Posted By:Mike Marshall
Subject:Vass-Brooke, Melrose, Essex, K&Q, 1700s
Post Date:May 04, 2001 at 17:17:08
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Forum:Vass Family Genealogy Forum
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In a previous post, I mentioned a 1,000 acre plantation on the Mattaponi River in King and Queen County called "Melrose."

This tract was originally patented by Chickley Corbin Thacker, and appears under his name in the 1704 rent roll for King and Queen County. Thacker was clerk of the court of K&Q until his death in 1730. His estate was administered by his brother Edwin of Middlesex County, who offered the plantation for lease in the 10 Jun 1737 edition of the Virginia Gazette: "To be Lett by the Subscriber on reasonable terms a large brick house in King & Queen county about 3 miles below the courthouse and with any quantity of land that shall be desired under 1000 acres."

The results of the advertisement are not known, and the title to this property remains unknown until in 1768 another advertisement in the Virginia Gazette announcing the property was to be auctioned. At that time, Melrose belonged one EDWARD VASS or VOSS (name appears in records in both variants) who advertised it for sale in the Virginia Gazette on 19 Jan 1769: "To be sold Tuesday the 16th of February next, if fair, if not the next fair day, on the premises to the highest bidder near one thousand acres of land pleasantly situated on the Mattapony River in King & Queen County; in good order for cropping with the following improvements: a two story brick house with four rooms on a floor; all necessary houses; a large apple orchard; a good fishery and a large wild oat march [sic] with the stock and fodder."

Edward VASS was a grandson of Col. Robert Brooke of Essex County, and his mother, Elizabeth Brooke, had received a fourth share of Col. Brooke's estate. [see below] Evidence suggests VASS acquired the Melrose plantation because of his family connections along the Mattapony River. It is not known from whom he got it or to whom he sold it.

The next known owners of the Melrose tract were Garrett and Hawkins, for in 1820, Thomas Claiborne Hoomes with 300 acres which the Tax Returns show he had of the above named grantors: From Humphrey Garrett 191 acres and from Hawkins 99 acres. In 1819, the land of Francis Rowe consisted of 140 acres next to Alden Hart (Truehart) and 317 1/2 acres derived from Hawkins and adjacent to the lands of J.G. Rowe who lived at Liberty Hall. Thomas Claiborne Hoomes made his will on the 28th day of January 1821 and it was proved at Quarterly Court on the 12th day of March 1821, in which he disposed of his personal property and real estate. Hoomes had married Betty, daughter of Robert Pollard, and for her second husband, she married Alexander Fleet of Melville, King and Queen County. In his will, Hoomes gave his wife Betty Hoomes his farm Melrose, by that time containing about 300 acres. His will noted: "I lend my farm whereon I now reside containing little over 300 acres called Melrose with its appurtenances to my dear wife Betty during her life and after her death I give the said land to my brothers Benj. P. (Hoomes) and John (Hoomes) and sisters Maria and Martha (subject to the trust hereafter mentioned as to theportion of my brother Benjamin) in fee simple."

Many years later, in 1838, Samuel H. Stout of Orange County wrote to Peter Thornton Pollard about the sale of the Melrose Estate. Mr. Stout had married Mrs. Eleanor Dabney Hoomes Boyd, and her children by Benj. P. Hoomes had an interest in the Melrose property. Also, in the same correspondence, there is a letter from Charles Palmer to Mr. Pollard authorizing him to sell his interest in Melrose, for which he had paid $500.00. It appears that at this time the interests of the heirs of Benj. P. Hoomes were involved with Capt. Francis Rowe, who had purchased a part of that interest from Mary Susan Hoomes, who had married Thomas Robinson of King William County, who was concerned with the settlement.

The letter from Palmer dated 17 August 1838 mentions the death of Capt. Francis Rowe, who had spent his whole lifetime in King and Queen County and had accomplished much good during his lifetime, and had served the county in many ways and in offices during that time. "Died at his residence in King & Queen County on the third ultimo, after a protracted illness, Capt. Francis Rowe, aged 49 years and 9 months. The deceased left a wife and five children. Capt. Row [sic] was a magistrate in 1812, was created high sheriff in 1833, represented the county in the legislature, volunteered his services in the artillery of his county of which he was afterwards elected Captain."

Some time after the Civil War, Melrose was bought by Mr. Jacob Turner who dismantled the house and sold enough bricks from the walls to pay the purchase money for the place. Today, the site is marked by a public boat landing on the Mattaponi River called Melrose Landing.

Edward Voss was probably born in K&Q in the 1730s. He was a brick layer/mason by trade. Following the sale of Melrose, he practiced his trade as brick mason, and owned a brick yard in Fredericksburg. In 1785 he was contracted to build the original state capitol building in Richmond, according to plans designed by Thomas Jefferson. He moved his wife and younger children to Richmond in 1785, while the older sons remained in Culpeper. Son Edward, also a brick mason, took over the operation of the family brick business in Fredericksburg. Edward Sr. and family apparently remained in Richmond. Work on the capitol building was completed in 1790.

Edward Voss married Elizabeth Brooke of Essex, who was the daughter of Robert Brooke of Essex who died in 1744. This Robert Brooke married Phoebe (?Sale) and had several children including Elizabeth who married Edward Vass/Voss; Catherine, Susannah m. Rowzee, Molly m. Sale, Robert, Humphrey, Richard, and William. Robert and Phoebe lived at "Farmer's Hall" a 600 acres plantation patented by Brooke's father in 1704. St. Matthew's church at Champlain, VA--now abandoned--was built in 1860 on the site of Farmer's Hall.

The settlement of Robert Brooke's estate continued in the Essex court for many years. For example, there is a mention in the Order Book for 1763-1764 (OB # 25), p. 267 which reads as follows:

JOHN VASS adm. etc. of ELIZABETH VASS.........VASS an infant by the said JOHN VASS his father, Thomas Sale and Mary or Molly his wife and Catherine Rose widow, Complainants against John Robinson Esquire surviving Exr of William Beverley Esquire who was the surviving Exr of Robert Brooke Gent Dec'd John Rowzee Gent Admr of Susanna Rowzee Decd & Sarah Rowzee an Infant by the said John Rowzee her Guardian for this purpose appointed Defendants In Chancery. On the Defendants motion further time is given them till the Next court to file their Answer to the Complainants Bill."

Interestingly, the same sort of wording appears in Order Book #26 for 1764-1767, pp. 75, 186, 388, 454, and 496. Here, Edward Vass is one of the complainants, the wording reading:

"EDWARD VASS adm. etc. of ELIZABETH VASS..........VASS an infant by the said EDWARD VASS his father [etc. as in the JOHN VASS chancery suit mention from Order Book #25]

This seems to establish some sort of family relationship between the EDWARD VASS who was in K&Q and JOHN VASS of ESSEX. A VINCENT VASS was also living in K&Q, Stratton Major parish, by about 1750 when he was involved with two transactions with JOHN VASS of South Farnham parish who was son of VINCENT VASS who died in Essex in 1727. VINCENT VASS who lived in Stratton Major parish K&Q was probably b.c. 1705. He seems to have lived in the area between present day Heartquake Creek/swamp and Tarsatyan or Tastine Creek, now known as Burnt Mill Creek. This areas is only a few miles from the Melrose location. Could this EDWARD VASS be a son of the VINCENT VASS of K&Q?