The History of Cameron Parish

  Prior to 1748 the religious needs of the whole of Northern Virginia - in what is now Fairfax and Loudoun Counties - was served by the clergy in Truro Parish, based in eastern Fairfax. By 1748, however, the increased population in the western portion of Northern Virginia had grown too large and too far away for the clergy to serve. A new parish was deemed necessary, and Truro Parish was divided. The new parish was named after a minor title of Thomas, Lord Fairfax, Baron of Cameron. In 1748 Cameron Parish was understood as a tract of land lying on the border of Fairfax and Loudoun Counties.

  By 1749, the population of Truro Parish was estimated at 3,844 and that of Cameron Parish at 2,191. At this time the Fairfax Courthouse was located (according to Fairfax County, Virginia, History by Nan Netherton and others) at ..."the place called Springfield near what is known as Tysons Corner. Two years later the courthouse was moved to Alexandria. Because of the greater distances involved residents of upper (western) Fairfax County petitioned in October 1754 to become a separate county." Thus, on 8 June 1757 Loudoun County was formed from the western lands of Fairfax. This new county included most of Cameron Parish.

  The people of the area were of diverse backgrounds including Scots-Irish, German, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Quakers from Pennsylvania; however, the official "state" religion was Anglican and all taxpayers were expected to pay taxes to support the church. Unfortunately, Cameron Parish had a population of less affluent people than in Fairfax, and in 1766 the vestry of Truro was directed to sell its glebe and church plat, and to divide the proceeds between Truro and Cameron Parishes in an attempt to offset Cameron's lack of funds.

  In June of 1770, again due to increased pressure of a growing population, a new parish, Shelburne Parish, was formed out of the western portion of Cameron. Cameron Parish had now shrunk to comprising just the area bounded by four waterways: the Potomac on the north, Bull Run on the south, Goose Creek to the west, and Difficult Run in the east.

Because the Cameron Glebe was not conveniently located the vestry was authorized to sell it and use the proceeds to purchase "a more convenient glebe... and erect buildings thereon for the use and benefit of the Minister of said Parish of Cameron."

  Sadly, the Cameron Parish record books from the colonial era were either lost or destroyed long before the 20th century. Facts about the Parish were subsequently gleaned from records of surrounding areas. Those other records reveal that Spence Grayson was a minister of the Parish. He was from a prominent family, the son of Benjamin and Susan (Monroe) Grayson, and lived at Belle Air in Prince William County. Spence Grayson married Mary Elizabeth Wagener, sister of Col. Peter Wagener, Fairfax County Clerk and Revolutionary War soldier. Spence Grayson's nephew was Col. William Grayson who also achieved fame in the Revolution.

  After the Revolution the parish declined, but its location as a geographical area was firmly established as shown in the census records of Virginia for 1830 and 1850, in which it is recorded as Cameron of Loudoun County.

  Today, what remains of this parish lies in the eastern part of Loudoun County.