Historical Figure of the Week
Abraham Primmer (1811-1896)
Abraham Primmer (1811-1896) was a native of Chemung County, New York. After moving to Stafford around 1854, he lived at Bellair, an old Fitzhugh plantation on Leeland Road (Route 625). This was known more recently as the Walnut Farm. The house tract of this farm is now occupied by Leeland Station subdivision and Primmer House Road runs right through the old dwelling site. Abraham was the son of Peter Primmer and Pheoba Barnum (1784-1875) of New York. He married Elizabeth A. “Libby” Carter (1824-1888), the daughter of Johnson Carter, also from Chemung County and another transplant to Stafford. Johnson resided at Bellmeade, just north of Falmouth and across U. S. Route 1 from Glencairne. In 1856, Abraham Primmer was overseer of the road “from the corner of Peyton’s (formerly) now Roy’s fence on the road from Hopewell to Falmouth to the Potomac Creek road at the corner of Mrs. Coalter’s fence.” In 1861, he was listed in Stafford court records as overseer of the road “from the mouth of Cox’s Lane to the old Stage Road from Fredericksburg to Potomac Creek.” During the Civil War, Abraham was a Unionist.
James Austin Pollard (c.1832-1905)
Little is known of James A. Pollard’s personal life. He married Mary E. Douglas (born c.1835) and in 1859 was overseer of an unspecified section of road in Stafford. His obituary reads, “Mr. James Austin Pollard, aged 73 years, died at the home of his son, William T. Pollard, in Falmouth, Sunday, after a protracted illness, of complicated disease. He was a native of Stafford and served in the Confederate army. Several years ago, he moved to Glasgow, in Rockbridge county, and had charge of a large hotel built there in boom times. Later he returned to Falmouth. He is survived by one son, Mr. Wm. T. Pollard, and two daughters, Mrs. M. K. Lowery, of Brooke, and Miss Berta Pollard. His wife died several years ago while he was in Rockbridge and was buried in Lynchburg. Funeral services will take place from Union church in Falmouth Tuesday evening at 3 o’clock, conducted by Rev. Decatur Edwards. Interment in the cemetery there” (Free Lance, Dec. 19, 1905).
Silem Frederick Gustavus Phillips (1790-1871)
Silem Frederick Gustavus Phillips, who went by the name of Gusty, was the son of Col. William Phillips (1744-1797) and Elizabeth Ann Fowke (1747-c.1829) of Stafford County, Virginia. Gusty never married and resided with his two sisters on his father’s Traveler’s Rest farm, which is now included in the Marine Corps reservation. He was buried with several of his family members in the Warrenton City (Virginia) Cemetery. In 1835, Silem F. G. Phillips was overseer of an unspecified section of road in Stafford.
Simeon Conway Peyton (1829-1905)
Simeon C. Peyton was the son of Thomas Peyton (1790-1864) and Sarah Maddox (1794-1877) of Stafford County, Virginia. He married Roxanna T. Chinn (1836-1898). He was known locally as Sim Peyton and was involved in a number of business ventures, including cutting timber. Sim spent his winters in Fredericksburg where he operated a wood and coal yard as well as a livery and was “prepared to accommodate [the public] at all hours with hacks, buggies or saddle horses, at the shortest notice and on reasonable terms.” He also kept a wood yard at or near Belle Plains. One of the local newspapers carried a notice of a fire that destroyed some of his wood: “Heavy loss of Cord Wood – We regret to learn that Mr. Simeon Peyton, of Stafford County, had from eight hundred to a thousand cords of wood destroyed by fire, on Friday last. The wood was cut on Belle Plain farm, in the vicinity of Potomac creek, ready to be forwarded to Washington city market. An old colored man was burning corn-stalks in the vicinity, when the fire was communicated to the cord wood. Mr. Peyton had an insurance of $1000 on the wood, which is better than nothing, but his loss is still heavy.” Simeon’s house at Locust Grove survives and is still occupied as a dwelling. Sim Peyton held a variety of positions in Stafford County. In 1850, he was an overseer of the road “from the corner of William Warren’s land to the Lower Ferry on the Rappahannock River.” He was a Commissioner of Roads for Falmouth Township in 1875 and served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors from 1875 to 1881.
Charles Peyton (1761-1845)
Charles Peyton (1761-1845) was the son of Evan Peyton (c.1727-c.1781) of Stafford County, Virginia. Charles served in the American Revolution, possibly in Gwathmey’s Virginians of the 10th Continental line. In 1834, Charles was an overseer of the road in Stafford. The name of his wife is unknown, but he had issue: James Peyton (c.1801-after 1851), Ann Peyton (c.1802-1866), and Valentine Peyton (c.1805-c.1852). Valentine’s wife divorced him and he died in the Insane Hospital in Williamsburg, Virginia. Ann Peyton and her husband, Gustavus Limbrick (1797-1866), were murdered in their home in Stafford. This branch of the Peyton family lived at Woodlawn on Deacon Road (Route 607). Woodlawn subdivision not occupies part of their farm.
