Role in Ravensworth: leaseholder in Parcel 1.1 – 205 acres

The information presented here was developed primarily from research generously shared by Mari Gussin, a Hollis family descendant.

John Hollis married Esther Canterbury whose parents, Samuel and Mary (Simpson) Canterbury, owned land bordering Ravensworth on the west. They had four known children:

  • John Hollis, Jr. (bef. 1729-?) – He was disabled; church records indicate he received some support from members of the Truro Parish.
  • James Hollis (bef. 1737-?)
  • Burr Hollis (bef. 1741-?)
  • William Hollis (bef. 1748-?)

John Hollis and sons William and Burr served during the French and Indian War in the Virginia Regiment of colonial forces under George Washington. Their service was in the forts protecting the Virginia-Maryland-Pennsylvania frontier. William Hollis was listed in 1754 in the roster of soldiers in the Fort Necessity Campaign, the opening battle of the French and Indian War.1 The father served from January to perhaps August 1756 in Captain Waggener’s company.2 Burr Hollis served in 1757 in Captain Bryan Fairfax’s Fairfax County Detachment.3

John Hollis leased 205 acres in Parcel 1.1 from Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel). The lease, dated April 24, 1758, was for the longest life of John, son William or son Burr. Annual payment specified was 1108 net pounds of tobacco raised on the land. It’s location was on the north side of the Mountain Road (today’s Braddock Road) at the intersection with the road to the Pohick Warehouse, (today’s Rolling Road). The family was already living on part of the land, as the lease states that it “includes the land where John Hollis now lives.” In addition to farming tobacco, the Hollis family operated a court-licensed ordinary at the crossroads.

By 1782 the family appears no longer to be living in the county, as the name Hollis does not appear in the Personal Property list for that year.4 The Hollis location was apparently well known even as late as 1792: “Hollis’ old field” was often cited as a landmark on Mountain (now Braddock) Road.5


  1. Fort Necessity National Battlefield website, listed as “Will’m Hollis” in Roster of Virginia Regiment.
  2. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799, Thomas Waggener, January 1756, Company Payroll Receipt and Thomas Waggener, February 1756, Company Payroll Receipts He was listed as “Jno Holleys”.
  3. George Washington Papers at the Library of Congress, 1741-1799: Series 4. General Correspondence. 1697-1799, listed as “Burr Holliss” in Bryan Fairfax, June 1757, Roll of Militia Detachment.
  4. Binn’s Genealogy website, Fairfax County, Virginia 1782 Personal Property, surnames beginning with “H” are in images 8 and 9.
  5. Beth Mitchell, Fairfax County Road Orders, 1749-1800, multiple pages.