History of Lincoln

The village of Lincoln, in the middle of Loudoun County, is the heart of the Goose Creek Historic District, the first rural historic district in Virginia. Lincoln was originally settled by Quakers and called Goose Creek. It was renamed Lincoln at the end of the Civil War when an abolitionist sentiment led the local citizenry to seek a name that might appeal to the U.S. Postal Department. Although now smaller than it once was, with no general store, mill, or blacksmith, Lincoln bears, in spirit, a remarkable resemblance to the settlement that evolved nearly three centuries ago as Quakers moved to the area from Pennsylvania.

The Land, which is now included in the Goose Creek Historic District, was originally part of the Northern Neck Grant given by Charles II to the Culpepper and Fairfax families. This Northern Neck Grant, almost 5.2 million acres, contained all the land between the Rappahannock and Potomac Rivers, ending in what is today West Virginia, with a surveyed straight line between the headwaters of these rivers.

The settlement of western Loudoun probably began in the late 1720’s, when it is believed that farmers and tradesmen of German descent occupied the land around what is now Lovettsville; the Quakers began to come to the Waterford area around 1730. By 1733, Amos Janney was in Waterford and was soon acting as Lord Fairfax’s surveyor for the region. Amos surveyed nineteen of the original 25 grants which lie wholly or partially within the Historic District. John Hough, another Quaker, surveyed five of the remaining grants after Amos’s death in 1747. Only three of the original twenty five grants were made to non-Quakers. Among the names of the original grantees are Brown, Gregg Hatcher, Hough and Janney whose descendants continue to live in, or near, the Historic District.

Hannah Janney, a Quaker, was known to pray in the area of what is now called Lincoln in the early 1730’s. A monument, just south of the village marks the area. The first Meeting House, made of log, was replaced around 1765 with a stone structure which sits at the south end of the Village near the cemetery. The current Meeting House, made of brick, was built in 1817, across the street from the stone structure. Over the next 150 plus years, the Friends established schools for their children and those of others in the area. After the Civil War, they established another school, this one for the children of local black families. These old school buildings still remain as part of the community. In 1889 the Quakers gave much land and financial support for the building and establishment of the County’s first public school. The present Lincoln Elementary School, was, until 1955, the Lincoln High School. It served the students of western Loudoun since it was built at the turn of the last century.

From the early 1700’s through the mid 1900’s Lincoln was a bustling community with several businesses that supported the community around it. Today, although the Goose Creek Friends Meeting still occupies a central place in the community, the small Quaker settlement has become a village whose variety enhances and deepens our community’s spirit and life style. Our elementary school continues to be the pride of our community; it has garnered recognition for excellence by both state and federal governments.

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