Adams, Nelson, Sewell, Hirst Family Cemetery

This cemetery, located off of Kirby Road, is the burial place for some of the earliest landowners of McLean. The four families intermarried.

William Adams settled here in the late 1700s and operated mills. William Nelson purchased those mills from Sam Adams, the son of William Adams.

Walter H. Reid, who is buried here, was the son of Horatio and Mary Ann (Nelson) Reid. Walter, a teacher, enlisted with Co. I, 11th Va Cavalry at the start of the Civil War. Three Nelson brothers (Henry, James, Joseph), possibly Walter’s cousins, served in the same unit as he. The Nelson’s mother was Sarah Sewell Nelson. Walter Reid served during the entire Civil War in spite of suffering from illnesses which forced him to be hospitalized several times. Walter died in 1874 at the age of 37.

Joseph W. Sewell, who is buried here, was born in 1817 and was a farmer. The value of his property was listed at $8,000 in the 1870 census. The census stated that he had two sons, William M., 22 and Joseph P., 14 as well as a daughter Laura V., 12. Both Joseph and Laura were shown as having attended school. (The first public schools in Fairfax County opened in 1870.)

In 1914, an Evening Star reporter known as The Rambler described this cemetery as having many graves, with many stones flat on the ground. The Rambler described the largest marker in the cemetery as William Nelson, died 1854, aged 76 years.

Today, the cemetery remains virtually the same. All of the markers lie flat. Some of the markers are sunken; some have no inscription, and some graves have no markers. A preacher, whose last name was Proctor, was known to buried here, but no marker has been found.

It appears that some field stones, which might have been grave markers, may have been moved. In pictures of the cemetery from the 1980s, a low stone wall stretched the length of two sides of the cemetery. Today, the stone wall has disappeared. Some landscaping stones look like they might have originally been grave markers. In November 2010, the Thursday Morning Garden Club of Potomac Hills, after closing its accounts, used the balance to install a bench at the cemetery and hold a dedication ceremony.

Photos of Adams, Nelson, Sewell, Hirst Family Cemetery

County Survey Record

This entry was posted on Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 at 5:59 pm and is filed under Adams/Nelson/Sewell/Hirst Family Cemetery, Current Projects. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.