Middleburg – Did You Know?
01 / 08 / 2009
Categories: Salamander Resort & Spa
Even a brief history of Middleburg would be incomplete without a mention of the longest court case in Loudoun County history, for it involved two of the Town’s most prominent families – the Chinns and the Powells.
The Chinns has been granted 3,300 acres of land by Lord Fairfax, and Leven Powell purchased Joseph Chinn’s 500 acres, plus other parcels of land belonging to the Chinns. One of them involved 700 acres, the boundary lines of which were disputed later on. Now, in days of yore when an oak tree, a stream, a spring or a pile of rocks served as boundary markers, disputes often arose. Trees fall, springs dry up, streams change course, and rocks were often hauled away. That the original record of this sale had burned obviously complicated its resolution.
But few disputes would be as bitter, nasty of long-lasting as this one. Tenants of the Chinns were thrown off the disputed land by the Powells, while the Chinns retaliated with equal violence against tenants of the Powells. Finally, in 1813, after 20 years of bickering, the circuit court in Leesburg decided that all 700 acres would be returned to the Chinns, but the Powells were to receive 300 acres of Chinn land in return.
A stone wall, which still stands, was erected between the two properties to divide the land – and the families – forever.
Back in the early 1700s, after graduating from Oxford, Thomas Cameron, 6th Lord Fairfax, inherited 5,000,000 acres of land in Northern Virginia from his mother, Lady Culpeper. He also inherited the family estate in England, and was deeply in love with a young lady, and thus spared no expense planning their nuptials.
But shortly before the wedding, he received message from his betrothed that she had received another offer of marriage from a Duke, and since she preferred to be a Duchess rather than a Baroness, the wedding was canceled.
Devastated, Cameron renounced his claim to his ancestral estates in England in favor of his brother and sailed for Virginia. He built two homes, one at what is called White Post west of Upperville, and another in Winchester called Glen Burnie.
Burt so bitter was he, though considered a wise administrator and counselor, he never married and never allowed a woman to cross the threshold of his home.