An American Family History

Amos Fox

“Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves,
and, under a just God cannot retain it."
― Abraham Lincoln

The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783) was between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the 13 colonies which became the newly formed United States.

The Potomac River flows into the Chesapeake Bay and is about 405 miles long.

Amos Fox was born on September 7, 1739 in Kingwood, Hunterdon County, New Jersey. He was the son of George and Mary Fox.

He inherited half of his father's land land with the instruction that his mother was to live with him if she did not marry again. 

When he was 22, he married Annie Combs in December 2, 1761 in Virginia. Annie was the daughter of Francis and Anna Combs and was born on April 18, 1739 in Kingwood.

Amos appeared in the census of Loudoun County, Virginia in 1769, 1771, 1772, and 1810. The records indicate that he had enslaved a person.

Amos and Annie's children included:
Dinah Fox Storts (1763), 
Morris Fox (1765),
Isaac Fox (1767),
Gabriel Fox (1771, married Jane S. Millan),
Gideon Fox (1773),
Lydia Fox Johnston (1774, married John S. Johnston),
Annie Fox Thomas (1776, married Joseph Thomas),
Mary W. Fox Mason (1780, married William W. Mason) and
Amos Fox, Jr. (1783, married Lucy Hardey). 

He appeared on 1768 list of tithables for Loudoun County, Virginia.

In 1784, Amos Fox, petitioned the courts to build a mill near the source of Difficult Run, a tributary of the Potomac. Difficult Run is just between Dulles Airport and Tysons Corners in Fairfax County, Virginia. The mill was known as the Difficult Mill. His petition remained in the court until 1787 when he obtained the necessary permission.

In 1803, Thomas Fairfax took the Fox family to court because their mill encroached on his land.

Amos died on March 22, 1806 when he was 66 years old in Virginia. Ann died on December 26, 1812.

When Amos died, his three sons, Morris, Isaac, and Gabriel inherited the mill, but in 1813, Gabriel got sole possession of it.

Children of George and Mary Fox
  • Anchor Fox Bonham
  • Absalom Fox
  • George Fox
  • Gabriel Fox
  • Ambrose Fox
  • Mary Fox
  • Amos Fox
  • Hunterdon County was originally part of Burlington County, West Jersey. It was set off from Burlington County on March 11, 1714. It included Amwell, Hopewell, and Maidenhead Townships.

    A tithable was a person for whom a head tax was to be paid. The definition varies over time and place, but generally included members of the potentially productive labor force.
    A poll tax is a tax levied on every poll. The definition of a poll also varied, but was generally a man of legal age.

    Kingwood Township is on the western border of Hunterdon County, New Jersey. It was founded in 1798.
    Loudoun County is part of Northern Neck of Virginia. Settling of the Loudoun area began between 1725 and 1730. Settlers came from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Maryland.



    9th/10th Oct 1769 Deed Book G
    pg 188-191

    Indenture between Amos Fox and Gabriel Fox for land purchased by Amos Fox of Samuel Oldham and Martha his wife by deed bearing date 18 Aug 1764.....


    1 May 1774 Deed Book K
    pg 213-215

    Indenture between Gabriel Fox and Ann his wife and Amos Fox for land which Amos Fox had purchased from Samuel Oldham and his wife Martha bearing date 18 Aug 1764, which said Oldham purchased from Thomas Johnston and Elizabeth his wife of county of Caroline by deed bearing date 28 Jun 1749.
    beginning at white oak for a corner by Difficult Run......
    part of the same in Parish of Cameron and the other part in Parish of Truro in County of Fairfax.


    13 Feb 1777
    Deed Book L
    pg 328-329

    Indenture between Amos Fox and Ann his wife and William Stone of Fairfax Virginia for the sum of five shillings current money of Virginia land ......which Amos Fox puchased from Capt. Samuel Oldham



    13 Mar 1787
    1792-1793 Deeds,
    pg 78-82
    Indenture between William Stone and Amos Fox for land Fox had purchased from Samuel Oldham; witnessed by Thomas Oden


    10 Sep 1792
    1792-1793 Deeds,
    pg 74-76
    Amos Fox sells land to Richard Bland Lee that he purchased from Samuel Oldham

    The Foxes are Mayflower descendants: Samuel Fuller, Hannah Fuller Bonham, Hezekiah Bonham , Amariah Bonham, Christian Bonham Fox, Bonham Fox, Levi Fox, John Newton Fox

    "Mills and Mill Sites in Fairfax County Virginia and Washington, D.C." by Marjorie Lundegard, August 10, 2009

    This mill was located near the source of Difficult Run. The mill was also known as the Difficult Mill and the Waples’ Mill. The mill was located near the intersection of 664 and 665 (Waples’ Mill Rd.and Fox Mill Rd.)

