The ever-present multi-generational George family and the Wire family have a history bound together with an old mill and the parcel’s Main House on Georges Mill Road, just West of Lovettsville.
The fabric of these long family trees is woven together, beginning with John George in about 1750.
Fred George, President of the Lovettsville Historical Society, wrapped his arm around Fran Wire, and said, “Fran is the hardest working 90 year old I ever got to know.”
Fran said, with a chuckle, “Thank you Fred for mentioning my age.”
In the 1750s, John George signed a lease obligating him to maintain the land.
In those early days, to keep anything cold, Fran said, the Georges had to cut ice from the creek in winter, and, amazingly, were able to keep the ice in the springhouse cold all the way through August.
The first mill was finished in March of 1774. But it didn’t survive. When the mill worked, there was a gold strike not far away but no one knows who struck it rich and, most unfortunately, none of the Georges found even fool’s gold.
Fran said, “There may still be gold in those thar hills.”
When John George died, John Jr. took over the Mill.
By the time of the civil war, there were Union soldiers campaigning nearby. Neighbors today are always unearthing soldier buttons, bullets and implements from those civil war days.
Fran said, the Old George School House was a place where the girls went and met with some of the Union soldiers bivouacked nearby. There was dancing. Romance too. But Fran spoke of one special love story from those tense times.
Sweet Lizzie George was torn in her affections, in a civil war conflict of the heart, between a union soldier, Peter Haskin, of the 6th NY Cavalry, and Christopher “Lum” Wenner, a confederate soldier with Colonel Elijah V. White’s 35th Battalion of Virginia Cavalry.
Poesy captured this North-South love triangle, in the rhyming line, “Lizzie George who loved to dance, decided to take a chance.”
When Lizzie finally made her “choice,” it was “Lum,” and Peter left, resigned he’d lost his love, to fight the Indians in the West.
The Georges’ schoolhouse was the scene of other Civil War episodes.
On January 17, 1865, while serving as a scout, confederate guerrilla John Mobberly led the advance guard in the George’s Schoolhouse Raid on the Union garrison. The raid was inconsequential and Mobberly’s luck ran out on April 5 when
locals and Loudoun Rangers ambushed and killed him at Luther H. Potterfield’s barn outside of Lovettsville.
The Millview House, the stone building that became the main house, was finished in 1875, and somewhat later Fran’s home and B&B.
Fran said, “One architect walking through the house showed how the front door led to a narrow hall that ran all the way to the back porch – a breezeway.”
“Originally,” Fran said, “there was no bathroom in the house, no closets, no heat. They all wore night shirts, kept bricks heated and put them in the beds. A wash bowl and pitcher was not very much use when the water in the pitcher was frozen.”
Fran hesitated to say more about the dancing “presence” found in the main house.
“One guest got up to go the bathroom,” Fran said, “and heard music, and it seemed to come from outside.”
“I watched her,” Fran said.
“She turned,” Fran said, “and said she saw these couples dancing outside the stone house and they were in uniform.”
Fran said, “Another guest told the same story, almost word for word, the same sighting.”
Asked if she had any such experience, Fran said she had not, but said, “I was sitting by the kitchen, and Steve, then 3, was talking a mile a minute, and he suddenly stopped.”
Fran waited on young Steve.
“He just looked toward the living room,” Fran said, “and I wondered what was the matter.”
“Steve looked at me,” Fran said, “and he asked, ‘Who is that lady in the white dress sitting in the living room?’”
Fran said, “Steve’s 20 now, and still remembers it.”
When you stay at Fran’s B&B as a guest, you can take a look around yourself.