All posts by Brian Nilsson

Author Seeks Information about Dr. Marion Sims and the Maury Family

Author J.C. Hallman is researching Dr. J. Marion Sims (the “Father of Gynecology”) and Sims’s first patient, a slave named Anarcha Westcott (the “Mother of Gynecology”), for an article for Harper’s Magazine and for a book.  Hallman has found evidence that Anarcha later belonged to William L. Maury, so he is looking for any and all resources about the lives of William Lewis Maury (b. 1813 in Virginia – d. 1878 in New York) and his wife Anne (“Nan”) Fontaine Maury (1832-1890).

In an additional clue, he has found that Dr. Richard Brooke Maury, Jr. (b. 1834 in D.C. – d. 1919 in Memphis, Tennessee) was a doctor including a gynecologist at the same time as Sims and served on medical boards with him.  Richard donated to the campaign to commission a statue of Sims when he died.

William and Richard were 2nd cousins, as their grandfathers Fontaine Maury (1761-1824) and the Reverend Walker Maury (1762-1788), respectively, were brothers.  These facts suggest ties between Sims and the Maury family.

If you have any knowledge of materials that might not be widely known (i.e., not the collections at the University of Virginia, William & Mary College, or the Virginia Historical Society), please contact Mr. Hallman at

Details on our October 2016 Annual Meeting!

Come Join Us!  Our meeting weekend will be at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites at 107 South Carter Road in Ashland, Virginia 23005. The rooms include free Wi-Fi, complimentary hot breakfast, 24-hour coffee, indoor swimming pool and hot tub, fitness center and business center. Make your reservations now by calling 804-752-7889.  King suites will be $109.00 plus tax; doubles (two double beds) will be $119.00 plus tax. Remember to tell the hotel that you are with the Fontaine Maury Society to obtain these discounted rates. To obtain these rates, make your reservations by September 15, 2016.

While we will be staying in Ashland, the locations that we will be visiting and learning about are located throughout Hanover County, Virginia. Our focus this year is on the Civil War and how it impacted our Fontaine family who lived there during that era.  Hanover County was the home of Peter Fontaine Jr. (1724-1773) and his wife, Elizabeth Winston, who in 1759 settled on land near the forks of the Pamunkey River.  This year we have hired several smaller buses to transport us on Saturday so that narrow roads and driveways common in rural Virginia will not be a problem for us!

We will visit the land where Peter and Elizabeth  lived, see the ruins of their first home, Rock Castle, and tour a second home on the same property also known as Rock Castle that was later called Fontaine Farm. The Society helped the Civil War Trust purchase the Fontaine Farm in 2014 to preserve the location of the Battle of the North Anna River.

We will also visit a second family property, Beaverdam Plantation (known in the family as Beaverdam Farm), where the Fontaine Cemetery is located, Fork Church, where many of our Fontaine ancestors worshipped, and Scotchtown, the home of Patrick Henry (orator, statesman and father-in-law of Peter Fontaine’s son, John Fontaine).

Saturday night we have a very special treat planned for you.  It is a surprise but we know you are going to love it!  After our catered buffet dinner at the hotel, we will have a few short announcements, followed by photos by ancestor group, some door prizes again, and then our program.

New this year will be a research trip offering on Friday afternoon.  A short bus ride away is Richmond, Virginia, where the Virginia Historical Society (which has many Fontaine and Maury holdings) and the Library of Virginia (the state’s archives) are located.

We have planned a half-day research trip to the Virginia Historical Society on Friday afternoon, October 14, from 12:30 until 5:00 PM.  We have hired a bus to allow you to relax and leave the driving to someone else!  Bus seats will be limited to the first 24 that register (and pay).  Their website is invaluable for doing offline research and preparing for your upcoming research trip.

Friday dinner will be on your own in Ashland.  Afterwards we will have our annual business meeting, elections, door prize drawings AND a special speaker from the Hanover Historical Society who will help paint the picture for what we are going to see on Saturday.  You don’t want to miss this part!

Many thanks go to Mary Borjon and her team (Suzanne Lea, Marian Fletcher, Brian Nilsson and Tom Fletcher) who continue to work tirelessly to make this a gathering that you will not soon forget!  We have a new email address,, if you have questions or suggestions about our weekend!

