In Stafford County, the Aquia Church was the first house of worship of the James family in the New World.
3 – Permanent Settlement of the James – Overwharton Parish at Aquia Creek
“The settlement upon Aquia Creek…was destined to become the hub of an ever expanding community. Events in England in 1649-1650 (Civil War) gave rise to a great migration to Virginia and many of these emigrants were joined from across the Potomic by a steady stream of settlers from Maryland and many land patents issued in great numbers for large acreages. The several large navigable creeks which flow into the Potomic River were great assets, and the river itself, wide and beautiful, made communication relatively easy for the colonial period.”
Source: The Register of Overwharton Parish, Stafford County, Virginia, 1723-1758, by George Harrison Sanford King, Southern Historical Press, Inc. 1961, p 172
“JOHN JAMES 259 acs. New Kent Co. upon br. of Hartquack Sw, 9 June 1666, p 17 100 acs. purchased of RALP MAZEY, beg. at the mouth of HAWKES nest br. by said JAMES’ house &c. by land of Mr. MATTHEW JENNINGS & c. Trans of 3 pers.: JNO. BROWNE, MARY GAGE, THO. WEBSTER.”
Source: Cavaliers & Pioneers, Nugent, p.6
“Proceeding according to contiguity were ELIJAH THRELKELD, JOHN HEDGEMAN…THOMAS…WILLIAM…and JOHN MOUNTJOY…Next in progression was the residence of JOHN BROWN. Next was the glebe, the residence of REV. ROBERT BUCHANAN. Adjoining this was the residence…called Berry Hill, of COLONEL THOMAS LUDWELL LEE, who possesed another plantation on the other side of Potomic Creek, called Bellevue…Next to Berry Hill was the plantation of JOHN WITHERS, on a stream coming from the head of Potomic Creek. Crossing the stream were those of JOHN JAMES, THOMAS FITZHUGH of Boscobel, Major HENRY FITZHUGH of Belle Aire, SAMUEL SELDEN of Salvington…and lastly Belle Plaine, the estate of GOURY WAUGH…”
Source: Old Churches, Ministers, & Families of Virginia, by William Meade, Vol II, pp.204-5, in a letter from Peter William Daniel, a judge, who provides a description of sequential properties and owners
Growing Plantation Wealth
Tobacco and crops were the currency of the early Colonial period. A list of comparable tithables of the James and other families, resident in Stafford County, provides evidence of the wealth being accumulated by the James.
“A list of Tobacco Tenders from the South Side of Potomack (Creek) to ye Lower End of Overwharton Parish…
“JOHN JAMES (between 10 and 16 years of age)
“JOSEPH JAMES (between 10 and 16 years of age)
“23,882 Tobacco Plants”
Source: From The Register of Overwharton Parish, King, page 162
The date of the entry has been fixed at 1724. Col. GEORGE MASON, clerk of Stafford Co. certified the copy.
The amount of tobacco plants certified makes the JAMES plantation the eighth largest in this area. Larger plantations were those of JOSEPH SUMNER with 50,638 plants, CAPT. CHANDLER FOWLKE with 43,848 plants, JOSEPH CHAMBERS with 38,988 plants, JOHN SIMPSON with 32,805 plants, JOHN CHADWELL with 31,279 plants, CAPT HENRY FITZHUGH with 28,797 plants, JOHN FOLEY with 27,000 cut plants, THOMAS HARRISON with 27,000 cut plants.