A Historical Chronology of the Families of the
Pritchard-Grim Farm from 1735
The land on which the First and Second Battles of Kernstown were fought
is rich in history. It has been farmed by only four families since 1735. Because two of
those families dominate its history...four generations of Pritchards and three generations
of Grims...the farm has become known as the Pritchard-Grim Farm.
The Hoge family 21 years (1735-1756)
The Pritchard family 123 years (1756-1879)
The Burton family 11 years (1879-1890)
The Grim family 99 years (1890-1989)
Here are their stories...
THE HOGE FAMILY (1735-1756) (also spelled Hogue or Hogg)
* In 1732, William Hoge I (1660-1749), his wife Barbara (1670-1745) and 7 of their 8 children, along with 16 other families, migrated from Pennsylvania to the Opequon area of Virginia. On November 12, 1735, William Hoge received a land patent for 411 acres. At the time they came to Virginia, William was 75 and Barbara was 65. Soon after receiving this grant, he built a log home on the land, where he lived with his family until his death. William Hoge I gave the land for the Opequon Presbyterian Church and by the year 1736 the first log church had been built...tradition has it, at his own expense. He also donated two acres of land for a burying ground. He and his wife Barbara, are both buried in this cemetery.
* John Hoge I, who had not moved with his family from Pennsylvania, inherited the farm in 1749 upon the death of his father, William I.
* Rev. John Hoge II (eldest son of John I), the first regular pastor of the Opequon Church, inherited the property upon the death of his father.
* George Hoge (son of William Hoge II and uncle of Rev. John Hoge II) acquired 208 acres of the original grant in 1749. Six years later, in 1756, George Hoge conveyed 206 acres to Rees Pritchard.
THE PRITCHARD FAMILY (1756-1879)
* Rees Prichard Jr. (1708-1758) acquired 206 acres from George Hoge on March 1, 1756. Rees Jr. married the widowed Elinor Evans.
Rees Jr. and Elinor had five children plus Elinor’s son by her previous husband, John Evans. Upon his death Rees Jr.’s will distributed half of the property to Elinor’s son and the other half to his five children. Elinor’s son died prior to the distribution and leaving no heirs the property reverted to Rees Jr. and Elinor’s five children.
* Stephen Pritchard I (1745-1819) inherited the property in 1758 upon the death of his father, Rees Pritchard Jr. (This generation began spelling PRITCHARD – with T.)
Stephen I was married to Margaret Peggy Kenner. President George Washington was named after Peggy’s grandfather, Col. George Eskridge. Eskridge was the guardian of Washington’s mother, Mary Ball. Stephen and Peggy had 9 children, 2 of whom (Susan & Margaret) are buried on Pritchard’s Hill – their stones are still there.
* Stephen Pritchard II (1777?-1858) became owner upon the death of his father in 1819.
The Pritchard family may have lived in the log house on the property, the remains of which still stand, until Stephen II with his eldest son Samuel built the brick house in 1854. Stephen II and his wife, Mary Cartmell Pritchard, had 7 children. Three of their sons, Henry, Samuel and Solomon, inherited equal shares of the land upon the 1858 death of their father. Henry James Pritchard immediately conveyed his interest to his brother, Samuel Rees Pritchard, who then held two-thirds of the land including the 1854 brick house. The youngest son, Solomon, retained his one-third interest and it is believed that prior to the Civil War he may have built the home, most recently known as the Omps house, which still stands today. Solomon died in the war in September 1861 leaving a pregnant widow and one daughter.
* Samuel Rees Pritchard (1815-1875) became owner of two-thirds of the farm including the brick house upon the death of his father in 1858. The remaining one-third became the property of his brother, Solomon.
Samuel was a wheelwright who sold his wheels to the wagon makers in Newtown (now Stephens City) just five miles away. He also kept two large six-horse teams and an old covered wagon constantly on the great highways carrying supplies for merchants in Knoxville and towns along the Tennessee/Virginia border. He had a steam saw business during the Civil War, and after the war, began a distillery business on the property with L. E. Savage.
Samuel Rees Pritchard, his wife Helen Johnson Pritchard, formerly of New Jersey and a Union sympathizer, and four of their children occupied the house throughout the Civil War and during both of the battles fought at Kernstown, during which the house was used as a hospital. Union Gen. Albert Tolbert, Sheridan’s cavalry commander, used the Pritchard home as his headquarters late in 1864 when the Union army made camp on and all around the Pritchard farm. The end of the Civil War saw the Pritchard family destitute and penniless. In the ten years between the end of the war and Samuel’s death he worked to restore the family fortunes, but when Samuel died in 1875 Helen and their four children were left without enough resources to stay on the property. The farm was sold at auction in 1876 and Helen and her children moved to a house on Cork Street in Winchester where she remained until her death.
