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Broad Run Tornado

The Broad Run area was struck by an EF-0 tornado on August 11, 2017.  Though winds only reached about 75 miles per hour, numerous trees were toppled or otherwise damaged during the storm.  For more details about the tornado and its impact in Broad Run, read FauquierNow’s article.

At the Chapman-Beverley Mill Historic Site, we were fortunate not to have sustained any damage to the Mill itself.  However, we did lose several trees, one of which fell across a power line that supplied electricity to the Mill Store.

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Over the next few weeks we will begin cleaning up the site and also prepping for phase two of the Mill’s ongoing site renovations.  Stay tuned for more information about site work and clean up efforts.


More than History

Part of the Mill Race circa 2005.

Part of the Mill Race circa 2005.

When we think about the Mill, most of us think about its history.  But there is so much more to the site.  In 1979, Jim Pickens, a landscape architect, offered the following information about the mill site’s topography, geology, hydrology and other aspects of the site.


The topography in the areas surrounding the mill is varied….It is located approximately 400 feet above mean sea level and shares a stream valley with Broad Run. The slopes surrounding the mill are gentle and range from three to five percent slope. To the north of the mill the slopes increase fro fifteen to twenty-five percent.


Rock formations found in this area are typical of those found in most of this part of Piedmont Virginia. They consist of Weverton, a fine grained white, to light gray fine grained, to massive thin-bedded Quartzite. Virginia Bluestone is found mixed with the quartzite. All strata of rock in this area tend to tilt slightly toward the east. Bed rock ranges from 2 to 7 feet below ground surface, and outcrops can be found in many places.


Drainage patterns in the general area of the mill are of the Course-Grained type. The main or first order stream is Broad Run. This stream has a shallow but wide channel. Broad Run is fed by many second order streams, which are developed from springs and groundwater runoff from the nearby Bull Run Mountains. Flooding occurs many times during the year, but water quickly recedes within hours. Drought or low-water periods may occur during extremely dry periods in summer and fall.


Found on the site are many kinds of soils. The parent material of this soil developed during the Cambrian Era. Most of the soil around the mill is alluvial and was deposited by Broad Run during periods of high water. This particular type of deposited soil is known as Congaree Fine Sandy Loam. Other soils which comprise the soil horizon are: Wehaoekee Loam, Meadowville Silt Loam and Manor Very Flaggy Silt Loam. Congaree Fine Sandy Loam and Wehaokee Silt Loam are found primarily near the stream. Meadowville Silt Loam and Manor Flaggy Silt Loam are found on steeper slopes.


Hardwoods are the primary vegetation type found on the mill site. Hickory, walnut, locust and sycamore are found on the site, but some of these trees were planted and did not originate on the site.
Now a lawn area surrounds the mill building with honeysuckle, briars and other woody vegetation. There is little if any evergreen vegetation surrounding the mill site.


The location of the Beverly Mill is logical for many reasons. The success of a mill of this type depends on several main elements: a site that is accessible to a water source for power, a source of material for building and a transportation route to carry goods to and from the mill. The Beverly Mill site supplies all of these needs.


Other vegetation found on and around the miller’s house on the property are daylilies probably once cultivated but have since gone wild. Purple and white Vinca Minor, a low-growing shrub also known as periwinkle. This plant persists for decades around old home-sites and in gardens and cemeteries. It is hence given the nick-name—“Graveyard Grass.”

Mill Ruins: A Labor Day Weekend Jaunt

One visitor shares her visit to the Chapman – Beverley Mill.

Donna Migliaccio

100_7420 The ruins of the Chapman/Beverly Mill

The old mill wheel is silent and has fallen down
The old oak tree has withered and lies there on the ground

– lyrics from “Down By The Old Mill Stream” by Tell Taylor

For years I’ve driven past an intriguing stone building located just off I-66 near Haymarket, Virginia.  Nope, not just years – decades.  Every time I’d drive by I’d think, “Man, that’s an interesting old building.  I wonder what it is? Maybe one day I should stop.”  And yet I never did.  One day I drove past and was astonished to see that the building had been gutted by fire.  That time I may have actually pulled over on the shoulder and taken a photo – I have a memory of doing so at one time or another – but I still knew nothing more about the mysterious building.

