Historical research and Chain of Title
Information uncovered about the 250-year-old historical Elk Run Anglican Church site in southern Fauquier County, Virginia provides a glimpse into the past of the frontier area settlement and its church. Information on this page supersedes information found on other pages. Amplification and validation of the following is being pursued.
Settlers first arrived in the Elk Run area between 1715 and 1719. By the establishment of Hamilton Parish in 1730, there were several hundred people living in the Elk Run vicinity of Virginia. A wooden Chapel was believed to already exist by the 1740s when Prince William Minute Books make note of road repairs being done in front of the Elk Run Chapel. The Chapel preceded the pre-Revolutionary brick cruciform structure that was built by the 1750s. The 1755 Fry-Jefferson Map is the earliest map that shows Elk Run Church.
This southern Fauquier County site is significant because it was the first brick Anglican Church established in what was the County’s early to mid-1700’s frontier area. The Elk Run settlement and Church served as a government administrative and jumping off point for further expansion of what is now Fauquier County. A 1924 Prince William County Historical Commission Map shows Elk Run Villagebeing on the edge of the frontier by showing the cultural limits for this areain 1750.
The first Rector of this Church was the Reverend James Keith, a native of Scotland, who served as Rector from the 1740s until 1751. The Reverend Keith’s grandson was Chief Justice John Marshall whose birthplace is nearby.
Today nothing remains above the ground of this hallowed site. We do not know what lies beneath, although old brick and stone are evident. Bishop William Meade of Virginia wrote in 1857, “It was a substantial brick church-cruciform, I believe. I am not certain that the roof was on it when I first saw it in 1811. Its walls continued for many years after this, and I saw them gradually disappear during my annual visits to the convention.” Another church was built elsewhere in the 1750s to serve the growing crossroads settlement soon to be known as Fauquier Court House (now Warrenton), and the old brick church was abandoned and allowed to fall into decay. However, it is still regarded as the “mother church” of all those that followed in our part of the country.
Archaeological excavations in 2000 confirmed the Church’s exact location, its Greek cross foundation structure and its approximate size. The outside distances are 56 feet from the extreme west end to the east end and from the north end to the south end; 56 feet in all directions. Each side of the cross was 34 feet wide.
Chain of Title
Elk Run Church of Hamilton Parish was built on land located in that part of Virginia known as the Northern Neck, it being the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers granted by Charles II, King of Great Britain, Ireland and the Dominions beyond the seas, at Saint Germain-en-Laye, France, to Ralph Lord Hopton, Baron of Stratton; Henry, Lord Jermyn, Baron of Bury St. Edmund’s (afterwards Earl of St. Albans); John, Lord Culpeper, Baron of Thoresway, Sir John Berkeley (afterwards John Lord Berkeley of Stratton); Sir William Morton; Sir Dudley Wyatt; and Thomas Culpeper, 18 September 1649.
On the 27th of September 1688, King James II issued a new charter, for all that land betwixt the rivers Potomac and Rappahannock, and to the head springs thereof, to Thomas, 2nd Lord Culpeper (son of John Lord Culpeper) he having bought out the heirs of the other grantees.
Thomas, Lord Culpeper, dying in London 27 January 1689, devised his Virginia estate to his daughter, Catherine Culpeper, then the wife of Thomas, 5th Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron.
Catherine, Lady Fairfax, Baroness Dowager of Cameron, died at Leeds Castle, County Kent, in May of 1719. In her will she left her Virginia land in trust for the benefit of her children, of whom the eldest was Thomas, 6th Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron. Ultimately, Thomas, Lord Fairfax obtained possession of the Northern Neck.
By an Act of the General Assembly in May 1730 the parish of Hamilton, named for Lord George Hamilton, Governor of Virginia, was created, with an additional annexation in 1731 from the parish of Hanover in King George County. Its boundaries extended to all lands between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers from the headwaters of Chopawansick Creek and Deep Run, north to the Blue Ridge Mountains. From the eastern regions of the parish of Hamilton Truro and Dettingen Parishes were formed, while the remaining western portion formed the boundaries of Fauquier County at its creation in 1759.
JOHN COPPEDGE Northern Neck Grant Book A, Page 67 15 September 1724 1,354 acres King George and Stafford Counties
WILLIAM EUSTACE Conveyed by John Coppedge II (Heir) (Lost Deed pre-1746 per Northern Neck Grant Book E, Page 264 Lazarus Taylor) Recorded in General Court in Williamsburg 1,354 acres Prince William County
JOHN CRUMP Deed Book 1749-52, Page 196 22 March 1750/51 93 acres Prince William County
JOSEPH HUDNALL & GEORGE CRUMP Churchwardens of Hamilton Parish Deed Book 1749-52, Page 197 18 October 1751 2 acres Prince William County
JOHN CRUMP (Implied Deed) Land Tax Records Pre-1827 2 acres Fauquier County
SARAH CATLETT CRUMP Deed Book 29, Page 403 29 August 1827 (all land of John Crump) & Deed Book 30, Page 152 2 May 1828 200 acres Fauquier County
SUSAN M. CRUMP Deed Book 56, Page 122 17 March 1857 220 acres Fauquier County
E. T. HANSBROUGH Land Tax Records 1880 20 acres Lee District Fauquier County
SALLIE HANSBROUGH Will Book 47, Page 5 (all land of E. T. Hansbrough) 8 June 1912 20 acres Lee District Fauquier County
H. A. HANSBROUGH (Heir of Sallie Hansbrough) Land Tax Records 1940-1941 20 acres Lee District Fauquier County
JULIAN C. KEITH Deed Book 149, Page 105 5 April 1940 Lot 100 x 96 feet (part of 20 acres Lee District) Fauquier County
J. K. BROWNING Deed Book 149, Page 105 5 April 1940 Lot 100 x 96 feet Lee District Fauquier County
E. P. BROWNING III & ELIZABETH DENT BROWNING Susan Jane Browning, widow of J. K. Browning, Grantor Deed Book 391, Page 613 3 December 1979 Lot 100 x 96 feet Lee District Fauquier County
EDWIN F. GULICK ET AL, TRUSTEES ST. STEPHENS EPISCOPAL Deed Book 845, Page 1762 23 June 1999 Lot 100 x 96 feet Lee District Fauquier County
Research by Phyllis T. Scott in the land records of Prince William and Fauquier Counties, and the Grant and Survey Books of the Northern Neck Land Office in the repository of the Library of Virginia completed 1 April 2002
Mrs. Jackie Lee, Director of the Old Jail Museum in Warrenton, Virginia is leading the Committee’s historical research effort. She would appreciate any assistance that our Internet colleagues can provide. She can be reached by email at (540) 347-5525.