In 1912 workmen were endeavoring to improve the Warrenton Road, now U. S. Route 17, by putting a layer of gravel on it.  John Hammett (1874-1946) and his brother Eppa Hammett (1879-1953) owned a farm near the junction of Poplar Road (Route 616) and the Warrenton Road and the gravel was being dug from one side of their property.  A newspaper article reported:


“Difficulty Over Gravel.  Much excitement was caused on the Warrenton road above Falmouth Saturday morning when a difficulty arose between Messrs. John and Eppa Hammett and Mr. Goodman foreman at the gravel pit.  The Hammetts objected to their land being plowed to secure gravel for the new road.  This caused a personal encounter between these gentlemen.  During the melee several shots were fired by the Hammetts and a club used by Goodman.  Ex-Sheriff Chas. Kennedy and several others appeared on the scene and the encounter stopped.  Warrants were issued for all the parties engaged in the trouble and Sheriff Moncure, who was here, went at once to the scene of the trouble.  The work on the road was suspended on account of the trouble” (Fredericksburg Daily Star, Nov. 23, 1912).  This article was followed by:


“John &  Eppa Hammett fined $25 each for assault of A. N. Goodman, foreman of the gravel pit on Warrenton Road.  Hammetts objected to the extension of the pit on to their farm” (Free Lance, Nov. 26, 1912).

Jeremiah Carter (c.1810-1863) was a respected merchant who kept stores in the village of Aquia, at Stafford Courthouse, and in Fredericksburg.  He also ran a hotel and tavern near the courthouse, which is the location of the following event.  Jeremiah Carter and his wife resided at Eastern View, which was located about where the old Bolling’s Lumber Mill used to stand on Courthouse Road (Route 630) east of the courthouse.  A newspaper reported:

“Distressing Event.  William Hewitt, we hear, was killed at Stafford court House on Wednesday last by Jeremiah Carter.  The facts of the case, as we have heard them, were these.  Hewitt and Henry Atchison were fighting in Carter’s house.  Carter attempted to separate them, when Hewitt turned upon him and beat him severely.  Disengaging himself, he seized a gun near, and in a moment of uncontrollable passion shot him, causing instantaneous death.  Carter is a highly respectable man, of irreproachable character, and we understand most grievously laments the event.  He is a Merchant and Hotel keeper at the Court House.  This is the third murder in the last 12 months in Stafford–and all within some 8 miles of each other.  This would seem not very creditable to the county.  Yet we believe a more peaceable and orderly people are not to be found in any county in the State” (Fredericksburg News, Nov. 1, 1850).