Kings Park West Civic Association, The HERALD, December 2009, Vol 40, Issue 8
By Tony Vellucci & John Browne
If there was a Trivial Pursuit game about Kings Park West, one of the questions might be “Where can you find a small family cemetery holding the remains of members of the Fairfax family?” Many of you may already know the answer to that, but many of you probably don’t. The answer is Richardson Drive. Apparently when KPW was developed, the builder Richmarr titled the deed where the cemetery is located to one of the adjacent property homeowners.
Next question of course is who’s buried there? The answer is Benjamin F. Fairfax (10/13/1827 – 5/20/1901) and his wife Mary Ellen Fairfax nee Stone (01/26/1823 – 09/06/1905). They were married on 12/13/1855. Ben was the son of John H. Fairfax and bought Lot #3, of 148 acres when his father’s land was sold in 1860.
Back in June, I received a call from John Browne of the Fairfax County Cemetery Preservation Association (FCCPA) regarding the status of the cemetery. FCCPA is a private organization that seeks to help preserve and protect the county’s endangered and often forgotten cemeteries. https://honorfairfaxcemeteries.org.
The long and short of it is that based on their research, there appears to be no known next of kin, and the current property owner no longer lives in KPW, but is willing to cede the property. So, I approached Joe Meyer, President of the KPW Community Association (HOA), to see if the Community Association would accept title to the land since the civic association can not hold title to property. Joe brought the matter to his board who noted the issue of trying to obtain near unanimous approval by the association’s 580 members to accept the deed.
In the meantime, a neighbor on Richardson Drive has stepped forward to accept title to the property, and the legal transfer is in process with the assistance from the FCCPA.
Using meets and bounds in the deed, the street map (click image for larger map) shows the farm boundaries in approximate relation to current streets. The circle marks the area where farm buildings appear on a county 1937 aerial photo. The cemetery is located at the end of Richardson, so the cemetery was placed close to those buildings.
Many years ago, maintenance of the cemetery was a project undertaken by some of the community scouting organizations– both boy and girl scouts. The cemetery provides a glimpse into the past. It can be a very effective teaching tool to our children – both in terms of Fairfax County history, and in fostering both community spirit and involvement. And a neighborhood boy-scout has proposed a maintenance effort for his Eagle Scout project.
I believe collectively as a community, we have a responsibility to both Ben and Mary to maintain the cemetery, and I do not believe it should be the sole responsibility of any single property owner. So, I am asking for your support. There is a line on the KPWCA 2010 Membership Form for an optional contribution to support the cemetery. With these funds, our scouting organizations, or other dedicated volunteers will have the financial resources to support the cemetery so that a part of Fairfax’s history can be visible right here in Kings Park West.
More on Ben and Mary Fairfax in future editions of The Herald