Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Fielding Jollett - The Road to Chancery Court

This is a continuation of the story of Good and Walton vs Jollett Chancery Cause of 1860.

Like so many young men in the early 1800s, Fielding Jollett was destined to become a farmer.  For whatever reason, when he came “of age,” he moved away from the family home in Greene County, crossing the mountain by way of Swift Run Gap along what is now the famed Skyline Drive into Rockingham County. 

Map showing travel route from Greene County to Naked Creek in Page County, VA
Today the road from Greene County
 crossing the mountain is a series of winding curves.
I wonder how long the trip took by horse and wagon.

In 1822, Fielding married Ann Stoutemire/Stoutamoyer, daughter of Jacob and Barbara Orebaugh Stoutemire/Stoutamoyer.  Most likely they lived with her parents or close by.  In 1824, with their first child on the way, Fielding purchased 2 acres and 24 poles of land that partially bordered his in-laws’ property. 

Two acres did not a farm make, but apparently that was the extent of Fielding’s land holdings for some time.  He likely earned his living as a laborer on other farms, perhaps even in his father-in-law’s employ.

Jollett Cemetery
This is not Fielding Jollett's land,
but it is the right neighborhood.
photo courtesy of Lois Emswiler
In 1828, Ann died, but Fielding quickly found a new wife and mother for his children, Mary Ann Armentrout with whom he had five more children.

In 1837, Fielding and Mary Ann sold some land they had inherited upon the death of her father, John Armentrout.  How much land and how much money passed hands is uncertain since the original deed was among the Rockingham County documents burned during the Civil War.  Fragments of the deed were recovered and re-recorded in 1884.

Perhaps Fielding had an entrepreneurial spirit that made him dream of becoming an important farmer and land owner.  He did not sit on that money very long.  That same year, he purchased 66 acres along Naked Creek from Joseph Mauzy, county surveyor, merchant and post master. 

View from Jollett Cemetery, Naked Creek, Virginia
Again, this is not Fielding's property,
but this is the area where he lived and raised his family.
And it's the kind of view he was privileged to enjoy every day.
No wonder he bought land there.

However, two short years later, Fielding and Mary Ann sold the same 66 acres back to Mauzy for $400. I have to wonder whether Fielding just couldn’t make a go of it there or if he had improved the farm to the extent that he could sell it at a profit.  And why would Joseph Mauzy want it back?

There are no answers, but another possibility is that Fielding had his eye on a bigger prize.  In 1849 Fielding and Mary Ann purchased 300 acres in Page County from George and Susan Conrad.  (NOTE: the area along Naked Creek straddles Rockingham and Page counties, so it appears likely that the Jolletts were living in the same area they had always lived.) 

If trouble hadn’t begun earlier, maybe this is when Fielding’s financial troubles began because in just a few short years, he was woefully in debt. 

© 2014, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. It's getting quite interesting. Who knows why he had debts. Poor farmer, bad harvests, bad land. What were the economic and political conditions like in the 1840/50s, and what was the infra-structure like?

    I tried looking up the history of Rockingham County, but that wasn't particularly helpful. The only reference I found to Fielding by way of his son Reverend John.. John seems to have made up for any shortcomings that Fielding may of had.

    1. Yes, John was a much loved preacher, but he had his own little bout with the law too.

  2. That really is beautiful country!

    I'm curious. Did the records say how much Fielding paid for the 66 acres along Naked Creek? I suppose it didn't or you would have included that bit of information too.

    Perhaps he had great success with the 66 acres and thought he could become even more prosperous with the 300 acres. He may have gotten in over his head.

    1. I don't know what he paid for the 66 acres. The deed in which he sells the land back mentions that it was the same land he had purchased in 1837. I don't know why I don't have a copy of the first deed. It might have been among the documents that were burned during the Civil War. Or I might have missed it when I was searching deeds many years ago. Maybe I need to create a note in OneNote to remind myself to look for it again!

    2. HA! You're funny Wendy. If you do, you can write your own post about the awesomeness of OneNote!

  3. I think this story could be the basis for a good novel. Think of the possibilities... :)

  4. After some searching I found the Naked Creek area on the google maps. The view is indeed magnificent! I also tried out if the name could be the Dutch surname Stoutemeijer, but that didn't provide many hits.

    1. I always assumed Stoutemire/Stoutamoyer was German since the area was settled primarily by Germans. But Dutch could certainly be a match too that I had not considered.