History of Conklin, Virginia

Update on a History Project. By Larry Roeder, MS 16 February 2014 1


Briefing on the history of Conklin, Loudoun County Virginia, as part of Black History month, 2014.

Transcript of History of Conklin, Virginia

Page 1: History of Conklin, Virginia

Update on a History Project.


Larry Roeder, MS

16 February 2014


Page 2: History of Conklin, Virginia

Contact Larry Roeder 703-867-2056

[email protected]

Please share photos, oral histories and artifacts.

These will help document the history of Conklin and the Prosperity Baptist Church.


Page 3: History of Conklin, Virginia

Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, written between 170 and 180 AD.

But what if our songs, records and art were lost? Then the echoes might disappear.

Dr. Carter G. Woodson understood that we must preserve those echoes and honor our ancestors.

Thanks to Dr. Woodson, Americans have recognized black history annually since 1926, first as "Negro History Week" and now as “Black History Month.”

In the Black History tradition, the Conklin Study is an effort to preserve the history of the Prosperity Baptist Church and Conklin.


Page 4: History of Conklin, Virginia

Early residents led difficult, brave lives.

Their history is almost forgotten in Loudoun.

You can help preserve their echoes; but we must also keep in mind that not everyone who attends Prosperity today descends from the people we are focusing on in this talk.

Local “Black History” is a large and very important story which should to told in its entirity.


Page 5: History of Conklin, Virginia

The land was settled around 1715 in the Elk Lick area, then known simply as Arcola.

Conklin was also known as south Broad Run, a former magisterial district. Today we are in the Dulles District.

Sources of information are descendants of pioneers, local historians, the Balch Library, County Court Archives in Leesburg, School archives and many other repositories in the region.

Balch Library Court Archives

Interviews 5

Page 6: History of Conklin, Virginia

Conklin is named for white landowner Joseph Conklin of Pennsylvania who purchased over 100 acres from Horace Adee in 1871. The first store was built in 1890 and also housed the first post office. Conklin and his wife owned the store and took over the post office in 1892, which burned down in 1910 and moved to Bull Run Post Office Road. The post office then switched to Arcola in 1917. The grave of Conklin and others is in a cemetery off of Braddock Road on the North side of Longacre Drive near the western edge of Conklin.


Page 7: History of Conklin, Virginia

People migrated to Conklin from nearby locations like Fairfax and Prince William Counties.

Whites and free African-Americans lived side by side; but slavery was an issue before the Civil War and segregation a problem later.

If a slave was freed, he or she had to be registered every year by a white person or possibly sold back into servitude.

If a freed slave borrowed money and didn’t pay it back, he or she could be sold again, though this was rare.

Punishment could be tough.

Education was difficult.

Photo of escaped slave* from Mississippi named Gordon when he

joined the Union Army. Photo distributed throughout the Army.

The photo above became a symbol of the awful nature of slavery.

Although the owner fired the man who beat the slave, the fact

remains that slaves had no rights.


Page 8: History of Conklin, Virginia

We have focused on some African-Americans who moved here between 1850 and 1854 with white farmer Hampton Brewer of Prince-William and Fairfax.

They started on property Brewer purchased in 1854 just below what is now the Lundsford Middle School, along the east side of Ticonderoga Road.


Page 9: History of Conklin, Virginia

The unmarked Brewer Cemetery probably holds the bodies of Hampton Brewer and some of the cluster. It is on Ticonderoga Farms at the south side of the Lundsford Bus Parking lot and east of Ticonderoga Road.

Notice field stones to left, typical of the area and the ornate stone

(right), which is less common.


Page 10: History of Conklin, Virginia

Alexander Allen, 1854

Amanda Allen, 1857

Betsy Allen, (perhaps the matriarch), 1854

Martha Allen, 1857

Mary Allen, 1854

Narcissa Allen, 1854

William Allen, 1854

Jas Gaskins,1857.

Some descended from slaves freed in 1791 by Robert Carter of Westmoreland County. Only Lincoln freed more slaves.


Page 11: History of Conklin, Virginia

All were registered as free in 1854 and 1857.

You can find these in the Loudoun County Court Archives in Leesburg.


Page 12: History of Conklin, Virginia

North: Elk Lick bridge in South Riding.

West: Gum Spring Road.

East: Fairfax County Line along Braddock.

South: Between Braddock Road and the junction of Buffalo Run Lane & Bull Run Post Office Road.

Conklin is not incorporated, unlike Middleburg and Leesburg; so these “boundaries” are “suggestive” for research purposes. We need your help on accuracy.


Page 13: History of Conklin, Virginia

Many suggest Elk Lick Bridge (south of the town hall in South Riding) as the tip of traditional Conklin. This was a creaky wooden bridge, but now is a concrete structure over the South Riding golf course. It wasn’t until 1956 that Elk Lick was paved from Route 50 into Conklin. The road had been known as Rector’s Road, after a family on the road’s upper reaches in the 1920’s. Before that, it was called New Cut Road, first cut through about 1885. Elk Lick now turns into Donovan and then First Frost before intersecting Braddock. Prosperity Church is at the corner of First Frost and Braddock on the west side.


