Historical Figure of the Week

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.

Moses Phillips (c.1736-1811)

Moses Phillips (c1736-1811) operated an ordinary to the immediate south of the present Stafford County Courthouse.  The Stafford court granted him licenses to keep the ordinary in 1780 and 1785 and possibly during other years, as well.  Moses is thought to have been the son of William Phillips who emigrated from Wales to Philadelphia.  In Pennsylvania William married a descendant of William Penn, by whom he had eight children.  William Phillips eventually moved his family to Spotsylvania where Moses was born.  Around 1760 Moses married Sarah Jeffries (born c.1740) of Amherst County, Virginia by whom he had eight known children.  Moses left Stafford and moved to Mason County, Kentucky.  Shortly after arriving there, three of his sons, Moses, Jr. (c.1775-1787), Thomas, and John Phillips (born c.1773), were attached by Indians, the first two being killed and scalped.  John managed to escape.… Continue reading

Yelverton Peyton (1735-c.1782)

Yelverton Peyton (1735-c.1782) was the son of John Peyton (1691-1760) of Stony Hill.  Part of this farm is now occupied by Aquia Harbour subdivision.  Yelverton served as sheriff of Stafford County in 1776.  He married Elizabeth Heath (born c.1739), the daughter of Samuel Heath and Anne Johnston Gerard.  He seems to have resided on a tract later known as The Fleurry's, which was likely cut from Stony Hill.  The site of the Fleurry's house is now occupied by Aquia Town Center shopping center.  For a number of years prior to and during the American Revolution, Yelverton operated an ordinary/tavern known as Peyton's Ordinary.  This seems to have stood in the general vicinity of modern St. William of York Catholic Church on U. S. Route 1.  Elizabeth (Heath) Peyton operated the business after her husband's death.  In May 1783 Yelverton Peyton… Continue reading

Dr. Valentine Peyton (1756-1815)

Dr. Valentine Peyton (1756-1815) was the son of John Peyton (1691-1760) and Elizabeth (Rowzee) Waller (c.1715-1782) of Stony Hill, Stafford County.  During the American Revolution, Valentine served as a surgeon.  Around 1780 he married Mary Butler Washington (1760-1822), the daughter of Bailey Washington (1731-1807) and Catherine Storke (1723-1805) of Windsor Forest in Stafford.  Valentine and Mary lived at Tusculum, which is now part of the Marine Corps reservation.  Nearby was Peyton's Mill that ground corn and wheat for local farmers.  After the Revolution, Valentine operated a boarding school at Tusculum.

Henry Peyton (1744-1814)

Henry Peyton (1744-1814) was the son of Yelverton Peyton (1735-c.1782) of Stafford County.  Yelverton operated Peyton's Ordinary, which stood on or near the site of modern St. William of York Catholic Church on U. S. Route 1.  Henry spent part of his adult life in Prince William County where he served as sheriff.  From 1796 to 1804 he was one of the inspectors at the Aquia/Woodstock tobacco warehouse on Aquia Creek.

Fountain Peyton (1861-1951)

Many slaves lived in Stafford, but the names of most have been lost to history. A number of those who were able to leave the county and get to Washington or elsewhere became successful. Fountain Peyton was one such man. Born a slave in Stafford, he became a successful attorney in Washington, DC. This article is based upon material fond in The Washington Bee, a newspaper that served Washington’s Negro population during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The author has supplemented the material contained therein.

Fountain Peyton was born a slave in Stafford County, the son of Wingfield Peyton and Mary (Whiting) Peyton (born c.1838). Mary was born and raised in the Clift and Moncure families. When she was bout twenty years of age, a death in her owner’s family resulted in her being sold to a slave trader who sent her to Richmond preparatory to shipping her… Continue reading

John Peden (1820-1892)

John Peden (1820-1892) was the son of David Peden of Baltimore County, Maryland.  He was a millwright by profession and lived on Warrenton Road (U. S. Route 17) north of Falmouth.  He married Louisa E. Curtis (1829-1915), the daughter of Fielding Curtis (1793-1844) and Anne C. Leach (c.1798-after 1860).  Following the War Between the States, John Peden submitted a claim to the Southern Claims Commission asking to be reimbursed for $1,970.87 worth of fuel taken from him by the Union army.  He was granted $987.50.  John was one of the original commissioners appointed to oversee the building of a free bridge across the Rappahannock River at Falmouth.  He served as a bridge commissioner from at least 1872 to 1891, much of that time as president.  He was buried in the Confederate Cemetery in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  John Peden's son, William H. Peden… Continue reading

William Matthew Norman (c.1838-1918)

William M. Norman (c.1838-1918) was the son of Thomas Norman (c.1790-1846) and Mildred Ficklen Hill (1804-1886) of Edge Hill in the Wide Water area of Stafford County, Virginia.  During the War Between the States, William served with the 9th Virginia Cavalry.  In April 1862 he was held in Falmouth as a prisoner of war.  For a few years after the war, Norman partnered with James Edward Schooler (c.1833-1898) in a general merchandise store near Stafford Courthouse.  In 1870 he was working at a sawmill but, according to his obituary, was an invalid for the last forty years of his life.  William M. Norman was the last of the Norman family to live at their family homeplace, Edge Hill.  He died unmarried.