John Augustine Washington:

Date of Interview: 17 Feb. 2002 – Time: 1:09:13

— a managing director of Farr, Miller Washington LLC in Washington, D.C. and direct descendant of John Augustine Washington, Gen. Washington’s brother, has researched his family’s history for more than fifty years. His account of the Washington family in Jefferson County is given at: “Charles Town Washingtons

Provided with permission from John A. Washington.


John Washington Pt. 1 Total Running Time 42:38


“Another Washington in the county was Col. Lewis William Washington whose land came to him in an entirely different way. He was a close relative of these other Washingtons. His mother, Jane Washington, had been a sister of Judge Bushrod Washington and of Corbin Washington, the father of the Blakeley and Clay Mont builders and Jane had married a cousin, a half-first cousin of William Augustine Washington and these were Col. Lewis William’s grand-parents. Col. Lewis William’s mother was Miss Beall from Georgetown near D.C. and it was Beall land that he, Lewis William, had inherited here in Jefferson County. He lived in Baltimore with his wife until her death in 1844 and then settled here at the farm called Beallair as a widower. It was he, of course, who was captured by John Brown in 1859 at the time of the Harpers Ferry raid and was Brown’s prisoner at Harpers Ferry for a time (CORRECTED “several days” after review by JAW). Another member of the family enters into the family story here. Richard Blackburn Washington, my great-grandfather, who was the son of the builder of Blakeley, was a famous squirrel shot and he was among the citizens who went over to Harpers Ferry in response to the emergency created by John Brown and was credited with having shot one of the raiders from some tremendous distance and killing him and in one of the incidents before the U.S. Army arrived and dislodged him from the armory.” (NOTE: Mr. Washington subsequently decided to take out the reference to the shooting of a raider in reviewing the tape recording).


Julia Davis Adams:

Date of Interview: 29 March 1990 – Time: 1:00:06

Spent every, growing-up summer at Media Farm on Flowing Springs Road, the homestead of her grandfather, Edward Hitchcock McDonald, who was in the 11th Virginia Cavalry in the Civil War. From his diaries, she wrote the book “Mount-Up.” She remembers visits to their home at Media in the early 20th century by the aging Col. John Singleton Mosby. Ms. Davis made a point in this interview of telling how her grandfather had advised her that he didn’t regret fighting for Virginia, but said he was very glad he and the Confederacy didn’t win. Much of this vivid remembrance also describes very clearly the daily rhythms of life in the County in the early 20th century before the advent of the automobile or indoor plumbing. These farm rhythms, tied to nature’s, had not changed much since peacetime around the Civil War period.

It should also be noted that Ms. Davis’ father, John W. Davis, on the other side of her family, was the American ambassador to England during World War I and the unsuccessful candidate for the presidency against Warren G. Harding. Ms. Davis’ obituary in the “New York Times,” Feb. 2, 1993 begins:

“Julia Davis Adams, a writer, died Saturday at Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Ranson, W. Va. She lived in Charles Town, W. Va., and was 92. Her family attributed her death to natural causes. Mrs. Adams, who was born in Clarksburg, W. Va., attended Wellesley College and graduated from Barnard College in 1922. She began her career as a reporter for The Associated Press in New York City, where she also headed the adoption service of the Children’s Aid Society in the early 1960′s. She was the author of two dozen books, mostly novels. Writing as Julia Davis, she often dealt with the history of her native state and the role her family had played in it.” Her book about her grandfather: Davis, Julia. (1967). “Mount Up: A True Story Based on the Reminiscences of Major E. A. H. McDonald of the Confederate Cavalry.” New York, NY: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc.

Julia Davis – Pt. 2 Total Running Time: 30:11

17:19 Visits of Col. Mosby to Media Farm on Flowing Springs Road . . .


“I didn’t quite finish what Grandfather said about the war. He said he had to fight the way he did because he couldn’t fight his own people. In those days you were much more a Virginian than you were a United States’ person. After all, Virginia had been here a 150 years before there was. . and the states were very conscious of their own government and their own way of doing things. Maryland was considered quite a different place from Virginia. . .”


“But before the war, he (Grandfather) had already decided he didn’t approve of slavery and would never own a slave. Of course he never got a chance. It was all over before. . .His father had one or two that were household servants, but his father was not a planter, so he didn’t need a great workforce for the field. He just needed one or two who were treated like members of the family who were very sweet to the children. . .He (Grandfather) also didn’t approve of secession and argued about that with his father a great deal. But on the day Virginia seceded, he had just taken his bar examination . . .and passed and came out of the courthouse and all the bells were ringing and Virginia had seceded. . . (and he said in diary) . . .’I didn’t look at a law book for four years, because on that day I became a soldier’”


“That was his background on the thing. Then he told he had to fight the way he did because he couldn’t fight his own people. (He said) ‘but you must always be very glad we didn’t win.’ So he took the whole thing off of the top of my head there. I went away to boarding school. I never had to be a southerner and stand up for the Confederacy. He was a very intelligent man.”


Beverly Douglas Taylor

Date of Interviews: 1 August 1990, 8 August 1990 – Time: 1:46:05

Doug Taylor was born in 1906 and died in 1994. His children all took advanced degrees and to this day are a major positive influence in the County’s affairs. His uncommon insight and eloquence speaks for itself. The sources of his strength came from belief in thinking for one’s self, working very hard, the King James Bible, and the Constitution. Taped interview is courtesy of the Taylor family and the Jefferson County Black History Preservation Society, Inc.




The Land Where We Were Dreamin’
A People’s History of Jefferson County

Presented 7 Nov. 2002 at the National Conservation Training Center Auditorium by James Surkamp.