John Summers (Somers), Sr. (1687 - 1790)

public profile

View John Summers (Somers), Sr.'s complete profile:

  • See if you are related to John Summers (Somers), Sr.
  • Request to view John Summers (Somers), Sr.'s family tree

Share

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Christ Church, Middlesex, Virginia, USA
Death: Died in Alexandria, Fairfax, Virginia, USA
Managed by: Lee Wynne
Last Updated:

About John Summers (Somers), Sr.

"Historical Society of Fairfax County, Virginia, Inc. Vol 8 - 1962-1963." Page 7

    John Summers, who laid out the town of Alexandria, VA was born in Virginia in 1687.  His parents had come from Scotland and settled in Fairfax County.  He was an only child and lived to be 103 years old.  He married a Mrs. Blake and had 10 children, 5 sons and 5 daughters.  He died in 1790.

"Fairfax County Virginia: A History" Page 62.

    John Sumers (Summers) is listed among several Fairfax residents and their occupations.  John's occupation around 1750 was that of a "Cordwainer" or shoemaker.

"Fairfax County Stories: 1607-2007." The History of Lincolnia by Mary Margaret Lewis Pence. Quoted text follows...

    Prior to the Civil War, as early as 1853, Lincolnia, Virginia was called Mount Pierce.  Later is was called Lebanon.  In 1870, the name Lincoln was proposed by Levi Deming to honor President Abraham Lincoln.  Finally the name Lincolnia stuck.
    In 1740, John Summers and George Harrison obtained a grant from Lord Fairfax for land located in this area, then in Prince William County.  In 1750, John Summers built a house there, later called the Cottage Farm, which is west of the Lincolnia Post Office between Barnum Lane and Deming Avenue.  All that remains there today is the Summers Cemetery.  Elisha Cullen Dick, George Washington's doctor, bought this property in 1814.  It has been said that while Dr. Dick lived there, Lafayette visited Cottage Farm.  General Winfield Scott Hancock had headquarters at Cottage Farm with General Merritt.

An aerial photo of Summers Cemetery can be viewed by going to http://www.bing.com/maps then entering the following coordinates into the search bar 38.821225,-77.140935. Select "Bird's Eye View" for best image.

  John Summers' obituary:  Died--Mr. JOHN SUMMERS, in the 103d year of his age.  He was born within thirty miles of this place, in the State of Maryland and settled in the year 1715 in this County where he has resided ever since.  He has left his children, grandchildren, great-grand-children, and great-great grant-children to the number of nearly four hundred.

Birth: Nov. 14, 1687

Middlesex County

Virginia, USA

Death: Dec. 4, 1790

Alexandria

Fairfax County

Virginia, USA

Info Below: added by Candy on Dec.7 2009

HISTORICAL SKETCH: John Summers:

Born 1687 Died 1790

It has been a difficult matter to procure much authentic information reflating to the period in the history of Fairfax county between its first settlement and the date of its formation in 1742. The oldest resident of whom we have any record was Mr. John Summers, whose long life began in 1687 (just 220 years ago) and closed in 1790. He died at the old family homestead, "Summers Grove," near Ananndale, aged 103 years, and his tombstone can still be seen in the family burying ground at that place.

Some of his descendents, to whom we shall allude in future articles, were men of great distinction, and ability, who reflected honor upon their native county. The Summers family was of Flemish origin and was known in England at the time of the Reformation, when property was granted them a short distance from the city of Worcester. This became their family seat, and here they received and entertained Queen Elizabeth in 1585. The bed in which she slept and the cup from which she drank were preserved by them as precious relics for many generations and among its members were men of distinction and renown. Sir George Summers, Lord High Admiral, and Lord John Summers, Lord High Chancellor of England and Keeper of the Privy Seal to William III belonged to the family.

The Summers family of Fairfax descended from Sir George Summers, who commanded the "Sea Venture," one of the vessels which brought over the Jamestown colony in 1607, and Col. Louis Summers commanded the first body of English soldiers sent over for the protection of the little body of settlers.

From a sketch written by Judge Lewis Summers, (a great grandson of John) between the years 1835 and 1840, we learn that John Summers, the son of an English Protestant family, was born in Maryland in 1687. He came to Virginia when quite a young mand and built a cabin on the Potomac where the city of Alexandria now stands. The land was then vacant, appropriations by grant not having extended far from the bay and the mouths of the principal rivers. The country between the present site of Alexandria and the Blue Ridge was then the hunting ground of the Indians, abounding with deer, bear, wolves, &c., and wild turkeys and other game.

