassination.  He is buried in Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.  --cgl]

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Family Tree Maker: To update or not to update?

In this age of computers and digital information, software to keep track of ancestors and their history has become a must-have for the armchair genealogist and professionals alike.  Each software program has its advantages and disadvantages as well as strengths and weaknesses.  Essentially, the software you choose is what works for you -- from complicated charts and electronic filing to simple, easy to use trees.

I have been using Family Tree Maker ("FTM") since the 1990s.  It has always been simple to use and flexible; so much so that I never felt the urge or the need to change.  The software developer also made annual updates and upgrades to the program that helped it keep up with the times as genealogy research began to migrate from paper to online resources.  

The rights and developers for FTM changed hands a number of times, until they were eventually purchased by, the online giant that has a reputation for snapping up smaller genealogy sites and programs and turning them into vehicles for the company's profit.  While Ancestry maintained the software for a number of years, in December 2016 it announced that it would no longer support Family Tree Maker, leaving long-time users to fret (again) over what would happen to their years of research and data.  

Ancestry has since announced that the rights to Family Tree Maker have been acquired by MacKiev Software.   Last week, MacKiev began selling an updated version of Family Tree Maker on their website for both MAC and Windows platforms.  According to both Ancestry and MacKiev, the software will continue to be able to access Ancestry's 'leaf hints' in addition to incorporating new features.  

MacKiev has provided an FAQ for long-time users of FTM.  For those with significantly older versions of the program (mine is the 2009 edition), MacKiev is offering an upgrade for purchase.

Having invested more than 15 years in FTM, I am personally torn between upgrading this popular software with yet another "owner/developer" or whether it's time to explore other genealogy software avenues.  Especially since either option requires my spending hard-earned $$.

Decisions, decisions ...

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Happy New Year!


     We wish to express to our patrons and customers our appreciation of their trading with us, and trust that we may be favored with a continuance of their patronage.
     During the coming year we hope to serve you with greater efficiency than before, and we hope you will make our store your marketing place.
     A happy and prosperous NEW YEAR to you!

J. L. BUSHONG, Grocer
Service - Quality - Courtesy
Manassas, Virginia

[29 December 1921 Manassas Journal]

Echoing Grocer Bushong's sentiment from 1921, I would like to thank my readers for taking the time to visit this blog and for your contributions over the years.  My resolution for 2017 is to include more articles of substance in addition to transcriptions of newspaper and court documents.

Wishing you a 2017 full of happiness and blessings!