Enon Hall

Updating Our Family History

September 20, 2000

Since buying Enon Hall in July of 1999 we have found and been presented with some significant evidence that runs contrary to long-standing family history related to the house. I have not rushed to address these items on this website because I am very sensitive to the fact that anything that is commited to print is very often taken as the gospel...and I don't want to be a part of the problem by throwing more theories out as facts. However, I do feel confident in addressing the following items at this time.

1666...that's the date that every Hathaway descendant who has ever picked up a copy of "Hathaways of America" holds dear. According to that respected source, in 1666 William Hathaway I received the first deed to what is now Enon Hall. I can say with certainty that this information is partly false.

William Hathaway did in fact purchase land in Lancaster County in 1666; however, it was not on the land that later became Enon Hall. The actual 1666 property was across the Rappahannock River in what is today Middlesex County. (Middlesex was formed out of the lower portion of Lancaster County in 1669.) This can be confirmed via neighbors' names mentioned in the deed that are known to have been in that area. The names (including William Downing's) match up there, but they do not match up with names anywhere around the Enon Hall property in 1666.

So when did the Hathaways come to Enon Hall?

William Hathaway III's will (dated November 17, 1771) reads "...my will and desire is that my loving wife Sarah Hathaway have the use of my manor plantation during her natural life. I give to my son, Lawson Hathaway my plantation that I bought of Andrew Donaldson, known by the name of Andrews..."

Further research located the deed to the property purchased from Andrew Donaldson (200 acres) on September 10, 1762. Again, looking at neighbors mentioned in the deed, this property is definitely Enon Hall. So, the Hathaways were not at Enon Hall until 1762. (I have not yet located a deed related to the disposal of the 1666 property. Are the plantations mentioned in William III's will the same, or is one of them perhaps the Middlesex property?)

This brings us to the dating of the house that stands at Enon Hall today. Was this house standing there when the Hathaways purchased the land in 1762? The fact that the property had a name ("Andrews") seems to indicate that there was a home located there.

(Note added 6/25/04: Further research of the Donaldson/Hathaway deed indicates that there was a house and outbuildings...likely the smokehouse and kitchen quarters...on the property in 1762. See here.)

Do we feel different about Enon Hall upon learning that its history does not go back as far as we thought? I have to admit that there have been moments of dissapointment involved with some of these revelations, but the bottom line is that we grow more attached to this old homestead every week and don't regret for a minute having made it an important part of our family's life.


A special thanks to Ann Dorsey from Christ Church and Cylde Ratcliffe of LifeLine Genealogy who were instrumental in bringing a lot of this new information to light for us.

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