Major Thomas Massie, representative of the fifth generation of the family in Virginia, founded the Massie family in Nelson County 1803. The Massie family was established in New Kent County by Peter Massie, who patented land there in 1698. Members of the two succeeding generations of Massies represented New Kent County in the Virginia House of Burgesses. Major Massie was a distinguished officer in the Revolutionary War. In 1775 he was commissioned Captain in the Sixth Virginia Regiment, after recruiting a company of soldiers from New Kent County. From 1775 until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown in 1781, Major Massie saw continuous service with the Continental Army, and, as aide to General Thomas Nelson, he was present at the surrender. He was a charter member of the Society of the Cincinnati established by officers of the Revolutionary Army to perpetuate their friendship and to raise funds for the widows and orphans of men who had fallen in battle. His military career over, Major Massie, with his wife, the former Sarah Cocke of Bremo, and his family, moved from Millwood in Frederick County (now Clarke) to Nelson. He was given land around Covington, VA, but as administrator of his stepfather-in-law's estate he had come to Nelson (then Amherst Co.) shortly before to settle the estate, and had been so carried away with the wild and fertile land that he had bought 9,000 acres from Colonel Rose. Rose at one time owned vast tracts of land in the county. Major Massie became one of the first magistrates of Nelson County when it was founded in 1807. Here he built his home, Level Green, and here he lived until his death in 1834. Pharsalia was built by him for his son, William, and his bride prior to 1814.
Major Massie requested in his will "that after my decease, the body may be kept above ground two days or longer if putrefaction [sic] does not ensue--that the corpse may be decently buried i
Sarah Cocke Massie