All posts by Patricia Licata

History in Our Backyard Chapter 10: The “Unfinished Railroad”

The term “unfinished railroad” refers to the roadbed without track that existed during the Civil War.  This article will give a brief description of its history. Another article will discuss its use specifically during the Civil War period.

Exhibit 12 Standard Gauge (left) vs. Narrow Gauge

The “unfinished railroad” had a role in the Civil War, but later it was two different working railroads run on the same roadbed. Although incorporated in 1853 no track had been laid as the Civil War began. Running between Orange and Fredericksburg, it existed under several names and configurations existing operationally from 1877 until 1984. The first line was narrow gauge, best known as the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont Railroad (PF&P). It provided passenger and freight service for almost fifty years. The second venture was standard gauge. It also hauled freight and passengers under the name of the Virginia Central Railway between 1927 to1937 and freight within Fredericksburg until 1984.

Incorporated in 1853, the Fredericksburg and Gordonsville Railroad Company’s (FGRRC’s) “purpose was to build a railroad between Fredericksburg and Gordonsville or Orange Court House in order to connect with the rail lines already running to Gordonsville.” The company failed by November 1857.  Road grading from Fredericksburg on 18 miles of the project had taken place by the time of the Civil War but no track had been laid, thus the “unfinished railroad” term. The project was resurrected in 1871. Some progress was made by the new company, however, after many delays, the State took possession of the railroad in December of 1873. It restored the property to the original owner, the FGRRC. In March 1876 the railroad was again reorganized and the name changed to the Potomac, Fredericksburg and Piedmont (PF&P), best known to locals as the “Poor Folks, and Preachers” due to its clientele. The first train to Orange arrived on February 26th, 1877.

PF&P showed a profit for many years. 1910 proved a banner year with 18,000 passengers and $56,000 in freight revenue. The high point for number of employees was 63 in 1920 but the decline was coming. The automobile and the truck “offered portal to portal service and substantial reductions in labor costs.” Furthermore the line could not interchange freight with mainline connections. In 1925 the line was sold and reorganized as the Orange and Fredericksburg Railroad but that was quickly sold to Langhorne Williams, a Richmond banker. The new name was the Virginia Central and the first upgrade was to install standard gauge track in 1926.


Exhibit 13 PF&P Engine and Tender

The line generally operated at a loss until it petitioned the Interstate Commerce Commission in 1937 to abandon the 37 miles between Orange and West Fredericksburg. It would continue to operate one mile of track in Fredericksburg as a switching operation for 15 industrial customers.  The Williams family continued to operate that line until 1967 when it was transferred to the city. The line was quickly recognized as a white elephant and although several schemes promised a profit, in March of 1984 the ICC approved final abandonment

Three excellent sources of reading are “Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac Railroad Historical Society, Inc.” Volume 5, Issue 4, Fall 2009, “The Virginia Central Railway,” Ames Williams, pages 18-28, Remembering: A History of Orange County, Frank S. Walker Jr., pages 252-256 and “Tracks Through Time; A Railfan Tour of Orange County, Virginia”, Frank S. Walker Jr., page 20, a pamphlet available at the Orange County Visitor Center.

Author: Bob Lookabill
Date: July 2018

Read Previous Chapter 9: Robinson’s Tavern

Continue to Chapter 11: the Unfinished Railroad in the Battle of the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 9: Robinson’s Tavern

Back in 2012, as I was driving down Route 20 toward the Locust Grove Town Center, I noticed a sign near the intersection of Route 20 and Zoar Road.  The silver sign was erected by the Virginia Department of Historical Resources stating that Robinson’s Tavern was nearby.  At that time, there was a restaurant in the Locust Grove Town Center called Robinson’s Tavern and I wondered why that restaurant would have an historical marker.  Thus began my research into Robinson’s Tavern.

In 1791, John Robinson bought 168 acres from Brigadier General Alexander Spotswood on the north side of Orange Turnpike, now known as Route 20, as part of Spotswood’s efforts to civilize the Wilderness area of Spotsylvania County.  John’s son, Thomas, built the tavern about 1815.  The tavern was located about where the sign “Locust Grove” is today.  In addition to being a typical tavern, it also served as a stagecoach stop between Charlottesville and Washington.

During the Civil War, the tavern served twice as a hospital for Union troops.

