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secluded chamber, distant from that formerly occupied. The manage ment of the family devolved on my brother and second sister.
My eldest married two or three years previous to this period. I was left pretty much to my own management. The education of my brother and sister was so far finished that they not only held what they had acquired, but con. tinued to improve; but alas, poor me! I as usual refused every thing like study, but becan e, unfortunately, immoderately fond of books. The key of the library was now within my power, and the few romances it contained were devoured. Poetry and a botanical work with plates came next. This gave me a useless, superficial knowledge of what might have been useful, but what in this indigestel way was far otherwise. The Tattler, Guardian, and Spectator were the only works I read which contained beneficial instruction ; and of these I only read the amusing papers ; and, taking the beautiful and sublime allegories which abound with moral instruction in a literal sense, I read them as amusing tales. This kind of reading made up a pernicious mass of chaotic matter that darkened while it seemed to enlighten my mind, and I soon became romantic and exceedingly ridiculous, -turned the branches of trees together and called them a bower, and fancied I could write poetry, and many other silly things. My dear mother suffered greatly toward the close of her life with a cancer: for this she visited the medicinal springs, and I was chosen to attend her. It was a crowded and gay scene for me, who had lived almost entirely in seclusion. I did not mix in its gayest circle; yet it was of service to me, as it gave me the first view of real life that ever I had. My beloved parent was not desirous of confining me; but I rejoice at the recollection that I very seldom could be prevailed on to leave her. There I first became the favourite and devoted friend of your most excellent mother. Forgive the vanity of this boast, my dear cousin, but I cannot help observing that she afterward told me that it was the manner in which I discharged this duty that won her esteem and love. At this place I first met with General Wood, who visited me soon after my return home, and became my husband four
The time of Mr. Moncure's death is seen from the following letter from that true patriot and statesman, Mr. George Mason, of Gunston, Fairfax county, Virginia. As he signs himself the kinsman of Mrs. Moncure, the relationship must have come from connection between the Browns, of Maryland, and Masons. Dr. Brown came to this country from Scotland in 1708, and married in Maryland.
“ GUNSTON, 12th March, 1764. “DEAR MADAM :- I have your letter by Peter yesterday, and the day before I had one from Mr. Scott, who sent up Gustin Brown on purpose with it. I entirely agree with Mr. Scott in preferring a funeral sermon at Aquia Church, without any invitation to the house. Mr. Moncure's character and general acquaintance will draw together much company, besides a great part of his parishioners, and I am sure you are not in a condition to bear such a scene; and it would be very inconvenient for a number of people to come so far from church in the afternoon after the sermon. As Mr Moncure did not desire to be buried in any particular place, and as it is usual to bury clergymen in their own churches, I think the corpse being
(leposited in the church where he had so long preached is both decent and proper, and it is probable, could he have chosen himself, he would have preferred it. Mr. Scott writes to me that it is intended Mr. Green shall preach the funeral sermon on the 20th of this month, if fair; if not, the next fair day; and I shall write to Mr. Green to morrow to that purpose, and inform him that you expect Mrs. Green and him at your house on the day before; and, if God grants me strength sufficient either to ride on horseback or in a chair, I will certainly attend to pay the last duty to the memory of my friend; but I am really so weak at present that I can't walk without crutches and very little with them, and have never been out of the house but once or twice, and then, though I stayed but two or three minutes at a time, it gave me such a cold as greatly to increase my disorder. Mr. Green has lately been very sick, and was not able to attend his church yesterday, (which I did not know when I wrote to Mr. Scott :) if he should not recover soon, so as to be able to come down, I will inform you or Mr. Scott in time, that some other clergyman may be applied to.
“I beseech you, de ir madam, not to give way to melancholy reflections, or to think that you are without friends. I know nobody that has reason to expect more, and those that.will not be friends to
chil. dren now Mr. Moncure is gone were not friends to him when he was living, let their professions be what they would. If, therefore, you should find any such, you have no cause to lament the loss, for such friendship is nyt worth anybody's concern.
“I am very glad to hear that Mr. Scott purposes to apply for Overwharton parish. It will be a great comfort to you and your sister to be so near one another, and I know the goodness of Mr. Scott's heart so well, that I am sure he will take a pleasure in doing you every good office in his power, and I had much rather he should succeed Mr. Moncure than any other person. I hope you will not impute my not visiting you to any coldness or disrespect. It gives me great concern that I am not able to see you.
