Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Bill Farquhar on Linton Hall History


Bill Farquhar, who was sports coach as well as gym and geography instructor at Linton Hall for several decades, was also somewhat of a history buff. In 1992, he delivered a speech on Linton Hall history. Among the interesting facts he shared:

* Route 619, part of which is also known as Linton Hall Road, was an Indian/Native American trail during the pre-Colonial period. There was also a Native American campground in the portion of the Linton Hall property where Broad Run curves, and arrowheads have been found there.

* There were slaves on John Linton's land, prior to its being donated to the Benedictines for the site of today's Linton Hall School. At least eight slaves are buried there, each grave marked with a large rock. Unfortunately, around 1941-1942, the gardener, who did not know why the rocks were there, and because they made lawn mowing difficult, dug them up and buried them deeper. As a consequence, the location of those grave sites is now unknown.

* During the 1920s, farmers working on the Linton Hall Military School land found cannonballs and old shells from the Civil War. A few of these were put on display in the old convent, and when the new convent was built, Bill Farquhar was given a few. A few years after receiving them, Bill wondered whether some of them might still be live, so he contacted the Sheriff, Ralph Shumake, who called Fort Belvoir. Some soldiers came from Ft. Belvoir and put the shells in a box -- very gently, because they were, in fact, live. They brought back the parts from the exploded shells about a month later.

* During the 1930s, there were very few paved roads in the area. Linton Hall Road was still a dirt road, which became extremely muddy when it rained. This all changed when, in 1938, John Joseph Becker, a lawyer from Norfolk, sent his three sons to Linton Hall Military School. According to Bill, Mr. Becker used his influence with Virginia Highway Commissioner Henry G. Shirley (after whom the Shirley Highway was named) to have the road paved from Chapel Springs to Linton Hall. It was not until around 1952-1953 that the rest of Linton Hall, all the way to Gainesville, was paved.

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William Francis Farquhar, "Bill," was born on September 30, 1915 in Washington D.C., and was a Linton Hall Military School alumnus. He began teaching and coaching at Linton Hall in 1940. He served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He was coach and gym teacher, more recently with the title of Athletic Director, for the rest of his life. Bill passed away on January 4, 2011 at the age of 95. His wife, Virginia, predeceased him. Both are buried in the Linton Hall cemetery. The Linton Hall school gym was renamed the William Farquhar Sports Center in his honor.

Special thanks to the alumnus who made me aware of the existence of Bill's speech and to the Prince William County Historical Commission for having audiotaped it.

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Read more in my book, "Linton Hall Military School Memories," over 200 pages, 7x10 inches, only $5.69 (or less) at amazon.com

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