Chain of Ownership and Division
Nicholas Fitzhugh inherited this parcel and Parcel 1.1.6 following the death of his father, Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel), in 1783. It is Lot 2 of seven lots created by deed A2:186 in the division of parcel 1.1 (Ravensworth North) among Nicholas and four brothers.
About 1783, Nicholas established his residence here, becoming the first Fitzhugh to live on Ravensworth after 100 years of the family’s absentee ownership.1
Division of Parcel 1.1.2
In 1804, Fitzhugh sold 80 percent of the land (831 of 1062 acres), including the plantation dwelling house, to Dr. David Stuart. The name Ossian Hall originated with Stuart and identified the house and the property upon which it stood for the next 155 years. Fitzhugh retained 231 acres (Parcel 22.214.171.124).
On David Stuart’s death in 1814, the Ossian Hall tract passed to his son William Sholto Stuart, and on William’s death in 1822, to his sisters Sarah, Arianna, Eleanor and Rosalie.
Thirty years after they were divided, the two tracts were reunited by Stephenson Scott and William Stephenson Scott. In 1833, they bought the 831-acre Ossian Hall tract from Stuart’s heirs. The next year the Scott’s bought Parcel 126.96.36.199 from Nicholas Fitzhugh’s heirs – enlarged with additional land purchases.
According to Robert Moxham, it’s unknown whether and for how long the Scotts resided at Ossian Hall. Citing the Alexandria Gazette, he reports that by January 1837 William Brent’s “Seminary for Youths” was operating at Ossian Hall “where boarding students could be accommodated.”2
Periods of Brief Ownership
The Scotts held the land for just five years, selling all but about 140 acres (Parcel 188.8.131.52) in September 1838 to William, Thomas and Henry Steers. Deed E3:270 identifies the sale of 1170 acres as comprising two tracts: 831 acres (named Ossian Hall) and 340 acres (unnamed). Subsequent deeds continue the separate identities, but name them Ossian Hall and Mount Olympus.
When and the reason for naming the smaller tract Mount Olympus are unknown. The same question arises for Parcel 184.108.40.206, which the Scotts retained. It is called Pine Orchard in deed G3:146, which gave sole ownership to Stephenson Scott in 1841. Perhaps the names reflect a custom that continues today of new owners giving names to their farms or estates.
The Steers family’s tenure on the land was even shorter than the Scotts’ – less than 12 months. A series of deeds between February and August 1839 passed ownership in stages to Thomas and Jane Crux.
Financial arrangements were key in all of the deeds back to the Stuart heirs sale to the Scotts in 1833. The Crux assumed obligation for $4000 plus interest still owed the Stuart heirs plus additional financing of the $7500 purchase price. These obligations would continue to affect future transactions by the Crux, requiring them to obtain releases to sell portions of the land.
Such was the case when the Crux sold 125 acres (Parcel 220.127.116.11) to Isaac B. Newcomb during or before 1842 (no deed of sale found). In separate deeds (G3:357 and G3:361) the Scotts, the financial trustee and Stuarts granted releases required to give Newcomb clear title to the land.
In 1843 Thomas and Jane Crux sold 598 acres (Parcel 18.104.22.168) to Francis A. Dickins, again with agreement of the Scotts and trustee. The Crux retained about 420 acres (Parcel 22.214.171.124).
Stability Comes to Ossian Hall
The Dickins family acquired the majority of the Ossian Hall tract, including the Ossian Hall manor house. After 10 years of turnover and multiple owners, they brought stability to Ossian Hall and a residency that would last through the Civil War.
A Changing Neighborhood
The division and sale of land, in these years before the Civil War, brought the beginning of an influx of emigrants from northern states. William Gargas, who bought Parcel 126.96.36.199.1 in 1820, moved from Bucks County, PA. The Steers and Crux families were from Sing Sing, NY, and Issac Newcomb from Duchess County, NY. They joined long-established residents as well as other newcomers like the Dickins family – Washington, DC residents with roots in Virginia and North Carolina.