John Summers' early years were spent in hunting, but as immigrants began to flock in the usual struggles commenced between the settlers and the aborigines for the occupancy of the country, and Mr. Summers was an active leader and pioneer of the whites in the various campaigns undertaken for the removal of the Indians west of the Blue Ridge. When the country began to receive some population he married a Mrs. Blake, by whom he had five sons and five daughters.

As the culture of tobacco began to spread to this quarter of the colony he built and owned several tobacco houses. Hunting continued to be a favorite employment, and in his latter days took pleasure in regaling his friends with anecdotes of the chase and of his Indian campaigns and other incidents connected with his early life.

He seems to have been like Daniel Boone, regardless of the acquisition of land, thinking the taxes, quit-rents, &c., more burdensome than the land would be beneficial, which he illustrated by the refusal of a deed from the patentee for the land on which Alexandria now stands and on which he resided, in exchange for his favorite rifle. In after years he was much engaged by locators and surveyors in pointing out the best pieces of vacant lands and in conducting them through the forest districts with which he was familiar, and was at length prevailed upon by his friend, Capt. West, the surveyor of the county, to locate large tract for each of his sons, containing from four to six hundred acres, but no persuasion could induce him to cur the expense and trouble of securing land for his daughters.

The first concentration of the trade was at the Hunting Creek tobacco warehouse, at the head of the tide, where the old Colchester road crossed the creek. In 1748 an act was passed for laying off a town at Hunting Creek Warehouse, but the site now occupyed by Alexandria being found more eligible, the town wa located there and called Belle Haven. It was afterwards changed, in compliment to the family of Alexanders who owned the surrounding lands, to Alexandria, and the legislature recognized the name in 1762. John Summers lived to see Alexandria become a place of considerable commercial importance and frequently adverted to his cabin being the first building ever erected there, and that the first frame house ever put up on the place was prepared and framed on his land above the "Trough Hill," and hauled to the site which it was to occupy.

He was a man of very robust constitution, broad in the chest, powerful in limb, and about 5 feet 10 inches in height. He was too far advanced in years to take part in the Revolutionary war, but many of his descendants were in the army, some as officers, others in the ranks. He retained his faculties and strenght in remarkable degree, and was appealed to on all questions of corners and boundaries of the early surveys. He exercised freely on foot until within about a year of his death when from a fall he dislocated his hip, and was afterwards confined to his bed, where the recital of the litany and the prayers of the church occupied his time when alone.

His last moments were calm and unclouded, and on the evening of his death he had supped as usual and was heard humming a Psalm and resiting the Evening Prayers. A few moments after it was discovered that his spirit had taken its flight to the bosom of his God.

In 1748 John Summers was recorded among the freeholders of Fairfax as voting for Major Laurence Washington and Col. Colville for the House of Burgesses. July 16, 1765, he and his five sons voted for George Washington and John West for the same office, and again at a general election December 1, 1768, the same gentlemen were voted for and the same number of the Summers family supported them.

Within the last ten years of his life he was accustomed to walk six to eight miles in a day attended by a great grandson, Lewis Summers, afterwards a very distinguished judge, of whom we shall speak in a future article. His descendants intermarried with the Millans, Foxes, and other well known families of the country.

Think of the great span of this man's life---from 1687 to 1790!-commencing at a time when Fairfax county was practically a wilderness, inhabited by Indians and wild animals, and closing many years after the Revolutionary war, for which Fairfax furnished the leader who became the first President of the great republic. The following notice of his death is from the 8th Volumn of the American Museum, published in Philadelphia in 1790:

Died-Virginia, near Alexandria,

Mr. John Summers, aged 103 years. He had left descendants of four generations, amounting to four hundred. There is in Omaha, Neb. a clock which was once the property of John Summers. It is more than 200 years old and is still doing faithful duty. It has descended to the oldest son of each succeeding generation and is now in the possession of Dr. John Edward Summers, Jr., professor of Surgery in the State University of Nebraska, who, of course, prizes it very highly.

