1982 Historical Document: John Hite House, Springdale
According to its date stone, high in the south gable, the main house at Springdale was erected by John H i t e i n 1753. The house is built of the native limestone laid i n irregular ashlar w i t h some random-coursed limestone rubble used on its secondary walls. It is situated on the east side of Route 11, adjacent t o Opequon Creek. Characteristic of German Valley houses, the house is covered by a steep gable roof defined by a well-molded wood cornice. The structure has undergone numerous renovations on both its exterior and interior that in- clude a remodeling in the Greek Revival style in ca. 1835-40 and one in the Colonial Revival style ca. 1900. Numerous changes have also been made t o the house throughout the Present century.
The main (west) entry consists of a Greek Revival-style doorway sheltered by a four-bay, two-story portico added in the present century. The entrance frontispiece, a 19th-century remodeling, has Ionic columns supporting a plain architrave topped by a Doric entablature.
A joist with the carving, "John H i t e on 1747," was positioned above the cornice i n the present century after its removal from a nearby barn. The rear side (east1 has a two-level gallery added ca. 1900, which shelters a plain doorway. The house's fenestration includes a number of different types of openings. On its f i r s t story the facade has segmental-arched heads with Greek Revival symmetrical architrave trim and plain corner blocksi the second-story and wing openings lack the segmental arches. The side elevations have segmental-arched openings without the Greek Revival t r i m .
The windows have 2/2, 6/6, and 12/12 hung sash. Dormers, added i n the present century, are found on both the east and west elevations. The house has four brick interior-end chimneys, two on the main section and one on each wing. The interior of Springdale was extensively altered ca. 1835-40 and a t the turn of the Century. The house has a central hall flanked by a long parlor and a dining room and kitchen. The hall contains the main s t a i r that replaced the original, according to family tradition, ca. 1900 when the highway was relocated from the east (rear) of the structure to the wes (front). The original s t a i r is said to have ascended in the opposite direction. The open- well, closed-string s t a i r consists of turned balusters, a molded handrail, and a square Colonial Revival newel. The front door has a Greek Revival frame that includes symmetrical t r i m and f l a t corner blocks. Similar trim is used on the other principal openings a s well. To the north of the hall is the long parlor extending into the wing. It is believed that the parlor was originally two rooms and that it assumed its present form ca. 1900 when the present Colonial Revival screen was added. The room has two mantels: the end (north) wall has a Federal mantel while the east wall has a Greek Revival mantel. Complementing the
mantels, the openings t o the north of the screen have molded Federal t r i m while the openings to the south have symmetrical Greek Revival trim with plain corner blocks. To the rear (east)
of the double parlor is a paneled den. While the room has Greek Revival symmetrical trim around the windows, the paneling on the mantel wall dates t o the 18th century and is probably an original feature.
To the south of the hall is the dining room, trimmed in Greek Revival woodwork, and the present kitchen. The kitchen is probably the location of the original kitchen a s it is distinguished by a massive rough-hewn lintel above a much-reduced fireplace opening. German houses usually contained indoor kitchens. The paneling on the fireplace wall is a modern addition. Behind the kitchen isa small sitting room that contains a Greek Revival mantel topped by 18th-century paneling. The fireplace contains a rare Isaac Zane cast-iron fireback that bears the coat of arms of Lord Fairfax. The fireback was Cast by neighboring Marlboro Furnace and dates t o the l a t e 18th century. It is believed t o have always been in the house.
(See Continuation Sheet #1)
STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE
Springdale was originally the home of Jost H i t e , the earliest white s e t t l e r i n the lowe: Shenandoah Valley. H i t e was m n g the many Germans who came t o the colonies from the Palati-nate during the great migration of 1709-10. In 1731 he acquired a conditional grant of 40,000 acres on Virginia's western frontier. Moving with h i s family from Germantown, Pennsylvania, Hite quickly prospered through his establishment of m i l l s and farms i n the Winchester area. The ruins of what was probably Hite's home and tavern, b u i l t i n the 1730 next to the Indian trail that became the Valley Turnpike, still stand in the yard of the
Springdale property. The present dwelling, a large stone house i n the German vernacular tradition, was built i n 1753 by
Hite's son John, a distinguished soldier and citizen of early Frederick County. The house and ruin remain key landmarks of the Shenandoah Valley's f i r s t period of settlement. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Jost Hite was born in Kraichgau, Germany (now the area of Neckerland, southeast of Heidelberg), on December 5, 1685. The second child of Johannes (Hans) Iied(t), he was christened Hans Justus Heydt. The register of Bonfeld Church i n Kraichgau reveals that on November 10, 1704, "Johan Justus Heyd, linenweaver and son of Johannis Heyd
butcher and civic councilor here, married t o Anna Maria, daughter of Abraham Mercklin- citizen here."l i n the wars before the Peace of Utrecht, French armies repeatedly devastated German Palatine towns and l e f t many of their citizens homeless. Under English sponsorship hundreds of these German families were encouraged t o s e t t l e i n the Hudson Valley for employment i n the manufacture of t a r and naval stores. Among those who joined i n the great migration w e r e Jost Hite and h i s recent bride. The Bonfeld pastor's list of "emigrants from this village" includes i n 1709-1710 "Johannes Heyd samt d. Seinen (with his family)" and."Justus Heyd, his son, cum suis (with his family)
The Rotterdam embarkation lists include "Joost Heyd" i n the f i f t h party of Palatines on a
ship under the command of Captain W i l l i a m Newton which arrived i n New York i n 1 7 1 0 . The Palatine subsistence lists of
New York i n 1710-12 include the name of Johann Jost Hayd. The church records of the Kingston Dutch Reformed Church i n Ulster County, New York, list the baptisms of two of his children, Elizabeth i n 1711 and Madalena i n 1713.
