Truro Parish Vestry to Francis Fauquier
Fairfax County Truro Parish Feby 4th 1766
We the Vestry of Truro Parish beg leave to recommend to yr Honour’s Notice and Favour, the Bearer, Mr Lee Massey, who has an Intention of entring into holy Orders, provided he can have a Certainty of this Parish and as his Character and Personal Merit is well-known to us, we are very desireous of receiving him, and have given him the best Title in our Power.1 But it being probable that he cannot return from England while the Parish remains in our disposal; we most earnestly recommend him to your Honour’s good Offices herein, and if you will be pleased to favour him with an Induction or Presentation to this Parish, in case he returns after the Expiration of our right, we will engage to keep the same vacant for him as long as it is in our power.2 An Answer will very particularly oblige Your Honour’s most obedt humble Servants.
Go. Wm Fairfax
Thos Withers Coffer
Copy (photocopy), Truro Parish Vestry Book description begins Vestry Book of Truro Parish, Virginia, 1731–1802. Manuscript on deposit at the Library of Congress. description ends , 115. The manuscript is marked, “Copy Test John Barry Clerk Vestry.”
The Rev. Charles Green, rector of Truro Parish, died in the spring of 1765. During the months after his death the Rev. James Scott of Dettingen Parish and the Rev. John Andrews of Cameron Parish sometimes officiated in Truro. At their 3–4 Feb. 1766 meeting the vestry took the following action: “Whereas Mr Lee Massey, an Inhabitant of this Parish, haveing this day offered to supply the place of a Minister therein. and the Vestry, being of opinion that he is a Person well Qualified for the Sacred Function, have agreed to recommend him to the Favour of his Grace the Bishop of London & of the Governor of this Colony, for an Introduction to this said Parish, and to Receive him upon his return properly Qualified to discharge the said Office” (Truro Parish Vestry Book description begins Vestry Book of Truro Parish, Virginia, 1731–1802. Manuscript on deposit at the Library of Congress. description ends , 110). Lee Massey (1732–1814), a practicing attorney and a friend of GW, was ordained by the bishop of London, licensed for Virginia on 21 Sept. 1766, and took the king’s bounty on 21 October. He became rector of Truro Parish in February 1767 and served the parish until 1777.
1. At this same meeting the vestry also addressed a letter to the bishop of London in which they “do hereby agree and oblige ourselves to keep the said Parish Vacant . . . and to receive and provide for the said Mr Lee Massey as Rector thereof” (Truro Parish Vestry Book description begins Vestry Book of Truro Parish, Virginia, 1731–1802. Manuscript on deposit at the Library of Congress. description ends , 114).
2. A law passed by the Virginia general assembly in 1748 provided “That the sole right of presentation shall be, and remain, in the several vestries, for and during the term of twelve months next after a vacancy shall happen in their respective parishes” (6 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 88–90). After that, the right would remain with the governor.
3. A decision was also made on the location of a new Upper Church. An agreement between the vestry and Edward Payne, who was to act as undertaker, or builder, was drawn up on 4 Feb., and GW was one of five vestrymen instructed to view and examine the building periodically. The Upper Church, or Payne’s as it was usually called, was finished in 1768 (Truro Parish Vestry Book description begins Vestry Book of Truro Parish, Virginia, 1731–1802. Manuscript on deposit at the Library of Congress. description ends , 109–15).