Historical Figure of the Week

Henry G. Chesley was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia the son of William S. Chesley (1815-1860) and Mary Ann Ferneyhough (c.1818-1853).  At the outset of the War Between the States, he joined the Fredericksburg  Artillery, also known as Braxton’s Battery.  According to his obituary, “He enlisted at its origin, served in it throughout the bloody conflict, and was at Appomattox Courthouse at the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee…Mr. Chesley is credited with having ires that gun which history says killed General [John] Reynolds of the Union forces, when he came out with his staff to reconnoiter the position.”  In 1869, Henry G. Chesley was overseer of the road “from the lower ford on the Potomac run, to Claiborne’s run in place of James E. Berry who has removed from the neighborhood.”  He was one of the Free Bridge Commissioners from at least 1884 to 1887 during which time he served as treasurer.  Henry G. Chesley later owned what is now known as Potomac Run Farm near the landfill in Stafford County, Virginia.  He married Mary Susan Ferneyhough (1845-1913).

Charles James Chartters (1853-1931) was born in Spotsylvania County, Virginia and later moved to Stafford County.  He was the son of Thomas R. Chartters (1821-1862) and Julia Decartro Chancellor (1825-1904).  In 1892 Charles married Ella Morrison (1859-1912).  During the years he lived in Spotsylvania, Charles J. Chartters was a member of Wilderness Baptist Church.  He later joined Berea Baptist Church in Stafford.  Charles was one of the Assessors of Lands for Stafford from 1889 to 1890 and from 1899 to 1900.  He also served as a school trustee for the Hartwood School District from at least 1905 to 1920.  Charles J. Chartters lived at Cherry Grove, now a Del Webb subdivision on Sanford Drive (Route 670) in Stafford County.

Thompson S. Briggs (1860-1910) was the son of James McDonald Briggs (1822-1900) and Louisa Marshall Smith (1828-1888) of Stafford County, Virginia.  He lived at Hampstead on Poplar Road (Route 616) and was a successful cattle farmer in Stafford.  From 1897 through 1898, he represented Rock Hill District on the Stafford County Board of Supervisors.  During the early years of the twentieth century, Thompson was in partnership with Abraham Mott Stewart (1868-1965) in a sawmill, lumber business, and store near the present Hartwood Post Office.  Their bill head stated that they were “Manufacturers of all Kinds Rough Lumber.”  Thompson S. Briggs died at home in 1910.

Addison Borst (c.1837-1882) was the son of Peter I. Borst of New York.  Some years prior to the War Between the States, Addison and his brother moved from New York to Page County, Virginia.  Both were Southern sympathizers.  During the war, Addison served with the 10th Virginia Infantry, having enlisted at Luray, Virginia.  He spent much of the war in the hospital, was imprisoned in Elmira, New York, and was exchanged in October 1864.  By 1870, he was a resident of King George County, Virginia.  Addison was the uncle of Cornelia Rebecca Borst (1880-1949) who married Dr. John Churchill Gordon (1871-1949) of Albemarle and Stafford Counties.  Addison married Bettie Garnett Taliaferro (1829-1895), the daughter of James Garnett Taliaferro (c.1772-1840) of King George.  In 1870 the Commonwealth of Virginia established the position of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  This was a state-level appointment and the counties selected their own Superintendent of Schools.  From 1870 to 1872 Addison Borst was responsible for the schools in both Stafford and King George Counties.

James Edward Berry (1836-1913) was the son of Richard Berry (c.1807-1867) and Sarah Payne (c.1810-1880).  In 1860 James married Mildred J. Bowler (born 1836).  During the War Between the States, he served with the Fredericksburg Artillery.  After the war, James E. Berry was a bridge keeper and railroad watchman.  In 1867 he was overseer of the road “from the lower ford on  Potomac Run to Claiborns [sic] Run in place of John Anthony who has removed from the neighborhood.”  In May 1900, the Stafford County court approved his application for a $15 pension.  James died at Leeland in Stafford

Harrison B. Barnes (1813-1887) was the son of Newman Brockenbrough Barnes (born c.1743) and Lucy Harrison Ball (1772-1799) of Richmond County, Virginia.  He lived most of his life in Stafford County, Virginia.  During the War Between the States, Harrison served with the 47th Virginia Infantry.  In 1850 he married Frances Lucy Peyton Conway (1822-1896), the daughter of Stafford Clerk of Court, John Moncure Conway (1779-1864).  Harrison B. Barnes kept a store in Falmouth, though he lived for an unknown number of years near Stafford Courthouse, possibly on land belonging to his father-in-law.  While in Falmouth, he and several unmarried sisters occupied the Barnes House on Washington Street.  In 1843 Harrison was Tax Collector for Falmouth.  In 1860 he was a Census Enumerator.  He served as a county land assessor in 1870 and as Aquia Township Clerk from at least 1871 to 1874.  Harrison and Frances were buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Alexandria, Virginia.

