Figure of the Week

Thomas Towson

Born 1779 - Died 1861

Thomas Towson (1779-1861) was the son of John Towson (1745-1832) and Penelope Buck (c.1753-1794) of Baltimore County, Maryland.  He was a marble cutter by trade and supplied that material for use in many public buildings and monuments in Maryland and in Washington, DC.  He became involved with the Aquia Creek freestone quarries early in the nineteenth century, though he didn’t move permanently to Stafford County, Virginia until 1823.  He owned several freestone quarries in northern Stafford and cut the columns for the east portico of the U. S. Capitol from Brent’s Island, now called Government Island.  Thomas owned the busy wharf at Coal Landing on the south side of Aquia Creek as well as the wharf at the town of Aquia (also called Woodstock) on the north side.  He was one of the largest single suppliers of freestone used in the buildings in Washington, DC.


Thomas Towson lived at Rockdale, a modest frame farmhouse on the north side of Courthouse Road (Route 630).  Over time, he purchased much of the land between Courthouse and Garrisonville Roads.  There were several excellent freestone deposits on this property.  In 1843 he paid taxes on 16 enslaved people, 13 horses, 1 gig, 1 “patent silver watch,” 1 lot in the town of Aquia, and 2,909 acres of land.  Thomas’ first wife was Eleanor Robertson Norman (1782-1848) of Edge Hill whose family were also involved in the Aquia sandstone quarries.  Thomas and Eleanor had a large family.  His second wife was Lucy P. Stone (1799-1876), the sister of Dr. Hawkins Stone (1816-1903) of Stafford.  Thomas Towson served as a magistrate in Stafford from at least 1831 to 1852.