How Chapman’s Mill Became Beverley’s Mill

An excerpt from Beverley (Chapman’s) Mill, Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia by Frances Lillian Jones.  Here Mrs. Jones describes how the Mill changed hands from the Chapman family to the Beverley’s in the years following the Civil War.  The Mill first went to auction in 1867, a notice for which is included below.

Alexandria Gazette 1867

Auction of the ‘Thoroughfare Mills’ as advertised in the Alexandria Gazette, October 26, 1867.

“There being no bidders, the property was not sold at public auction. Instead, in 1871, the Commissioners privately sold John Chapman’s mill and about 500 acres on the south side of the Manassas Gap Railroad to Robert Beverley and William Beverley for $13,350.108 At the same time, and perhaps because the sale of John Chapman’s property was not enough to pay Chapman’s debts, 60 acres of a tract of 735 acres on the north side of the railroad that belonged to the estate of George Chapman (d. 1854), and in which John Chapman had an interest, were carved out and also sold to Robert and William Beverley.

 

In 1878, Robert Beverley, having paid for the John Chapman property at Thoroughfare, requested of the then-Commissioner for the estate of John Chapman, Eppa Hutton, Jr., that a metes and bounds survey of the property Beverley had purchased be made. At the same time, Beverley asked for the deed to the property, made out to William Beverley, Jr. This would seem to confirm that William Beverley, Jr. received the mill as a gift from his grandfather.117

Shortly after acquiring the mill, and before the final payment was made and the deed for the property issued, the Beverleys, Robert and his son William, began to rebuild the mill, perhaps using some of the building materials–lumber and iron–they might have purchased from the sale of John Chapman’s estate.118 Repairing the damage that had been done to the mill during the Civil War and completing the work that John Chapman, in his rebuilding in 1858 had been unable to finish, the Beverleys began to operate the mill as a plaster mill, grinding limestone into fertilizer.”

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