The Mid County Area was rural until the 1970's and was occupied by many farming families.
Most families buried their dead on the farmsteads. There is identification of numerous family cemeteries (about 500 in Prince William County). In the mid county area, they bear the common names of families such as Davis, Fairfax, Posey, Maxfield, Simpson, Beavers, Cornwell, Crouch and many more.
Often the graves are marked only with fieldstone, and with depressions in the East/West orientation.
The names of cemeteries with unmarked stones can be incorrect. On Bacon Race Road, north of Colonnade Court, there is a cemetery that was thought to contain only depressions and fieldstones. It was suggested by long time neighbor, Clinton Purcell, that it was probably a Maxfield family cemetery, as that family once lived on the land. Later, it was discovered that a partially buried stone had the engraved initials, W. F. D. A family headed by William F. Davis owned the property prior to the Maxfield's, so the cemetery is now know as "Davis Family on Bacon Race Road." William had 9 children, one of which was Elviga Davis Crouch, who is buried with her husband Matthew Crouch in a 2 grave cemetery, next to Edward Road near Bacon Race Road.
Cemeteries also can be misnamed-named because of misunderstanding of the inscriptions. The Metherell Cemetery on PW Parkway, near Hoadly across from the 7-11, was named by a volunteer as "Lewis" Cemetery. This was because of a misreading of an inscription "William Henry, husband of Bessie L. Metherell."
If you wish to know about a cemetery in your neighborhood, there is information on the Internet specific to Prince William County.
The Prince William expert in locating and recording of cemeteries is Ron Turner. He has reported the results of his work on the well indexed website:http://www.pwcvirginia.com/Cemeteries1.htm
(contributed by Bill Olson)
Bacon Race Cemetery
I think it’s interesting in an area such as eastern Prince William, with it’s sprawling suburbs and largely transient population, to get an idea of who walked and lived on and worked this land in the centuries before us. A recent visit to the cemetery at the intersection of Davis Ford and Bacon Race roads, where Bacon Race Church used to stand, was quite illuminating. There are a number of names that may be familiar to folks who have lived in this area for a while. As we discussed in a previous column, two old time families are represented here, the Davis’s and the Purcell’s. Other prominent families include the Carter’s, Posey’s, Key’s, Smoot’s, Arrington’s, Pettit’s, Russel’s, Milstead’s, Ellicot’s, Hampton’s, Mill’s, Pierson’s, Fairfax’s and Mayhugh’s. Some of these folks were here many years ago, such as Deacon James Davis, who lived from 1806 to 1879. His wife, Mary K., died three days after he did in 1879. James Clark lived from 1818 to 1897, his wife Sophia from 1820 to 1903. Enogh Grimes was on the earth from 1813 to 1892. Amanda Mayhugh from 1826 to 1879. Some folks apparently led interesting lives, such as T.T. Arrington, who died in 1879, and was “A Sinner Saved By Grace”. Some women showed their independence even back then, such as Ella Pettit and Harriet Cole, who apparently kept their maiden names. They were married to Holsie Reid and William Reid, respectively. There are at least two civil war veterans in the cemetery, George Petitt, who died in 1907, and William Maddox. Both served the Confederate cause.
It may seem a little morbid to be skulking around a graveyard, but it’s a good way to remember and learn about those generations before us and think about what life must have been like for those folks in our area. We start to see that there was a thriving community here for many, many years which was quite different than ours, which there is little left of now.