Historical Figure of the Week

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Thornton Weldon Berrey (1868-1906)

Thornton Weldon Berrey (1868-1906) was born in Madison County, Virginia and graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in law.  He married Caroline Stewart Bryan (1875-1962), the daughter of Stafford's Clerk of Court Charles Adams Bryan.  T. Weldon Berrey practiced law in Stafford and, for the last three years of his life, operated a fishery on the Marlborough peninsula.

Robert Beaty (died 1826)

In 1811 Robert Beaty (died 1826) was a second lieutenant of cavalry in the 45th regiment of Virginia militia (Stafford County).  Prior to 1806 he was a member of Hartwood Baptist Church, but that year was dismissed to join Rock Hill Baptist Church.  He was a resident of Prince William County in 1810 when he purchased 130 acres on Aquia Run, now part of the Marine Crops reservation.

William Churchill Beale (1791-1850)

William Churchill Beale (1791-1850) was the son of William Beale (c.1755-1821) and Hannah Gordon (1758-c.1820) of Fauquier County.  His first wife was Susan Vowles (1772-before 1834) of Falmouth.  In 1834 he married secondly in Fredericksburg Jane Briggs Howison (1815-1882). William and Jane spent their first five years of marriage in what is now known as the Conway House in Falmouth before moving to Fredericksburg.  In 1825 Beale purchased from James Vass (1770-1837), a Scottish merchant and mill owner in Falmouth, a half-interest in the Thistle Flour Mill that Vass had built next to the Rappahannock River around 1812.  This was the most technologically advanced of the several flour mills in Falmouth and was described in a newspaper advertisement as "a large and commodious mill…to which is annexed every description of machinery eligible, convenient, useful, or essential to the complete and perfect operation of the said mill"… Continue reading

William Pierce Bayly (1773-1842)

William Pierce Bayly (1773-1842) was the son of Pierce Bayly (1742-1801) and Mary Payne (1754-1826) of Loudoun County, Virginia.  Prior to 1800 William and his father operated a general merchandise store in the village of Aquia in Stafford.  This site was lost to the development of Aquia Harbour subdivision.  After his father's death in 1801, William and his brother, John Bayly, kept the store at Aquia.  William married Mary Lester Grymes, the daughter of Benjamin Grymes (1744-1805) of Orange County, Virginia.  William P. Bayly owned Auburn, a farm that's now part of the Marine Corps reservation.

Ketura Barret (1746-1794)

Ketura Barret (1746-1794) was the illegitimate daughter of Sarah Barret of St. Paul's Parish, now King George County.  Ketura had an illegitimate son, Thomas Con(a)way Barret (1779-1825), by Thomas Conaway whose name was included in a 1785 business ledger from the town of Aquia in Stafford.  Ketura then moved in with Charles Porter (c.1729-1788) who lived on and cut freestone from the Rock Rimmon quarry on Aquia Creek.  She never married Charles, but by him had five known daughters.  After Porter's death, Ketura married Robert Miller who may also have been a quarryman.  Nothing is known of Miller, but at Rock Rimmon Ketura has a beautifully inscribed gravestone naming her as Mrs. Ketura Miller, wife of Robert Miller.  Thomas Conaway Barret inherited Porter's quarry.  He changed his name to Thomas Barrett Conway and continued cutting freestone there.

William Barber (1787-1881)

William Barber (1787-1881) was one of Stafford's most prominent nineteenth century citizens, yet relatively little is known of him or his family.  He was the son of Edward Barber (died c.1843) who lived near Deep Run on the western side of Stafford.  William married Sarah Roy Mason (c.1799-after 1870), the daughter of Col. Enoch Mason of Clover Hill.  In 1825 William was Commandant of the Troop of Stafford in the 45th regiment of Virginia militia; in 1828 he was a captain.  He lived at Wyoming, his farm in the northwestern part of the county.  This was part of the property taken by the 1942 government condemnation for the expansion of the Quantico Marine Corps base.  William Barber seems not to have left any children.

William Ball (1768-1815)

This William Ball (1768-1815) was not of the Virginia Ball family, but was born in Pennsylvania, a fact that causes confusion as both he and several of his Virginia Ball counterparts lived simultaneously in the White Oak area of Stafford.  He was the son of William Ball (died 1782) and Martha Brumfield and owned and resided at Chapel Green in White Oak.  The younger William married Jane Vernon, the widow of Abner Vernon (died 1793), the Quaker bookkeeper at James Hunter's Iron Works near Falmouth.

Charles Thornton Alexander (1790-1842)

Charles Thornton Alexander (1790-1842) was the son of William Alexander (1758-1804) of Stafford.  He appears in the records as Thornton Alexander and was the brother of Lewis Alexander (1776-1827), Falmouth merchant.  He was a veteran of the War of 1812 and worked as a tavern keeper and slave trader.  In 1816 he married Frances A. Waller of Stafford.  In 1819 Thornton took over Moses Phillips' old ordinary (tavern) near the courthouse.  He maintained an ordinary license from that time until 1831.  The following yer the license was granted to his wife, Frances.  Thornton was a member of the Fredericksburg and Falmouth Masonic lodges from 1816 to 1826.  He and his brother moved from Stafford to Washington, DC where Thornton continued in the tavern business.  Frances may have died as he married a woman named Almira.  Around 1837 he and… Continue reading

Thomas Alcock (1744-1834)


Thomas Alcock (1744-1834) was the son of William Alcock (died 1768) of Caroline County. Like his father, Thomas was involved in Caroline County affairs, serving as tobacco inspector at Roy's Warehouse in 1778. In 1772 he married Fanny Hackett who seems to have died shortly thereafter. His second wife was Anne Roane (c,1757-1836) of Caroline County. Thomas was a veteran of the American Revolution, having served in Col. Philip Buckner's company. Sometime prior to 1797 Thomas and Anne moved to Stafford. In 1798 he acquired Spotted Tavern, a long established facility that catered to people traveling between Fauquier County and the Falmouth-Fredericksburg area. Thomas also owned what became known as Alcock's Mill, both the tavern and mill being located off Spotted Tavern Road (Route 614) in Stafford. He bred fine racehorses, a very popular activity amongst the affluent.

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