Nathaniel Ball (1830-1906) was the son of William Ball (c.1799-after 1860) of Stafford County, Virginia and resided in the upper part of the county.  During the War Between the States, Nathaniel served in the 47th Virginia Infantry and according to his obituary, he “served faithfully from Bull Run to Appomattox.”  Nathaniel married Jane Ball (1822-1909) by whom he had several children.  During the late nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, this branch of the Ball family owned land on both sides of Courthouse Road (Route 630) just west of the Interstate 95 interchange.  In 1868 Nathaniel Ball was overseer of the road “from the Woodcutting road to the Coal Landing road through the land of James E. Towson and others.”  The Ball family cemetery is located off Cedar Lane (Route 732) on the south side of Courthouse Road.  Some of this family also lived on the north side of Courthouse Road not far from William W. Robertson’s “Old Stone House.”  In January 1900 Nathaniel was relieved of the “Capitation Tax and County Levy for 1899 and thereafter upon the grounds of physical infirmity and age.”

Dr. Lawrence Ashton (1845-1902) was born in King George County, the son of Dr. Horace D. Ashton (1821-1894).  He graduated from Columbia University with a degree in medicine.  Lawrence settled in Falmouth, Virginia to practice and there married Ann Amanda “Nannie” Green (1844-1915).  While residing in Falmouth, the couple lived in Robert Dunbar’s house on Carter Street.  In 1885 Dr. Ashton served as a school trustee for the Falmouth District.  In 1890 he and Nannie moved to Dallas, Texas where he was president of the medical college.

John Moncure Ashby (1852-1918) was the son of James Green Ashby (1827-1861) and the nephew of Confederate Gen. Turner Ashby (1826-1862).  In 1902 John purchased 23 acres of Cool Spring Farm near White Oak Road and the R. F. & P. train tracks.  “On the property is a nice residence, barn, stable and other outhouses” (Free Lance, Mar. 8, 1902).  He married Mamie L. Duvall (born 1870).  In 1884 and 1885 John M. Ashby was Assistant Assessor of Lands for Stafford County, Virginia.  He was a school trustee in 1917 and 1918 and was buried at Aquia Episcopal Church in Stafford.

Jesse R. Anderson (c.1848-1900) was the son of John Anderson (born c.1812), a stonemason, and Philadelphia “Delphia” Curtis (c.1820-after 1880) of Stafford County, Virginia.  On Dec. 21, 1895, the Free Bridge Commissioners of Stafford paid Jesse $40 for 4,000 feet of lumber for use on the Falmouth Bridge.  His obituary noted, “When the Free Bridge was built here he had charge of the stone work, and under his direction the piers were put up.  He was unmarried.”  Jesse died of Bright’s disease at his home near Spotted Tavern.  In 1888 Jesse was one of the overseers of the road for the Hartwood District of Stafford County.

John W. H. Alexander was the son of John Alexander (died c.1865) who may have been from Prince William County, Virginia.  In 1826 John Alexander purchased 385 acres in the upper part of Stafford County.  This became known as Locust Grove.  Part of this conveyed to J. W. H. Alexander and he made his home here.  The tract is now part of the Quantico Marine Corps reservation.  John W. H. Alexander married his cousin, Annie Olivia Wesley Lowe (1835-1923) of Richmond, Virginia.  In 1886 he served as a constable in Stafford.

Captain William Brown Wallace (1757-1833) was the son of Dr. Michael Wallace (1719-1767) and Elizabeth Brown (1723-1777) of Ellerslie, Stafford County, Virginia.  In 1787 he married Barbara Fox (1766-1833).  Around 1794 William B. Wallace purchased the old Falmouth Tobacco Warehouses at the bottom of the hill near modern Amy’s Cafe.  At this point, they assumed the name of Wallace’s Warehouses.  A fire destroyed the buildings in 1796 and Wallace rebuilt.  He ran the warehouses at least through 1798.  As payment for his Revolutionary War services, Wallace was granted 200 acres and by 1828 he was a resident of Kentucky.  Both he and his wife succumbed to cholera in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.