Read Past Columns:

by Jack Lynch, Editor


Commentary from Frederick News Post, July 15, 2012: "Unconvinced by optimism of (Downtown Frederick, MD) hotel report" Link

Commentary from Frederick News Post, May 27, 2012: "Charter rule (Frederick County, MD) will be no better than today's government" Link

Finding a Two Hundred and Eighty Year Old House Ruin Admidst Suburban Sprawl?

To Save a Stream - Abraham Faw Run

Adolphus Fearhake of Frederick, Maryland

Plan Maryland

Bulldozer Blaine Young

Remembering my Revolutionary Ancestor - Abraham Faw

Why Not the Best?

A Tree Grows in Frederick for Anne Frank

The Tragedy of Kai Hagen

Frederick County's Gunslinger Slate, Fire from the Lip, shoot from the Hip!

A Visit to Tangier Island

Historic Snowfall, Road Salt, Watershed Protection and the Chesapeake Bay

Will It be Progress or Retrenchment in Frederick County?

Is This the End of Frederick Smart Growth?

A Series of Links Follows from the Air It Out with George political commentary website:

Chesapeake Blues on Tangier Island

July 4, 2008

Mass Burn

Appalachian Blues on Hillbilly Highway

Buying a Congressional Seat in Maryland's First District - Coming to the Sixth District?

Democratic Candidates on American Foreign Policy

All the King's Horses!

Campaign in Song: Bushie Head Out the Mixing Bowl

Democratic Campaign's Vertical Treadmill on Space Mission

A Bit of Olympic Political History

Obama for the Chesapeake Bay?

Politics is Personal: Repeat Three Times

Prediction: Bad News for Obama, The End of Post-Racial Politics

American Exceptionalism on the World Stage

Obama Speaking on March 18th - Political Equinox

Yee Haw! On to Pennsyltuckey!

American Blackface: Tragic Octoroon

Key to Success - Lesson for Frederick:

Republicrats Yes, Middlecrats No

Too Many Promises ...Loaves and Fishes

Identity Black and White in Frederick

Mashup 1968 - 2008: On to Texas, Out with Clinton?

Fat Tuesday!

Symbol, Sense and Substance

Eight More Years

The Dollar Bubble

Judging a Candidate By Their Website

Baby, We Were Born to Bun!

The subsequent links are again from older dates of The Frederick Citizen:

A Rememebrance: Beijing Spring, Interrupted

County Officials and Public Communications

The Snallygaster in Frederick County

Fourth Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Frederick City Growth

American Promised Land - American All

Black Frederick and Matters of Race and Politics

Dumping on the Chesapeake Bay

Common Sense Writ Large

The Next Mayor of Frederick

Democracy in Action!

Ottawa: About a Greenbelt, Transit Oriented Development and Government FiatCountering Alderman Imhoff's Growth Beliefs

An Alternate View of Frederick CityGrowth Policy

An Acorn in the Bucket

Monocacy River Part II

Monocacy River Part I

New Market Regional Plan Affirmation

43 More!

Fish and Life

Talking Trash

Strike Three, Smoking Out!

A Green Fund Too Far, Or Not Far Enough?

Growth Back to the Future

Revisiting an Iraq War Opinion Four Years Later

Second Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

Unrepentant Cady

Sour Grapes and Fine Wine

There's Hope for Good Government

The Democratic Fifth

The County of Feel Good

Hypocrisy Indeed

The Alliance

The Growth Machine Slate

"The Issues are Bipartisan" - David Gray

The Importance of Jan Gardner's Campaign

Form Follows Function

Route 15 Scenic Walmart

Frederick Blue

The Curtain Rises

Housing Growth, Not Smart Growth, Not Progressive Planning

Understanding Lennie Thompson

Frederick's Tale of Two Rabbi's

Wellhead Protection

Make Believe, or Desperate Duncan?

A Progressive Concept Approved...then Defeated!

Hog Wild

Anniversary of the Frederick Citizen

We're No Gwinnett County

"An Election, Not a Selection...!"  Indeed!

A Potpourri of Thoughts and Issues...

Now That the Smoke Has Cleared


How am I to Decide on Mayor of Frederick?

Doomed To Repeat It

Frantic Orthodoxy

Stealth Candidate

Another Perfect Day for Bananafish

This Summer Election

Building Issues

Just Powers

Death Defying Election?

In the Heat

Horse Sense for Frederick County?

