Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Hackney Castle of Kilmarnock, Virginia

Hackney Castle - Kilmarnock, Virginia
On the Chesapeake Bay

Our friends recently moved to the quaint town of Kilmarnock located in Virginia’s Northern Neck.  As soon as boxes were unpacked, she volunteered as a docent at the local history museum.  Upon our first visit to their new home she presented us with a genealogical mystery to solve.  Why is there so little information about the Hackney family and their castle?

The Information sheet at the museum states: “The Edmonds and Eubanks families owned the land …in 1892 it was sold to Mr. and Mrs. Dobson.” Upon Mr. Dobson’s death, the widow married Captain A. S. Hackney in 1901. 

A.S. Hackney was born in 1846, the second son of Joseph and Mariam Scull Hackney.  His full name was Armour Scull Hackney.  The middle name, Scull, was found on a public family tree so it hasn’t been confirmed but it seems reasonable.  His older brother was Mahlon, his two sisters were Almeda and Rejoice and the last child in the family was Clark.  Joseph’s occupation is listed on the census as seaman or bayman.  The family lived in the Egg Harbor Township of Atlantic County, New Jersey, near Atlantic City.

A.S. Hackney operated a sailing vessel transporting lumber from Virginia to Baltimore, and cargo back to Kilmarnock. 

Local history states it was Armour who built the “castle” out of wood he brought on his ship.  It is also rumored that the building was never finished inside, though Armour’s son, Harry and his wife Lela McKenney Hackney lived in the castle a short time and their daughter, Christina was born there.

Hard times fell on the family. The castle was claimed by the bank, eventually torn down and the lumber used elsewhere.

We are searching for additional information on the Hackney Castle as well as why Armour S. Hackney is not found on any census after the New Jersey state census of 1885 until his death 24 January 1925.

We have ordered an obituary search from the local New Jersey library, so maybe the mystery of what Armour was doing the last forty years of his life will be solved. Our guess is he lived on this boat.

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