Arba Randolph Packard (1819-1902)
Arba R. Packard was originally from Massachusetts, but lived for many years at Glenmore in White Oak, Stafford County, Virginia. Arba held a number of public positions in Stafford County. In 1868, he was overseer of the road “from the Public Road near New Hope Church to the White Oak road along the lands of J. Stone, George P. King, A. R. Packard and others. That same year year, Arba and his wife, Frances Rebecca Elkins (c.1813-1887), donated one acre upon which New Hope Methodist Church was built. In 1872, he was appointed one of the commissioners of the Free Bridge between Falmouth and Fredericksburg. From 1872 to 1874, he was Overseer of the Poor for Falmouth Township. In 1887, a newspaper noticed announced that Arba was making superior quality brooms from broom corn grown on his farm. The writer stated, “One of these brooms will be sent to Uncle Sam on inauguration day.” Both Arba and Rebecca Packard are buried at New Hope Methodist Church.
William S. Monteith (1855-1903)
William S. Monteith lived near and was a member of Bethel Baptist Church. He held a a few public offices in Stafford County, Virginia, but made his living as a farmer and fisherman. He was a constable for the Falmouth District in 1885 and 1886. William was also Deputy Clerk of Court in 1885. In April 1903, William S. Monteith carried to Fredericksburg “a lot of fish and terrapins to the market here to-day, in which were several diamond back terrapins, which are not often seen in this market. They are in great demand in Washington and Baltimore, where the dish made from them is considered a rare delicacy. These diamond backs were caught in Potomac Creek in a net with fish” (Times Dispatch, Apr. 2, 1903). William was the brother of Amos K. Monteith and died of Bright’s disease (kidney failure).
Amos K. Monteith (1840-1910)
Amos K. Monteith (1840-1910)was the son of Thomas Monteith (1811-1858) and Nancy Limerick. During the War Between the States, he served with the 9th Virginia Cavalry. In 1868, Amos married the widow Sarah Eliza (Rowe) Jones, the daughter of John G. Rowe and Nancy McGuire. In 1877, Monteith was overseer of the road for an unspecified section. By 1882, he was overseer “from White Oak run to the run ab Babcock’s hill.”
In 1889, Amos was arrested and harged with taking money from a letter. The newspaper reported, “Upon information lodged yesterday through Commonwealth’s Attorney W. S. White, of Stafford, Officer Robinson arrested Mr. Amiss Monteith, of Stafford, charged with abstracting $84.73 from a letter belonging to Mr. James Bloxton, of that county. When arrested the prisoner was at the R. F. & P. depot, on his way to Washington, and denied the charge. He was taken to the Mayor’s Office, and telegrams sent to Stuart & Co. of Washington, who is claimed to have sent the money, but at the hour of going to press nothing had been heard, and the prisoner is still in custody. William A. Little, Jr., Esq., has been retained as counsel for the accused.”
George Easom Monroe (1855-1906)
George Easom Monroe (1855-1906) was the son of William A. Monroe (c.1823-after 1880) of Stafford County, Virginia. In 1877 he married Mary Thomas Downs (1853-1943), the daughter of Thomas William Downs (c.1825-1880) and Amanda Ellen Smith (c.1834-c.1868). George E. Monroe lived at Cedar Hedge in the heart of Stafford’s gold mines between Warrenton Road (U. S. Route 17) and the Rappahannock River. He was Overseer of the Poor for Hartwood District from 1889 to at least 1895. George served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors from 1897 to 1898. He was buried at his home. Cedar Hedge farm has been lost to the development of Stafford Estates subdivision, though the family cemetery and the house ruin survives.
Travers Daniel Moncure (1811-1886)
Travers Daniel Moncure (1811-1886) was the son of John Moncure, III (1772-1822) of Clermont, Stafford County, Virginia. Travers was born on that farm, but later resided at Oakwood, a 150-acre tract on Meadow Branch in Wide Water. His home was near the old Brent’s Mill that drew its power from Meadow Branch. Travers D. Moncure was a Commissioner of the Revenue for Stafford County from at least 1841 to 1850. He was a justice of the peace from at least 1840 to 1852.
