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  • Writer's pictureBeth Stenstrom

The Chewnings, Family Located on Jones-Lacy Property

The Chewnings, Family Located on Jones-Lacy Property

Lorraine K.

John Chewning, 5th great grandfather of the applicant, was born in 1765 in Caroline County, VA. He married Rachel Vass, and in 1798, they bought 113 acres of land in Spotsylvania in what is now known as Locust Grove. They eventually had three sons: John A, George W, and William V.

John A, 4th great grandfather of the applicant, married Nancy Ann Perry and lived at Green Springs Plantation. They had a total of 9 children, of which we will talk about four sons. Oscar Lewis and Joseph Samuel provided goods such as hay and horses and a wagon to the Confederate cause. William Bernard had a son Marcus Arelius who served in the CSA cavalry and was at the Wilderness battle. In 2009, Josef Rokus writes an account of how Marcus became an instant hero. Union soldiers had surrounded the William V and Permelia Chewning home and had ransacked the house, taking whatever they wanted. They also butchered one of the hogs, cooked it, and sat down to one of the best meals they had had in a while.

Permelia spotted her nephew coming down the road and flagged him down to enlist his help. He rode around the house several times, making a lot of fuss. He then came to the door, demanding that the Union soldiers surrender. The Union soldiers, thinking they were surrounded by Confederates, came out of the house without their guns. John Y had a son James S who also joined the CSA. He was sick and absent most of the time, and eventually died in Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond in 1865 from an infected foot.

George W, 4th great granduncle of the applicant, married first Susannah Oliver and then Delilah Hilman and fathered two sons: Charles R and William Henry. Both enlisted in the CSA, both were rather sickly, and both spent quite a bit of time at Chimborazo Hospital in Richmond in 1864.

William V, 4th great grandfather of the applicant, married Permelia Henderson raised 10 children of which we will discuss 3 here. Son William Hiram also served in the CSA. Daughter Rachel Virginia eventually married her cousin John Y. Daughter Permelia married Benjamin Higgerson, a neighboring farmer. William V worked as overseer for William Jones at Ellwood. In 1825, he discovered that Jones did not own the land, so William V bought the 150 acres on what became known as Hill-Ewell Road for $300. He discovered that the house he lived in actually was on the Jones tract, so he and his wife built a new house which became known as Mount View because of the wonderful view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. William V died tragically in 1863.. He went to the Jones Grist Mill on the lower end of Wilderness run to grind corn into meal for bread. The miller was not there, so William opened the water gate himself. The force of the water knocked him down and caused him to break his leg. He did not live long after that.

John Y and Rachel, 3rd great grandparents of the applicant, were also 2nd cousins.

When the war came to Spotsylvania, it seemed that every able-bodied man heeded the call to serve in the CSA. The war impacted many lives. The Chewning house was an ideal lookout spot since it sat high on a hill. Once could see all the way the Wilderness Tavern and the mountains. Both the Union and the Confederates used it at one time or another. Soldiers killed livestock for food and destroyed fences and damaged houses.

After the war, the house was repaired. The owners filed for compensation, but it is not clear if any was ever received. Descendants lived there until 1942. In 1947, the house was sold. In December 1947, the house was destroyed by fire. Today, there is a marker the house once stood.

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