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“Of late years the county of Rappahannock has been formed, partly, 1 believe, from Madison, and a parish organized in the same. Through the zealous efforts of a few individuals, a neat brick church has been put up at Woodville, in that county. Previous to this the Rev. Mr. Brown spent some years in the parish, labouring there and in Madison. since the Rev. W. H. Pendleton, of Leeds parish, Fauquier, rendered them regular though unfrequent services. For the last three years the Rev. Mr. Leavell has been dividing his time and labours equally between the two counties of Madison and Rappabannock.
A few years ARTICLE LVII.
Northern Neck of Virginia.—Fairfax and Carter Families.
We enter now on that most interesting portion of Virginia called the Northern Neck, which, beginning on the Chesapeake Bay, lies between the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, and crossing the Blue Ridge, or passing through it, with the Potomac, at Harper's Ferry, extends with that river to the heads thereof in the Alleghany Mountains, and thence by a straight line crosses the North Mountain and Blue Ridge, at the head-waters of the Rappahannock. By common consent this is admitted to be the most fertile part of Virginia, and to abound in many advantages, whether we consider the rich supply of fish and oysters in the rivers and creeks of the tide-water portion of it and the rapid growth of its forests and improvable character of its soil, or the fertility of the lands of the valley, so much of which is evidently alluvial.
There were settlements at an early period on the rich banks of the Potomac and Rappahannock by families of note, who took possession of those seats which originally belonged to warlike tribes of Indians, which latter were forced to give way to the superior prowess of the former. Of some of these families and their abodes we shall have occasion to make mention in our progress along the parishes lying upon the two rivers. It is not inconsistent with the religious character and design of our work to begin with some notice of that family to which the whole proprietorship of the Northern Neck originally belonged, by a grant from the Crown, especially as, both in England and in Virginia, so many of that name have been attached to the Episcopal Church, and some of whom have been bright ornaments of it.
In the corrupt and venal reign of Charles II., the whole State of Virginia, except such parts as had been specially patented, was made over for a time to Lord Culpepper. There was, of course, a good pecuniary consideration given to the King for quitrents. Lord Culpepper was not only the proprietary of the Colony, but had the livings of all the parishes in his gift,-could bestow or take away as he pleased. There was, however, too much of American feeling, even at that early period, to submit to such a mea
So heavy were the complaints, and so threatening the opposition, that the King withdrew the grant of proprietorship for the whole State, and restricted it with limitations to the Northern Neck, as above described. By intermarriage between the families of Culpepper and Fairfax, this part of the State came into possession of Thomas Fairfax, whose mother was daughter of Lord Culpepper, himself being the seventh Fairfax who had inherited the title of Lord Cameron. He it was who lived and died in the forests of old Frederick county, as we have stated in a former number, being one of the earliest vestrymen of the parish, an active magistrate, the patron of Washington, a friend of the poor, an eccentric but most upright man.
The family of Fairfax is a very ancient and respectable one, according to English history and family records. Within the last few years, four octavo volumes of the Fairfax history and corre. spondence have been published in England, a large portion of whose contents were accidentally discovered in an old box, supposed to contain tiles, in one of the old family seats. They had been se creted there during Cromwell's rebellion, or soon after, for safe keeping, and lest they should fall into the hands of those who would make an ill use of them. Being in a box which, when opened, presented only tiles to the eye, they were supposed to be lost for the larger part of two centuries. Being furnished with a copy of these volumes, and having looked over them for the purpose of collecting any thing suitable to these pages, I present the following. brief notices.
The Fairfaxes were of true Saxon origin, going back to the times of William the Conqueror. The name Fair-Fax meant Fair Hair. In the early history of the family an interesting fact is stated in old English verse,-viz.: that grandfather, son, and grandson, with their wives and children, lived in the same house at Bradford,-a village in England.
** Under one roof they dwelt with their three wives,
The above lines were written by the rector of Bradford, in 1647.
