17 Apr 2017 Farmington Country Club, Charlottesville, VA
photos by Monte Bradley, except where noted
The Thomas Jefferson Chapter joined with the Jack Jouett Chapter, NSDAR, and Peter Jefferson Society, C.A.R., to honor George Divers, who was the paymaster of the 14th Virginia of the Continental Army. He was buried next to his wife, Martha Walker Divers, and their infant son, Thomas Jefferson Divers. The Virginia SAR was represented by 1st Vice President Pat Kelley, who also participated in the Color Guard. Past Virginia SAR President Phil Williams was the master of ceremonies. The Thomas Jefferson Chapter Color Guard was augmented by color guardsmen from three other chapters: Colonel William Grayson, Culpeper Minutemen, and George Mason. They were joined by a member of the DAR with the DAR State Flag. Amazing Grace was played on the bag pipe by John Lowry and a 3-volley musket salute was fired, after the unveiling of the markers. A crowd of about 75 people attended the ceremony.
GEORGE DIVERS (ca 1748 – 1830)
George Divers was born about 1748, probably in Fredericksville Parish, Albemarle County, Colony of Virginia Many of the government records of that time period were destroyed in both the American Revolution and the American Civil War. Sources have not yet been found which identify his ancestors.
George is listed as a signer of the Dissenters Petition, Albemarle, Amherst and Buckingham, supporting the Declaration of Independence and disagreeing with any who would support a state church. The signers said, “to put every religious Denomination on equal Footing, to be supported by themselves, independent of one another, would not only be a just and reasonable mode of Government, but would most certainly have an happy Influence of the greater Purity of the several Churches; on their more free and friendly Intercourse with one another.” This petition was presented to the State Legislature in November, 1776.
During the American Revolution, George served as a paymaster in the 14th Regiment, Continental Army which was formed in Virginia in 1777.
In 1785 George purchased ‘Farmington’ from the family of Francis Jerdone, Sr. He became a merchant and an avid farmer. Farmington was said to have been the seed nursery for Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson would bring seeds and plants from his travels. He then gave them to George to nuture. George maintained three huge, brick-walled gardens in which he experimented with a large variety of plants and seeds. One of the favorite neighborhood activities was to see who would harvest spring peas first; the winner hosted a neighborhood dinner. That dinner was usually held at Farmington.
George and Mr. Jefferson, became interested in raising sheep for their wool and meat. Up to this time, sheep were mostly raised for manure for fertilizer. The meat and wool were of poorer quality, so they were used to feed and clothe the slave population on the plantation. However, Jefferson had come home from Europe with tales of sheep whose wool was so fine that a pair of socks made from it could cost as much as a guinea a pair ($300). He and George began obtaining more exotic animals from Scotland, Spain and Tunis which had this fine wool or higher quality meat.
Because George and Martha had no children who lived to become adults, George willed the property to nieces and nephews of Martha. One story told of them is that one nephew, in particular, named Isaac White, they had never met. When a young man appeared claiming to be said Isaac White, a ball was held in his honor. The young man was given a gold watch. He proved to be an imposter when the real Isaac White arrived!
George died at Farmington in 1830 – a year after his wife, Martha. His obituary states, ‘In his death, society at large and a widely extended circle of friends and connections have sustained a loss deeply to be deplored. Society, at large, because he was a public benefactor by his example and his worth; and his friends and connexions because they have felt his kindness and know his charity.’