Original Information from Volume 5 of the Gravestone Books
“Cedar Grove,” home of the McCarty family, was situated on the west shore of Accotink Bay at its confluence with Pohick Bay. The family cemetery was about a quarter of a mile from the family home which was described by Kate Mason Rowland in The Life of George Mason as “beautifully situated on Pohick [Bay], and is a low, rambling frame building. . . . Its lovely water views, from its commanding position on high ground almost entirely surrounded by the creek, are its chief attraction now , but in former days, with its lawns, its orchards, and its shrubberies, it must have made a delightful residence.”
Major Dennis McCarty (1704-1742), son of Captain Daniel McCarty (1683/4-1724) of Westmoreland County, Virginia, made his home at Cedar Grove with his wife Sarah Ball, one of George Washington’s cousins. Dennis McCarty was a representative to the House of Burgesses from Prince William County and a vestryman for Truro Parish. He added acreage to the land he had inherited from his father and established the estate “Mount Air” (or “Mount Airy”) (q.v.) which eventually became the home of his son Daniel McCarty (died 1792) and his wife Sinah Ball. Daniel and Sinah Ball McCarty’s son Daniel (died 1801) married Sarah Mason, daughter of George Mason IV, and lived at Cedar Grove. (Information taken from accounts of the McCarty family in McCartys of Virginia by Clara S. McCarty and Families of Pohick Church compiled by Chester A. Liddle, Jr.)
In her account of the life and correspondence of George Mason, Rowland describes the family cemetery at Cedar Grove as “perhaps a half mile from the house, in a dense grove of oaks and poplars. Bending back the thick branches in this Druid-like solitude, and stooping over fallen trees, one finds three graves, with their gray, moss-covered stones, marking the spots where rest Dennis McCarty and his grandson, Daniel McCarty, with the wife of the latter, who was a daughter of Colonel Mason.”
According to tradition, Dennis McCarty was buried at Mount Air when he died in 1742, but as Edith Sprouse relates in a history of the estate published in 1970, the gravestones at Mount Air were moved to the McCarty family plot at Cedar Grove during the nineteenth century because the “mistress of Mount Air found it depressing to see tombstones whenever she looked out the front window.” It is not known whether the burials were removed to Cedar Grove with the gravestones.
The McCarty Family Cemetery file in the Virginia Room, Fairfax City Regional Library, contains notes from a 1961 interview with a Mr. Tyler whose father, Daniel Tyler, rented Cedar Grove and farmed the land there for many years beginning in the early 1880s. Mr. Tyler described the house and area and stated that the “road to the cemetery was on the left side of the house, running downhill and along the edge of a field on the lower ground by Accotink Bay.” The graveyard, he remembered, was about one-quarter of a mile from the house. Mr. Tyler stated that a gravestone for Daniel McCarty was stolen during the time the Tylers lived at Cedar Grove. This may have been a gravestone for Daniel McCarty who died in 1792. He also described a slave cemetery “along the shore” which had many small gravestones which were “all taken away.” (See Cedar Grove Slave Cemetery.)
Carrie White Avery included information about the “McCarty Family Burying Ground” in her unpublished manuscript Genealogical Records Gathered from Graveyards, Public Monuments and Family Papers in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. She described the location of the family plot as “near Gunston Hall, on the Potomac, across the Bay from ‘Lookout.’” Three gravestones were found at the site in 1922 by a Doctor Miller who was stationed at Camp Humphreys (now Fort Belvoir). “There was only one stone standing at the time,” Mrs. Avery said, “but by his persistent efforts the other two stones have been set in concrete and concrete posts put around the cemetery with an iron chain running thru[ough] the posts.”
In 1994, Brian Conley, Information Specialist in the Virginia Room of the Fairfax City Regional Library, visited Cedar Grove which is now a part of the Accotink Bay Wildlife Refuge on the grounds of Fort Belvoir. He found the cemetery about one-quarter of a mile from the site where the house once stood and noted “all that remains of the cemetery is an overgrown plot surrounded by a few concrete posts” -- most likely those placed around the cemetery by Doctor Miller. Mr. Conley saw evidence of possible damage to the gravesites by twentieth century mining activities. The cemetery, he reported, “is overgrown and very difficult to locate.”
The three gravestones recorded by Doctor Miller now stand in the upper churchyard at Pohick Church (q.v.), in front of the vestry house.
to the memory of
who departed this life
March 1st 1801
in the 43d year of his age.
He was at 16 years of age a Lieut.
in the Revolutionary war and was
in the battles of Brandywine,
to the memory of
Mrs. Sarah McCarty
daughter of “George Mason of 76”
and wife of Daniel McCarty.
She departed this Life, Sept, 11th
1823, in the 63d year of her age.
Denis (sic) McCarty
who died March 25th
in the 38th Year of his age.
No Updates from Volume 6 of the Gravestone Books