Update on a History Project.
Larry Roeder, MS
16 February 2014
Contact Larry Roeder
Please share photos, oral
histories and artifacts.
These will help document
the history of Conklin and
the Prosperity Baptist
Emperor Marcus Aurelius, Meditations,
written between 170 and 180 AD.
But what if our songs, records and art were
lost? Then the echoes might disappear.
Dr. Carter G. Woodson understood that we
must preserve those echoes and honor our
Thanks to Dr. Woodson, Americans have
recognized black history annually since 1926,
first as "Negro History Week" and now as
“Black History Month.”
In the Black History tradition, the Conklin Study
is an effort to preserve the history of the
Prosperity Baptist Church and Conklin.
Early residents led difficult, brave
Their history is almost forgotten
You can help preserve their
echoes; but we must also keep in
mind that not everyone who
attends Prosperity today
descends from the people we are
focusing on in this talk.
Local “Black History” is a large
and very important story which
should to told in its entirity.
The land was settled around 1715 in the Elk Lick area, then
known simply as Arcola.
Conklin was also known as south Broad Run, a former
magisterial district. Today we are in the Dulles District.
Sources of information are descendants of pioneers, local
historians, the Balch Library, County Court Archives in Leesburg,
School archives and many other repositories in the region.
Conklin is named for white landowner Joseph
Conklin of Pennsylvania who purchased over 100
acres from Horace Adee in 1871.
The first store was built in 1890 and also housed
the first post office.
Conklin and his wife owned the store and took over
the post office in 1892, which burned down in
1910 and moved to Bull Run Post Office Road. The
post office then switched to Arcola in 1917.
The grave of Conklin and others is in a cemetery
off of Braddock Road on the North side of Longacre
Drive near the western edge of Conklin.
People migrated to Conklin from nearby
locations like Fairfax and Prince William
Whites and free African-Americans lived
side by side; but slavery was an issue
before the Civil War and segregation a
If a slave was freed, he or she had to be
registered every year by a white person
or possibly sold back into servitude.
If a freed slave borrowed money and
didn’t pay it back, he or she could be
sold again, though this was rare.
Photo of escaped slave* from
Mississippi named Gordon when he
Punishment could be tough.
joined the Union Army. Photo
Education was difficult.
distributed throughout the Army.
The photo above became a symbol of the awful nature of slavery.
Although the owner fired the man who beat the slave, the fact
remains that slaves had no rights.
We have focused on some
African-Americans who moved
here between 1850 and 1854
with white farmer Hampton
Brewer of Prince-William and
They started on property Brewer
purchased in 1854 just below
what is now the Lundsford
Middle School, along the east
side of Ticonderoga Road.
The unmarked Brewer Cemetery probably holds the
bodies of Hampton Brewer and some of the cluster.
It is on Ticonderoga Farms at the south side of the
Lundsford Bus Parking lot and east of Ticonderoga
stones to left,
typical of the
area and the
(right), which is
Alexander Allen, 1854
Amanda Allen, 1857
Betsy Allen, (perhaps the matriarch), 1854
Martha Allen, 1857
Mary Allen, 1854
Narcissa Allen, 1854
William Allen, 1854
Some descended from slaves freed in 1791
by Robert Carter of Westmoreland County.
Only Lincoln freed more slaves.
All were registered as free in 1854 and 1857.
You can find these in the
Loudoun County Court Archives in Leesburg.
Conklin is not incorporated, unlike Middleburg and
Leesburg; so these “boundaries” are “suggestive” for
research purposes. We need your help on accuracy.
North: Elk Lick bridge in South Riding.
West: Gum Spring Road.
East: Fairfax County Line along Braddock.
South: Between Braddock Road and the
junction of Buffalo Run Lane & Bull Run Post
Many suggest Elk Lick Bridge (south of the town hall in South Riding) as the tip of traditional
Conklin. This was a creaky wooden bridge, but now is a concrete structure over the South Riding
It wasn’t until 1956 that Elk Lick was paved from Route 50 into Conklin.
The road had been known as Rector’s Road, after a family on the road’s upper reaches in the
1920’s. Before that, it was called New Cut Road, first cut through about 1885.
