James Hunter and the American Revolution

Thursday, April 18th 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

Stafford County Administrative Center
1310 Courthouse Road, Stafford, VA, USA

with Jerrilynn Eby MacGregor.

Around 1758, Scottish merchant James Hunter commenced an iron manufactory a short distance up the Rappahannock River from Falmouth.  His business grew into what is arguably the largest manufacturing facility in colonial America.  During the American Revolution, Hunter was one of the primary producers of arms and supplies for Continental troops.  Despite his contributions to America’s independence, Hunter’s Iron Works, and its associated Rappahannock Forge, has been nearly forgotten.

Jerrilynn grew up in Stafford on the back of a horse and, as a teenager, became fascinated with the county’s history. Having spent her youth at Aquia Church (1757) and amongst several of the county’s old families, she heard the local oral history and eventually learned that little beyond oral tradition existed in Stafford due to vandalism by Union troops during the Civil War. In 1862 and 1863, the invading soldiers stole or destroyed many of the county’s court records and, as a result, traditional historians largely ignored Stafford and rarely even mentioned it in their books. In time, she began compiling information from the deeds, wills, court records, tax records, and newspapers that did exist, added to that the oral history, and tracked down other sources of information. Nearly forty years later, she is still researching her beloved Stafford County and publishing her studies so others might better appreciate the activities and families that made the county so special. Most of her research focuses on land tracts, mills, and industries, but she’s grateful for any tidbit that will help to develop Stafford’s unique story. She has published ten books about Stafford’s history.

Jerrilynn retired from the Prince William County Public Schools after working for 31 years as a middle school librarian.

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