THE RAMBLER WRITES OF
OLD STRAWBERRY VALE MANOR
(The Sunday Star, December 31, 1916)
Among the important creeks which enter the Potomac from the Virginia side between Chain Bridge and Great Falls are Pimmit Run, Scott's Run and Difficult Run. They are very gentle branches where they flow through the high lands from four miles to one mile back from the river, but they gather volume and force from many branchlets and become wild and often riotous streams as they roar along the deep gorges which they have torn and worn through the bluffs or the palisades of the Potomac.
Scott's Run has its source near the Alexandria and Leesburg Pike four miles northwest of Falls Church, and from its source it winds and flows north four miles until it boils through a rocky, spruce-timbered chasm into the river five miles above Chain Bridge. The road from Lewinsville to Tysons Crossroads, which the Rambler described in his narrative last Sunday, crosses Scott s Run near its source, about a mile west of Lewinsville. Near the point where the road and the run intersect, you will, if you travel that way, see, on land higher than the road and about 200 yards off the north side of it, a big frame house whose gray and long-weathered boarding will tell you that it is a venerable home, and you will conjecture that it has been a home to numerous families.
A narrow lane, bordered on both sides with tall and hoary locust trees and with its banks matted with periwinkle and other vines, leads from the main road to the house. It is a big house, two stories high, with an ample garret and a wide, deep cellar. One can imagine that at some time during its long life it had broad porches grown over with running roses. About the house grow old and thorny locusts. Circles of whitewashed stones show where beds of flowers blossomed last summer, and there are some rustic seats built around the trees. And, this reminds one that the situation of those rustic seats must be pleasant when the sun is high and the world green and when those big, sweet locusts are in leaf.
Where the narrow lane enters the main road from Lewinsville to Tysons Crossroads there stands a rural letter box inscribed M. C. Snook. Snook is the name of the family living in the old house today. They have been living there for thirty years. They bought this historic property from Jeremiah Moore, one of the Moore family of Moorefield, near Vienna. Jeremiah Moore, according to the Rambler's information, bought it from a member of the old Gantt family of that section of Virginia.
The gray house on the hill, and about which grow the big old honey locust trees, is a place of great interest to the Rambler. Its name is Strawberry Vale. Long ago it was Strawberry Vale Manor, and sometimes people speak of it by that honorable title today. Strawberry Vale Manor was a Scott home, and Scott's run takes its name from that family. Three thousand acres of land in that part Of Virginia was a Scott grant. This old house and the creek and the miles of land around them bring to the Rambler's mind a fami1y which is related to a large number of the land-holding families of Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and whose descendants today are numerous in the middle west, especially in Ohio. Near the house of Strawberry Vale are graves, but no monuments to indicate whose bones rest there.
There came to Virginia, early in the eighteenth century, and certainly prior to 1717, a Scotch clergyman, whose name was Alexander Scott. He was born in Dipple Parish, Elgin, Scotland, July 20, 1686, and he died at his estate which he called Dipple, in Stafford County, Virginia, about thirty-five miles below Washington, in 1738. He was a son of Rev. John Scott of Dipple Parish, Scotland, who was born in 1650 and died in 1726. Rev. Alexander Scott married, on May 20, 1717, Sarah Gibbons Brent, a daughter of William Gibbons of Wiltshire, England, and the widow of William Brent of Richlands, Stafford County, near Aquia Creek.
The old estate of Dipple is about two miles from Richlands station, on the railroad to Fredericksburg, and there one may read a gravestone inscribed: "Here lyes the body of the Rev. Alexander Scott, A.M., and Presbeter of the Church of England, who lived near, twenty-eight years minister of Overwharton. Parish, Virginia, and died in the 53rd year of his age. He being born the twentieth of July, 1686, and departed this life the first day of Aprils 1738."
Such facts as have been preserved or recovered concerning this old Scotch Virginian and Church of England preacher can be found in some Virginia church histories. He was mentioned by Bishop Meade in his writings on the old churches and families of Virginia.