Elk Lick now turns into Donovan and then First Frost before intersecting Braddock.
Prosperity Church is at the corner of First Frost and Braddock on the west side.
Braddock road from the Fairfax
County line to the junction of Old
Elk Lick Road.
This includes the Cardinal Ridge
school property, once owned by
the Allen’s, a family in our study.
The most recent owners were
Laverne R. Grant and CT Perkins.
We need local history stories
about the farm
Many people lived up and down Elk Lick Road.
Please share photographs and stories with us.
Who were they and what did
they do for a living?
After being abandoned, many houses were
burned down by Fire Department, such as an
Allen home (left) on Elk Lick.
This runs from Elk Lick to Gum Spring, then
down to south tip of Ticonderogga.
Did you are your family live along that route?
Do you remember the
store at the corner of
Gum Spring and
Prosperity Baptist, started by
Jennie Dean, originally across
Ronny Arnold’s home next to
Does anyone remember the
people who lived here before Mr.
Arnold? We understand they
were immigrants from Africa.
We are not certain
how far south to go,
but have included
the old Hampton
Brewer property and
the land along
south and west to
Life for the cluster and descendants was hard work and
poor wages, so they kept track of all expenses.
Many traded in chickens, butter and
wheat , or did services like laundry
and road repair.
Do you have old letters
Farming was dominant.
Many lived in cabins, one of which (right) built
around 1820, has been preserved on the
Loudoun County Parkway across from its original
location. Charles W. Dean worked as a slave for
Thomas Settle in Conklin for many years. Mr.
Settle then willed the 142-acre property to Dean
and his descendants in 1886.
Typical early farm
construction found on
grounds of Cardinal Hill
• No buses for African-Americans until 1941.
• Children from Willard (at today’s Dulles
Airport) stayed in Conklin during the week,
walked to school every day, then walked home
Some studied in
Manassas at Jennie
Dean’s school or in
The Conklin Colored School was opened in 1873
and operated until 1941) on Ticonderoga Road
(below), and eventually burned down.
Education has been a core community strength.
The legacy began with Jennie Dean, a freed slave
from Prince William County who brought schools
to African-Americans in several counties,
including Loudoun, and started the Prosperity
The teachers we have focused on
are Christine Allen and Mary Dean
Johnson, who taught at
Greggsville, Conklin and Bull Run
segregated schools between 1927
However, the proud tradition
continues today with people like
Patricia Dean, who educates
children in South Riding.
We want to know about anyone who studied
at the “Conklin Colored School.”
To help, we need stories about the students.
We also need to know how students got there
(walking in the early days), about food, the
Do you have old lesson plans?
African-Americans were not allowed public schools or
churches before the end of the Civil War; but
churches abounded after, and often were Baptist.
One in Conklin is Prosperity Baptist Church on
Braddock Road, established by Jennie Dean, a former
slave, who set up a school in Manassas and churches
in the region to teach religion, math and reading.
There are many
graves at the
Who served our nation?
James Gaskins, an African-American
registered as free by Brewer. James joined
the 39th Colored Infantry, organized in 1864
in Baltimore, Maryland and saw the siege of
Petersburg in Virginia and the battles of
Wilmington and Fort Fisher in North
LeRoy (Lee Roy) Allen also served in the 3rd
US Colored Infantry.
Others served in World War One and other
Please tell us about veterans in your
family, especially those who served in
the Civil War and World War One.
Since Buildings have been disappearing, we
would like to design attractive metal signs to
mark the location of Prosperity Baptist Church,
the Conklin Colored School, the Brewer
Cemetery, the old Post Office and the
The land was pioneered mostly by migrating
whites in the 18th century but by the 19th century
had both African-Americans and whites.
People made most of their money from farming.
Slavery and prejudice made life for AfricanAmericans difficult; but they overcame hurdles,
sought an education and the descendants have
Descendants of the white and African-American
farmers still live in Loudoun and around the
region and are proud of their joint heritage.
We wish to document that history, but need your
Larry Roeder is a retired
diplomat and historian living
in South Riding.
He has a strong interest in
civil rights and local histories,
which he gained while living
in Africa, the Middle East,
Asia and Europe.
26128 Talamore Drive
South Riding, Va 20152