Parcel 1.1.2 Chain of Ownership Documents
|A2:186||7/11/1797||Court||Nicholas, Richard, Mordecai, Battaile & Giles Fitzhugh||1.1.1 - 1.1.7||Survey (1792) and plat for divison of parcel 1.1 into seven parcels bequeathed to these five youngest sons of Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel) (died 1783)|
|E2:289||9/21/1804||Nicholas & Sarah Fitzhugh||David Stuart||1.1.2||Sell 831 acres for 13,854 Spanish milled dollars and 15 cents|
|(will) K1:238||10/17/1814||David Stuart||William Sholto Stuart||1.1.2||Bequeath Ossian Hall tract to his son|
|(will) M1:386||6/18/1822||William Sholto Stuart||Sally, Ann C, Eleanor C & Rozalie E Stuart||1.1.2||Bequeath equals shares of Ossian Hall tract to his sisters|
|B3:143||2/19/1833||Obed & Sarah Wait, Arianna C Stuart & Eleanor C Stuart||Stephenson Scott & William Stephenson Scott||1.1.2||Sell Ossian Hall tract of 831.25 acres for $5000, excepting burying ground of 1 acre|
|E3:270||9/15/1838||Stephenson & Elizabeth Scott & William Stephenson & Alice Scott||William, Thomas & Henry Steers||1.1.2||Sell 1170 acres (except 1-acre graveyard), two tracts - (1) 831 acres, part of Ossian Hall and (2) residue devised by Nicholas Fitzhugh to his sons - for $7500. Conveyed clear title except encumbrance of $4000 with interest from 1/1/1839 payable to Stuart family, secured by deed of Trust of 2/19/1833 from Scotts to Charles Colvert Stuart.|
|E3:288||12/8/1838||Henry & Gertrude Steers||William Steers & Thomas Steers||1.1.2||Grant and quit claim to Henry's share of title to 1170 acres acquired in deed E3:270 on 9/15/1838, due to inability to pay agreed upon part of purchase price.|
|E3:285||1/19/1839||Robert I Taylor||Arthurn M & Mary C M Payne, Lucy B Fitzhugh (2nd part); William Steers, Thomas Steers (3rd part)||1.1.2||Release title to the Steers in recognition that debt of $1000 owed to the Paynes & Fitzhugh by Stephenson Scott & William Stephenson Scott had been paid to satisfy Taylor's deed of trust that had secured the debt.|
|E3:276||2/5/1839||William & Margaret Steers & Thomas & Margaret Steers & Thomas & Jane Crux||William Benton||1.1.2||By a bond of same date of penalty of $19000 have become bound to Stephenson Scott to (1) pay to Oled Waite and others $4000 which will be due on 1/1/1843 plus interest paid annually until fully paid; (2) pay $5500 with interest from 1/1/1839 in installments . To secure bond, convey title to 1170 acres previously purchaed from Scotts and others in deed E3:270-a tract including 831 acres part of Ossian Hall & residue commonly called Mount Olympus; Steers & Crux retain possession and receive rents and profits . In case of default, Benton to sell whatever part of the tract necessary to cover arrears & expenses.|
|E3:281||2/5/1839||William & Margaret Steers||Thomas Crux||1.1.2||Sell for $3750 one undivided moiety (one half part) of a tract of 1170 acres, part of tract called Ossian Hall|
|E3:371||6/28/1839||Thomas & Margaret Steers||Thomas Crux||1.1.2||Conveys and confirms title to one-fourth part of two tracts - Ossian Hall & Mount Olympus, 831.25 & 340 acres rsptfly, Crux having paid 1st $2000 of $11,500 purchase price. Releases Thomas Steers from liability in joint bond to Stephenson Scott for the residue owed that was secured in deed of trust to William Benton on the said lands.|
|E3:411||8/28/1839||William & Margaret Steers||Thomas Crux||1.1.2||Conveys and confirms title to one-fourth part of two tracts - Ossian Hall & Mount Olympus 831.25 & 340 acres rsptfly, Crux having paid 1st $2000 of $11,500 purchase price. Releases William Steers from liability in joint bond to Stephenson Scott for the residue owed that was secured in deed of trust to William Benton on the said lands.|