Dissatisfied with conditions i n New York, the Hites with many of the new settlers moved south into Pennsylvania In May 1714 H i t e purchased 150 acres on the Shippack River near Germantown. H i s f i r s t son, John, the builder of the present house a t Springdale, was born that same year. In 1718 Jost H i t e purchased s i x hundred acres on the Perkimion River where he established a g r i s t m i l l .
He sold this land i n 1730 for 640 pounds before departing for Virginia. The deed identified him a s a weaver and described the sale of a "certain Messuage,
G r i s t M i l l ,
and Plantation or Tract of Land.. .near Perkioming..
"4 It was on August 5, 1731, that he acquired the conditional grant of 40,000 acres i n the Shenandoah and thus was launcheon his l a s t and greatest adventure. The condition required the grantees to s e t t l e within a two-year period one family for every thousand acres granted. I n October 1731, Hite and h i s
(See Continuation Sheet #1)
Major Bibliographical References
Cartmell, T.K. Shenandoah Valley Pioneers. Berryville, Va.: Chesapeake Book Co., 1963.
v. Fairfax." 1771. Virginia State Library Acc. 24663, 26090.
Conner ,Ralph. "Hans Yost Height, Weaver i n Penn." German Origins
of Jost Hite. Edinburg,
Dicklnson. osiah Look. The Fairfax Proprietary. Front Royal, Va.: The Warren Press, 1959.
I 0. Geographica Data
nominated property 12 acres
Quadrangle name Stephens City Va.
Quadrangle scale :24000
The Family of Hans Justus Heydt i n Germany and New York." German
Origins of Jost Hite. Edinburg, Va., 1979.
A History of the Valley of Virginia. Woodstock, Va.: John Gatewood,
Printer, 1850. McIlwaine, H.R., ed. Executive Journals of the Council of Colonial Virginia. Vol. IV. Richmond: Virginia State Librarv. 1930.
Springdale, Frederick County, Virginia
t o comply with the conditions of the patents and t o protect their interests.
put t o great trouble and expense i n attending several
a t Williamsburg above 300 miles
Despite caveats from both sides and two personal v i s i t s from Fairfax t o Hite, no resolution
was possible. The dispute ultimately resulted i n the case of Hite e t al. vs. Fairfax that was finally resolved i n Hite's favor i n 1786, a quarter of a century a f t e r h i s death. Hite's testimony included a detailed account of conditions i n the early settlement: Several of the families who f i r s t removed and settled there were put t o such Hardships and difficulties as a r e scarcely t o be conceived being obliged to l i v e i n the Waggons till they could build some small Huts t o shelter themselves from the Inclemency of The Weather and so f a r distant from any Settlement (but especially from any such a s could supply them with any Provisions o r Necessaries) that they scarce (could) procure anyone thing necessary than from Pennsylvania o r Fredericksburg (which were near 200 Miles distant). And to which for the greatest and most d i f f i c u l t parts of the way they were obliged t o make roads.. .7 The house/tavern was most likely b u i l t during the 1730s, perhaps even before he was appointed one of the f i r s t justices for the newly formed county of Orange i n 1734. None of Jost Hite's Personal papers are known t o exist, but manuscripts of the 1740s certainly prove the structure existence during that decade. The Moravian missionary Leonard Schnell noted i n h i s diary on November 20, 1743, "...at sunset we came t o a German innkeeper, Jost Hayd, a rich man, well known i n the region. He was the f i r s t s e t t l e r there."' George Washington and a surveying Party employed by Lord Fairfax "...sent their baggage t o Jost Hite's" on March 4, 1748. Washington noted i n h i s diary on April 11, 1748 "...went t o Hite's and lodged."' The earliest houses of the Valley a r e described i n chronological order by Kercheval i n h i s History published i n 1833. Of the f i r s t one cited he said, "Joist (sic) Hite had b u i l t a stone house on Opequon, which house is now standing, and has a very ancient appearance.. ."lo
In 1742 Hite sold t o h i s son John a t r a c t of land containing 1,080 acres.It was part of
the 5,018 acres t h a t the elder Hite had selected from the 40,000-acre patent that he had f i r s t
acquired. John b u i l t the present Springdale i n 1753, a f t e r achieving prominence i n the local
community. According t o county court records, John
