Because I have owned property through which the headwater stream (“The Origin”) of the Rappahannock River flows for over 50 years now I find it interesting (to say the least) that such a person as yourself would make an error and then print [‘Rappahannock ranked among America’s most endangered rivers,” April 13, 2017] that error in your/our local local newspaper .
The point of the actual origin is not within nearly a mile of Chester Gap! In fact some years ago when the various county governments decided it was time to clarify exactly where the counties’ (Warren, Rappahannock, Fauquier) exact lines were via survey it was discovered it actually was where I told them it was!
Because the various county officials were going to declare my property to been entirely within Fauquier county I raised a stink about it .
I went to the National Archives, found in the old land grant records where it actually was, took that information to public hearings on the issue in Warren and Rappahannock counties (in private, first, to [former Rappahannock County Commonwealth’s Attorney] Mr. Peter Luke) and presented it and added that I would file a legal action against any government entity that tried to re-locate the county lines to accommodate the idea that the origin of the river originates in Chester Gap much to the apparent displeasure of most of the people attending the public hearing in Chester Gap who disagreed with my point of view .
The “long and the short of it is” — I was correct and virtually all in attendance were wrong!
The only person that did vocally agree with me happened to be Mr. Luke who after I had informed him of the pending error finally took it on himself to drive to Richmond to the Virginia State Archives and corroborate my findings .
The “powers that be” at the time decided to ask me where I wished my property to be and I informed them and they then bent the county lines exactly around my property boundary lines to satisfy me and a portion of the old land grant records.
None of which makes the “origin” of the Rappahannock River in Chester Gap or even actually close to it!
If you would like to know where “The Headwater stream origin” is actually I would be happy to direct you to it .
My best to you sir.
James E. “Mac” McGrail
Editor’s note: The Rappahannock News accepted Mr. McGrail’s kind invitation for a fact-finding tour of his Huntly property, which will be reported in next week’s edition.