* John M. Miller, the husband of Samuel Rees Pritchard’s sister, Elizabeth “Bettie” R. Pritchard, purchased the Pritchard farm at auction in April 1876 following Samuel Rees Pritchard’s death in 1875.
* James H. Burton purchased 205 acres of the Pritchard farm from John Miller for the sum of $10,900 on August 29, 1879.
THE BURTON FAMILY (1879-1890)
* Col. James Henry Burton (1823-1894) purchased the Pritchard farm on August 29, 1879, after a lifetime of work in the manufacture of arms which took him all over the world and gained him some amount of notoriety in his time. Burton had spent his adult life working at the U.S. Armory at Harpers Ferry, the Springfield Armory in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and the Royal Small Arms Factory at Enfield near London, England. At the beginning of the Civil War, he had been Commissioned Lt. Colonel of Ordnance in the Confederate Army by President Jefferson Davis, and on September 2, 1861, he was appointed Superintendent of Armories for the Confederacy, a post he held throughout the war. After the war he resumed his work at the Enfield factory in Europe but illness forced his return to the U.S. and he retired to farming.
Burton and his third wife, Eugenia, lived on and worked the farm for 11 years. Once again illness struck and he was no longer able to continue on the farm. Col. Burton and his wife, Eugenia, conveyed their 205 acre farm to Charles Henry Grim on October 18, 1890. The Burtons moved with their family to Winchester.
THE GRIM FAMILY (1890-2000)
* Charles Henry Grim (1839-1906) purchased 205 acres from Col. James Burton on October 18, 1890. Charles Grim, farmer and former contractor and builder, was married to Hattie V. Hardy (1844-1923). They had two children, Charles Hardy Grim I, and Edmonia Lee Grim. Upon the death of Charles Henry, the farm conveyed to his wife, Hattie.
* Charles Hardy Grim I (1880-1931) and his sister, Edmonia Lee Grim (1881-1951), inherited the farm from their mother, Hattie V. Grim, upon her death in 1923. Charles married Etha Nancy Crisman (1886-1945) and they had one son, Charles Hardy Grim II. Charles Hardy I farmed the land together with his son until he was instantly killed by a bolt of lightning on July 15, 1931, while on a wagon loaded with hay in a field on his farm. Edmonia Lee Grim never married. She lived in Winchester.
* Charles Hardy Grim II (1914-1989) inherited the Farm upon the death of his father in 1931. He was a prosperous farmer and orchardist. In the 1940s he acquired at auction the adjacent farm which had been bequeathed to Solomon Pritchard in 1858 bringing back together the original Pritchard farm. In 1956 he married Emily Grove of a nearby farm in Frederick County. They had no children. Upon his death in 1989, the Grim farm, which then encompassed 375 acres, was placed in trust and, in the year 2000, the Kernstown Battlefield Association acquired 315 acres.
THE KERNSTOWN BATTLEFIELD ASSOCIATION
In 1989, at the death of Charles Hardy Grim II, the farm consisted of 375 acres. In accordance with his will his entire estate, including the farm and the house, was left in trust with the proceeds to benefit of his wife, Emily, and other named institutions.
In the year 2000 the Kernstown Battlefield Association reached an agreement with the trustee of the Grim estate to purchased 315 acres of the Grim Farm for nearly $4 million dollars. The KBA had already amassed $3-million toward the purchase and was able to obtain a $925,000 mortgage through the collaboration of four local banks. Through an additional combination of government grants and private funding the mortgage was completely paid off in July 2003.
The KBA is now set upon a course to preserve, protect and interpret the important historical events which occurred on this land and in this house for all future generations.
Since the year 2000 the Pritchard House has seen many improvements. Over fifty years of dirt and dust have been swept away from its rooms. Its exterior has been cleared of wild vines and debris. Its porches have been repaired and repainted, its windows restored, painted and the mostly broken glass replaced. Exact replica shutters have been installed and repointing of the west wall is under way. At present an Historic Structures Report is in progress which will help guide the KBA with future restoration plans.
The Pritchard House is very much as it was 150 years ago when Helen and Samuel began their life together. Their legacy has been the promise of a prosperous future to the families which followed. Their farm, indeed, has brought prosperity to its families, and it will remain a working farm into the future, even while its historical legacy reveals its past.