Stafford County (Va.)
By Janet Payne
Janet Payne is the retired fine arts coordinator of the Stafford (VA) County Public Schools.
This article originally appeared in the International Review of African American Art, volume 16, number 1, and is reproduced here with the permission of this publication.
(This brochure was originally printed in the fall of 2002.)
Africans first arrived in the Virginia colony in 1619 as indentured servants. In the late 1600s slaves were brought into the sparsely settled Rappahannock Valley, primarily to serve as agricultural laborers.
On October 17 & 18th, 2009, the public is invited to observe an archaeological dig at the Historic Magistrate's Office--Stafford County's oldest existing municipal building, dating to about the 1820s.
Archaeologists are conducting a small dig along the foundation to try to determine when the building was constructed and if there was anything present prior to this building. Visitors will learn about the history of the site and methods of archaeology.
Parking is available in the lot behind the Historic Magistrate's Office; entrance from Washington Street.
According to an article that appeared in the Free Lance-Star on 10/10/2009, Stafford County is working with the National Park Service to place a museum on the whole of the county's history at Chatham, a National Park Service property.
By Stafford County Historical Society
1. AQUIA CRUCIFIX AND BRENT CEMETERY
The crucifix, erected in 1930, memorializes the first English settlers of Stafford County, the Brenta. Colonel Giles Brent of Maryland and his Piscataway Indian wife settled at the mouth of Aquia Creek in 1647. His sisters joined them, one of them being Margaret Brent, prominent landowner and attorney, a remarkable achievement for a woman of that time. The Brenta, who were Catholic, welcomed others of all religions to settle in the Aquia area.
By The Rappahannock Valley Civil War Roundtable
No great battles were fought within Stafford County, but during the winter of 1862-1863, 120,000 men of the Army of the Potomac camped along its ridges and valleys. The federal army combed the countryside, stripping the inhabitants of nearly everything - livestock, fence rails, crops, and lumber. With little remaining to eat and firewood for heating scarce (some sources claim that only 20 trees pre-dating the war exist in the county today), most residents were forced to leave. When these homes were found abandoned, Union soldiers simply pulled down the house and used it for firewood.
Old Churches, Ministers, and Families of Virginia
In Two Volumes
By Bishop Meade
Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1894.
From volume II
Overwharton Parish, Stafford County.
I come now to Overwharton parish in Stafford county. The county and parish take their names from the corresponding ones in England. Stafford county once extended up to the Blue Ridge Mountain. In the year 1730, Prince William county was formed from the "heads of King George and Stafford." Overwharton parish was also coextensive with Stafford before Prince William was divided and Hamilton parish taken off. In the same year,--1730,--Overwharton parish was divided and Hamilton parish taken off. Overwharton covered the narrow county of Stafford, and Hamilton the large county of Prince William before Fauquier, Fairfax, and Loudoun were taken away. Stafford, in its original dimensions, first appears as a county in 1666.
By G.B. Wallace, interviewed by John T. Goolrick
Major Michael Wallace, of the American Revolutionary Army, was an enormous man, more than six feet six inches tall, broad and powerful. He was a brother of General Gustavus B. Wallace, and after he had fought through the war with distinction, he and the general, bachelors, returned to live at "Ellerslie," the family home, where their mother and father were still living.