John Summers

John Summers

Middlesex County, Virginia, USA
Death 4 Dec 1790 (aged 104)
Alexandria, Alexandria City, Virginia, USA
Burial Fairfax County, Virginia, USA
Memorial ID 23784230 · View Source
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Died at Age 102, or in his 103rd year.
Vestryman of Christ Church Alexandria.

Said to be a son of John Summers & Elizabeth Thompson; grandson of Col. William Thompson and Eleanor Montague, a daughter of Peter Montague of Jamestowne.

"The Summers Cemetery, at 6250 Lincolnia Road, dates from about 1760. The property had been owned by John Summers, who built tobacco houses in Northern Virginia and lived to age 104. He is buried there, along with his son Francis and Francis’ wife Jane."
The earliest marked grave is that of John Summers in 1790. His wife supposedly predeceased him, and his son-in-law John Hurst predeceased him about three years.

Adventurers of Purse and Person by John Frederick Dorman, p. 655: “Elizabeth3 Thompson (Ellen2 Montague, Peter1) died 29 May 1722. She married John Summers of Middlesex County who left will 8 Jan. 1702/3-1 March 1702/3.(citation 33: Middlesex Co. Will Bk. A, pp.145-47.)
Issue: [Summers] 19.John4, baptized 8 April 1683, died young; 20.John4, baptized 14 Nov. 1686, for whom was repatented, 25 April 1702, 175 acres in Middlesex County including 150 acres which his mother had inherited
Page 656: (cont.)
as sole heir of her father William Thompson;(citation 34) 21.Elizabeth4, baptized 16 March 1689/90; 22.Francis4, baptized 14 June 1702.”
Citation 34: “Patent Bk. 9, p.450. The claim that he is the John Summers of Fairfax County who died 4 Dec. 1790 in his 104th year appears to be unfounded since his obituary (Virginia Journal and Alexandria Advertiser, 9 Dec. 1790) states that he was born within 30 miles of Alexandria in Maryland. John Summers of Prince George’s Co., Md., in his will, 1 March 1703/4-17 Nov. 1705 (Maryland Prerogative Wills 12, p.110), named a son John.”

Other writers disagree with Dorman's speculation that he was a son of John Summers of Prince George's Co, Md. John Summers Sr. of Prince George's married Rebecca Dent, daughter of John Dent and Mary Hatch; granddaughter of George and Sarah Nicholson Dent; great-granddaughter of Peter and Margaret Nicholson Dent. Of their 13 children, son John Summers Jr. was born 3 Nov 1695 Anne Arundel, MD, died c1769 Prince Georges County, MD, married Mary Moore and had a son Dent Summers (c1727-1809) who married Mary Ann Claggett.
John Summers of Prince George's died about age 70, not age 104. (ref., The First Three Generations of John Summers of Prince George's County, Maryland (1994) by Rosemary B Dodd, Helen Summers Holweck, p.6).

Some of the confusion of the two John Summers may stem from this record:
30 Aug 1757 Fairfax Co., VA: estate of Rebecca Dent Summers' brother (or nephew) George Dent appraised at £39.11.6, with John Summers Sr, John Ratcliff and William Ashford signing the inventory (Fairfax Co (Probate) Bk B:177).
This John Summers of Fairfax would seem to be the one who lived to age 104 but may not necessarily be the one who was George Dent's brother-in-law or uncle (depending on which family trees are correct) and who supposedly lived in Prince George's County, Maryland.
This George Dent was supposed to be the son of George Dent who married Elizabeth Short, daughter of George Short and Elizabeth Harrison.

The vestry-book of Christ Church, Middlesex:
John Summers y" Sone of John & Eliz" Summers was baptized y' 8th Aprill 1683.

2 June 1705: John Somers of the Parish of Christ Church, son & heir of John Somers & Elizabeth his wife decd and grandson to William Thompson decd for £50 sterling sells to Garwin Corbin 175 acres formerly the land of William Thompson the father of Elizabeth Somers, 150 acres of which John Sharpe conveyed to William Thompson 20 July 1659, and 25 acres being overplus, together with 150 acres granted to said John Somers by patent 25 Apr 1702, now in occupation of John Hickey & wife Elizabeth on Rappa(hannock) River. (Middlesex County, Virginia, Deed Books).

At age 92, John Summers gave a deposition stating that in 1715 he moved from Dogue Neck to the area near Christ Church, and then in 1723, he moved to the “forest” near what is today Bailey’s Crossroads. In 1773, Summers moved “further into the ‘forest’ to his son’s house,” probably Summer Grove.
Some researchers say he once owned what became by 1748 Abingdon Plantation, later home of the Alexander and Custis families and birthplace of George Washington's stepdaughter Nellie Custis Lee. Some claim the original house was built c1695 (Alexandria Fire Journal, May 18, 2008).

FTDNA Family Finder matches between a descendant of John Summers of Fairfax (wife Seth Blake) and six descendants of other children of John Summers and Elizabeth Thompson indicate they are distant cousins. The same descendant also matches eight other Montague descendants who are not of the Summers line. This may also indicate that John Summers of Fairfax was indeed the son of John and Elizabeth Thompson Summers. The same descendant matches a little over 100 others at claiming descent from Peter Montague.

Somers Family History says that John Summers of Fairfax was:
"Husband of
#1 Mary West m. 1710 (?) (others say Ann West)
#2 Synthia (Seth) Harrison Lucas (m.1717)
#3 Elizabeth Blake m. 1754 (?)"
Some researchers are of the opinion that Seth and Elizabeth Blake were one and the same person.