John Ridout McGregor (1829-1900)
John Ridout McGregor (1829-1900) was the son of Alrick Mortimer McGregor (born 1810) of Prince George’s County, Maryland. John married his first cousin, Mary Eliza McGregor (1831-1916). In the mid-1850s, John R. McGregor was operating a “Paint and Oil Store” in Washington, DC. Here he sold such items as window glass, camphene, spirit gas, sperm, solar, and lard oil lamps, clocks, brushes, ornaments, girandoles, window shades, etc. He and Mary Eliza moved to Stafford County, Virginia in 1858 and Mary’s father purchased for them Concord, a farm on Aquia Creek. War erupted shortly thereafter and John served briefly as a lieutenant in the Stafford Guards, Capt. Bruce’s company of the 47th Virginia Infantry. Considerable circumstantial evidence suggests that he may have been part of the Confederate Secret Service. In 1865, John R. McGregor was appointed one of three commissioners tasked “to Reorganize Counties under the Restored Government of Virginia.” The other two commissioners were Joseph B. Ficklen and John H. Skinker. This was an interesting combination given McGregor’s Confederate leanings. J. B. Ficklen, while claiming to have been a Unionist, seems to have played both sides of the controversy. John H. Skinker was a devout supporter of the Union. One obituary said of John R. McGregor, “He served gallantly in the Confederate army, and after the war was for some years employed in the Treasury Department at Washington.” Another obituary stated that John worked at the Treasury Department “till the advent of President Hayes. When he lost his position, he returned, and has resided here to the date of his death.” When John left his job at the Bureau of Printing and Engraving, he was given an old wooden banjo clock that remains in the family.
William P. Mahoney (1838-1916)
William P. Mahoney (1838-1916) was the son of William Mahorney (died 1846) and Jane Patterson (c.1814-before 1909) of King George and Stafford Counties, Virginia. The younger William married Mary A. Riley (born c.1848). They resided at Chappawamsic Farm, formerly owned by George Mason, III (1690-1735). The house site is now part of the Quantico Marine Corps reservation. Hilldrup Transfer and Storage Company occupied part of the property. In 1881, William P. Mahoney was overseer of the road “leading from Chappawamsic Run to Stone’s Mill.” This roughly follows modern U. S. Route 1 southward to Garrisonville Road (Route 610).
Ennever Lucas (1841-1912)
Ennever Lucas (1841-1912) was the son of Albert Gallatin Lucas (1806-1854) and Cornelia Ennever (1818-1884) of Stafford County, Virginia. He resided at Stanstead near the I-95/U. S. Route 17 interchange. Prior to the War Between the States, Ennever was a school teacher. During the war, he was an orderly sergeant in Capt. Charles Green’s company of the 47th Virginia Infantry. For many years, he served as Commissioner of the Revenue for the First District in Stafford and at the time of his death was clerk of the Hartwood School Barod and a notary public. From 1870 to 1875, Ennever Lucas was Assessor Lands for the Hartwood Township. He never married. His funeral was conducted by David Shopoff (1858-1934), minister of Hartwood Presbyterian Church, and he was buried at Stanstead. His family cemetery is now part of the parking lot at the Fredericksburg Auto Auction.
Thomas Lowry (c.1826-1911)
At the April, 1870 term of the Stafford County, Virginia Court, “Thomas Lowry, late Constable having inadvertently failed to give the bond required by law to have been given at the last term of this Court–It is recomended [sic] that the Governor of this State appoint him Constable there being no Constable at this term in the County.” During the War Between the States, Thomas was a Unionist. He went to Maryland several times to avoid the conscription officers. While in Stafford, he lived on a rented farm about a mile from Brooke’s Station. Thomas Lowry submitted a request to the Southern Claims Commission to be reimbursed for $484 worth of items removed from his farm by Union troops. He was allowed only $143. His brother, Enoch Lowry (c.1829-1910), served in the Confederate forces and settled in Spotsylvania County, Virginia after the war.
James Oscar Lee (1847-1908)
James Oscar Lee (1847-1908) was the son of William Lee (1814-1879) and Sarah H. Rowe (c.1821-1896). A native of King George County, Virginia, James was born at White Hall and moved when a child to Willow Dale in lower Stafford County. In 1873, he married Lucy A. Luck (1854-1931), the daughter of John M. Luck (1827-1888) and Mary Ann Rowe (1824-1902). In 1870, James was Collector of Taxes for the Falmouth Township. He served on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors from 1881 until his death in 1908 and was chairman for much of that time. According to one obituary, James O. Lee was an “active and influential member of the Old School Baptist Church.” His wife had another obituary published in the Baptist newspaper, Gospel Messenger, in which she stated that she and her husband had been baptized together at White Oak Church in April of 1879 by Elder John Clark (1804-1882). Clark also preached at Chappawamsic Baptist Church in northern Stafford and at Union Church in Falmouth. James O. Lee served as clerk of White Oak Church for the last 25 years of his life. On Sept. 28, 1908, a rainy morning, he went to harness his horse to go to the courthouse and fell from a ladder in the hay barn, breaking his back. He never recovered and died in his sleep on October 11. He was buried in the family cemetery at Willow Dale.