When the county of Loudoun was settled,

Francis, a brother of John and about twenty years younger, moved to that county, and married a Mrs. Lane, by whom he had one son and one daughter.

The son entered the Revolutionary army and left it at the end of the war a Lieut. Colonel. Col. Summers, of Loudoun, was highly respected and frequently represented his county in the legislature. Smith, the first historian of Virginia spells the name of the same individual, Somers, Sommers, and Summers in different parts of his work. Among the papers of Mr. John Summers his name was found spelled in those three different ways, and many of his descendants use the "o" instead of the "u," but the grants issued to him for land contained his name as most generally spelled by his descendants-Summers.

March 21-27, 1979

Lincolnia Hills roundup

By Nancy Floyd

It's no news to the homeowner behind his bucking lawnmower that LH has roots. But perhaps not everyone knows we have the kind of roots Jim McEvoy of Chambliss recently uncovered.

Curious about the new homes being built off Lincolnia Road between Chambliss and Barnum and having read a book on our area's history, "Beginning at White Oak," Jim went exploring and discovered a small, vine-entangled cemetery up there.

Buried in this cemetery is John Summers who, according to Jim's research, was the original owner of all the land that is now Lincolnia Hills. Jim found maps showing John Summers also owned the surrounding area including Indian Run and Holmes Run in partnership with George Harrison.

Bulldozers recently cleared the area around the little gray house on Lincolnia Road and next to the cemetery. The boundary markers are visible from Morgan Street in the backyards of homes on the south side. The new development is "Ashley," a community of ten homes, built by C. Kirk Reilly and Associates and is advertised as "elegant new 4 bedroom homes on large homesites in a wooded cul-de-sac." They start at $120,000.

Jim, who's a librarian at the Library of Congress, says he's not a cemetery freak, but he was concerned about whether the company would tear down the cemetery. It appears it won't, but just in case, Jim took a picture of John Summer's headstone which says he "departed this life the 4th of December, 1790, at age 102."

John Summers was a well known figure in those days, according to a "List of Northern Neck Grants" at the county library. The records of Fairfax County include many depositions made by John Summers (Sommers, Symmers) in land disputes which were decided by the court. He told the court that in old times he used to be a good deal with the surveyors and attended many surveys in the neighborhood of Hunting Creek. When he was ninety-eight he was still giving depositions. When he was ninety-two he told how he moved from Dogue Neck to a spot near present Christ Church in 1715.

The book states:

"In 1723 John Summers moved to the 'forest' near present-day Bailey's Crossroads and in 1773 he moved further into the 'forest' to his son's house. Summers died in 1790, aged 102, and is buried at the corner of Beauregard and Burnum off Route 236. In 1716 he was a tenant to John West, as was Gabriel Adams, and he stated that their houses and two tabacco houses were the only houses on one hundred acres of land which was later part of Alexandria."

In addition to John Summers, his wife Jane who died in 1814 at the age of 79, and numerous family members, the follwing early settlers' monuments are there: Thomas Cowling, Jan. 1797-April 1864; his wife Mary C., March 1796-August 1877; Stephen G. Cowling, August 18-June 1911; his wife Jane, 1887, and Edward W. Crump, 1819-1900.

On the monument to the Duty family are the names of several children: Charles 1894-1895; John, 1898-1900; Ira, 1902-1902; Jannet F., 1906-1906; Emory, 187-1888; and Blanche, 1889-90. The parents were Charles, 1860-1934 and Ida, 1863-1918. Jim says he read that there was a small pox epidemic about that time.

"Beginning at White Oak" is available in the lobby of the Massey Branch of the Fairfax County library for $5.00. The number to call is 691-2974.

Burial:

Summers Cemetery

Fairfax County

Virginia, USA


Created by: Somers Family History

Record added: Jan 06, 2008



      
view all 31

John Summers, Sr.'s Timeline

1683
April 8, 1683
Middlesex Co., VA, USA
1686
November 14, 1686
Middlesex Co., VA, USA
1687
November 14, 1687
Christ Church, Middlesex, Virginia, USA
1690
March 15, 1690
Age 2
1703
1703
Age 15
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
1714
1714
Age 26
1715
1715
Age 27
Fairfax, Virginia, USA
1717
1717
Age 29
Fairfax, VA, USA
1717
Age 29
Alexandria, Virginia, USA
1718
1718
Age 30