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Parishes in King George County.
King GEORGE county was taken out of Richmond county in the year 1720, at which time Richmond county extended as far on one side of the Rappahannock as Essex did on the other, which was, I
, believe, near the Falls of the Rappa hannock or Fredericksburg. It did not extend from the Rappahannock to the Potomac, as Westmoreland and King George now do, for Westmoreland and Stafford* extended along the Potomac, while Richmond and King George lay on the Rappahannock. Formerly there were two parishes in King George, - Hanover and Brunswick, lying along the Rappahannock, the latter reaching up to the falls at Fredericksburg, for we find Mr. W. Fitzhugh, of Chatham, opposite Fredericksburg, representing Brunswick parish in the Conventions of 1785 and 1786. In 1776, the boundaries of Stafford and King George were changed, and each of them made to extend from river to river, instead of being divided by a longitudinal line running east and west. At this time St. Paul's parish, and part of Overwharton, formerly in Stafford, were thrown into King George county, and that of Brunswick parish into Stafford. There are, therefore, now in King George, St. Paul's parish, on the Potomac side, and Hanover, chiefly on the Rappahannock. In the parish of Brunswick there was formerly a church some miles below Fredericksburg. whose ruins, or the traces of whose foundation, may yet, I am told, be seen.
* Stafford is first mentioned among the counties in 1666, in the following manner. It seems that, besides the private looms of weavers, there was required by Act of Assembly a public one in each county, with certain exceptions :—“. Provided that the executing hereof in the counties of Rappahannock, Stafford, Westmoreland, and Northumberland, who, by the newness of their ground, pretend themselves incapable of making provision for the soon employment of a weaver, be respited for fowre years after the date hereof." From this Act we may see what was the state of the whole Northern Neck of Virginia in 1666, nearly sixty years after the first settlement of the Colony. It either was not, or pretended not to be, able to support one weaver at public expense. It is pleasing to think that there was a better state uf things as to religion, and that there were several ministers in the district at the above-mentioned period.
In the years
There was also a church in Falmouth which belonged to this parish, and in which I have preached at an early day of my ministry.
In Hanover parish there were, from 1779 to 1796, two churches, ---viz.: Strother's, between Port Conway and Oakenbrough, and Round Hill, under the charge of the ministers of the parish. Until the year 1777, Round Hill Church was in Washington parish, Westmoreland, but certain changes in the boundaries of King George and Westmoreland in that year threw Round Hill Church into King George county and Hanover parish. As we have but little to say of Hanover parish, we will say it at once.
We cannot ascertain the precise time of its establishment. It was in existence in 1720, and probably established in that year, as King George was then cut off from Richmond county. In 1753, we find on one of our lists the name of William Davis as its rector. 1773, 1774, and 1776, we find the Rev. William Davies. But in the mean time the Rev. Mr. Boucher was the minister of the parish for some years.
We have nothing on any of our lists, or in the vestry-book of this parish, concerning this distinguished man, and for the plain reason that we have no list or vestry-book covering the period of his ministry in Hanover parish. Ile was ordained for this parish in 1762, having been resident in Virginia since he was sixteen years of age, and probably in that part of Virginia. He was an intimate friend of General Washington, and, as has been stated in the article on Caroline county, dedicated a volume of sermons to Washington. He was selected by the General as a travelling-companion and guide to young Custis, son of Mrs. Washington, when it was contemplated that he should make the tour of Europe. The following extract from a letter of General Washington on the subject will at the same time explain the causes of the relinquishment of this plan, and show the amiableness and sound judgment displayed by him on the occasion. Mr. Boucher was the tutor to young Custis at Annapolis, in the year 1771, when the letter was written of which the following is an extract:
Upon the whole, it is impossible for me at this time to give a more decisive answer, however strongly inclined I may be to put you upon a certainty in this affair, than I have done; and I should think myself wanting in candour, if I concealed any circumstance from you which leads me to fear that there is a possibility, if not a probability, that the whole design may be totally defeated. Before I ever thought myself at liberty to encourage the plan, I judged it highly reasonable and necessiry that his mother should be consulted. I laid your first letter and proposals before her, and desired that she would reflect well before she resolved, as
an unsteady behaviour might be a disadvantage to you. Her determination was, that if it appeared to be his inclination to undertake this tour and it should be judged for his benefit, she would not oppose it, whatever pangs it might give her to part with him. To this declaration she still adheres, but in so faint a manner, that I think, with her fears and his indifference, it would soon be declared that he had no inclination to go. I do not say that this will be the case. I cannot speak positively; but, as this is the result of my own reflections on the matter, I thought it but fair to communicate it to you. Several causes have, I believe, concurred to make her view his departure, as the time approaches, with more reluc. tance than she expected. The unhappy situation of her daughter has in some degree fixed her eyes upon him as her only hope. To what I have already said, I can only add, that my warmest wishes are to see him prosecute a plan, at a proper period, which I may be sure will redound to his advantage, and that nothing shall be wanting on my part to aid and assist him."
It seems that Mr. Custis preferred an early marriage to a European tour, and so the matter ended.