Lewis K. Knight (c.1820-1893)
Lewis K(enneth?) Knight was the son of William Knight (before 1775-c.1830) and Glady Fritter (1780-1857). Just prior to the outbreak of the War Between the States, Lewis was arrested for murdering his friend, Elijah A. Ennis. He was given the option of serving in the Confederate army or being tried for murder. He chose military service with the understanding that if he survived the war he would be free. He did survive and he lived in Stafford for the remainder of his life. In 1868, Lewis was overseer of the road “leading from the Wood Cutting road to the Coal Landing” and “of Coal Landing road in place of John M Stewart removed from the County.” Lewis was buried at his home off Embrey Mill Road (Route 733) near the new Ebenezer Methodist Church.
George Phillips King (1813-1876)
George Phillips King (1813-1876) was the son of Samuel King (1774-1841). He was born in Pennsylvania, but lived much of his life in the White Oak area of Stafford. In 1845, George married Susan Warren (died 1865), the daughter of William Warren. During the War Between the States, George was a Unionist. He moved to Fredericksburg during that unsettled time and worked as a merchant and manufacturer of soap and candles. His wife was an invalid at this time. The Union army stole a great deal from his two Stafford farms, including his steam sawmill. After the war, George P. King asked the Southern Claims Commission to be reimbursed for $6,430 for the items taken but, despite being a proven Unionist, was allowed only $2,259. In 1868, George P. King was overseer of the road “from the run east of Little Whim on the road from White Oak to the Chatham Bridge, in place of James Heflin.” George was assistant marshal for the 1870 Stafford census. He died of rheumatism.
Charles Lewis Kennedy (1846-1933)
Charles L. Kennedy (1846-1933) was the son of Thomas A. Kennedy and was born in Westmoreland County, Virginia. In 1871, he married Mary T. Schooler (1835-1904), the daughter of Thomas E. Schooler (c.1787-1861) of Stafford County, Virginia. His second wife was Sarah J. Armstrong (c.1863-1953). Charles lived on or near the Warrenton Road and not far from its junction with Poplar Road (Route 616). He was Sheriff of Stafford when Charles A. Morganfield and Charles J. Searcey robbed the Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Potomac train near Aquia Creek. One of the most famous train robberies in American history, it was covered by newspapers all across the United States. The trial was held at Stafford Courthouse. In 1875, Charles L. Kennedy was one of the overseers of the road for Hartwood Township. He was a member of the Stafford County Board of Supervisors from 1881 to 1886 and served as county sheriff from 1887 to at least 1897. During the early 1900s, Charles was a licensed auctioneer.
Thomas H. Johnson (1823-1903)
Thomas H. Johnson (1823-1903) married Enfield Honey (c.1829-1889), the daughter of George Honey (died after 1843) of Stafford County, Virginia. In 1855, Thomas was overseer of the road “from Falmouth and Warrenton Roads one mile above Falmouth to Potomac Run.” He served as a constable for the Hartwood District from at least 1870 to 1884 and was constable for the Aquia District from 1885 to 1886. During the War Between the States, Thomas H. Johnson served with the 9th Virginia Cavalry. In April 1900, the Stafford Court relieved him from paying the capitation tax and county levy due to physical infirmity. The following month, the county court approved his application for a $30 pension.
Elliott Thompson Jett (1869-1940)
Dr. Elliott Thompson Jett (1869-1940) was the son of Elliott Berryman Jett (1840-1882) and Mary Elizabeth Sullivan of Falmouth. He graduated from the University of Virginia and did post-graduate work in North Carolina and New York City. He never married and lived in his parents’ home in Falmouth with a bachelor brother and two sisters. Edward practiced medicine on the ground floor of the house and the entrance to his office was via a door below the main level. This building is now occupied by Gordon Gay’s law office. The logs from what’s known today as Hobby School were stored for an unknown number of years in Dr. Jett’s barn behind the house. In the 1930s, these were pulled from the barn and reassembled to make the little log structure now standing to the immediate north of Union Church. Exactly where the log building stood originally isn’t known, but Dr. Jett allowed the logs to be stored in his barn for many years and the oral history is that George Washington attended classes in the building. In 1900, Dr. Elliott T. Jett was a member of the Stafford County Board of Health.