The Rev, Alexander Scott had a brother, the Rev. James Scott, who was also a Church of England clergyman. When he came to Virginia the Rambler does not know, but he was in America before 1738, for early in that year he married Sarah Brown, a daughter of Dr, Gustavus Brown and Frances Fowke Brown. The marriage took place at the bride's home, Rich Hill, near Port Tobacco, in Charles County, Maryland. The bride's mother was related to George Mason, the builder of Gunston Hall. The Rev. James Scott became rector of Dettingen Parish, in Prince William and Fairfax Counties, the parish, if the Rambler's memory is in working order, out of which came Truro Parish, with the famous (Pohic?? *** word obliterated by fold in sheet) Church and the equally famous Christ Church at Alexandria and Falls Church.
While in charge of Dettingen Parish the Rev. James Scott lived on a farm called Westwood, on Quantico creek. It was a glebe of four hundred acres which the parish bought from Thomas Harrison.
Mrs. Alexander Scott, the widow Brent, had several children by her first marriage, and many of them and their descendants became distinguished in American annals, but it would appear that the Rev. Alexander Scott left no children, for his estates were inherited by his brother, the Rev. James Scott. And it is in the will of the Rev. Alexander Scott that one gets some light on his holdings in the vicinity of Washington. Under that will James Scott inherited the Dipple estate and eight tracts comprising 800 acres in Stafford County, 2,823 acres on Carter's Run in Fauquier County, 2,090 acres elsewhere in that county, and 3,000 acres in Fairfax County. He also inherited thirty slaves. More extended information concerning this will may be found in Hening's Statutes of Virginia, but the Rambler does not now know how these lands were obtained by the Rev. Alexander Scott. It may be that some of them came through his marriage to the widow Brent, but the Rambler's belief is that they were obtained as "grants" - that is, as recompense for the importation or assisted immigration of "servants," or indentured white settlers. The Rev. James Scott, Alexander's son, obtained a grant to 2,950 acres in Kentucky "for an importation of 59 servants," and that tract he bequeathed to his sons and the children of Dr. William Brown.
When Rev, James Scott died, his will being probated August 2, 1782, he left some of his Fairfax County lands to his son John, and he left his Fauquier County lands to his sons Gustavus and William, a portion of the Fairfax lands going to Gustavus. James Scott's will is a long and minute one, dealing with numerous household articles, such as chairs, tables, bed sheets, blankets, pillows and the like. The witnesses to the will were John Macmillian, George Graham, Robert R. Young and David Crowley. There was a supplementary will explanatory of some of the provisions of the first will, and the witnesses to that were Thomson Mason, David D. Jammesson and Robert R. Young.
Sarah, his widow, died in the spring of 1784 and was buried at Dipple. The Rambler understands that one of the daughters of Rev, James Scott and Sarah Brown became the wife of Col. Thomas Blackburn of Ripon Lodge, not far from Dumfries.
When Gustavus Scott died he left the Fairfax lands, which he had inherited from his father James, who had them from his brother, Alexander, to his son, John Caile Scott. This Scott was closely identified with Strawberry Vale Manor. Whether he was the builder, of the house the Rambler does not know, but several of John C. Scott's children were born there. John Caile Scott was born in 1782. In 1802 he married Ann Love, a daughter of Samuel Love of Salisbury, Fairfax County. At the time of his marriage this John Scott was living at Western Vier, in Culpeper County, Virginia, and the Rambler's theory is that that was his father's (Gustavus) home, and that on his marriage he built the house on his ancestral upper Fairfax lands and called it Strawberry Vale Manor. His fortunes declined and some time in the twenties he removed, with several members of his family, to Pickaway County, Ohio, where he died in 1840. His wife was born in Fairfax County in 1780 and died in Ohio in 1832.
The first of their children was Mary Ann Scott, born at Strawberry Vale January 10, 1804. She was married at Western View in September l827, to William Pussard Franklin of Georgetown, who was born in 1804, and died in 1879. Mrs. Franklin died at Chillicothe, Ohio, in 18 42, and her widower married, in 1845, Elizabeth Lee Bell, daughter of Charles Bell of Fauquier County. Mr. Franklin was a member of the Whig Society in 1820, and studied law under Francis Scott Key. He and his wife lived in Georgetown and three of their children were born there - Catherine, in 1828; John Scott Franklin, in 1829, and Ann Love Franklin, in 1831. He removed to Chillicothe, Ohio, in 1831. Two of his children, born in Ohio, were Gustavus Scott Franklin, U.S.N., and Charles Love Franklin, U.S.N. By his second marriage Mr. Franklin had several children, who are still living. His first child by the later marriage he named Richard Bland Lee Franklin. That child died in infancy. (See "Arlington heritage: vignettes of a Virginia County" by Eleanor Lee Templeman re. Richard Bland Lee of Sully)
Jane Selden Scott was born at Strawberry Vale October 16, 1806; married William Ballard Brown of Norfolk at Western View October 20, 1825, and died at Columbus, Ohio, September 21, 1881. One of her sons was James Finley Brown, a noted Columbus editor.
