Snow Hill Farm
Established in 1769 by William Alsop
Situated on a bluff overlooking the Po River in Spotsylvania County, Virginia, Snow Hill Farm today retains the gentle ambiance that has graced its existence for over two centuries. Stately boxwoods, oak, sycamore, dogwood, locust, chestnut and cedar trees line the drive leading to the main house. Springs still flow from its passer, including the one near the main house where throughout Snow Hill's first century celebrations and barbecues were held among the terraced gardens. A 200 year old brick and stone meat house with an adjacent dairy still stands, as does a guesthouse built in 1800. Time worn steps from the county's antebellum courthouse lead up to the main house, silent witness to Spotsylvania's historic significance in the birth and preservation of a nation.
Snow Hill was first formed by William Alsop in 1769. William's son Benjamin was one of the first to take up arms in the American Revolution, becoming a Minuteman in September of 1775 at the age of 17. Benjamin served at a Lieutenant in the Continental Army (he was eventually promoted to Major following the war) and saw action under General Washington at the Battle of Trenton, the crossing of the Delaware, and the harsh winter at Valley Forge. Wounded three times at the Battle of Brandywine, Benjamin remained with the army until the death of his father prompted his return to Snow Hill. During the war's last year he joined the army of General Lafayette as it marched toward Orange, Virginia and was in the vicinity of Yorktown at the war's end.
During his last year, Benjamin Alsop helped Snow Hill prosper and become a major plantation. He died at Snow Hill a the age of 74 and is buried in Snow Hill Cemetery along with other family members. In 1990 The Sons of the American Revolution honored Benjamin Alsop be dedicating a marker at his grave.
The next owner of Snow Hill was Stapleton Crutchfield who married the daughter of Benjamin Alsop, Sarah Ann in 1833. Crutchfield served as Clerk of the Court for Spotsylvania County until his death in 1859. He and his children increased the size of the plantation to a point where prior to the Civil War over 100 slaves were owned. Detailed inventories of the family's possessions and newspaper descriptions of the property still exist.
During the Civil War, Stapleton Crutchfield IV served as a Colonel in the Confederate Army and as Chief of Artillery under General Stonewall Jackson. Crutchfield was severely wounded during the Battle of Chancellorsville and had his leg amputated. He taught at Virginia Military Academy before being assigned command of the heavy artillery in the final defense of Richmond. Shot through the head as he led men in a skirmish near Appomattox just before the war's end, Crutchfield's body was never recovered.
General Stonewall Jackson, morally wounded in May of 1863 at Chancellorsville, passed by the farm on his way to Guinea Station where he died. As the war pressed in Spotsylvania, Snow Hill's strategic location at Snell Bridge required trenches and breastworks be dug throughout the plantation preparatory to the battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse in May of 1864. Confederate troops passed through the farm during their retreat toward Richmond. Following the battle and during retreat, General Robert E. Lee encamped along the Po River near Snell Bridge.
Despite its proximity to some of the war's bloodiest battles, many of the houses, barns, and outbuildings of Snow Hill were left standing. Ironically, in 1865 while the family was at the courthouse on legal business, a servant threw pine cones into a fireplace and the resulting explosion of flames burned the house to the foundation. As a result, the house today is a combination of the original foundation and cellar built in the 1700's and the three additions made since 1908.
Following the war, the Crutchfields, their finances devastated, lost the plantation to Dr. William Vorhees of New York and a group of northern investors. In 1898 ownership transferred to the C. E. Gordon family (direct descendants of Governor Spotswood) who for two generations raised dairy and beef cattle of the farm's 1500 acres. The Vorhees and Gordons both used the guesthouse as a main residence until the main house was rebuilt in 1908.
In 1989 the farm was purchased by the Weeks family. It continued to be a working farm producing mohair from angora goats, honey, eggs, rabbits and organically grown produce on the farm's remaining thirty-four acres.
Currently owned by the Melton family, Snow Hill is a working horse farm. Melton children and grandchildren enjoy caring for and riding horses on this wonderful land where history abounds.