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Jones, Thomas Fouch, William Fouke, Dr. Thomas Simm, Burr Powell, Peter B. Whiting, Jas. Leith, William Chilton, Charles Fenton Mercer.
The vestry-book from the year 1806 to this present time having been mislaid or lost, a friend has sent me from recollection the following list of vestrymen in addition to the above :
W. C. Selden, Henry Claggett, Richard H. Henderson, W.T. T. Mason, Fayette Ball, G. M. Chichester, Jno. I. Harding, William Ellzey, Lewis Berkeley, B. Maulsby, C. Douglass, W. H. Gray, Dr. J. Gray, W. A. Powell, George Lee, J. P. Smart, H. Saunders, A. Belt, C. Powell, C. Hempstone, John Wildman, S. K. Jackson, B. W. IIarrison, H. T. Harrison, I. Orr, Thomas H. Claggett.
THE POWELL FAMILY.
I have not been able to ascertain any thing very certain concerning the family of Powells which appears on the records of the Church in Loudon county. The name of Powell is a very ancient one on the civil records of Virginia. Cuthbert Powell was contemporary in Lancaster county with the first John Carter. Indeed, the name is found on one or more of the earliest lists of adventurers to Virginia. Colonel Powell, of Loudon,— father of Messrs. Leven, Burr, Cuthbert, Alfred Powell, and their sisters,—married a near relative of the Rev. Mr. Harrison, of Dumfries, of whose ancestors some account, taken from the record of Westminster parish, England, was given in our sketch of Dettingen parish. Colonel Powell was once a member of Congress from his district. With his widow I was acquainted in the earlier years of my ministry. She was one whose fidelity to the Church no adversity could shake. When all others were deserting it, she continued steadfast. A minister of another denomination was once conversing with her on the subject of his own and her Church, and said that there was but little difference between them,—that they were like twin-sisters. Whether she suspected him of some design at proselyting or not, I cannot say, but she very decidedly replied, “ It might be so, but that she greatly preferred one of the sisters to the other." She was old. fashioned in all her ways,-in her dress, her home, her furniture, and domestic occupations. She lived in a plain house, a little back of the main and indeed only street in Middleburg. On one of my journeys to Alexandria, while stopping on a summer's afternoon at that place, I walked over to her abode, and found her busily engaged at her wheel, spinning tow or flax, on what was called the small wheel in those days, in contradistinction to that on which wool and cotton were spun, and which was called the large wheel.
The march of improvement has left both sorts far behind, and with them much honest, domestic industry and substantial clothing.
One word concerning my old friend, Mr. Lewis Berkeley, of Aldie. We were school-boys together. He was descended from the old family of Berkeleys in Middlesex, which lived at Barnelms, on the Pyankatank, and which was the last to leave the county, after having been a main prop to the Church for more than one hundred and fifty years. Mr. Lewis Berkeley married a daughter of Mr. William Noland, an old member of the Legislature from Loudon, in days long since passed away. Mr. Noland signalized himself by his zealous advocacy of the law against duelling. So just and sensible was his speech on the subject, that it was soon introduced into the school-books or collection of pieces for school-boys, and still holds its place. Mr. Berkeley, his excellent wife, and Mr. and Mrs. Noland, were for a long term of years the pious, consistent, active, and liberal supporters of the Episcopal Church in Loudon, whether the services were at Aldie, Middleburg, or even twelve miles off, at Leesburg, at which latter place they often attended.
Parishes in Frederick County.