We return from this digression to the other ministers of Hanover parish. We have a vestry-book beginning in 1779, which shows that in 1780 the Rev. Rodham Kennor (an old Virginia name) was chosen its minister. In 1785, he resigned and removed to his farm in Fauquier. The next year the Rev.John Low became its minister, and continued until 1796, when he was allowed to preside in the vestry till the end of the year, on condition that he would resign at that time, which he did in a letter recorded in the vestry-book. We know of no other minister being in this parish until its reorganization and the election of the Rev. Mr. Friend, who has recently left it. The following list of vestrymen from 1779 to 1796 will
. show who were the leading friends of the Church in that parish. Messrs. Piper, Woffendall, Kendall, Jett, Boon, Lovall, Marshall, Kirk, Conway, Washington, Bernard, Johnson, Dade, Stewart, Dishman, Flood, Oldham, Berry. Mr. Johnson was reader at Round IIill Church, and Mr. Thornby at Strother's. Two orders on the vestry-book serve to throw light on the manners of the parish. One directs Mr. Ashton to try to procure four locks for the glebe-house, evidently showing that there was difficulty and uncertainty about it. This speaks well for the honesty of the times, locks being so little used that they were hard to be gotten. The other is not so creditable to the temperance of the times and parish, as it directs that “forty pounds of tobacco be paid for two quarts of brandy for burying a poor woman,"—that is, for use at the funeral.
A few words will suffice for the history of the parish since the year 1796. Some years since, a number of families in the upper
part of it—the Tayloes, Masons, Turners, &c.—united in building a neat brick church near the court-house, for which they secured the partial services of the Rev. Mr. Friend, by which means a very respectable congregation has been forined. As stated above, Mr. Friend has recently resigned his charge.
Since writing the above, we have been indebted to the kindness and diligence of one or two friends for some further information concerning this parish, obtained from the old records of the court. In the years 1725, 1727, and 1737, the names of the Rev. Mr. Skaife, Mr. Edyard, and Mr. Mackay, appear on the record, though it is not known with what parishes they were connected. The following were the names of vestrymen between the years 1723 and 1779:-John Grimsley, James Kay, William Strother, Rowland Thornton, Thomas Turner, * John Furguson, Jos. Strother, Maximilian Robinson, William Thornton, Joseph Murdock, Joseph Jones, George Tankersley, George Riding, Thomas Vivian, Isaac Arnold, Samuel Skinker, Harry Turner, Charles Carter, John Triplett, Thomas Jett, Thomas Hodges, Richard Payne, Thomas Berry, Horatio Dade, John Skinker, William Robinson, George Marshall, John Washington, Townsend Dade, Robert Stith, Henry Fitzhugh, Jr., Laurence Washington, Sen., John Pollard, William Fitzhugh, Laurence Ashton, Thomas Hood, William Newton, William Bruce, James Kenyon, John Taliafero, Joseph Jones, James Hunton, John Taliafero, Jr. Whether all these belonged to Hanover parish I think doubtful. In the year 1744, there is a suit in King George Court in the name of Henry Downs and Zachary Taylor, (doubtless the ancestor of our late President,) the church wardens of St. Thomas's Church, Orange county.
* The families of Tayloes and Turners are the most ancient with which I am acquainted in the parish of Hanover. Of the former I have given some account in my article on Lunenburg parish, Richmond county. The first of the Turners was a physician who came to Virginia about 1650 or 1660, and settled in the very region Dow occupied by his descendants, on the banks of the Rappahannock, in Hanover parish. He left two sons, Harry and Thomas. The latter died young. Harry married the only surviving daughter of Mr. Nicholas Smith, of “Smith's Mount,” in Westmoreland, by whom he became. possessed of that estate, which he bequeathed to his posterity, and which has gone by the name of the seat of the Turner family, He and his wife Elizabeth are both buried there, as are also their parents. The tombstones still remain and testify of them. Mr. Harry Turner left only one son, Thomas, who married a daughter of Colonel William Fauntleroy, of Naylor's Ilole, in Richmond county, about the year 1767, and left a family of eight children,-four sons and four daughters. The sons were Henry, Thomas, Richard, and George, the descendants of whom, as well as of the daughters, are dispersed throughout the State ; a number of them living in King George, where, as we have said, the first ancestors settled.
A short notice will suffice for Brunswick parish. This was also in existence in 1720. In 1754 and 1758, the Rev. Daniel McDonald was its minister. In the year 1786, we find the parish, or a portion of it, included in Stafford county. It was no doubt taken into it at the establishment of the new boundaries between it and King George, in the year 1776. I have already mentioned that there was a church a few miles from Fredericksburg, within the parish of Brunswick. It was called Muddy Creek Church, and about nine miles from Fredericksburg. Muddy Creek is now the boundary-line between King George and Stafford. At a later period, Lamb's Creek Church was the church of Brunswick parish. The stepping-stone at the door bears the date of 1782, but the church may have been built before that. From the records of the court we find that a Mr. Anthony IIainy was church warden in this parish as far back as 1734, and Mr. Charles Carter and John Champe in 1739. Mr. Charles Carter was also vestryman in 1750.
ST. PAUL'S PARISH, KING GEORGE COUNTY.
Our authority for the earlier part of the history of this parish is a vestry-book beginning in 1766, during the rectorship of the Rev. William Stuart, who, according to the Rev. Robert Rose, was a man of eloquence and popularity and high character.
There is also a register of the marriages, and of the births, baptisms, and deaths of both white and black. Much of it is torn out. Its first entry is in 1722. At that time, and long before, the Rev. David Stuart was the minister. He continued to be so until his death, in 1749, when he was succeeded by his son, William Stuart, who was probably his father's assistant for some time before his leath. The son died in 1796. The earlier part of my mother's life was spent under his ministry, and I have often heard her speak in high praise of him. He was in bad health for some years before his death. The following is his letter of resignation:
“ To TIIE VESTRY OF St. Paul's PARISH.
“GENTLEMEN :- I have been curate of this parish upward of forty years. My own conscience bears me witness, and I trust my parishioners (though many of them have fallen asleep) will also witness, that until age und infirmities disabled me I always, so far as my infirmities would allow, faithfully discharged my duties as a minister of the Gospel. It has given me many hours of anxious concern that the services of the Church should be so long discontinued on my account. The spirit indeed is willing, but