Page 14: History of Conklin, Virginia

Braddock road from the Fairfax County line to the junction of Old Elk Lick Road.

This includes the Cardinal Ridge school property, once owned by the Allen’s, a family in our study.

The most recent owners were

Laverne R. Grant and CT Perkins. We need local history stories about the farm


Page 15: History of Conklin, Virginia

Many people lived up and down Elk Lick Road. Please share photographs and stories with us.

Who were they and what did they do for a living?

After being abandoned, many houses were burned down by Fire Department, such as an Allen home (left) on Elk Lick.


Page 16: History of Conklin, Virginia

This runs from Elk Lick to Gum Spring, then down to south tip of Ticonderogga.

Did you are your family live along that route?

Do you remember the store at the corner of

Gum Spring and Braddock?


Page 17: History of Conklin, Virginia

Prosperity Baptist, started by Jennie Dean, originally across Braddock.

Ronny Arnold’s home next to the church

Does anyone remember the people who lived here before Mr. Arnold? We understand they were immigrants from Africa.


Page 18: History of Conklin, Virginia

We are not certain how far south to go, but have included the old Hampton Brewer property and the land along Ticonderoga running south and west to Gum Spring.


Page 19: History of Conklin, Virginia

Life for the cluster and descendants was hard work and poor wages, so they kept track of all expenses.


Many traded in chickens, butter and wheat , or did services like laundry and road repair.

Do you have old letters and ledgers?


Page 20: History of Conklin, Virginia

Artifacts help us understand daily life.


Page 21: History of Conklin, Virginia

Farming was dominant. Many lived in cabins, one of which (right) built around 1820, has been preserved on the Loudoun County Parkway across from its original location. Charles W. Dean worked as a slave for Thomas Settle in Conklin for many years. Mr. Settle then willed the 142-acre property to Dean and his descendants in 1886.

Typical early farm construction found on grounds of Cardinal Hill


Page 22: History of Conklin, Virginia

• No buses for African-Americans until 1941. • Children from Willard (at today’s Dulles

Airport) stayed in Conklin during the week, walked to school every day, then walked home on weekends.

The Conklin Colored School was opened in 1873 and operated until 1941) on Ticonderoga Road (below), and eventually burned down.

Some studied in Manassas at Jennie Dean’s school or in Washington, DC.


Page 23: History of Conklin, Virginia

Education has been a core community strength.

The legacy began with Jennie Dean, a freed slave from Prince William County who brought schools to African-Americans in several counties, including Loudoun, and started the Prosperity Baptist Church.


The teachers we have focused on are Christine Allen and Mary Dean Johnson, who taught at Greggsville, Conklin and Bull Run segregated schools between 1927 and 1941. However, the proud tradition continues today with people like Patricia Dean, who educates children in South Riding.

Page 24: History of Conklin, Virginia

We want to know about anyone who studied at the “Conklin Colored School.”

To help, we need stories about the students.

We also need to know how students got there (walking in the early days), about food, the teaching, etc.

Do you have old lesson plans?


Page 25: History of Conklin, Virginia

African-Americans were not allowed public schools or churches before the end of the Civil War; but churches abounded after, and often were Baptist.

One in Conklin is Prosperity Baptist Church on Braddock Road, established by Jennie Dean, a former slave, who set up a school in Manassas and churches in the region to teach religion, math and reading.

There are many graves at the

church, including some

from the cluster’s



Page 26: History of Conklin, Virginia

Who served our nation?

James Gaskins, an African-American registered as free by Brewer. James joined the 39th Colored Infantry, organized in 1864 in Baltimore, Maryland and saw the siege of Petersburg in Virginia and the battles of Wilmington and Fort Fisher in North Carolina.

LeRoy (Lee Roy) Allen also served in the 3rd US Colored Infantry. Others served in World War One and other conflicts.

Mount Zion Cemetery, Leesburg.

Please tell us about veterans in your family, especially those who served in the Civil War and World War One.


Page 27: History of Conklin, Virginia

Since Buildings have been disappearing, we would like to design attractive metal signs to mark the location of Prosperity Baptist Church, the Conklin Colored School, the Brewer Cemetery, the old Post Office and the boundaries.


Page 28: History of Conklin, Virginia

The land was pioneered mostly by migrating whites in the 18th century but by the 19th century had both African-Americans and whites.

People made most of their money from farming.

Slavery and prejudice made life for African-Americans difficult; but they overcame hurdles, sought an education and the descendants have prospered.

Descendants of the white and African-American farmers still live in Loudoun and around the region and are proud of their joint heritage.

We wish to document that history, but need your help.


Page 29: History of Conklin, Virginia

Larry Roeder is a retired diplomat and historian living in South Riding.

He has a strong interest in civil rights and local histories, which he gained while living in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Larry Roeder

26128 Talamore Drive

South Riding, Va 20152

[email protected]