In our last communication we had reached the Blue Ridge, the great dividing-line between Eastern and Western Virginia. We now ascend that beautiful range of mountains, and look down on the wide and extensive valley which lies between it and those numerous ones which hide the great Alleghany from our view. I believe it is generally admitted that this valley is not only the most fertile and desirable portion of the State, but also the most picturesque and beautiful. But it is not our province to descant on such themes. We may, however, be permitted to declare our assent to the hypothesis of Mr. Jefferson and others, that it was once a great lake or sea, which emptied itself through the channel formed by the force of the waters at Harper's Ferry, leaving immense prairies behind to be covered in due time with heavy forests, some of which our eyes now behold, while most of them have been felled by the hands of our forefathers. *
Such a country could not but attract the attention of hardy and adventurous farmers. The first who entered it were from Pennsylvania. Crossing the Potomac at what is now called Shepherdstown, but at first and for a considerable time Mecklenburg,-doubtless after some town or place in Germany,—they there made a settlement. From thence emigration proceeded on toward Winchester,
. Stephensburg, or Newtown, Woodstock, &c. Joist lite, the ancestor of all the Hites, was the first to make a settlement north of Winchester, with sixteen families. This was in the year 1732. His descendants of that name became active members of, or friends of, the Episcopal Church. Soon after this, Presbyterians of Scotch and Irish descent began to settle in the valley. In the year 1738, a number from Pennsylvania, wishing to add themselves to those already settled, sent, through the synod of Pennsylvania, a deputation to Governor Gooch, of Virginia, “asking all liberty of conscience and of worshipping God agreeably to the principles of their education.” They professed the utmost loyalty to the King, and promised" the most dutiful submission to the government which is placed over them.” The Governor assured them of his favour, and that no interruption should be given to their ministers, if they should “conform themselves to the rules prescribed by the Act of Toleration in England.” It was the same principle which had been acted on before this time in Virginia, and continued to be to the end of the Colonial Establishment. Under that law, any number of persons, of whatsoever name, might ask for and should receive a license for some place of meeting where they might worship after their own way. Even during the preceding century, the first of our settlements in Virginia, the Germans on the Rappahannock and the French Huguenots on James River had not only been tolerated, but allowed special favours, such as grants of lands and freedom from taxes, until of their own accord they applied to be admitted into union with the Established Church under Episcopal ministers,-finding it difficult to procure any of their own. Other denominations also were allowed licenses for places of worship,whether private or public houses,-provided they sought and used them in compliance with the true intent of the law. In the case of President Davies, about the middle of the last century,—which we have considered when speaking of the parish in Hanover,--seven places of worship were licensed for him before the Governor declared that he was exceeding the bounds prescribed by the spirit and intent of the law.
* It is a true tradition, I believe, that one of the Carters, who at an early period took up or purchased a large tract of land in old Frederick, including all that which now belongs to the Burwell family, and extending beyond and along the Opequon and its barren hills and stunted trees, offered to one of his sons the choice of an equal portion of that upon the Opequon and of that fertile prairie lying between it and the Shenandoah River, and that the foriner was preferred because of the timber, which was visible, though of so indifferent a character. That the lower and richer lands of this part of the valley were once prairie in the days of our forefathers is generally admitted. Old Mr. Isaac Hite, of Bellgrove, now deceased, informed me that his father often spoke of the land about the White Post as being, in his day, covered with a thickei of saplings.
With these general observations we proceed to the history of the parish of Frederick. The materials are furnished by the Acts of Assembly dating back to the year 1738, to the records of the court beginning in 1744, and to the old vestry-book going back to the year 176+, and some papers of an earlier date.
In the year 1738, the Assembly, in consideration of the increasing number of settlers in the valley, determined to cut off two new counties and parishes-West Augusta and Frederick-from Orange county and parish, which latter then took in all Western Virginia. The county and parish of Frederick embraced all that
Of the vestry,
is now Shenandoah, with a part of Page, Warren, Clarke, Frederick, Jefferson, Berkeley, and Hampshire. Augusta had all the rest to the utmost limits of Virginia, wherever they were,—the contest with France as to the boundaries not being then settled. The execution of the Act, however, was postponed until it should be made to appear that there were inhabitants enough for the appointment of justices of the peace, &c. In the year 1744, the vestry and court of Frederick county were organized and in action. nothing more is heard after its organization, except the appointment of processioners in 1747, until the year 1752, when an Act of Assembly was passed dissolving it and ordering a new election, on the ground that it had raised more than fifteen hundred pounds for building a number of churches which were unfinished and in a ruinous condition. As the churches of that day and in this region were log-houses, costing only from thirty to forty or fifty pounds, there must have been much misspending of money. Who those restrymen were does not appear. Those chosen in their place were the following:- Thomas Lord Fairfax, Isaac Perkins, Gabriel Jones, John Hite, Thomas Swearingen, Charles Buck, Robert Lemmon, John Lindsey, John Ashby, James Cromley, Lewis Neil. Thomas Bryan Martin, the nephew and one of the heirs of Lord Fairfax, does not ever appear as vestryman, but seems to have been an active magistrate, and to have taken a considerable part in completing McCoy's Chapel, on the road from Winchester to Front Royal, in the neighbourhood of the McCoys and Cunningham Chapel, which stood near the spot where what has been long called the Old Chapel-near the Burwell burial-ground-still stands. Mr. Edward McGuire also appears as a magistrate, but not as vestryman,-he being of the Romish Church. He was the ancestor of many worthy ministers and members of the Protestant Episcopal Church of Virginia.
Having mentioned Lord Fairfax as the first on the list of that most respectable body of vestrymen given above, and who also gave the land on which the church in Winchester stood, and under which he was buried, it is but right that we should add a few words as to himself and his numerous and most estimable relatives now scattered through this and other States.
The first of the Fairfaxes who came to this country, and who settled in Westmoreland, and then on an estate near Mount Vernon, called Belvoir, was Mr. William Fairfax, a scholar, a soldier and civilian. The latter character he exhibited as President of the Council of Virginia, —the station next to that of Governor. By two