Original Information from Volume 5 of the Gravestone Books
The French Family Cemetery was located at the end of May Boulevard in the Rose Hill Park area south of Franconia Road (Route 644). This was the home of Daniel French, “built on part of the George Mason Estate, of Gunston Hall, by Daniel French, who married Penelope Mason,” according to Mrs. Daingerfield Love in “Recollections of Rose Hill - FairfaxCounty, Virginia,” published in Historical Society of Fairfax County, Virginia, volume 6, 1958-59.
Daniel French was a Truro Parish Vestryman who, in 1769, signed the Articles of Agreement with the Vestry to build Pohick Church (q.v.) at its new site, according to the Handbook of Pohick Church. When he died before the church was completed, his friend and executor George Mason finished the work, Virginia Daingerfield reports in a 26 February 1937 Works Progress Administration of Virginia Historical Inventory about Rose Hill.
Originally Rose Hill was on high ground and “from the front lawn there was a magnificent view of the valley, in the direction of the Potomac River, which was seven miles away,” writes Mrs. Love. She goes on to describe the beautiful house with its fine woodwork and lovely garden. “The edge of the lawn was lined with lilac bushes and a variety of trees, among them were locust, horse chestnut, maple, cedar, pine and black walnut.” Today the old house is gone, but the many old trees standing in the neighborhood of contemporary homes gave the 1998 surveyor a glimpse into the grandeur of the past.
When Daniel French died in 1771, he was buried at Rose Hill. Mrs. Love remembers:
On the lawn where Daniel French was buried, a flat stone, a small weeping willow and an althea bush created a wonderfully mysterious place for us children to play. Often when mother went to town, we would “borrow” grandma’s crepe veil and play funeral. I have shed more tears over Daniel French and made more little bunches of flowers for him than any other person I have ever known.
In 1954, Robert L. May, who owned Rose Hill at that time, was preparing to sell the property. He granted French family descendants permission to move Daniel French’s gravestone to Pohick Church where it now lies behind the chapel, according to Mrs. Love and information on file in the Virginia Room of the Fairfax City Regional Library. Daniel French’s huge sandstone gravestone measures about three feet by seven feet and bears a long inscription which is included in the survey of Pohick Churchyard (see index).
No Updates from Volume 6 of the Gravestone Books