In February…

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Summertime at the Mill

We have two big events coming up early next month.  Be sure to visit the Mill August 1 for Bruce Slawter’s presentation on his new children’s book “The Horse that Saved the Union.”  Then, on August 2 come out to Barrel Oak Winery to support the Mill during our wine tasting fundraiser

August 1
The Horse that Saved the Union: A Book Talk with Bruce SlawterSlawter Book Talk - Chapman's Mill (1) copy

Come join us for a special talk about the creation of a new nonfiction book on the Civil War for students, parents, and teachers.

Discover a compelling story, known by children of the 19th Century but forgotten for 100 years, about two misfits – a diminutive cavalry officer and his unruly steed – who were given second chances and reversed the course of history.

Local “history buff” Bruce D. Slawter takes you back to the dismal days of the Civil War, just prior to President Abraham Lincoln’s re-election in 1864, to uncover a little-known saga of courage, character, and ultimate triumph.

After the talk, take a tour of the Mill with Executive Director, Frances Allshouse.

Donations Appreciated!

August 2
Fundraiser at Barrel Oak Winery

Join us for our first wine tasting fundraiser at Barrel Oak Winery!  Tickets are available at $25 per person.  Your ticket price includes a wine tasting plus a donation to support the historic Chapman – Beverley Mill.  Enjoy acoustic folk music by Emily Rose, beautiful scenery and learn more about the Mill and our plans for its interpretation! Barbecue and wood fired pizza will also be available for purchase.

For more information contact Frances Allshouse at or 540-253-5888.

Purchase your ticket today!

Next week – Part Three: The Impact of the Civil War on John Chapman

The Impact of the Civil War on John Chapman – Part 2


Part two of a three part article. Click Here to Read part one.

This piece was originally written in 2011 by Ellen Percy Miller. It details the life and fortunes of John Chapman before the Civil War and his rapid decline following it.

Then came the Civil War! Thoroughfare Gap was a strategic passageway for both armies as they went back and forth between Northern Virginia and the Shenandoah Valley. For the first time in world military history, trains were used to transport troops to battle and thus they went right by John Chapman’s two mills.

In 1861 John Chapman contracted with the Confederate Army Subsistence Department to turn Chapman’s Mill into a meat curing warehouse and distribution center. He was paid:
$500 for the use of the mill
$150 rent for three houses
$100 rent for the use of the fields
$248 for 72 cords of wood and 22 days hauling
$430 for lumber.

Herds of cattle and pigs were enclosed in large pens and more than two million pounds of Confederate meat were stored on the site. Despite winning the First Battle of Manassas the Confederates knew they would be pushed south by the Yankees. John Chapman watched “The Great Barbeque” when General Johnston ordered that the meat and Mill be burned so the Yankees could not use it.
Meanwhile, John Chapman’s brother, Pearson, was reaping a fortune selling fish to the armies from the Chapman Point Fishery on the Potomac River which he had inherited.

On August 28, 1862 the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap took place in and around Chapman’s Mill. Sharp shooters shot from the empty windows of the Mill. It is said that the Second Battle of Manassas was won and lost at Chapman’s Mill and that the War would have ended in a few weeks if the Union forces had held Thoroughfare Gap.

Throughout the Civil War, Mosby’s Rangers repeatedly attacked the Manassas Gap Railroad in and around Thoroughfare Gap and divested it of Union supplies and payrolls. It is said that John Chapman, like other prominent landowners of the region, was forced by the Northerners to ride the train as a human shield to deter raids by Mosby.

Perhaps John Chapman wished his nephew, Frank Williams, a Mosby Ranger, had not been personally credited with kidnapping Union Gen. Stoughton in a raid on Fairfax Courthouse.

John Chapman became a prisoner of war but by May 1862 signed a Parole of Honor pledging on his honor not to take up arms against the U.S. government, nor to aid and abet its enemies in any way. If he did not maintain this promise he could be shot on the spot.