In the fall of 1863, after the Battle of Gettysburg, both Generals Robert E. Lee and George G. Meade returned their armies to Virginia along the Rappahannock and Rapidan Rivers.  After engaging in several small battles, Meade developed a plan for his 80,000 troops to attack Lee’s 50,000 troops to end the fight.  Lee’s troops were south of the Rapidan.  Meade heard that Germanna Ford and two others were unguarded, so he planned to attack from that direction.  The Union crossed the Rapidan on November 26, and, the Confederates, having heard of the planned attack, began moving towards the Union.  On November 27, the two sides met near Robinson’s Tavern and Mine Run.  The two armies moved around each other for two days.  Finally, on December 1, Meade, frustrated, moved his troops back across the Rapidan towards Culpeper.  The tavern was used as a temporary hospital during the fight.

In May 1864, General Ulysses S. Grant began his overland campaign, marching east from Culpeper.  Confederate General Ewell and his troops camped on the grounds of the tavern on their way to the Wilderness on May 4, 1864. .On May 5 and 6, 1864, the Battle of the Wilderness broke out a few miles up Orange Turnpike.  As the fighting got more intense, and Saunders Field began burning, the tavern was set up as a Union hospital for two days.


Exhibit 11 Robinson’s Tavern

After the war, life returned to normal.   Modernization came to the corner in the early 1980’s.  With the paving of Orange Turnpike, the purchase of the land around the intersection by Ken and Lora Dotson and the construction of Locust Grove Town Center’s first building and the Exxon Station, Robinson’s Tavern was moved about ½ mile west on Zoar Road.  The original building can still be seen there today. 

Upon completion of the second building in the town center, Robinson’s Tavern Restaurant became one of the occupants until it closed in 2012.  Mountain View Barbeque became the next occupant from about 2013 to 2014.  The site has been Generals Quarters Restaurant since February 2016.

Author: Milbrey A Bartholow
Date: May 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 8: Lafayette Dined Here

Continue to Chapter 10: The Unfinished Railroad

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 8: LAFAYETTE DINED HERE

Along Route 20 about a half mile before it intersects with Route 3 (where the Sheetz gas station is located) is a marker erected by the Virginia Department of Historical Resources describing an event in the Campaign of 1781 called Lafayette’s Maneuvers. While many of us are familiar with the area’s role in the Civil War, the marker is a small reminder of events that affected the area in Revolutionary times.

Exhibit 8 Marker OC 22

The Marquis de Lafayette, not quite 20 years old, had come to the Colonies in 1777 to help us during the American Revolutionary War.  He was commissioned a Major General by Congress, and soon met General Washington, with whom he had a lifetime friendship.  He went back and forth to France several times over the next few years, and even returned one time with 6000 troops.  He returned in the spring of 1781 and was asked to join General Anthony Wayne, to stop British General Cornwallis’ army.

Exhibit 9: Lafayette

Over the next few months, the colonists and Cornwallis played a game of “cat and mouse” in the region from Richmond to Charlottesville to Williamsburg. On June 4, 1781, Lafayette and his troops crossed the Rapidan River after drawing Cornwallis away from the coast.  They made camp in a field just east of the river on Ellwood Plantation that belonged to William Jones.  At this time, Ellwood Manor had not yet been built, so William and his wife, Betty, were living in a small settlement house.  Field hands alerted Mr. Jones that soldiers were in the field so Mr. Jones had a meal prepared for Lafayette and his officers and sent food down to the fields for the troops. The chase continued the next day, and finally ended October 19, 1781, when Cornwallis and his men surrendered at Yorktown, VA.

Lafayette soon returned to France, but retained the desire to return.  Forty-one years later, President Monroe invited Lafayette to visit the U.S. on the eve of the country’s 50th anniversary.  Lafayette arrived August 15, 1824, along with his son and his secretary.  On October 19, 1724, he was at Yorktown for the anniversary of Cornwallis’ surrender.  In November, he spent time at Monticello with his friend, Thomas Jefferson, whom he found very frail.  While there James Madison, from nearby Montpelier, dropped in unexpectedly.  The entourage then began a journey to Fredericksburg for a reception, stopping at Wilderness Tavern, which was owned by William Jones.  Mr. Jones may have even provided a nice “coach and four” and accompanied the entourage to Fredericksburg.  The trip of 15 miles took almost 2 hours.

They wintered in D.C. with the expectation of returning to France in early spring 1825 but Lafayette wanted to visit his friend Jefferson once more, so they journeyed again to Virginia.  On August 15, 1825, he stopped at Ellwood Manor, now completed and William Jones fed the group a plantation breakfast.  On August 16, he stopped at Montpelier to visit Madison again, and they visited Jefferson August 18 to 21.  He returned to D.C. for his birthday, September 6, celebrated at the White House with President John Q Adams.  He returned to France the next day, taking with him soil from Bunker Hill, which was buried with him upon his death in 1834. His visit, which was supposed to last 4 months with visits to 13 states, stretched into 13 months with visits to all 24 states.