At the beginning of the Reformation, one of the Fairfaxes was ec staunch a Catholic that he disinherited his eldest son for taking part in the sacking of Rome by the Protestants. The following
extract from his will shows the character of his creed :-“First, I will and bequeath my soul to our Lord Jesus Christ, and to Lady Mary, his blessed mother.” He leaves money to the poor, and also to fourteen poor persons with which to buy black gowns and torches for attendance at his funeral. In a few generations, however, after this, we find Romanism supplanted by as staunch a Protestantism. Thomas Fairfax, the first who had a peerage, and for which, besides many civil and military services, he had to pay fifteen hundred pounds to King James I. in his pecuniary difficulties, was a Protestant, and sympathized with Cromwell in his contest with Charles I. His son Ferdinand distinguished himself in Cromwell's army; and his grandson Thomas was the celebrated Lord Fairfax, one of the leaders in the rebel army.
The first Thomas, who purchased the title, had a brother named Edward, who signalized himself by translating“Tasso's Jerusalem Delivered" into a smooth English, before unknown. In a work on Demonology, he thus declares his religious belief and ecclesiastical position :-“I am, in religion, neither a fanatic Puritan nor superstitious Papist, but so settled in conscience, that I have the sure ground of God's word for all I believe, and the commendable ordinances of our English Church to approve all I practise.”
The will of Ferdinando Fairfax, father of the great General in Cromwell's army, differs much from that of his Romish ancestor. Instead of commending his soul to Lady Mary, in conjunction with her son, his will runs thus :—“First, I commend my soul to their infinite Majesties, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,—the saine God who hath with his manifold blessings been gracious to me in this world, and whose goodness, in his great mercy, I hope to enjoy in heaven. Next, I give my body to be buried, without much pomp or ceremony, in what place it shall please God to call me out of this sinful world; but, if with convenience it may be, I desire to be interred in the parish of Bolton Percy, near the body of my dear wife.” A sensible and pious will, worthy of imitation.
This parish of Bolton Percy was one in which his brother, the Rev. Henry Fairfax, ministered. He appears to have been a truly pious man, and his wife to have been an helpmeet to him. Some interesting letters, written before and after their marriage, show them to have been well formed by nature and grace for the position which they chose in preference to all others. While the country was full of confusion and bloodshed, and his father, brother, and nephew were so actively engaged in revolutionary scenes, he quietly performed his duties as a parish minister, molesting none,
and being unmolested by any. He had two sons : one of them, Bryan, was a scholar and author; another, Henry, was the fourth Lord Fairfax, inheriting the title from the great General, who had
His son, who was the grandson of the humble curate of Bolton Percy, was also inheritor of the title, and married the daughter of Lord Culpepper. Their son Thomas was the emigrant to America. At his death, his brother Robert, in England, inherited the title, who, dying without issue, bequeathed his estate to the Rev. Denny Martin, a relative of the family, who assumed the name of Fairfax. The title, however, descended to the Rev. Bryan Fairfax, minister of the Episcopal Church of Alexandria, who was the son of William Fairfax, of Belvoir, the friend of Washington, and manager of the estates of Lord Fairfax after the death of Robert Carter, alias King Carter, of Lancaster.
Before proceeding further with our brief notice of the Fairfax family in Virginia, I must add a word as to the celebrated General in Cromwell's army. Marrying into a Presbyterian family, anı. espousing a cause much patronized by that denomination, he inclined, for a time at least, to that persuasion. He appears to have been an upright and conscientious man. The language of his letters sometimes savours not a little of that which marked the communications of Cromwell; but his sincerity was never questioned, —which cannot be said of Cromwell, notwithstanding all the praises heaped upon him of late years. His great General (Fairfax) could not bring himself to pursue the ill-counselled, obstinate, and tyrannical Charles to the scaffold, but retired into private life until the time came to put an end to the troubles of the Commonwealth by the restoration of monarchy, in which he took an active part. He had an only child,-a daughter, who married the profligate Duke of Buckingham and led a suffering life. Her relative, Bryan Fairfax, the author, in writing of her, says, “She was an example of virtue and piety in a vicious age and debauched court;" adding, “ David tells us, “Men of high degree are a lie, (they promise and never perform,) and men of low degree are vanity,' (that is, have nothing to give.)”
Before leaving the English connections of this family, it may not be without interest to mention, that there appears to have been an intimate friendship between the Herberts and Fairfaxes in the mother-country, which may have laid the foundation of that which was established between some of them in this. The same may be said in relation to the many matrimonial connections between the Fairfaxes and Carys of Virginia. I meet with a notice of one