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In the University of Virginia Rare Books Library, the Latane Family Papers collection contains a priceless treasure: the Parson’s Journal of the Rev. Lewis Latané, the patriarch immigrant of the storied Virginia Latané family. Parson Latané (1672-1732) lived near Mahockney at the original parish glebe, which is described by his descendant Lucy Temple Latane in a 1936 biography of the Parson, reprinted in part in this 1983 edition of the Essex County Historical Society newsletter, putting the Parson in the context of his time and of his later progeny in Virginia. Here’s what M. Latane has to say about the Parson’s Journal:

1707 06 16 Parson Latane begins his Journal

On a visit to the UVA Library, going through the Latane papers, 21st-century Mahockney owner Lewis Shepherd was originally intent on exploring records of the Latanes who owned Mahockney in the 19th century. But finding the century-older Parson’s Journal was exciting in its own right, and handling it was too tempting to resist (with care, per the archivist’s instruction.)

Described well by Lucy Latane Temple in her book.

The Parson’s Journal

Sure enough, Mahockney’s interest is in an early page of his journal, for it is there that the Parson records helping out a neighbor in the spring of 1726: new Mahockney owner Dr. Mark Bannerman.

1726 05 05 Bannerman, Mark - borrows garden hoes from Parson Latane, closeup - Copy

Entry: “May 5, 1726: Lent dr. Mark Bannerman five weeding hoes. 2 no.3d: 3 no. 2d” 

We do indeed have on the property an old colonial-era “weeding hoe” with a hand-forged iron tip. Who knows its vintage, but perhaps romance and the gods of history have kept Parson Latane’s old hoe here “on loan” all these years.

Mahockney Weeding Hoe (1)

Mahockney Weeding Hoe (4)

Centuries later, there always seems to be enough weeding to do around the farm…