So, yes, Lafayette “dined” at Ellwood Plantation – twice.

Author:  Milbrey Bartholow
Date: June 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 7: Jackson’s Flank Attack & Wounding

Continue to Chapter 9: Robinson’s Tavern

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 7: Jackson’s Flank Attack & Wounding

On the evening of May 1, 1863, during the Battle of Chancellorsville, General “Stonewall” Jackson and Confederate commander General Robert E. Lee held an historic meeting sitting on a “cracker box” near the intersection of Plank and Furnace Roads.

They agreed upon a plan for Jackson to maneuver around the Union army and initiate a flank attack.  The next morning Jackson and approximately 28,000 troops, nearly half of Lee’s Army, started their march.  Charles Wellford, owner of Catherine Furnace, and his son guided them along back roads for 12 miles ending up on the right flank of the Union Army’s XI Corp.  Around 5:15 p.m., rebel soldiers attacked, routing the Union troops and pushing them back until nightfall.  Jackson considered pressing the attack but decided to conduct his own personal reconnaissance before committing to an unusual nighttime attack. 

Exhibit 7: Arm of Jackson

Jackson set out around 9 p.m. with his entourage.  His guide, 19 year old Private David Kyle, took them down a narrow road passing through Confederate lines and riding to within a few hundred yards of the enemy when Jackson’s staff cautioned that it would be too dangerous to go further.  They turned around, retracing their path when they were fired upon by their own soldiers, mistaking them for Union skirmishers.  Jackson was hit three times – once in his right hand and twice in the left arm.   His staff rushed to his side, summoned his surgeon, Dr. Hunter McGuire, placed Jackson in an ambulance, and transported him to a field hospital – a large tent at Wilderness Tavern – near today’s Routes 3 and 20 Intersection; there, Dr. McGuire amputated Jackson’s left arm.  Jackson’s chaplain, Beverly Tucker Lacy, carried Jackson’s amputated arm to Ellwood plantation, a mile away and owned by Lacy’s brother, where he buried it in the family cemetery; it remains there today.  When Gen Lee heard of Jackson’s wounding, he exclaimed that “Jackson may have lost his left arm, but I have lost my right arm!”  After his amputation, Stonewall Jackson was transported 27 miles to Guinea Station, near exit 118 on Interstate 95, where he died of pneumonia on May 10.

Visit the Chancellorsville Battlefield Visitor Center, off Route 3, to learn more about Jackson’s flank attack and even follow along the Jackson Trail.  Ellwood Manor on Route 20 offers an opportunity to view the burial site of Jackson’s arm and hike to nearby Wilderness Tavern.  Finally, Guinea Station is a shrine to Jackson and readily accessible off Interstate 95.                                           

Author:  Joanne Pino
Date: May 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 6: Relive the Battle of the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 6: Relive the Battle of the Wilderness

Next month marks the 154th anniversary of one of the largest and most significant battles in America’s Civil War, the Battle of the Wilderness.  Conducted around, and sometimes on, our community’s grounds during the first week of May 1864, the battle is often considered the beginning of the end of the Confederacy.   This year, during the weekend of May 5 and 6, the National Park Service (NPS), in conjunction with local living history re-enactor organizations and the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield, will offer to the public, free of charge, a full range of events and demonstrations commemorating this momentous battle. 

This event will be held on the grounds of Ellwood Manor, a restored plantation home located on Route 20, approximately a half mile from intersection of Route 20 and Route 3.   Participating in the weekend’s activities will be Confederate and Union infantry and cavalry re-enactors as well as individuals depicting key battle commanders such as Generals Ulysses Grant, George Meade, and Gouverneur Warren.   Each participating organization will set up a campsite near Ellwood that will allow you to view several demonstrations of camp life, including stepping into the life of a soldier or learning about the medical realities of war in the mid-19th century.

Exhibit 6 Ellwood Event Layout

Anyone who wants to learn more about this hallowed land where we live should not miss this event.  The activities will be held on the grounds of Ellwood each day on May 5 and 6 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; some will be ongoing and others scheduled at specific times, usually on the hour. 

There will be multiple infantry and cavalry battle demonstrations between the Confederate and Union re-enactors each day.  At 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. both days, the NPS will conduct live fire artillery demonstrations.  At 4 p.m. on Saturday, all of the infantry, cavalry, and artillery units will conduct a combined battle demonstration.  You don’t want to miss these!  Just prior to the midday firing demonstrations each day, you will be able to witness a major confrontation among Generals Grant, Meade, and Warren just as it may have occurred on May 5, 1863.  There will be opportunities to talk to each of the participants and plenty of photo ops in front of the manor house as well as with all re-enactors and horses.