You may depend upon my coming down as soon as my disorder will permit, and I hope you know me too well to need any assurance that I shall gladly embrace all opportunities of testifying my regard to my deceased friend by doing every good office in my power to his family.
my wife's kindest respects and my own, dear madam, your most affectionate kipsinan,
GEORGE Mason." As to the successor of Mr. Moncure in this parish, it is probable that the Rev. Mr. Green, mentioned in the above letter, took his place in 1764. It is certain that Mr. Scott did not. In the years 1774 and 1776 the Rev. Clement Brooke was minister. After the Revolution, in the Convention of 1785, called for organizing the diocese and considering the question of a general confederation of Episcopalians throughout the Union, we find the Rev. Robert Buchan the minister of Overwharton parish, and the Rev. Mr. Thornton of Brunswick parish, which had been taken from King George and given to Stafford when St. Paul's was taken from Stafford and given to King George. The lay delegates at that Convention were Mr. Charles Carter, representing Overwharton parish, and Mr. William Fitzhugh, of Chatham, representing Brunswick
parish, which lay on the Rappahannock and reached to Hanover parish in King George. In the year 1786 we find Mr. Fitzhugh again representing Brunswick parish; and this is the last notice we have of the Church in Stafford until some years after the revival of Conventions. In the year 1819, the Rev. Thomas Allen, the present devoted missionary to the poor in Philadelphia, took charge of this parish and laboured hard for its resuscitation, preaching alternately at Dumfries and Aquia Churches. At a subsequent period the Rev. Mr. Prestman, afterward of New Castle, Delaware, gave all his energies to the work of its revival. The labours of both were of some avail to preserve it from utter extinction, but not to raise it to any thing like prosperity. The Rev. Mr. Johnson also made some ineffectual efforts in its behalf as a missionary. In the year 1838, I visited Old Aquia Church as Assistant-Bishop. It stands upon a high eminence, not very far from the main road from Alexandria to Fredericksburg. It was a melancholy sight to behold the vacant space around the house, which in other days had been filled with horses and carriages and footmen, now overgrown with trees and bushes, the limbs of the green cedars not only casting their shadows but resting their arms on the dingy walls and thrusting them through the broken windows, thus giving an air of pensiveness and gloom to the whole scene. The very pathway up the commanding eminence on which it stood was filled with young trees, while the arms of the older ones so embraced each other over it that it was difficult to ascend. The church had a noble exterior, being a high two-story house, of the figure of the cross. On its top was an observatory, which you reached by a flight of stairs leading from the gallery, and from which the Potomac and Rappahannock Rivers, which are not far distant from each other, and much of the surrounding country, might be seen. Not a great way off, on another eminence, there might be seen the high, tottering walls of the Old Potomac Church, one of the largest in Virginia, and long before this time a deserted one. The soldiers during the last war with England, when English vessels were in the Potomac, had quartered in it; and it was said to have been sometimes used as a nursery for caterpillars, a manufactory of silk having been set up almost at its doors. The worshippers in it had disappeared from the country long before it ceased to be a fit place for prayer. But there is hope even now for the once desolated region about which we have becn speaking. At my visit to Old Aquia Church in the year 1837, to which I allude, I baptized five of the children of the present Judge Moncure, in the venerable old building in which his first ancestor
had preached and so many of his other relatives had worshipped. He had been saving them for that house and that day. I visited once more, during the last spring, that interesting spot. Had I been suddenly dropped down upon it, I should not have recognised the place or building. The trees and brushwood and rubbish had been cleared away.
The light of heaven had been let in upon the once gloomy sanctuary. At the expense of eighteen hundred dollars, almost all of it contributed by the descendants of Mr. Moncure,) the house had been repaired within, without, and above. The dingy walls were painted white and looked new and fresh, and to me it appeared one of the best and most imposing temples in our land. The congregation was a good one. The descendants of Mr. Moncure, still bearing his name, formed a large portion. I was told that all those whom I had baptized eighteen years ago (some of whom, of course, were not babes at the time) were there and meant to make it their home. The country, which seemed some time since as if it were about to be deserted of its inhabitants by reason of sickness and worn-out fields, is putting on a new aspect. Agriculture is improving. A better population is establishing itself in the county, and at the end of a century there is an encouraging prospect that a good society and an Episcopal congregation will be again seen around and within Old Aquia Church. The Rev. Mr.
. Wall is now their minister.
The Hon. Judge Daniel, of the Supreme Court, has been kind enough to supply me with the following letter, which, with the accompanying extracts from the county records, will be an important addition to my notices of this parish :
6" WASHINGTON, November 12, 1865. “DEAR SIR :—In reply to your inquiries concerning the Old Potomac Church and its neighbourhood, I give you the following statement, founded in part upon tradition and partly upon my own recollection. My maternal grandfather, John Moncure, a native of Scotland, was the regular minister both of Aquia and Potomac Churches. He was succeeded in the ministry in these churches by a clergyman named Brooke, who removed to the State of Maryland. The Rev. Mr. Buchan succeeded him: he was tutor in my father's family, and educated John Thompson Mason, General Mason, of Georgetown, Judge Nicholas Fitzhugh, and many others. Going back to a period somewhat remote in enumerating those who lived in the vicinity of Potomac Church, I will mention my great-grandfather, Rowleigh Travers, one of the most extensive landed proprietors in that section of the country, and who married Hannah Ball, half-sister of Mary Ball, the mother of General George Washington. From Rowleigh Travers and Hannah Ball descended two daughters, Elizabeth and Sarah Travers : the former married a man vained Cooke, and the latter my grandfather,