"Father of
John Summers b. 1710 (wrong date)
George Summers b. 1712 (?)
Elizabeth (Summers) Hurst b. 1717 (1724?)
Daniel Summers b. 1723
William Summers b. 1725 (some say c1728)
Francis Summers, Sr b. 1732
Thomas Summers b. 1736"

Source of Somers Family History's birth dates for the above children are unknown, but several are known to be incorrect. John Jr. is known to be the son of John Summers' wife Seth Lucas, probably born after their marriage in 1717, so John Jr. was likely born circa 1718-23. Other Summers children are likely born after 1723.

1716: Maj. John West died in Stafford County. In his will, John West made bequests to three ladies named Seth: Seth Anderson, Seth Harrison, and Seth Lucas, giving Seth Lucas lifetime title to the land she lived on. He also bequeathed the same to John, and Benjamin Blake and their father Robert Blake, also tenants on his land.

Maj. West was first married to Sarah Harrison, sister of Col. Burr Harrison, and secondly married to Mrs. Elizabeth Semmes Turley West Broadwater. Mrs. Broadwater died in 1756 at the home of her son Col. Charles Broadwater, Springfield Plantation at Vienna, nearly 300 years old at the time developers demolished it in 1980 to build the Vienna Woods subdivision.

1717: In a sworn deposition John Summers states that he married the WIDOW LUCAS in the Winter of 1717. (He did not call her Seith Harrison Lucas.)

1723: Thomas Harrison gave "Seith Lucas and her second husband John Summers, and their son John" a lease of land for life.
Since John Summers Jr. was the only child mentioned in the 1723 deed, some researchers think this infers that he was the only Summers child born to Seth by that date.
The Harrison deeds should be read in conjunction with the will of Maj. John West (husband of Sarah Harrison) to see that Seth Lucas and the Blakes are listed among those legatees whom historians believe descended from his half-sister who was part Native American.

Judge Lewis Summers wrote the first family history of John Summers of Fairfax, stating that his great-grandfather John Summers married a "Mrs. Blake" and had five sons and five daughters. He mentioned no other wives. (West Virginia Historical Magazine Quarterly, Volume 3, No.1, [Jan. 1903], p.229; of 228-241.) Some researchers cite Judge Lewis Summers as stating that John Summers married Elizabeth Blake, but that is not what he said.
Some researchers believe Seth was a nickname for Elizabeth and that it was Elizabeth "Seth" Blake Lucas who married as her second husband John Summers.
Others believe that Judge Summers meant 'Mrs. Lucas (nee Blake)' instead of "Mrs. Blake" but evidently remembered her maiden name was Blake. The same article (p.229) states that John Summers of Fairfax was born 1687 in Maryland.

Seth Blake Lucas Summers appears to have been a cousin of Seth Anderson who married to Dr. Richard Bryant (II).

John Summers and Seth Anderson would be fourth cousins if his great-great-grandfather Peter Montague was a first cousin of Seth Anderson’s great-great-grandmother Susannah Burr Harrison.

Historian and author William Deyo, a descendant, says Seth Anderson was a daughter of Mrs. Jacob (or Matthew) Anderson who was a daughter of Maj. John West’s sister (Seth?) who married Thomas Harrison, brother of Col. Burr Harrison the Indian interpreter.
Maj. John West was the son of Col. John West (son of Gov. John West, brother of Thomas West Lord De la Warr) and Cockacoeske, Queen of Pamukey, and John West was a first cousin of Queen Cockacoeske's previous husband Chief Totopotomoi, identified as "Toby West", son of Thomas West, Lord Delaware, and "Rachel" Powhatan sister or niece of Pocahontas and daughter of Chief Powhattan.
Maj. West was first married to Sarah Harrison, sister of Col. Burr Harrison, by whom he had a son John West "the Elder," and by his second wife Mrs. Elizabeth (Semmes) Turley West Broadwater he had another son named John West "the Younger" before his death in 1716.
John Summers was first married to Ann West, according to some family trees (some say Mary West).

Judge Lewis Summers is quoted by some researchers as stating that John Summers was married to Elizabeth Blake, because some researchers believe Seth was a variant for Elizabeth, and it was Elizabeth Blake Lucas who married as her second husband John Summers. Native Americans and those of part Native American blood often had multiple names in addition to English variants. Other researchers believe Elizabeth was a later wife of John Summers. Seth was actually a popular name for girls in England brought to Virginia by the Harrisons.

"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 online. The coordinates are 38.821225,-77.140935.

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.

HISTORICAL SKETCH: John Summers: Born 1687 Died 1790
Fairfax Herald, November 8, 1907:
It has been a difficult matter to procure much authentic information relating 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 reciting 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.

*Francis Summers was baptized 14 June 1702, the son of John Summers and Elizabeth Thompson (Adventurers of Purse and Person by J.F. Dorman, pp.655-656).
Francis Summers died in 1796. He was married to Sarah Hardage Lane.

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.

BEGINNING AT A WHITE OAK: PATENTS & NORTHERN NECK GRANTS OF FAIRFAX CO.,VA (1977) by Beth Mitchell discusses John Summers. Beth Mitchell was also author of Turley Family Records (1980) which includes the family of Elizabeth Semmes Turley West Broadwater, wife of Maj. John West.

This 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 tobacco 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 following 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.

1767: John and Elizabeth Summers joined the Chopawamsic Baptist Church, Stafford County, Virginia, Mar. 3, 1767. Nicholas Anderson joined Nov. 24, 1767 and Barbery Anderson joined on May 21, 1768. Other members at Chopawamsic include Sary Summers, Samuel Summers, Thezeah Summers.

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  • Maintained by: Ray Isbell
  • Originally Created by: Somers Family History
  • Added: 6 Jan 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 23784230
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Summers (14 Nov 1686–4 Dec 1790), Find A Grave Memorial no. 23784230, citing Summers Cemetery, Fairfax County, Virginia, USA ; Maintained by Ray Isbell (contributor 47188697) .