Regardless of what you know about the Wilderness Battle or the Civil War writ large, you will leave Ellwood with a better understanding of and new perspectives about the events that occurred on this hallowed ground and how they affected the final outcome of the war less than a year later. 

For more information about this Living History event, you can visit the local NPS website (www.nps.gov.frsp) or the Friends of the Wilderness Battlefield website (www.fowb.org).  They will provide you with additional details about the events and participants, as well as the timeline for specific activities and demonstrations.   Mark your calendars – this weekend is a must see!

Author:  Dick Rankin
Date:  April 2018

Previous Chapter 5: An Oral History (Continued)

Continue to Chapter 7: Jackson’s Flank Attack & Wounding

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 5: an Oral History (continued)

In April, 1875, the New York Sun reported that Anthony Smith, commonly known as Anthony Jones, died in New York at the age of 70. Smith was a former slave who had run-away from the Wilderness of Virginia. During his life in New York Smith had accumulated a considerable estate but had neglected to write a will. Lacking a legal heir, the New York Court System took control of his affairs.

On his death-bed interview, Smith told the story of his life. Once the property of William Jones, owner of the Ellwood Manor estate in the Wilderness of Spotsylvania, His master William Jones had become a widower in the 1820s and several years later William remarried Lucinda Gordon who brought with her to Ellwood Mansion a personal slave, Patsey.

Anthony eventually wooed Patsey and with the consent of their owners they took up housekeeping on the Ellwood Manor grounds. Four children were born to the couple, but only one, the fourth, survived. About the time of William’s death in 1845, Anthony ran-away from his then pregnant wife and the Ellwood estate. He was captured, returned to Fredericksburg and sold to a new owner. After a trip to the South with his new master, Anthony again escaped and made his way to New York City, where he lived out his remaining years. Following the Emancipation, Anthony attempted to restore contact with his family back in the Wilderness, but with limited success. Patsey did retain one of his letters and later cited it as proof of their marital relationship.

The story as related above was published in the New York papers sometime after Anthony’s death. It was soon picked up and published by Richmond, Virginia papers. As a result, two sets of claimants to Anthony’s fortune came forth to the New York Court. One, the remaining sister and brother of Anthony declared extreme poverty. They were represented by J. Horace Lacy, their former owner through his marriage to Betty Churchill Jones, William Jones’ second daughter and heir to Ellwood.

Exhibit 5 J. Horace Lacy

The second claimants were Patsey, his first wife, along with the sole living child who was born after Anthony’s first escape. They were represented by lawyers Alexander & Green of Fredericksburg. When interviewed by the New York court, Patsey explained that she had waited a number of years following Anthony’s departure before taking in a new partner. Though partnered, she claimed to have been the wife of Anthony (citing the letter she retained) and therefore a legal heir to his estate.

The New York Court wrestled with the judgment for nearly a year. They recognized that New York and Virginia laws on marriage differed considerably in the pre-war era. Numerous testaments and affidavits were heard or submitted. Many of the claimants appeared before the referee at least one time. In the end, based on Patsey’s proof of their pre-war marital relationship, the court sided with Patsey. She received the estate, then valued at $20,000, cash and property.

Author:  Bob Epp
Date: March 2018

Read Previous Chapter. Chapter 4: An Oral History of a Local Slave Family

Continue to Chapter 6: Relive the Battle of the Wilderness

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

wine

Adult Wine & Cheese Pool Social at the LOW Clubhouse Pool!

The LOWA Pools Committee is hosting the Adult Wine & Cheese Pool Social on Saturday, July 13th from 7PM – 9PM.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the newly constructed pool, this is a great time – kids free! Entry fee will be $10 per person and will include 2 glasses of wine and food. ($5 for each additional glass of wine, if you wish). You pay at the door and it will be cash only.

Be sure to RSVP with Vassa Olson at: vassaathelake@gmail.com and include your preference of red, white, or rose wine. You must register by July 10th. Should the weather not participate, the rain date will be: July 27th.

Lifeguards will be on duty! This event is sponsored by FLOW (Friends of Lake of the Woods).

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

SmileS Adaptive Carnival 2019 by LOW Adaptive Watersports Foundation!

Join the LOW Adaptive Water Sports Foundation, Saturday July 20th from 9AM to 4PM for a FREE fun day on the water! Bring your friends and family for the 3rd annual event that brings watersports to differently-abled people of all ages, walks of life and their families!

