Home > 000828. William Garrard > The Development of Stafford County, Virginia, from 1600 until 1865

The Development of Stafford County, Virginia, from 1600 until 1865

Source: Jerrilynn Eby, They Called Stafford Home: The Development of Stafford County, Virginia, from 1600 until 1865 (Bowie, Maryland: Heritage Books, 1997).

[page 114]

Upon the redrawing of the Stafford boundaries in 1779, which divided King George and Stafford from Rappahannock and Potomac Counties, the magistrates moved from the old court house on Potomac Creek to the home of William GARRARD, a place more convenient to most of the county’s inhabitants.  At the last meeting of the court in August 1778, only nine of the thirty justices had been able to attend as the court house was not centrally located.  GARRARD lived just north of today’s court house complex, probably about where the old Stafford Middle School now stands.  The justices then ordered a commission of the peace to find the center of the county, proposing to build a new court house at that location.  The committee found that the center was in a deep valley with no access to water or level ground for general musters.  The magistrates then chose a place between the ordinaries of William GARRARD and Moses PHILLIPS, “a high and dry situation of equal distance from Potomack and Rappahannock rivers.”  Bailey WASHINGTON stated that he believed the new location was between four and five miles from the center of the county.  The magistrates recommended, however, that due to the current high taxes the building of a new court house and jail be postponed until better times.  When Travers DANIEL surveyed the proposed site, it could not be determined if the land belonged to William GARRARD or William FITZHUGH.  Both were willing to

[page 115]

convey and both signed the deed in March 1780.  The land was sold for £5, “two acres of land for the use of building a Court House.”  The new court house, jail, and clerk’s office were built in 1783.

1783 Court House

1783 Jail

[page 117]

In 1787 an advertisement appeared in The Virginia Independent Chronicle of Richmond announcing the sale of property in Stafford.  “William GARRARD, executor, advertises for sale 620 acre in Stafford County [described as] belonging to the estate of William GARRARD, deceased.  On it tands the court house of the county with a tavern (which rents for £50) where the stages regularly stop once every day.”

[page 130]

Garrard’s Ordinary — on the site of the old Stafford Middle School, corner of U.S. Route 1 and State Route 687.  Owned by Colonel William GARRARD, who served in the Revolution and was much involved in Stafford politics, including serving as justice in 1781 and helping to choose the site for the 1783 court house.  He was listed in the 1768-1776 Quit Rent Rolls as owner of 200 acres.  In 1785 he was taxed on 23 slaves, 7 horses, and 28 cattle.

[page 348]

Hartwood Baptist Meeting House

Long ago destroyed by Federal troops, Hartwood Baptist Meeting House dated from 1776, when members of the Old School Order of the Baptist Church established themselves in Hartwood.  Followers of the Old School adhered to a rigid code of behavior and worship, disciplined errant members, and interpreted the Bible literally. […]

[page 349]

Hartwood remained in continuous use until its destruction by Federal troops during the infamous “Mud March” of 1863 (see “The Civil War in Stafford” in Chapter 10).  The precise location of the church is unknown.  Cursory searches on both sides of Shackleford’s Well Road (State Route 754) have failed to find so much as a foundation stone.  Two maps from 1827 and the Civil War both show the building on the northwest side of Route 754, which was then known as Courthouse Road.  The cemetery is on the southeast side of Route 754, directly behind Hartwood Elementary School.

In this church arose James GARRARD (1749-1822), the son of William GARRARD, who was an official tobacco inspector, county lieutenant, and proprietor of Garrard’s Ordinary (site of the old Stafford Middle School on U.S. Route 1 just north of the court house).  In 1769 James married Elizabeth MOUNTJOY, daughter of

[page 350]

Captain William MOUNTJOY (see “Locust Hill” in Chapter 9).  In 1781 James held the rank of colonel in the Virginia militia.  How much fighting he actually saw during the Revolution is open to speculation; his military career was interrupted by a year in the House of Delegates in 1779, when he represented Stafford County.

In 1783, accompanied by his wife and seven children, he removed to Kentucky.  There he settled on Stoner Creek in present-day Bourbon County (then Fayette) which was still part of Virginia, Kentucky not yet being a state.  Upon his arrival in Kentucky, he began preaching where, according to SEMPLE, he “was thought to possess talents for the pulpit.”  For many years after his removal to Kentucky, his interests vacillated between religion and politics and, in 1787, he helped organize Cooper’s Run Church near his home.  Here he preached for the next sixteen years.  In 1785 he was elected to represent Fayette County, a position which he used to work for Kentucky statehood.

In 1796 James was elected governor of Kentucky, an office he held until 1804.  During his tenure as governor, he continued to preach at Cooper’s Run but was very much influenced by his secretary, Harry TOULMIN who, according to SEMPLE, “was said to be a transatlantic Socinian preacher, but a man of talent.”  TOULMIN was actually a Unitarian who interpreted the Bible as a collection of human experience and who disavowed the traditional Christian belief in the Trinity and the divinity of Jesus.  GARRARD espoused TOULMIN’s Unitarian views, totally contrary to the Baptist teachings, and succeeded in spreading those ideas in his own congregation at Cooper’s Run.  The resulting church schism caused James’ removal a pastor of Cooper’s Run and he was dropped from the Baptist Association, thus ending his ministry in 1803.

James never preached again and, after his term as governor expired in 1804, he never again ran for public office.  However, his popularity with the population as a whole and with the legislature was attested to by the fact that his name was given to a newly created county in Kentucky.

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