|H3:052||1/10/1843||Thomas & Jane Crux, Stephenson Scott & William Benton||Francis A DickIns||188.8.131.52-184.108.40.206||Sell for $7800 two tracts of land, being portions of the Ossian Hall & Mount Olympus tracts, one of 514 acres and one of 84 acres (Parcel 220.127.116.11). Cites history and obligations on the land conveyed. The Crux retain 430 acres (Parcel 18.104.22.168).|
|G2:297||12/8/1805||Giles Fitzhugh||Nicholas Fitzhugh||22.214.171.124||Sale 69.5 acres (Parcel 126.96.36.199) bordering Backlick Rd and Little River Turnpike|
|R2:352||4/12/1818||Augustine & Edmund Fitzhugh||Sarah Fitzhugh||188.8.131.52||Release claim to 590 acres of land during Sarah's life in lieu of dower from Nicholas Fitzhugh|
|R2:354||3/5/1820||Ann W Rose||Sarah Fitzhugh||184.108.40.206||Sell Rose's dower right to 290 acres for $389, confirming earlier sale (c.1809-1814) to Nicholas Fitzhugh, apparently without a deed, by administrator of Dr. Henry Rose's estate.|
|R2:351||5/4/1820||Sarah Fitzhugh||Edmund Fitzhugh||220.127.116.11||Release claim during Sarah's life to land in lieu of dower from Nicholas Fitzhugh|
|R2:356||5/5/1820||Henry W Fitzhugh||Sarah Fitzhugh||18.104.22.168||Release claim during Sarah's life to land in lieu of dower from Nicholas Fitzhugh|
|R2:357||5/6/1820||Sarah Fitzhugh||William Garges||22.214.171.124.1||Sell two parcels (132 acres and 2 acres) for $2000|
|S2:105||6/8/1820||Charles Fitzhugh||Sarah Fitzhugh||126.96.36.199||Release claim during Sarah's life to land in lieu of dower from Nicholas Fitzhugh|
|S2:280||7/3/1834||Lawrence & Clarissa Fitzhugh||"Henrietta S, |
Lucy B, & Eliza Fitzhugh, Mary C M Payne & Sophia B White"
|188.8.131.52||Release and grant Lawrence's interest to his sisters of the balance of land Nicholas Fitzhugh devised to his sons (parcel 184.108.40.206). (Apparently similar to other sons' releases to their mother, Sara Fitzhugh, before her death.)|
|B3:282||9/27/1834||"Henry, Lucy B & Ann Elisa Fitzhugh, Arthur & Mary C M Payne, Thomas & Sophia B White"||Stephenson Scott & William Stephenson Scott||220.127.116.11||Sell 478 acres for $1912|
|C3:251||1/21/1836||William Garges||Newman Burke & Silas Burke||18.104.22.168.1||Indenture to secure $250 owed Silas Burke, due 1/18/1837; sell for $1 to Newman Burke tract of 132 acres but keep possession until default on the debt|
|G3:146||6/2/1841||William Stevenson & Alice L Scott||Stevenson Scott||22.214.171.124||Sell for $1, Pine Orchard, about 150 acres, part of property (parcel 126.96.36.199) bought from heirs of Nicholas Fitzhugh in 1834|
|Q3:401||11/14/1851||Thomas R Love, et. al court commissioners||Thomas Cowling||188.8.131.52||sell for $2400 a tract of 160 acres owned by James Crutchett called "Pine Orchard," formerly occupied by Stephenson Scott (result of suit by Scott against James Crutchett (CFF83 F 35)|
- In 1790 Fairfax County taxed property identified to Nicholas’ deceased father under the names of three apparent overseers and Nicholas, who was listed with seven slaves and four horses. (Fairfax County tax data for 1789 and 1799 accessed online in Binns Genealogy website, accessed May 6, 2013.) This indicates his presence on and active use of his land before 1790. ↩
- Robert Morgan Moxham, Annandale, Virginia: A Brief History, ed. Estella K Bryans-Munson (Fairfax County History Commission, 1992),24 ↩