Original Information from Volume 5 of the Gravestone Books
The Wagener Family Cemetery is located near Colchester, about twenty yards northwest of Richmond Highway (Route 1) and about 100 yards north of the bridge over the Occoquan River, the border between Fairfax and Prince William Counties. This small cemetery measures about 50 by 50 feet and is surrounded by a four-foot-high chain link fence. The site is well maintained and lies adjacent to a golf driving range.
The Wagener family is discussed in detail by Fairfax Harrison in Landmarks of Old Prince William. He notes that “this interesting family was represented in Virginia throughout the eighteenth century by a succession of Peters,” the first being Parson Peter Wagener (1681-1742) who oversaw a parish in Virginia from 1703 to 1707, before returning to England. His son Peter Wagener (1717-1774) “appeared in Virginia in 1738,” to practice law. Soon after his arrival he told Governor Gooch that he would stay, “‘if the climate agreed with him, and he mett with Encouragement.’” The next year Peter Wagener married Katy Robinson, daughter of John Robinson of Piscataqua in Essex County, Virginia, according to a genealogy of the Robinson family in Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, volume 16, page 217.
Peter Wagener (1717-1774) served as Clerk of Prince William County and became Clerk of Fairfax County in 1752. His home along the Occoquan River was called Stisted, named for the parish in England where his father was parson after his short stint in Virginia. In 1753, Peter Wagener established a town near Stisted called Colchester, according to Harrison. Colchester stands near the confluence of the Occoquan and Potomac Rivers. In Colches-ter: Colonial Port on the Potomac, Edith Sprouse notes that the first trustees of the town were Peter Wagener, Edward Washington, Daniel McCarty, John Barry and William Ellzey.
The third Peter Wagener (1742-1798) married 14 April 1774, Sinah McCarty, daughter of Daniel McCarty, according to Sprouse. They had two sons, Beverly and Peter, and daughters Sinah, Ann, Sarah and Mary. Peter Wagener III succeeded his father as Clerk of Fairfax County. His name appears in George Washington’s diaries as a member of a group of McCarty men who often went foxhunting with Washington after 1760. Wagener served in the Revolution as first lieutenant and later as colonel.
In 1955, members of the Fairfax County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution erected a military marker in the Wagener Family Cemetery to memorialize Peter Wagener III (1742-1798), and his service to the Revolution. This gravestone was moved to Pohick Church (q.v.) in the 1970s and erected in the courtyard near the vestry house.
The Wagener Family Cemetery was surveyed in 1988, 1994, 1997 and 1998, and the results compared with an undated DAR survey (between 1955 and 1974) which was located in the NSDAR State File. The 1988 surveyor noted the concrete remains of a small structure at the site which was not fully evident in 1997 and 1998. The two gravestones in the cemetery have been laid flat on the ground and encased in concrete.
Update/Corrections/Additions from Volume 6 of the Gravestone Books
WAGENER FAMILY CEMETERY – UPDATE
After the publication of Volume V, Society member Charles G. Troup of San Antonio, Texas wrote to us about the exhumation and removal of the remains of Peter Wagener (1742-1798) from the Wagener Family Cemetery to Pohick Cemetery which he attended in 1974.
The exhumation party included an undertaker, a backhoe operator and several women, perhaps from the Daughters of the American Revolution, as well as Mr. Troup who took photographs and notes. When the backhoe operator found no evidence of a burial near Peter Wagener’s twentieth-century gravestone erected in 1955 by the DAR, he dug in another area, close to one of the other gravestones laying flat on the ground. During excavation in this area, the backhoe uncovered “a dark soil stain about four or five feet below the ground’s surface. The workman jumped into the hole onto the soil stain and proceeded to use his shovel to throw bones and bone fragments into a small box placed at ground level,” Mr. Troup writes. “Several bones broke apart on impact with the box. Only a portion of the stain was excavated. These bones were the bones later reburied at Pohick Church as those of Peter Wagener.”
It is Mr. Troup’s belief that the remains removed to Pohick Church were not those of Peter Wagener and were more likely those of one of the women whose gravestones still lie in the family plot.