This Month in Stafford History May 2016

Bell View was the home of Thomas Ludwell Lee (1730-1778) and overlooked Potomac Creek near Belle Plain in White Oak.  During the War Between the States, the farm was owned by the Catlett family.  Like most Stafford residents after the war, the Catletts were very poor.  A newspaper noticed announced their good fortune, though some of the details are suspect:

 

"A few weeks ago, a Stafford youth, alike to fame and fortune both unknown, while ploughing over the site of an old pre-revolutionary building, drove his ploughshare through a box of gold coins.   When first revealed to his sight, the young man could not realize his good fortune; but on close examination found the treasure to be genuine, old British gold; guineas, sovereigns and several old Spanish coins.  This treasure was found by one of the Catletts, on the old Bellevue farm, near Potomac creek, on the site of a commanding eminence, once crowned with a large brick dwelling, built during the last century, of bricks brought over from England by two wealthy Scotchmen, who according to report, disappeared during the revolutionary war and have never since been heard of.  The building gradually fell away, until during the late war, the United States troops camped in that vicinity, removed every vestige, down to the last brick of the foundation, to make chimneys for their winter quarters.  Since that time the spot has been cultivated, and the processes of cultivation and the action of the weather, by degrees wore away the covering of earth and the fickle goddess, for once at least, conferred her favors, not with her usual blindness, but with some discrimination upon those to whom it would do the most good.  Accounts vary as to the amount found, some alleging it to be hundreds of pieces, and others a much smaller number.  It is very certain however, that a considerable number have found their way into the hands of some of our collectors of old coins.  The pieces are dated from as far back as 1715, but most of them are about one hundred years old, and just as bright and clean as when they left the mint" (Virginia Star, May 12, 1877).