PATRICK'S LIFE

September 6 & 7, 1770

Patrick Hamrick [Jr.] sold the parcel he inherited from his father to Rut Johnson via deeds of lease and release (Copy of original deed of lease received from Scott H. Harris, Curator, The Manassas Museum, Manassas, VA, October 8, 1995. Copy of original deed of release received from Alice W. Johnson (wife of Rut Johnson's descendant Joseph B. Johnson), Blacksburg, VA, September 12, 1996. (The deed is broken on the folds into four pieces, but is otherwise intact.) These deeds are recorded in Prince William County Deed Book R. pp. 245-247.) The deeds describe it as a certain parcel of Land lying in the sd. County of Prince William containing one Hundred and thirty Acres (being part of a parcel containing by estimation two Hundred and sixty Acres which was conveyed to Elizabeth Day by Henry McDonack and afterwards fell to Patrick Hamrick who gave it to his Son the sd. Patrick Hamrick) [ . . . ] The boundary description reveals that this parcel laid south of the parcel James had inherited, although there are no firm references to discern the specific dividing line. The sale includes all Houses Buildings, orchards, ways, waters, water courses, profits, commodities,hereditaments, and appurtenanies, whatsoever to the sd. premises hereby granted, or any part thereof belonging or in anywise appertainining, except sixteen square poles to belaid off to include a grave yard (which said sixteen poles is to be appropriated to no other use) [ . . . ].

Comments

This deed firmly establishes Patrick, Jr. as Patrick's son. It also clearly set aside land which most certainly was the family graveyard. In colonial Virginia, deceased members of the family were customarily buried in a designated plot on the home place. (Albert Alan Rogers. Family Life in Eighteenth Century Virginia. Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia, 1939. p. 289.) No doubt, this graveyard was where Patrick had been laid to rest. Very likely, it is also where Patrick's sons, John and Robert, who had both preceded him in death, (Prince William County Order Book 1755 – 1757. (John) p. 257 & (Robert) p. 272.) had been buried. Other unknown family members could also have been buried there by the time of this sale, as well as Patrick's wife, Margaret, whose date of death remains undiscovered. Most likely, since the family graveyard was located on Patrick, Jr.'s parcel, it was considered to be the main property, where Patrick had made his home.

 

Fortunately, after the sale to Rut Johnson, this parcel was handed down to his descendants and stayed within the Johnson family until recent times. Throughout the passage of time, the Johnsons honored the setaside for the graveyard and, in fact, have continually used it as their own family graveyard. In 1988, the Johnson's donated eight acres of land, including the graveyard, to Grace United Methodist Church and, subsequently, a very handsome place of worship was built adjacent to the burial ground. (A stone building that housed slaves for the Johnson family also lies near the church.) When they donated the land, the Johnson family also established a trust fund and an agreement with Grace United Methodist Church to construct a fence around the graveyard, restore the slave quarters building, and provide perpetual care for the cemetery.

Today, a very nice stone fence surrounds the graveyard. Gatepost plaques appropriately indicate that the graveyard belonged to the Hamricks until 1770 and since then has belonged to the Johnsons. There are eight unmarked stones within the cemetery, but they are Johnson family members. Although their specific locations are totally unmarked, the fenced-in area also includes the Hamrick graves that were there when Rut Johnson acquired the land. These graves are in the area along the front wall of the cemetery. (Alice Johnson (Mrs. Joseph B. Johnson, Jr.), Blacksburg, VA, September 3, 1996 Personal Interview.)

In 1999, a monument was erected for Patrick and Margaret in the Hamrick Family Graves section, but it does not specifically mark Patrick's or Margaret's grave location because the specific locations within the section are unknown. The monument can actually be misleading to researchers seeking factual information because on its back side it lists children, including 3 daughters and several dates that in reality are unknown. So, while it's a nice monument honoring Patrick and Margaret, researchers should not take the information on the stone as factual.

One enigma is the size of the current cemetery. The stone fence that surrounds it today is approximately 86 feet wide and 68 feet deep, while it was clearly defined as "sixteen square poles" in the deed. As cited previously, a pole was a common measurement equal to 16.5 feet. (Paul Drake. What Did They Mean By That?: A Dictionary of Historical Terms for Genealogists. Bowie, MD: Heritage Books, Inc., 1994. p. 168.) So, the land set aside for the cemetery was 264 feet square, more than three times the size of the current cemetery. Therefore, it is entirely possible that Patrick's grave and other Hamrick family members' graves lie somewhere outside the bounds of the stone fence. On the other hand, a 264 foot square cemetery seems quite large, so perhaps all Hamrick family graves are within the stone fence.

Manassas, Virginia

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