Historical Figure of the Week

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.