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Calmes Neck Property Owners Association
A Virginia Nonstock Corporation

 Calmes Neck History..
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The Calmes Family and the Ownership of Calmes Neck
by Paul Zeisset

Marquis Calmes I
Marquis de la Calmes was born in France in about 1675. His father, Guillaume de Calmes, held the title of Seigneur de Barbeiran. While the family was titled, Marquis was probably not a rank [see notes]. The family was Huguenot, and Marquis fled with his parents from France to England in about 1685 to avoid the religious persecution in France, as the Edict of Nantes, promulgated in 1598 by Henry IV, was revoked by Louis XIV in 1685.
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Marquis de la Calmes arrived in Virginia between 1696 and 1700 with his wife Isabella. They first lived in a Huguenot settlement on the James River, then in 1705 they moved to a plantation in Stafford County, where he died prior to 1741 (although this cannot be confirmed due to the destruction of records during the Civil War) and his wife died in 1742.
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Marquis Calmes II

Their son, Marquis II, was born in Stafford County in 1705. He was educated in France, returned to Virginia about 1723, and lived for a while in Williamsburg. He married Winnifred Waller in 1725 and in 1734 they left Stafford County for land west of the Blue Ridge. They eventually settled in the Shenandoah Valley, in the part of Frederick County that eventually became Clarke County. In 1747, Marquis Calmes secured one of the Minor Grants for Land West of the Great Mountains, which Lord Fairfax confirmed by a deed when he took up his abode at Greenway Court. That tract was Calmes Neck.
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Marquis II was a leading citizen, holding office in the county government as well as in his parish. When Frederick County was organized in 1743, Marquis II was appointed one of the original twelve justices, and served until 1753. He was a church warden of Frederick Parish in 1746 and several succeeding years. He was commissioned a Captain in the militia against the Indians and attained the rank of Major in the Virginia Militia during the French and Indian War.
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Marquis II and Winnifred lived on the Vineyard Plantation (the main house of which is on Route 621, across the river south from the Calmes Neck recreation area, now owned by Charles Burwell). The 1747 deed shows a Calmes house across the river west of Calmes Neck, on land more recently owned by Richard Plater. Plater claimed to have found the foundation of such a building. There is no record of Calmes leasing or owning any part of Vineyard Plantation, which was then owned by Robert Carter. Marquis II is thought to have caused the planting of the vineyard on the Plantation, which was the first vineyard planted west of the Blue Ridge.
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Marquis II had considerable land holdings in addition to Calmes Neck. In 1741 he purchased 108 acres in Stafford County. He and others were granted 60,000 acres on the Monongahela River in what is now West Virginia. In addition, Marquis II owned a lot in Winchester when it was laid out in 1753, as did George Washington. On at least one occasion, Marquis II employed Washington to conduct a survey.
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Marquis Calmes II died in 1755 and was buried on the Vineyard Plantation next to his wife. A century later, Winnifred’s tombstone was moved to Old Chapel Cemetery, but that of Marquis was beyond repair and was not moved.

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Marquis Calmes III

Their son, Marquis Calmes III, born in 1726, was likely the first family member to live on Calmes Neck, probably from about 1750 until his death in Jan. 1794. Marquis III served as a Captain of Colonial Troops under Lord Dunmore during the French and Indian War, and as a major in the Revolutionary War. His nephew, Marquis Calmes IV, was a captain in the Revolutionary War, after which he settled in Kentucky. Marquis IV also served as a general in the War of 1812.
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In 1790, Marquis Calmes III brought a suit against John Graves for encroaching on his land. Graves had built a house near the end of Little River Lane and claimed it was on his own property, until a 1792 survey demonstrated otherwise.

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Subsequent disposition of Calmes Neck

Marquis III’s wife Betty Combs Calmes lived at Calmes Neck until her death in Sept. 1804. Calmes Neck was willed to George Gibbs Calmes by Marquis III and he took possession on the death of Betty Combs Calmes. George Calmes never lived on Calmes Neck, but lived in Hampshire Co., now in West Virginia, across the Potomac from Cumberland, Md. In 1834 his will transferred Calmes Neck to heirs including his daughter Lucy Perry. When Lucy Perry died she left nine children, including George Calmes Perry and Marquis Perry.
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The Calmes Neck property was finally sold “in the case of George C. Perry and others vs. Marquis Perry and others” in 1884 to Thomas M. Nelson. Marquis III’s will had provided for the reservation of twenty acres to be laid off around the family burying ground “in case my said Nephew Capt George Calmes or his Heirs should ever Sell” the property. No mention of the burying ground is made in the Nelson deed or any subsequent deed, nor does any map of which we know record where that burying ground might be.
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Nelson owned the property for 22 years before he died, but in the following 54 years there were 14 changes of ownership, culminating in the purchase of Calmes Neck in 1960 by Double E Land and Cattle Company.
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In all of that time, Calmes Neck remained with the boundaries defined in 1747 in the grant from Lord Fairfax. The original grant did, however, retain mining rights and “reserving also all Deer, Elks and Buffaloes, Bears and all manner of game”. Lord Fairfax may have taken the elk and buffalo, but we have more deer now than Marquis Calmes or Lord Fairfax ever imagined.

Notes:.
Excerpt from Clarke Times-Courier, June 28, 2000, page 5 “Cemetery is marked for future”:

“Another mystery concerns the progenitor of the Calmes family, the first Marquis Calmes, who came to the colony in the late 1600s. Was he really a French Marquis, a title of the nobility? “[Jerry] Dalton [of the Genealogical Society of Versailles, KY] doesn’t think so. He said there is a chateau in France belonging to the de Calmes Family, but they would have been the ‘lesser’ nobility. Marquis was too high a rank,” for the owner of that little chateau, Dalton said. His research shows the family rose to the nobility by providing some of the money to ransom the king of France from the Spaniards.”

Other sources:
Buck, Walter H. A short sketch of the Calmes family. Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association, Vol 10, 64-72 (1950)
Calmes Notes, Volume I, Issue I, January, 1992, issued by the Genealogical Society of Versailles (KY)
Calmes Notes, Volume VII, Issue III, July, 1998
Calmes Notes, Volume VII, Issue IV, October, 1998

“Calmes Family” in Pioneers in the Shenandoah Valley

“A History of the Calmes Family” compiled by Shannon Bennett, which in turn cites

Campbell, Mary Calmes (Mrs. Palmer Campbell) Calmes Data – from the records of the late William Fletcher Boogher, Richmond, Virginia.
Meade, Everard K. Frederick Parish, Virginia 1744-1780–part 1. Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association, Vol 5 (1945)
Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association, Vol 2, 28 (1942)
Volume 3 (1943) of the Proceedings of the Clarke County Historical Association contains reference to the dealings of Marquis II and/or III and land purchases of their relatives.

Personal correspondence to Fran Endicott from Eugene Cox.

Personal correspondence to the author from Eugene Cox.

This document is a work in progress. Further documentation of sources will be added to revisions of this document. Comments are welcome.
Revised: April 3, 2004
 

 

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