H i t e
was appointed a surveyor of roads i n 1747; was a justice i n 1748; an assemblyman i n 1752, 1772-80; on a Court Martial i n 1755 as captain; a major i n 1756; lieutenant colonel i n 1757; colonel i n 1760; and president of the Court Martial. Adding t o a distinguished service career, he was a trustee for the town of
Winchester i n 1758, was on the New Court i n 1776, and was made a county lieutenant i n place of
Lord Fairfax. He also served on the Second Vestry of Frederick County i n 1752 and again i n
1767 and 1770. H i s name appears on a list of electors for George Washington when he was a
candidate i n 1748 for the House of Burgesses. The family records give brief mention of v i s i t s
from "surveyor Washington" . . .and from "Col. Washington. "I1 Hite married a Van Meter daughter
i n 1737 and b u i l t h i s residence t o house a growing family. Jost Hite died i n 1761. John Hite sold Springdale t o David Brown i n 1772. David Brown died ca. 1794. In March 1802 h i s heirs sold 268 acres t o Richard
Barton for 1,750 pounds.
This acreage included the John Hite house. The house remained i n the Barton family until 1873
when it was sold t o
Harrison. It was under Barton ownership that the house was remodelec
i n the Greek Revival style. Since 1893 it has been once again owned by descendants of the
Hite and Van Meter families. The present owners a r e Mr. and M r s . Fairell
Virginia Guide Road Tour (Mentions the home of Isaac Hite Jr. and his resting place.)
MIDDLETOWN, 21.7 m. (416 pop.), spread out on a low plateau and first known as Senseny Town, was chartered in 1796 by Dr.Peter Senseny. As early as 17 66 this village was recognized as a clockmaking center, and its reputation increased as wooden-wheeled timepieces gave way to those with brass, which bowed in turn to elaborately patterned eight-day clocks. The same artisans fashioned watches and surveyors' implements. One of them, Jacob Danner, constructed compasses of such mathematical precision that their reputation endures today. Here in 18 17 a threshing machine demonstrated its superiority over flail and threshing-floor.
Right from Middletown on County 627 to County 622, 4.4 m.; R. here, with hills always in view, to MARLBORO, 5 m., named for marl deposits near by. General Isaac Zane of Philadelphia in 177 1 built a mill here, an iron foundry, and a distillery-now a barn. In his day Zane was second only to Lord Fairfax in wealth. Left 0.1 m. from Marlboro on County 628 to STEPHENS' FORT (R), a small whitewashed hexagonal building of stone erected before the Revolution.
At 23.3 m. on US 11 is a junction with County 625
Left on this road to County 6 11, 0. 7 m.; R. here to LONG MEADOWS (L), 2.4 m., a substantial red brick house built in 1845 by Colonel George Bowman, grandson of joist Hite, upon part of a tract joist chose for his son Isaac. The house is on the site of Isaac's home. In the graveyard near by are buried Isaac Hite, Sr., Isaac Hite, Jr., and Samuel Kercheval (1767-1845), author of the History of the Valley of Virginia.
At 23.4 m. on US 11 is another junction with County 625.
Right here to BELLE GROVE (R), 0.5 m., a dressed limestone house of one full story on a very high basement. The walls are quoined with rough-hewn stone, and keyed flat arches of stone emphasize each window opening. Four widely spaced chimneys, also of stone, rise symmetrically from the broad hip roof. Belle Grove, designed in the Classical Revival style, has been altered by removal of the north wing and three of four porticoes. Planned and constructed by Major Isaac Hite,jr. (1758-1830), grandson of joist Hite, it was completed in 1794. At the College of William and Mary in 1777, Isaac Hite became the first man to be elected by the charter members of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Major Hite's first wife, Nelly Conway Madison, was sister of James Madison (see Tour 16a). Here James and Dolly spent two weeks of their honeymoon.
For a time General Sheridan had headquarters here. On October 19, 1864 his army was routed from these grounds in the Battle of Cedar Creek (or Battle of Belie Grove). A surprise attack at daybreak demoralized two corps of Sheridan's army, which retreated some miles northward. Returning from Washington and learning the news in Winchester, Sheridan rejoined his army and in turn routed Early.