Monday, May 19, 2014

Garden Party with Church of Our Saviour Connections

Hickory House Farm during Land Trust of VA Garden Party

Hickory House Farm was part of an early land
grant to Lord Fairfax,which was subsequently
purchased by Leven Powell, the founder of
Middleburg. While none of the original buildings
survive, there still remain gravestones along the farm
road dating from the early 1800's. The fieldstone
house was built in the late 18th Century.


Col. Leven Powell, known as the 'founder' of Middleburg, was a member of
Virginia's House of Burgesses, served with General Washington at Valley Forge, and
represented Virginia at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
His connection to Church of Our Saviour at Oatlands is through 
his two great granddaughters.

Kate Powell Carter

One great granddaughter was the mistress of Oatlands Plantation, the wife of
George Carter II. Her name was Kate Powell Carter and the east window at
our (old) church is a memorial to her for essentially starting a congregation at the
Oatlands Plantation during the Civil War when families did not have
horses at their disposal to travel to Leesburg or Aldie on Sunday.

Selina "Nina" Powell Hepburn

A second great granddaughter of Leven Powell was Selina 'Nina' Lloyd Powell 
She was 3 years younger than her second cousin Kate and married the first
minister of Church of Our Saviour, the Rev. Sewell Hepburn.

Right out of Virginia Seminary in Alexandria and ordained to the priesthood in 1869, Mr. Hepburn was hired
to assist the St. James, Leesburg rector in managing Church of Our Saviour and
other missions in the area, including the mission that would become St. Peter's in

Sewell Hepburn lodged at the Oatlands Mansion when ministering in the
Goose Creek neighborhood and  married 'Nina' Powell in
April 1871, four months after he arrived in Loudoun County. She was a teacher
at the Arlington Institute with her parents and sisters. Sewell and Nina met at least
a year before his 'appointment' to Oatlands and she may have encouraged him to apply for the 
                  This is a photo of the Rev. Hepburn with his famous granddaughter,
actress Katherine Hepburn.

                 THE CHURCH OF OUR SAVIOUR by Augusta Adams 2001

“The earliest written records concerning the parish (Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands) 
date from the early 1870’s, when the Rev’d Sewall S. Hepburn received a call to assist 
the Rev’d Richard Terrell Davis, D.D., Rector of St. James Church, Leesburg. 
Mr. Hepburn, who from 1871 to 1875 rode circuit to various missions around Leesburg, 
giving the following account:

""Mrs. (Kate Powell) Carter was a near relative of Mrs. Hepburn and a woman of rare character. 
Through her zeal and wise planning, an abandoned blacksmith’s shop, just out of the lawn 
and near the overseer’s house, had been fitted up for a chapel, and here I was to have service 
once a month. It was the only organized 
religious gathering for the immediate community at that time, which was ‘the day of small things.’ 
It has since grown into a church located on the pike.

So, although it remains unlikely that the original provenances and location of the present 
“restored” cabin can be established with certainty, a log building had been converted into 
a chapel under the kind auspices of Kate Powell Carter, mistress of Oatlands Plantation, 

probably in the late 1860’s or early 1870’s. It is reasonable to assume that Mrs. Carter’s 
daily routine at Oatlands House would have included a regular time for prayers, to be attended 
by her family, visiting relatives and friends, and her household staff.  It is also reasonable to 
assume that these home observances, in the strong Virginia tradition, would have been based 
upon the  BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER. In providing a chapel for the community, 
Mrs. Carter was both following strong precedents and fulfilling what she regarded as a religious obligation.

The Rev’d Mr. Hepborn…..arrived in Leesburg on the Saturday preceding the first Sunday 
in January 1871. He describes his duties:

My work lay around Leesburg, from the Potomac across the Short Hill range to the foothills 
of the Cotoctin and down to Goose Creek, bordering on Aldie. It coverered an area of about 
15 by 24 miles. In this I had three places to look after; Christ Church at Goresville (now Lucketts), 
Cotactin Union Church, near Hamilton, and Oatlands on the Pike to Aldie, near Goose Creek Mill. 
I was to keep each place open twice monthly,  take a night service twice montly in Leesburg, 
while the rector went on a mission - All those preaching points were missions that had been 
established by rectors of Shelbourn Parish, from the mother church in Leesburg. I was the 
first rector in charge of them as an independent work.

Oatlands is on the pike from Leesburg to Aldie, and borders Goose Creek.  It is one of the most 
valuable and attractive plantations of the many in Loudoun. It embraces twelve to fifteen hundred 
acres of unusually fine land. The family dwelling is one to please the most fastidious taste. 
The walk-in, terraced garden is . . . a charm. In the lawn, a grove of forest trees adds greatly 
to the attractiveness of the place.

Oatlands had not suffered materially the the war. it was still in good physical condition. 
The great retinue of servants had been depleted; still, there were enough to meet the demands 
of the place. The owner, Mr. George Carter, had inherited it from his father, who, with the 
display of good taste and the outlay of large sums of money had made it the place it is now.
My work here was most pleasant, made so, by the family owning the place. Oatlands became 
my headquarters when in the neighborhood. From there I radiated through the surrounding country.”

Donna Basinger’s Notes 2014

The Rev’d Sewell Hepburn, grandfather of actress Katherine Hepburn,  spent many nights as a 
guest at Oatlands while riding circuit to various Episcopal missions around Leesburg. 
The Oatlands congregation began meeting in the log cabin on the Plantation during the 
Civil War when Northern and Southern armies confiscated all the neighborhood horses and 
carriages and parishioners were unable to travel to Aldie or Leesburg for church services. 
Kate Powell Carter, mistress of Oatlands Plantation, graciously provided a chapel for the 
neighborhood.  After the war the Rev’d Richard Terrell Davis, rector of St. James Leesburg, 
visited the log cabin chapel regularly until he called the Rev’d Sewell Hepburn to assist him 
with the various missions around Leesburg. 

26 year old Rev’d Hepburn arrived in Leesburg in January of 1871 and immediately took 
charge of the congregation at Oatlands and was a guest at the Plantation.

Four months later, on April 13th, he married Kate Powell Carter’s second cousin, 28 year old 
Selina Lloyd Powell. They were married in Alexandria, Virginia where Selina was assisting 
her parents as a teacher at their Arlington Institute. It is likely they met when Sewell
attended he Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria.

In 1875 he left for another assignment, probably near his family home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

First service in brick church Easter April 1, 1877

Consecration of building August 21, 1878 by Bishop Francis W. Wittle.

East window of Church of Our Saviour, Oatlands is a memorial to Kate Powell Carter

Red Bud in bloom on April 27 during Historic Garden Week

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