|A portion of a map of Northern Virginia from 1862 [Image from the Library of Congress].|
In 1820, William Garges, a former merchant from Bucks County, Pa., purchased 134 acres at the intersection of Backlick Road and Little River Turnpike. That land had originally been part of the large Ravensworth tract.
Garges built a house for this family which at the time included his wife Susan and at least six children ranging from an infant to a 12-year-old. The Garges named their property “Anandale Farm,” and Anandale became the name of the village. (The current spelling, “Annandale,” began to be used at around the time of the Civil War.)
The Garges home was located near what is now the intersection of Columbia Pike and Little River Turnpike. Garges cultivated a wide variety of fruit trees and had a blacksmith shop. He established the Anandale post office in 1837 and was its first postmaster. Four years later, he tried to sell the farm, placing an ad in the Alexandria Gazette, but could not find a buyer.
Garges provided land for the Anandale Methodist Episcopal Church, and the Anandale Chapel was dedicated in December 1846. There is a grave marker in the cemetery for Susan Garges who died in 1828. William died in 1855.
William Garges sold a small triangular-shaped lot, including the farmhouse and blacksmith shop, in 1843 to his son, John Henry Garges. The son established a plow and wagon factory. It was destroyed in a fire in 1845 but was later rebuilt.
John Henry Garges expanded his business enterprises in Annandale, purchasing an additional eight and a-half acres on the south side of the turnpike in 1854. His obituary, published in 1904, says he owned a hotel, store, and livery stable in Annandale.
He had also purchased a one-acre lot on the Little River Turnpike with James Benton. The Manassas Gap Railroad was supposed to cross the turnpike at that spot and they built a sawmill for the railroad construction. The railroad was never finished, however, due to financial problems.
John Henry Garges was detrimentally impacted by his strong pro-union sentiments at the time of the Civil War. A devoted republican, he was arrested in 1859 for circulating, through the post office at Anandale, Hinton Helper’s book The Impending Crisis of the South. That book advanced the abolitionist theory that slavery hurt the economic prospects of the majority of southern whites. Distributing the book was viewed as an act of sedition.
Most other people in the area favored secession. Garges, along with a few of his neighbors, voted against secession, and he was called a “black Republican” due to his views. Garges was on the election commission, and voting in the Anandale precinct took place on his porch. Five days after the ordinance of secession was approved, Garges was forced to flee and moved to Washington, D.C. His family, which included his wife Martha and nine children, the youngest less than a year old, remained on the farm.
Garges filed a petition with Congress for financial relief for losses he sustained when Confederates destroyed his property because of his pro-union stance. After the war, his land was sold to pay for creditors who had sued him.