In 1864 Chapman filed suit against the United States for “property taken and destroyed” in 1863 when Union soldiers camping nearby committed outrages against his person and arresting him for no reason and keeping him prisoner. He then iterated that they

“burned some of his buildings, damaged the machinery of his Mill, destroyed his farming Utensils, killed and carried off his stock, and committed almost every kind of depredation in the aggregate to the sum of $5,194.59 cts. Damage to the mill included the breaking of windows and sash, burning of the mill’s roof, and destruction of a mill hopper, fan, corn conveyor, gleaner, two corn wheels, a derrick, a circular saw, and destruction of Chapman’s wheat manufacturing business. In addition they took a 3- year-old colt valued at $1,000, killed or carried off two hogs worth $550 and a steer worth $1,175, and took $250 worth of bacon. According to Chapman’s suit, the Union soldiers burned one house valued at $600, took siding worth $100 off another house, destroyed a blacksmith shop worth $100 and destroyed a large cart for hauling logs with tackle for six horses valued at $350.”

He also filed for $1,461 on behalf of damage done to his deceased brother George’s property. Chapman also filed for $8,000 compensation done to the nearby farm of another deceased brother, Dr. Alexandria Chapman (died in 1864).

Part Three coming soon!

Adopt a Stone Campaign Kickoff This Weekend

Adopt a Stone Campaign Kickoff This Weekend!

Adopt a Stone Campaign Kickoff This Weekend!

Next Saturday and Sunday, May 2-3, is a big weekend in the Virginia Piedmont. On Saturday, the Virginia Gold Cup races will be held at Great Meadow in The Plains, continuing a 93-year tradition that started in nearby Warrenton. Thousands of steeplechase spectators will be motoring out in cars and buses from the DC metro area to partake of the sport of kings, and a bit of imbibing along the way. To get to Great Meadow, these merry makers will traverse Thoroughfare Gap and pass in full view of Chapman’s Mill, now adorned with its “Adopt a Stone” banner. This weekend also coincides with the launch of our latest fundraising campaign – an opportunity for history lovers, mill lovers and anyone else to personally become part of Chapman’s Mill. At the Mill itself (find driving directions here), volunteers will be manning stations so visitors can select and adopt a stone of their choice – one of thousands of stones that make up the massive Mill walls. Stations will open at 10 am and continue to operate until 5 pm or the last visitor departs.

Which stone will you choose?

Which stone will you choose?

Adopters will take home a certificate of adoption and a map of where their stone is. Soon, an interactive map of the Mill walls will be available on this website where stone adopters will be able to scroll over their stones and see their names or the name they choose to dedicate a stone.

The launch of Adopt-a-Stone will take place both Saturday and Sunday. However, it will continue on line at least until the bulldozers arrive later in the summer to start the renovation and installation of the new park, which will enable visitors to enjoy the mill and its surroundings even more. We look forward to meeting and getting to know many new fans of Chapman’s Mill and to growing our family of Mill adopters.

Historic Mill Reads


Read About the Mill

Read About the Mill

Today is National Read Across America Day.  So what are we reading at the Mill? Well, our research library wouldn’t be complete without the following titles:

Beverley (Chapman’s) Mill, Thoroughfare Gap, Virginia : a history and preservation plan / by Frances Lillian Jones.  This is our go-to reference book when it comes to Mill history giving an in-depth history of the Mill from its founding to 1981.  An addendum written in 2006 includes information on the 1998 fire and TTMAC’s efforts to stabilize the structure.  The full book may be viewed online HERE.

Water powered mills of Fauquier County, Virginia / by Lee Moffett.  The Chapman – Beverley Mill is the first mill detailed in Lee Moffett’s book.  A good guide to the early history of the Mill.

250 years in Fauquier County : A Virginia Story / by the Fauquier Historical Society. Includes a section on early mills in the area and a brief history of the Chapman – Beverley Mill including the site’s involvement in the Battle of Thoroughfare Gap.

Fauquier County, Virginia, 1759-1959 / by the Fauquier County Bicentennial Committee. Provides histories of prominent people, places and events in Fauquier.

Landmarks of Old Prince William : a Study of Origins in Northern Virginia / by Fairfax Harrison.  Highlights important historic places in Prince William County helping us better understand the setting in which The Mill operated in the mid 1700’s.

For even more books on the histories of Fauquier and Prince William Counties check out these sites:

Prince William County

Fauquier County