The carnvial will be held in honor of 2 women who left the world far too soon and young. This is a time to come together as a community and support each other with unconditional love and support.

There will be adaptive water-skiing, tubing, pontoon rides, kayaking, paddle-boarding and many outdoor games to play and participate in! This year, they are partnering with Therapeutic Adventures – IndependencePlus Adaptive Sports to bring adaptive paddling!

Lunch, snacks, and water will be provided for free throughout the day. All participates will also receive a free t-shirt, but you must register to participate. You can register here. If you don’t want to participate, come out and show your support!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

barbecue-

Celebrate Independence Day at the LOW Clubhouse July 6, 2019!

After the Lake of the Woods Fourth of July Independence Day Celebration, visit the Clubhouse for Dinner! The restaurant and deck will open at 5PM and the buffet will be $29.95 per person from 6:30PM to 8:30PM. The buffet will only be available to those on the deck and the regular menu will ONLY be available INSIDE for regular dining. Be sure to call 540-972-2221 to reserve your spot! The menu is pictured below but include: BBQ Chicken, BBQ Ribs, Hot dogs, corn on the cob and so much more delicious cook-out food!

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.

History in Our Backyard Chapter 4: An Oral History of a Local Slave Family

Do you know your family’s history?  How far back can you trace your lineage?  If you are an African American descended from slaves, that quest can be very difficult, often impossible.  Most of what we know about the history of slaves and their families comes from oral traditions carried from generation to generation.  Such is the case of Anthony Jones, a slave on the Ellwood Plantation in the first half of the 19th century, and his family.

Shortly before his death in New York City, Jones shared a believable story of his family and their roles at the plantation.   Anthony was the son of Ester and Anthony Jones, Sr., likely the Black Minister for the plantation’s slaves.  Anthony, Sr. and Ester had 8 children, some of whom are documented on slave censuses from Spotsylvania and Orange Counties.

William Jones, the owner of Ellwood, was widowed in 1825.  He remarried a few years later at 78 to Lucinda Gordon, a 16 year old grandniece of his first wife.  She brought her personal slave, Patsy, with her to Ellwood.   Like most slaves during this period, Patsy developed a specialty – her skill was weaving. The younger Anthony took a shine to Patsy as she sat weaving and, after wooing her for an extended time, asked her to marry him.   Patsy agreed and Anthony, as the law then required, had to ask for permission from the plantation owner; after William Jones agreed, Anthony and Patsy took up residency in the laundry house at Ellwood.   They had four children over the next 13 years – the first three (Isaac, Aaron, and Lucy) died in infancy.

Exhibit 4 Slave Auction Block

Over time, Anthony grew increasingly unhappy with his Ellwood life, working the fields and gold mining on plantation property.   In the early 1840s he opted to run away, leaving his then pregnant wife Patsy, his parents and his 7 siblings behind.   He was captured and returned to Fredericksburg where he was jailed and sold to a slave trader, John Ellis.   After the sale, Anthony had to accompany his master on a trip into the Deep South.  On their return by boat, Ellis became sick and died, leaving Anthony in charge of the owner’s personal belongings.  Instead of returning to Fredericksburg, Anthony stayed on the ship headed to New York.  On arrival, he locked his owner’s trunk, gave the key to the ship’s captain, and announced that he was going to Church.   He never returned to the ship.

Anthony obtained employment in New York and for the next few years attempted to correspond with Patsy; she later claimed to have received only one letter which had to be read to her by the local postmaster (Almond).  Unfortunately, she lost that letter during the Civil War. She and her youngest child, Anthony III, later laid claim to the wealth her husband accumulated during his New York working days.  The elder Jones’ siblings, Isaac Smith and Elizabeth Keaton, also pursued the estate through the New York probate court. Those proceedings (1873-1876) and their related testimonials afforded considerable insight into the family, some of which are shared in this article.

(The rest of the story, obtained from the court proceedings, will appear in the next episode.)

Author:  Bob Epp

Date: March 2018

Read Chapter 3: Plantation Life in the Wilderness

Continue to Chapter 5: an Oral History (continued)

Whether you’re looking for homes for sale in Lake of the Woods VA or Waterfront property in Virginia we are your Real Estate Advisors for Stafford, Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, Locust Grove, Central Virginia, and Greater Virginia. Thinking of selling? In any market condition, “what is my home worth?” is the #1 question asked by home owners. If you wish to sell your home, it needs to be sold for top dollar and in a timely manner. Pricing your home accurately, Pat will partner with you to make the selling process so much easier. Get started today by calling us at (540) 388-2541 or contact Pat Licata.

To see available Lake of the Woods properties, please visit our site.