Rev James Marye and son Rev. James Marye, Jr dominated St. Georges from 1735 to 1780, an usually long period of time for the service of priests.
James Marye was a French Catholic priest who subsequently converted to Anglicanism when he moved to England. As was common at the time the priest taught in a school in Fredericksburg. Marye is known as a teacher of George Washington though as our historian Quenzel it is an ‘unconfirmed tradition’.
Marye was a builder The Church was enlarged with a 32 foot addition making the church “T” shaped. In 1759 a gallery was erected at the west end. The cemetery was also walled in during his years. Several other objects appeared – a sun dial and a bell. The only possession we have left from this period is a 1752 Bible. (A similar Bible was also provided for the Mattaponi Church south of Fredericksburg).
The Church had overlapping functions with the judicial branch and welfare office. In the latter capacity, it sold the parish glebe land and then rented the glebe house plantation of 100 acres for the use of the poor, the first “poor house” in Spotsylvania. In addition, the Vestry exempted handicapped and indigent from paying the parish levy
The son of Marye succeeded his father on his death, the only son so to do on our history. Marye Jr. was educated at William and Mary and later became a tutor for William Byrd’s children. He was ordained an Anglican priest in England. It was during his years that the excess land on Caroline Street was sold as unsuitable for a grave yard and St. George’s Parish built is last church in the colonial period. (The funds were to buy a more suitable place which turned out to be in the Hurkamp park area. The sale was effected but the funds were lost during the Revolution). Marye remained at St. George’s until his death in 1780, serving the last 3 years during the worst years of the Revolution without pay. He was sympathetic to the cause of the Revolution.
We have a plaque to the Maryes. During the 1980’s organ renovation Mrs. Adaline Marye Robertson of Arlington Va. sent a check for $3,000 to the organ fund with the stipulation that part of it was to be used for a plaque to commemorate Marye. It was ordered and placed on a wall beneath the pipes of the gallery organ. It was subsequently placed on the right side of the Narthex with the other organ plaques. After the recent renovation it was moved to the left wall of the Narthex just before the center swinging doors
Great-Great-grandson John L. Marye Jr. (1823-1902), born at the Marye house, now Brompton, in Fredericksburg, served Spotsylvania in the Virginia General Assembly as a member of the House of Delegates for the terms, 1861-1863 and 1863-1865; as a member of the Virginia Convention 1867-1868 and as President of the Senate 1870-1873. In 1879, he was appointed Supt. Of Public Instruction for Spotsylvania and Fredericksburg to complete the unexpired term of John Howison, deceased.