Historical Figure of the Week

John Howard Skinker (1814-1867)

John Howard Skinker (1814-1867) was the son of Samuel Hampson (1785-1856) and Margaret Wilson Julian (c.1784-1863).  Samuel devised his Stafford plantation, Oakley, to John Howard and to Samuel's unmarried daughters, Louisa Virginia Knox Skinker (1828-1886) and Lucy E. Scott Skinker (1807-1896).  Early in his life, John studied law, medicine, and divinity, though he never practiced the latter two.  He served as a justice in Stafford and as an editor of a newspaper in Warrenton.  During the War Between the states, John H. Skinker supported the Union and was an outcast amongst his kinsmen.  He served as a lieutenant colonel under Gen. Marsena Patrick.  After the war, he practiced law in  Washington and died unmarried.

Rodham P. Shelkett (1822-1899)

Rodham P. Shelkett (1822-1899) was the son of John Shelkett (1793-1857) and Nancy Stark (1786-1834) of Stafford County, Virginia.  The Shelketts lived in northern Stafford on a farm called Locust Grove.  This is now part of the Quantico Marine Corps reservation.  While the Shelkett family had a grist mill near their home, they supported themselves primarily by farming.  Rodham Shelkett married Virginia Lulu Daffan (1833-1875).  He died of cancer.

Thomas Seddon (1779-1831)

Thomas Seddon (1779-1831) was the son of John Seddon (c.1735-c.1812) of Stafford County, Virginia.  Early in his life, Thomas was a merchant in Falmouth.  His home there stood on the north side of Washington Street very near the bridge over Falls Run.  Later, he moved to Fredericksburg where he became the cashier of the Farmers Bank of Virginia.  His father divided his Potomac Run plantation, called Oakland, between Thomas and his sister, Nancy Seddon (c.1769-1854).  Nancy, who never married, seems to have inherited the house.  This tract stretched from Glencairne northward to include the Crane's Corner area as well as much of the land around the site of Potomac SMC Mulch Company.  Thomas was a magistrate in Stafford from at least 1806 to 1810.  His obituary stated that he was "remarkable for great strength and rapidity of mind; clear-sighted and penetrating in… Continue reading

John Seddon (1826-1863)

John Seddon (1826-1863) was the son of Thomas Seddon (1779-1831) of Stafford County, Virginia.  John lived at Snowden on the Rappahannock River east of Fredericksburg, having purchased the property in 1847 from the Morson family.  During the War Between the States, Union troops sailing up the Rappahannock may have thought the farm belonged to John's brother, James A Seddon (1815-1880), Secretary of War for the Confederacy.  The soldiers ordered the family out of the house and then opened fire, burning the elegant brick house to the ground as the family watched helplessly.  John Seddon was a  magistrate in Stafford County from at least 1852 to 1860.

Thomas Cropper Scott (1791-1857)

Thomas Cropper Scott (1791-1857) was the only son of Ann Taylor (died c.1838) and an unknown Scott.  Ann married secondly Joseph Browne (died 1806).  Thomas was a merchant in Falmouth and resided at Clearview.  He operated a store on the corner of Washington and Cambridge Streets and had another store on White Ridge road, which is now that part of Garrisonville Road as it enters Fauquier County.  Thomas married Mary Lucinda Seddon (died 1846), the daughter of Thomas Seddon (1779-1831) of Stafford County.  The 1830 census listed Thomas C. Scott with 18 slaves.  In 1843 he paid taxes on 7 slaves, 5 horses, 1 metal clock, 1 "common silver watch," 353 acres in Stafford, and 15 lots in the town of Falmouth.  Thomas C. Scott was a veteran of the War of 1812 and owned land in Kentucky as well as in Prince William and Stafford Counties.

John P. Schooler (1812-1875)

John P. Schooler (1812-1875) was the son of Abner Schooler (1774-after 1870) of Stafford.  His middle name may have been Peyton.  John lived at Orchard Field on the south side of Aquia Creek and conducted the Gourds Fishery nearby.  He married Laurinda Jones (1815-1874) of Stafford.

John Savage (1706-c.1743)

John Savage (1706-c.1743) was one of the surveyors chosen in 1736 to ascertain the boundaries of the Northern Neck Proprietary.  My mid-October of that year, then party of surveyors and their assistants were deep inside the Virginia wilderness and were short of food.  Col. William Byrd wrote that the party was "almost reduced to the hard necessity of cutting up the most useless person among them, Mr. Savage, in order to support and save the lives of the rest."  Byrd was noted for his sense of humor, presumably writing the statement in that vain.  John Savage owned a good deal of land in what's now the Marine Corps reservation in northern Stafford County.  He was the official surveyor of Stafford from at least 1723 to 1731.

Kenaz Ralls (1763-1845)

Kenaz Ralls (1763-1845) was the son of Edward Ralls (1725-1785) and Mary Rawleigh (died c.1804) of Stafford County, Virginia.  Most of the Ralls family lived in the northern part of Stafford on land that's now part of the Quantico Marine Corps base.  During the American Revolution, Kenaz served as a substitute in Capt. Warren's company of the Prince William County militia.  In 1793 Kenaz was overseer of the "Acquia Road beginning at the Marsh Road and running from thence to the borders of Fauquier."  He resided in Stafford for a while, but lived his later years in Fauquier County

Thomas Porter (c.1673-c.1740)

Thomas Porter (c.1673-c.1740) came to Stafford County, Virginia from Maryland.  He married Anne Howson Calvert (c.1691-after 1742).  Their sons cut freestone from the quarries on Aquia Creek for many years.  Thomas and his family lived near their quarry on Rock Rimmon on the north side of Aquia Creek.  Some of this area is now occupied by Aquia Overlook subdivision.  The Porters also owned property along Hope Road (Route 687) on the south side of the creek.

Mason Pilcher (1742-1790)

Mason Pilcher (1742-1790) was the son of Moses Pilcher of Stafford County, Virginia.  Mason was a tobacco inspector at the Falmouth tobacco warehouse from at least 1778 to 1781.  He was mentioned in the British Mercantile Claims (May 1801 - May 1802) as owing £41.18.21 to a Fredericksburg store.  The notation in the claim read, "He died about 13 years ago possessed of considerable  property but very much in debt.  His executrix proceeded to sell and pay immediately after his death, but the estate was found inadequate."  While the Pilcher family resided in Stafford for many years, relatively little is known about them.