I am working on a project that is in the West End of Alexandria, Virginia which includes Seminary area, Wood Place, Wood Lane, parts of King Street, parts of Braddock Road, Quaker Lane, Donaldson Corner and etc. I am looking for descendants who worked for the Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) who historically lived in that area up to the 1950s.
If you had a relative that worked at VTS, I would like to hear from you. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks – Char!
The surnames of these families are:
Behind the scene of the Alexandria Gazette story on “The Life of Rosa Harris-Jackson Armistead,” dated March 15, 2018.
About seven years ago, I was contacted by Terry Coles and his sister, Judy Coles-Bailey that their great-grandmother, Rosa Harris-Jackson Armistead was from Alexandria and they believed that she was connected to the Alexandria Freedmen Cemetery.
After researching Rosa Armistead, I confirmed that Rosa’s mother, Mary Nash-Harris buried a child at the Freedmen Cemetery, which will be discussed in an upcoming book on the Freedmen Cemetery.
Mary Nash-Harris and her children, Emma and Rosa migrated to Alexandria during the Civil War from Prince Williams County, Virginia. Mary Nash-Harris met Sandy Hodge in Alexandria and they got married. After a few years of marriage, they separated and late divorced. Mary’s daughter Emma Jean Harris married Daniel C. Richards in Alexandria. Emma and her husband moved to Philadelphia. Emma died in Philadelphia in 1957. On her death certificate, she was 99-years old; but, she was older than what the death certificate reported. Emma’s sister, Rosa married twice and Rosa died in Alexandria at the age of 97 in 1951. Her death certificate had her age as 79 but she was 97-years old.
Rosa had several children, one of her daughters was named after her, Rosa L. Armistead. Rosa married Jacob Lawrence, Sr., in New Jersey, they had a son named Jacob Lawrence
Jr. Jacob became a famous painter. He received national acclaim for his paintings. His paintings continued to be in great demand today. Jacob Lawrence, Jr., was born in Atlantic City, New Jersey. His mother, Rosa Armistead-Lawrence migrated from Alexandria to Atlantic City where she met her future husband, Jacob Lawrence Sr. Rosa, her husband and young son migrated from Atlantic City to Philadelphia. The family probably lived with a relative while they were in Philadelphia, possibly Rosa’s aunt Emma Harris-Richards. While in Philadelphia, Rosa had two more children. Later, Rosa and her family migrated to New York. New York gave the family more opportunities in housing and education, the young Jacob Lawrence was able to pursue his education interest in the arts.
Jacob’s paintings have been showed all over the world. His paintings depicted the life of
African Americans as he saw it. His paintings have been transformed into postcards, greeting cards, reproduction of his art on canvases and wearable garments.
Today New York City claims Jacob Lawrence Jr., as their own, but his roots are in Alexandria where his great-grandmother, Mary Nash-Harris and her children fled Prince Williams, Virginia to Alexandria during the Civil War.
In celebration of the end of the Civil War, this first blog will be on Reverend
George W. Parker. He was the first documented pastor of “Third Baptist Church” in Alexandria, Virginia.
Reverend George (Geo) W. Parker had many careers like many progressive African Americans in the 19th century in Alexandria, Virginia. Although the 1870 census stated he was born around 1842, no other documentation has been found at this time to confirm or disapprove his date of birth in 1842 or earlier. Based on the 1870 census, he was 38 years old, which would have correctly put his birthdate around 1842. His occupation was listed as clergyman. Three children were listed in his household: Abraham 15, Isaac 13, and Mary 13. Ann Quander 62 was also in the household, listed as a housekeeper and Oceola Richardson.
One of the earlier documents in the Freedmen Bureau stated that Reverend Geo W. Parker was one of the trustees and founders of “The First Select Colored School” in 1862 along with George Seaton, George W Simms, Charles Watson, Clem Robinson, Anthony S. Perpener, George W Bryant, Hannibal King, George P. Douglas, John Davis, J. McKinney Ware and James Pipe, all African Americans of Alexandria, Virginia. They were all freed people of color prior to the Civil War. Reverend Parker was not only a trustee of “The First Select Colored School” that was on the future site of Beulah Baptist Church, but he was also a teacher along with Reverend Clem Robinson and his wife and Miss Amanda Bowden (Borden). Reverend Parker with the other trustees were involved in several land deeds in 1865 – 1867 that resulted in land acquisition for the “Third Baptist Church”. He was a teacher and a minister for former slaves during the Civil War. The former slaves became the early members of “Third Baptist Church”. He became the pastor at “Third Baptist Church” from 1863 – 1875.
His list of multiple careers included Council member for the Jefferson Township, District 4 in Alexandria, Virginia. He was heavily involved with the Republican Party. Also he was the 1870 Assistant Deputy U.S. Marshal for the U.S. Census in Jefferson Township of Alexandria. The township had a population of 1,256 people.
Beyond Reverend Parker’s careers as a teacher, clergyman, trustee, and Council member, he became a hotel owner of the “Empire House” located on the North side of King Street between Fayette and Payne Streets in 1870. The Hotel was two square blocks from the Railroad depot, present day Alexandria Train Station. An article on November 22, 1870 stated, “The Parker House…Reverend George W. Parker, colored, Councilman from the Fourth Ward, repaired, refitted and refurnished, and under the name of the Parker House, opened for the reception of guests. A thorough inspection of the hotel reveals neatness, cleanliness and convenience in all its various departments, and with the table kept there no one can find fault.” Prior to Reverend Parker’s purchasing the “Empire House”, it was on the market for a decade because of two events, a young woman died in the hotel and because of the Civil War.
In 1875, Reverend George W. Parker died. In his life time, he impacted many people and he helped the disadvantaged African Americans and former slaves. Today, “Third Baptist Church” is located at 917 Princess Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Since 2001, Reverend James V. Jordan has been the minister at “Third Baptist Church”.
Washington (Wash) Jackson is back on the scene again; he was one of the founders of Mount Jezreel Church.
In April 1890, several members of Shiloh Baptist Church, located at 1401 Duke Street in Alexandria, Virginia, left and founded Mount. Jezreel Baptist Church. Some of the members were Moses Stevens, Tilman Giles, Wash Jackson and Harriett Giles. The group met at a meeting place on King Street until Reverend Coleman and the founders secured a lot at 317 North Payne Street.
In 1908, Mount Jezreel Baptist Church was experiencing some leadership problems that led them to court. The Court asked the Congregation to settle their disputes by the ballot. Ninety-seven members of the church voted.
This 104-year old list contains some of the early members of the Church. Thanks go out to two members of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church who assisted with the church history: Deborah Ford Nelson and Barbara Williams. I obtained the membership list from the court case at the Alexandria Circuit Court.
The 1908 Voting Members of Mount Jezreel Baptist Church:
Thomas E. (T.E.) Arrington
Alice Hargrave “known as Alice Washington”
E. J. Anderson
Wash N. Jackson
John A. Wilson
Delcy Fane or Fare
D. Sadie White
Susan B. Hall
Bessie Marshall “now Bessie Harding”