Figure of the Week

William Churchill Beale

Born 1791 - Died 1850

William Churchill Beale (1791-1850) was the son of William Beale (c.1755-1821) and Hannah Gordon (1758-c.1820) of Fauquier County.  His first wife was Susan Vowles (1772-before 1834) of Falmouth.  In 1834 he married secondly in Fredericksburg Jane Briggs Howison (1815-1882). William and Jane spent their first five years of marriage in what is now known as the Conway House in Falmouth before moving to Fredericksburg.  In 1825 Beale purchased from James Vass (1770-1837), a Scottish merchant and mill owner in Falmouth, a half-interest in the Thistle Flour Mill that Vass had built next to the Rappahannock River around 1812.  This was the most technologically advanced of the several flour mills in Falmouth and was described in a newspaper advertisement as “a large and commodious mill…to which is annexed every description of machinery eligible, convenient, useful, or essential to the complete and perfect operation of the said mill” (Virginia Herald, Sept. 16, 1812).  An insurance policy with the Mutual Assurance Society estimated the mill’s value at $20,000.  Sometime before 1836 Beale bought out the other half-interest in the mill from John and Wright Southgate.  After William C. Beale’s unexpected death in 1850, Duff Green (1792-1854), Falmouth industrialist, bought the Thistle Mill and renamed it the Eagle Mill.  William C. Beale served in the War of 1812.