Gustavus Scott was born at Strawberry Vale November 11, 1807, and died at Gallatin, Missouri, in 1867. He married Elizabeth Donalds of Chillicothe in 1847. John Caile Scott was born at Strawberry Vale July 17, 1809, and died at Philadelphia February 5, 1875, He married Louisiana Siesman, daughter of George Siesman of Philadelphia,in 1832.
There were other children of John Caile Scott and Ann Love. There was Harried Lane Scott, born in Alexandria in 1811 and died in Columbus, Ohio, in 1865. Her first husband was Ashabel Renick and her second was the Rev. Thomas Woodrow of the Presbyterian Church, an ancestor of President Wilson. Another child, Charles Love Scott, was born at the Love home, Bush Hill, Fairfax County in 1812, and died in Germantown, Pennsylvania, January 24, 1861. He married Elizabeth Ellen Siesman of Philadelphia, a sister of his brother's (John Caile Scott) wife. Then there was Ellen Selden Scott, born at Western View April 2, 1817, and died at Covington, Kentucky, in 1857. In 1848 she married Philip Alexander Doddridge of Chillicothe.
The Rambler must tell something of the family owning Strawberry Vale now. Mrs. Snook on her father's side is descended from Jansen Hoagland, who came from Holland and settled at Flatbush, Long Island, in 1634. Early in the last century her grandfather moved to Jefferson County, West Virginia, and established a woolen mill near Charles Town. Then he moved to Middletown, Loudon County, and established a woolen mill. His son Jackson Hoagland, moved to Fairfax County and took up lands in the ancient Scott grant. Mrs. Snooks mother was Miss Amanda Hart, a descendant of John Hart of New Jersey, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Mr. Snook's father was Benjamin Snook, who kept a hardware store at Harper' s Ferry before the Civil War and before the John Brown attack. His mother was the daughter of a German prince, a portrait of whose father hangs in the Corcoran Art Gallery.
Mr. and Mrs. Snook were married in 1878, and settled at Spring Hill ( see "Northern Virginia heritage" by Elanor Lee Templeman and Nan Netherton), between Washington and Great Falls. They went to Massachusetts to live, but owing to the climate they returned to Fairfax County and bought Strawberry Vale.
The Rambler was led to this house by the knowledge that Richard Bland Lee once lived there. This man, as the Rambler has written, was one of the distinguished members of the First Congress of the United States, and one of the leading advocates of the plan to establish the permanent seat of government of the United States on the Potomac River. He died here March 12, 1827. Mrs. Richard Bland Lee, born Elisabeth Collins, daughter of Stephen and Mary Parish Collins of Philadelphia, died in Washington June 24, 1858. In reference to Mrs. Lee, the Rambler took the following from the National Intelligencer of Friday, June 25, 1858:
Death - In this city yesterday morning in the fullness of years and closing a long life of distinction and usefulness, Mrs. Richard Bland Lee, relect of Richard Bland Lee, one of the first representatives in Congress from the state of Virginia, and for many years an eminent politician of the Washington school. Mrs. Lee was a native of Philadelphia, where she was born on the 8th of February, 1768, making her age at the time of her death nearly ninety-one years. The funeral of the departed lady will take place this day at 5 o'clock p.m. from her late residence, No. 468 6th street, which the friends of the deceased and of her family are respectfully invited to attend.At what time Richard Bland Lee lived at Strawberry Vale the Rambler does not know (1813 & 1814). The parents of Mr. Lee, who were Col. Henry Lee and Lucy Grymes, lived on a plantation on Freestone Point, jutting out into the Potomac on the south side of Occoquan Bay about twelve miles below Mount Vernon, They called the place Leesylvania, and were both buried there.