    Amos Fox, in 1784, petitioned the courts to build a mill on this site. For some reason there was opposition to this petition. His petition remained in the court until 1787 when he obtained permission to build a mill on this site. At this time, Amos built a mill at this site. The mill was profitable for two decades.

    When Amos died, his three sons, Morris, Isaac, and Gabriel inherited the mill around 1807. The sons replaced the mill with a modern more complex gristmill and sawmill. The sons did not have the same business skills as did Amos.

    A neighbor, Thomas Fairfax, took them to court in 1803 concerning the encroachment of the mill on his lands. Another neighbor, in 1812, filed the same complaint in court. The suit claimed that the mill pond encroached on his land.

    In 1813, Gabriel got sole possession of the mill. Not much is known about the operation of the mill from 1813 to 1850. Gabriel’s wife died sometime during this period. Around 1840 he married a Mrs. Summers. Gabriel was listed as a very wealthy man. He owned lots of land and slaves in Fairfax County. He had three mills that were well known.

    When Gabriel died, his wife’s son, William Thomas Summers, was the superintendent of the mills that consisted of a woolen mill, a grist mill and a flour mill. The flour mill was a large three story building with a large millpond that was formed by the dammed up creek. The pond was about one fourth mile wide and one half mile long. There was a long millrace to the mill. The mill had a very large water wheel. The mills were about three miles from the old court house. Around 1850, Gabriel’s widow was listed as the owner of the mill complex. Henry Waples, a neighbor, ran the mill for Mrs. Fox. Sometime in the 1850’s the mill was bought by Henry Waples. In 1879 the mill was known as the Difficult Grist and Sawmill.
    A sawmill was an important developmental step in a community. Before sawmills, boards could only be sawn by two men with a whipsaw. In a sawmill, the circular motion of a water wheel was changed to the back-and-forth motion of the saw blade with a pitman arm.

    A grist mill is a building where a miller grinds gain into flour.
    Slavery is an immoral system of forced labor where people are treated as property to be bought and sold. It was legal in the American Colonies and the United States until the Civil War.

    from Alexandria Gazette, September 4, 1844.

    At his residence (Fox Mill's) Fairfax County, Va., on the 28th ultimo, Mr. Gabriel Fox, aged 73 years and 7 months.  Mr. Fox was an unostentatious but a very respectable and highly useful citizen. His example for enterprise and industrious pursuit of his business was excellent. This through a good constitution was continued, until stopped by his last sickness a few days before his death. 

    He will be much missed by the poorer class of people in his neighborhood. His course toward them in many points are well worthy of imitation by those having the abillity. For instance, in the latter part of the summers when corn was scarce, and the waters low, and persons of property would come to him to engage him to supply them with meal, perhaps offering him an extra price, he would tell them you have means to purchase with, go elsewhere and buy; I cannot more than supply those of my customers who have not the means of procuring from other sources. Thus instead of speculating on the necessitities of the people, he would forego an extra profit to supply the poor with bread.

    Though he had never made a profession of religion, we have good reason to hope that he rest in peace. May the Lord sustain his breaved family under this truly heavy affliction.  

    Mister ( Mr.) was derived from master and Mrs. and Miss were derived from mistress. They indicated people of superior social status in colonial America.


    William and Mary College Quarterly Historical Magazine, 1918

    In Kentucky there are representatives of still another Virginia Fox family, that of Amos Fox, of Fairfax. These are Mrs. Andrew Broaddus (Francis Duncan Broaddus), and her sister, Mrs. Julia Weaver, of Louisville, and Mrs. Allie Gay Jones, of Winchester. By the kindness of Mrs. Broaddus, I am able to give these names and dates:

    Amos Fox, son of George and Mary, born September 7, 1739; married December 2, 1761, Annie Combs, daughter of Francis and Anna, born April 18, 1739, and had these children: Dinah, Morris, Isaac, Gabriel, Gideon, Lydia, Annie, Mary W. and Amos.

    Amos, born April 16, 1783, married, May 21, 1809, Lucy Dent Hardy, and had, beside other children, Mary Ivea Fox, born November 28, 1814, dying 1887, and, having married Charles Young Duncan, thereby became the ancestress of Mrs. Broaddus.

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    ©Roberta Tuller 2023
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