We are asking each registered attendee to bring an item that can be given away as a door prize.  We already have a couple of bottles of Virginia wine, some books, and some t-shirts from the Virginia Historical Society…  Our hope/plan is that there will be enough prizes for everyone to have something to take home with them!

Do you have any family photos that you are willing to share?  Especially of the ancestors that are buried in the Beaverdam Cemetery?  If you can scan and email them to by September 15, we will very much appreciate it!

The registration deadline is September 15, 2016, to guarantee transportation availability. Registrations received after September 15 will be handled on a space available basis.

Schedule of events:  We will be using smaller buses for our transportation this year to enable us easier access to the events.  They will also be easier to get into and out of!  Note that the schedule may change slightly.

  • Friday, October 14:
    • 12:00 – 2:00 and 4:00 – 6:00 PM: Check-in
    • 12:30 PM: Bus leaves for Virginia Historical Society
    • 4:30 PM: Bus leaves the Virginia Historical Society to return to Hotel
    • 5:00 – 7:00 PM: Dinner on your own in Ashland
    • 7:00 PM: Business meeting and program
    • 9:00 PM: Door Prizes and Adjourn
  • Saturday, October 15:
    • 8:15 – 8:45 AM: Saturday check-in if needed
    • 8:50 AM: Load Buses for 9:00 departure
    • 9:00 AM: Depart for Beaverdam Farm and Cemetery
    • 9:30 AM: Arrive Beaverdam Farm
    • 10:00 AM: Depart Beaverdam Cemetery for Fork Church
    • 10:15 AM: Arrive Fork Church
    • 11:15 AM: Depart Fork Church for Scotchtown (we will lunch there and tour the house and grounds)
    • 1:30 PM: Leave Scotchtown for Fontaine Farm
    • 2:00 PM: Arrive Fontaine Farm – tour of house and grounds
    • 4:00 PM: Leave Fontaine Farm for Hotel
    • 4:30 PM: Arrive at Hotel for free time until dinner gathering at 6:30 PM
    • 5:00 – 6:00 PM: FMS Board Meeting – location TBD but at Hotel
    • 6:30 PM: Gather for dinner
    • 6:45 PM: Buffet dinner followed by a special program designed just for our group!!!!!
    • 7:45 PM: Group Pictures by ancestor immediately before program begins.
    • 9:00 PM: Door Prizes and Adjourn
  • Sunday, October 16:
    • No formal activities are planned at this time

We are pleased to announce that we have three options for how you can register and pay:  (1) mail the enclosed form with a check or money order made payable to “The Fontaine Maury Society”; (2) mail the enclosed form for us to process your credit card payment using the Square Reader, which is encrypted and secure for these payments.  A convenience fee of $5.00 (to cover our fees) will be added to your card if you choose the credit card payment option; or (3) complete your registration and add your credit card payment information on-line at our secure/encrypted site.  You will receive a confirmation of registration once the form and payment has been processed (check or credit card).  We will make every effort to do this within 24 hours of the time it is received.  You will be able to make your membership dues payment and purchase Library items at the annual meeting using our new credit card payment method.Registration Form

Information Sought on Slave Cemetery on Grounds of Bien Venue, Louisa County, Virginia

Does anyone have any information on a slave cemetery on the grounds of Bien Venue, the plantation of Aaron Fontaine (1753-1823, son of the Reverend Peter Fontaine) in Louisa County, Virginia, where he lived before moving with his family to Kentucky?

One of our Society members recently visited the area and drove through the neighborhood named “Bien Venue.”  They stopped and spoke with a local resident who knew where the old house had been before it was torn down.  A new house is under construction there now (beautiful view from the homesite).  They noticed a clump of trees and upright stones in a wooded area about 150 feet from the new home construction.  There were at least 3 upright stones that were obviously meant to be tombstones.  One of them had the name “Nate” or “Nat” scratched on it.  The problem is that the scratched name looked fairly recent.  That was the only marked stone, but there were several other smaller ones that appeared to be markers for graves.  The area had a few flags around it, so someone knows it is there.  If anyone has information about this cemetery, please contact