Oak Hill resident Carol Byrne was one of thousands of runners in this year’s Boston Marathon, which was marred by two tragic terrorist bombings that killed three and injured more than a hundred people. The Herndon Connection reports her story.
The woman, Janeth Ann Rowe of Herndon, may have been missing since 1997, but Herndon police haven’t closed the case file. The Washington Examiner reports:
The 50-year-old widow had been laid off from her job at Mobil eight months earlier and had taken a job at a Washington consulting company. She had was living with her daughter, Lisa Rowe, and her daughter’s boyfriend on the 12000 block of Alton Square in Herndon.
Herndon police would like to talk to anybody with information that can help solve this mystery.
Rowe would be 65 today. The last time anyone saw her was March 2, 1997, at her condominium, authorities said. Her daughter called police the next day to say she was unable to locate her mother.
The Herndon Connection has an interesting historical look at the Frying Pan Meeting House, which sits near the corner of West Ox and Centreville Roads in Oak Hill. It is tempting to think of Oak Hill as relatively new, given all of our subdivisions, but the meeting house and the Floris area actually has a lot of history that goes back to the 1700s.
The spoiler on how the meeting house got its name is buried in the article:
“This land was granted to a local congregation of Baptists for the purpose of rebuilding what was in those days called a meeting house,” said Supervisor Cathy Hudgins (D-Hunter Mill). “Being dissenters from the established Anglican church, Baptists were not allowed to call these sanctuaries churches.”
The meeting house was used as a sporadic hospital during the Civil War, and the church at the site had both black and white members back in 1840.
In the late 1700s the house was used for church services, burials and prayer meetings. By 1840, the congregation there consisted of 33 white members and 29 black members, many of whom are buried on the property.
During the Civil War it was used as a hospital for both sides at various times, and several battles took place nearby.
Frying Pan Road is an unusual name for a road, but its name is a mystery. The Washington City Paper did some research on the origin of the road’s name, with no clear answer.
First, the entire community surrounding the road used to be known as Frying Pan. (It is now called Floris.) Elaine McHale, librarian at the Fairfax County Public Library, says there are two creation stories behind the Frying Pan name.
“The first is that a group of people were camped by the water, and in their haste to leave the next morning, they left their frying pan behind,” McHale wrote by email. “Depending on when the story is told, the ‘group of people’ were American soldiers from the War of 1812, copper miners from 1728, or Indians even before that.”
Another theory is rooted in geography. “The second story is that the shape of the run emptying into a round pool suggested the name,” McHale wrote, but it’s not clear which pool this story references.
Here’s where things get interesting: The name Frying Pan first pops up in Virginia records in a 1728 deed from Lord Fairfax himself, when a man named Robert “King” Carter bought the land to build a copper mine. So, although “some stories have it that these miners were the ones to leave their frying pan behind,” McHale says the miners can’t have been the ones to name the area because the name was already in use before they got there.
According to Yvonne Johnson, manager of Frying Pan Farm Park, the area of Frying Pan, Va. retained its name until 1892. That year, the community petitioned the postal service to change its name. “The postal service sent them several names to choose from and they selected Floris,” Johnson wrote in an email.
Groundhogs Day promises to be mighty cold. Perhaps cozying up to a fireplace after a tour of the historic Sully Plantation would help. Sully Plantation has just the event for you tomorrow:
Fireside Chat: After a tour of Sully Historic Site, sit by the fire in the outdoor kitchen to enjoy refreshments and historical tidbits. Noon to 3 p.m. $8/adult, $7/student and $6/senior or child. For information and to register call 703-437-1794.
From Channel 9 News:
With last Saturday being the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Chantilly, it’s good to know what Civil War sites might be close to home, including in Oak Hill. Inside Oak Hill, there are two minor sites of interest. Here are two in Oak Hill you may be able to walk to.
Frying Pan Meeting House
According to a brochure, during the Civil War it was used as a picket post by both the Union and the Confederacy.
Oak Hill also has Mosby’s Rock. Mosby was a Confederate cavalry batallion commander who worked principally in Northern Virginia. If you have paid attention, you may have noticed that Route 50 is named for not only Confederate Generals Lee and Jackson, but also for Colonel Mosby. It’s not much to see and you have to really go out of your way to find it. According to a brochure, “Mosby’s Rangers used this rock as a rendezvous point and a message drop. Here raids were planned and intelligence shared.” To find the rock, turn on Squirrel Hill Road from McNair Farms. Follow the road to the gravel parking lot in the back. The rock and a marker can be found near the front of the lot, in the area between the two rows of townhouses.
Grave of Laura Ratcliffe
Not in Oak Hill proper, but actually in Herndon right in front of the Dulles Marriott hotel is the grave of Laura Ratcliffe. According to a brochure, it is “The final resting place of the famous Confederate spy Laura Ratcliffe. Laura saved Mosby from a Union ambuscade in February 1863. Marker is next to the hotel flag poles; grave obscured by huge boxwoods.”
Are you a Civil War buff? A new but small museum opened locally in Centreville. It celebrates the accomplishments of the Confederate cavalry locally, which kept Union armies largely ineffectual and north of the Rappahannock River. Learn more about General J.E.B. Stuart, Colonel John Mosby and Mosby’s Rangers and their many accomplishments right here in Fairfax County during the Civil War.
The museum is located in Centreville Park. The museum is open to the public, but is only open on Saturdays and Mondays.
You don’t have to be a Civil War buff to be curious about the Battle of Chantilly (as called by the Union)/Ox Hill (as called by the Confederacy), the closest Civil War battle that occurred to Oak Hill.
This year is the 150th anniversary of the battle, which is largely lost to history. The battle occurred after the Second Battle of Manassas during a driving thunderstorm on September 2, 1862. Unfortunately, the battle has been largely paved over with the development of housing and shopping near Fair Oaks Mall and the Fairfax County Parkway. There were hundreds of Union and Confederate casualties as a result of this battle. About the only evidence of it is a small historic site on Monument Drive. In fact, Monument Drive was named to mark the monument site and the Battle of Chantilly/Ox Hill.
Local historian David Welker will review the battle, which is documented in his book, on Tuesday, May 8th at 7 PM at the Sully Plantation Historic Site off Sully Road (Route 28). If you are a local history buff, this event is a must! Please call 703-437-1794 to reserve a reservation. A $5 a person donation is requested.