Brent Town and the Elk Run Valley, A History, Volume Two: The Families and Homes, 1759-1800


The history of the Elk Run valley and its families is both rich and diverse. The selection of families included in this volume have enough documented evidence of their presence to present a family chart: a probate record that showed members of the family –– a will, an inventory and appraisement, a sale, an administrator or executor’s account, and/or a division of real and personal property, including the allotment of dower to a widow.

The probate records were used to set up the wives and children. While the family members may have been left specific legacies, the family charts are incorporated here to identify the family, not the legacies. The various probate accounts were utilized to establish the family’s social rank and economic class. Inventories, far from being dry, boring records, often revealed whether a family was literate, or an occupation was passed from father to son. Slaves, their ages, and their value were also helpful in establishing where the family fit in the social spectrum.

In some instances, a family and its various branches held land throughout the valley and, indeed, outside the valley in southern Fauquier. This has been indicated as well. Families here did not live in a vacuum and had everyday contact with others living throughout Fauquier, Prince William, Stafford, Loudoun, Spotsylvania, and port towns like Dumfries and Fredericksburg.

The families and their homes are presented here in alphabetical order. Some of the illustrations of homes found in this volume may be early nineteenth-century ones which housed eighteenth-century settlers. The families are arranged alphabetically by surname by an individual who may have left a will or probate record that identified their children, or about whom enough is known that makes his or her inclusion in this section important. Death dates, if known, have been added along with any pertinent military information. The earliest county tax record identifying slaves, horses, and cattle along with a 1782 property tax list, if available, have been included as indicators of economic and social status.

In addition, original signatures have been incorporated, if found, into the short biographical entries found at the beginning of each family. These signatures have been scanned from marriage bonds or other records. Finally, family charts detailing genealogical information may accompany the entries.

Numerous illustrations, photographs, maps, a bibliography, and an index to full-names, locations and subjects add to the value of this work. 

Joan W. Peters

(2010), 2023, 8½x11, paper, index, 626 pp.

ISBN: 9780788426704