Kudzu and Million Dollar Homes

Bartlett's Ozone Trip

Let the Games Begin

Blood in the Water

Coffee Klatch

Archaeology in Frederick

Bizarro World

Mr. O'Malley's March

Playing All the Cards

Who are Your Friends New Market?

Mixed Use

Beijing Spring, Interrupted

Passion, People and Politics in Frederick City

Millennium project

A Frederick Leader of Distinction

APFO Under Attack

State Lands Sale

Frederick Water Sourcing

Frederick Water










The Frederick Citizen Logo

July 19, 2012


Discovering the Descendants of Abraham Faw

by Jack Lynch

The Nineteenth century descendants of Abraham Faw leave stories of nearly Faulknerian grandeur and dissolution.  It is a somewhat sketchy story and never before pulled together as a whole.  The pieces derive from the Lowe family Bible of Abraham Faw and also his will, and a multitude of internet sources.  It would be helpful if the Faw graves in Alexandria remained, for some of these descendants were reportedly buried alongside him.  I hope that new information can be found over time to support and refine these lines of the Faw family.

The Alexandrians lived in the milieu of an emerging U.S. Capital in the District of Columbia.  To paint the scene, the area of Georgetown is the primary port, residential and business section of DC, and from there the Masons parade in the 1790’s to place cornerstones of the White House, and also the US Capitol, with George Washington using the silver trowel.

DC Map

Original: District of Columbia: William D. Ticknor, 1835; from A Comprehensive Atlas Geographical, Historical, and Commercial

It also is a story colored by the survival of the U.S. Capital of the War of 1812, and the movement towards the eventual retrocession of the Virginia portion, and later the succession of the state of Virginia and the support of the southern cause by Abraham’s namesake.

Jacob Leonard’s identity is an assumption, parts fit the overall narrative well, but it retains a trace of uncertainty.  It is hoped we might one day validate or deny his place in the story.

Abraham Faw’s eldest daughter, Sophia Eliza, married a Jacob Leonard in 1814.  A candidate for this Leonard is a Georgetown silversmith and watchmaker, who is known for a few coin silver pieces, some of the first skippets for US treaty imprint, but most importantly, for the elegant inkstand ceremoniously brought out each day at the US House of Representatives, a piece commissioned after the burning of Washington by the British, meant to symbolize the survival of the national government.

J Leonard Silver Inkstand

Jacob Leonard Silver Inkstand, US House of Representatives

A Juliana Leonard born of this union died at fifteen in 1830. A first namesake son, Abraham Faw Leonard, died in infancy.  Of the second namesake son, born 1820, we’ll explore in detail later in the story.  An infant Leonard also later died soon after birth.

Abraham Faw, in his will, apparently had no further affection for Mr. Leonard, for it seems his daughter and children may live back in Alexandria, and Faw goes to length to specify that Leonard shall have no part of the lands he leaves her, in addition, two close friends are set as guardians to insure her estate is protected from him until Leonard’s death, which comes in 1829.  He is buried in Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC.

Faw’s second daughter, Juliana, marries the Rev. Enoch M. Lowe of Martinsburg, WV in 1815 and he takes the Rector position at Christ Church in Norfolk, VA but he only lives until 1823, and she does not reappear in the record.  She is named in a Lowe letter recorded in the memoirs of Rev. Benjamin Allen.

Faw’s second son, William H. S. Faw, served in the War of 1812, after briefly opening a hat shop in Alexandria, then removes to Washington, KY and marries Nancy Williams in 1820.  They have a child, Elizabeth Faw, but William dies soon thereafter, perhaps also her mother Nancy dies, for she is said to be in the guardianship of one Milton Taylor, until majority, in Abraham Faw’s will.

Notes online suggest that Elizabeth Henry Faw may have married first a Daniel E. Jones, then a Jeremiah J. Talbot or Tolbert in Jefferson, KY.  Then she died in 1896, and had a child Maggy M. Tolbert.

Now forward with the story of Abraham Faw Leonard, 2nd.  He studies under Rev. Enoch M. Lowe and also Rev. George Halson, and then graduates from Princeton University in 1838.  He serves in the Virginia legislature.  He studies the bar under famed Norfolk attorney William Sharp, practices until 1854 and becomes the editor of the Southern Argus newspaper in Norfolk, VA, taking up the southern cause. The paper also strongly supports the local Dorcus Society, an organization devoted to providing clothing to the poor. 

He first marries the daughter of another famous Norfolk lawyer, William Talbot.  Virginia Talbot Leonard lives until 1850, but leaves a child and dies one month later at twenty-two years of age.  A. F. Leonard marries second, Miss Louisa Dickson, sister of Richard Dickson, Esq., of Norfolk, and Mrs. Tazewell Taylor.

Leonard is famed for covering the yellow fever epidemic in Norfolk, and his poetry often finds a place in the newspaper.  A song excerpt he wrote regales the southern cause:

Land of the South
by A. F. Leonard - tune of "Friend of my Soul"

Land of the South ! the fairest land
Beneath Columbia's sky !
Proudly her hills of freedom stand,
Her plains in beauty lie.
Her dotted fields, her traversed streams,
Their annual wealth renew;
Land of the South! in brightest dreams
No dearer spot we view.

Men of the South! a free born race,
They vouch a patriot line;
Ready a foeman's van to face,
And guard their country's shrine.
By sire and son a haloing light
Through time is borne along;
They "nothing ask but what is right,
And yield to nothing wrong."

Leonard marries a third wife, Caroline Davis, niece of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, at her father’s Hurricane Plantation on the Mississippi.  Over three hundred slaves serve the plantation of her father, though he rules under a philosophy of benign command and an imagined community of shared interests and mutual benevolence.  The plantation is near Vicksburg, and burned by the Union troops.

In 1859, a tragedy strikes the Leonard family when the son, nine year old Virginius Leonard is said to be stabbed in front of the National hotel In Norfolk and dies on the sidewalk, declared murdered.  However a day later, the coroner finds that he dies by gunshot by his own hand, apparently accidentally. Mother Virginia Talbot who died soon after childbirth, and son Virginius Leonard are buried next to one another in Cedar Grove Cemetery in Norfolk, VA.

news of the death

Leonard suffers his own tragedy, falling through a trap door in the street and becoming crippled.  His lameness keeps him out of service in the Civil War.  It is then reported by Varina Davis in letters that Caroline has become ill-tempered and wild, which will become clearer in her condition later, and she drives Leonard to drink.

As Norfolk falls, the Leonard’s retreat to Stokes County, NC and a few years pass during the war.  He tutors children, and later back in Norfolk, resumes the newspaper.  His health declines, his fortunes and investments have all failed, and he dies in Alexandria in 1870.

Letters pass between Jefferson Davis and Leonard, assuring the safety of his niece’s removal from Norfolk and the war. Jeff Davis visits the family at their Norfolk home.

Jeff davis letter

A.F. Leonard to Jefferson Davis – Museum of the Confederacy, Richmond, VA

By the 1890’s Caroline Leonard is declared insane, and destitute, dies in a Williamsburg mental hospital and is buried in a city cemetery, apparently with no marker.

Sophia Eliza Leonard remarries, the brother to Enoch M. Lowe, John F. M. Lowe of Alexandria.  A decade brings five more children though two die in infancy:  Robert Steed Lowe, Enoch M. Lowe, Jane Richard Lowe, Juliana Lowe, and Mercer Lloyd Lowe.

The two Lowe brothers form a connection back to Prince George’s County, MD and patriarch Lloyd Mercer Lowe of Hatton Hall and Belleview.  They are both Uncles to Maryland’s second Governor from Frederick, MD – Enoch Louis Lowe, who connected by his father’s marriage to the infamous Vincendiere family of L’Hermitage at the Best Farm, now part of Monocacy Battlefield, and site of an archeological study of the slave plantation

Enoch Louis Lowe was the only child of Bradley Samuel Adams Lowe and Adelaide Bellumeau de la Vincendiere.  His birth occurred in the manor-house of The Hermitage, an estate of one thousand acres lying on the Monocacy River, Frederick County, Maryland, August 10th, 1820.

John F. M. Lowe, second husband of Sophia Eliza Faw is made manager of Belleview by his father for the benefit of his sisters, Sophia Lowe and Leonora Steed Lowe who live there, for a term of seven years, by Lloyd M. Lowe’s will.  In 1856 it passes to Leonora’s husband, James M. Steed. 


Belleview, Prince Georges County, MD

Many of these descendants are buried at Steed Cemetery near the former plantation house location.  It is from this family that we eventually learn the complete circle of the Abraham Faw family, through their preservation of the Lowe family Bible and its recordation at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore, MD.