|F i d l e r f a m i l y|
|g e n e a l o g y|
the words of
"In the early 19th century our family (Grandpa's father and grandfather) owned a substantial plantation outside of Charlottesville Virginia. The house was a magnificent antebellum structure named Belmont. We visited the house when I was in high school, and it is in fact quite a house. Great grandfather (William Sr.) had purchased land in western Virginia (now Arlington) because it was a perfect site for mills. He built the mill (or mills) there before the civil war. The war came. General Sheridan and the Army of the Potomac began to roll down the Shenandoah valley burning crops and slaughtering livestock and generally making a mess out of things. Great grandfather, who had been supplying general Lee and the army of Northern Virginia, saw the writing on the wall. He sold the plantation and converted everything he could into gold, packed up the family (including the slaves) and retreated to the land he owned on the Little Kanawha. At this point he changed the family name from Fielding (which was the original family name, from England and North Wales) to Fidler to make it more difficult for the Yankees to find him. They built the house at Arlington and maybe the other mills (I'm not sure of the chronology of the mills) and settled in. Grandpa was born the year after the war ended. When the carpetbaggers moved into the county and got their fingers in local government, there was a legal battle over great grandfather's land and he ended up having to buy the land a second time. A number of years after the war, great grandfather (decided it was time to change the family name back to Fielding, but he found that that would require him to purchase the land again. He said that he would be damned if he would buy his own land three times. The family name remained Fidler. Fielding however pops up occasionally, as in my Dad's name and my middle name. (Do any of the cousins carry Fielding as a name?) Well it was always assumed that great grandfather used up most of the gold in re-buying the land and building the house and getting the family established in the new homestead. But along about 1915 or 1920 Grandpa was pointing up the chimney (he would burn the chimney out and then re-point the mortar every Fall in preparation for the coming Winter) when he found a loose stone. In order to get it mortared properly he removed the stone and, low and behold, there was a small hollow chamber in the stone work. He reached in and brought out two bags of great grandfather's gold! That gold saw a lot of improvements on the farm and even got Uncle Kemp through Medical school. Apparently word got out about the gold and it wasn't too long before a fellow (city slicker from Pittsburgh Dad said) came down and just courted the daylights out of Aunt Sally. She finally agreed to marry him and just as soon as they were married he began to take her house apart board by board looking for more gold.. He never did find anything, and eventually left Aunt Sally high and dry.
that this is a pretty wild story, but that's the way I got it
from my Dad. Every once in a while I'll hear something or find something
that reinforces the connection with the Fieldings of Belmont. When we
were living on the farm in the late 40s my mother found an old wooden
bed standing out in the
weather out behind the barn. She asked Grandpa if she could rescue it
and he said yes. It turned out to be a solid walnut four poster (cannon
ball post) rope bed. Mom asked Grandpa where it had come from and he
said 'oh that came from Belmont when the family moved here.'"
So there you have it... When I first read this (about 4
years ago) it seemed rather compelling. My initial thought
was that this at least seems a more plausible reason for changing
Fielding to Fidler than mere "carelessness of pronunciation."
there are pre-1860 records indicating that the
More About Belmont
Stephen's brother (David Fidler) indicates that the Belmont in question is indeed just outside of Charlottesville, about 3 miles from Monticello in Keswick. It's a large antebellum mansion which was actually used in the opening scenes of the 1956 movie Giant starring Elizabeth Taylor, James Dean, & Rock Hudson.
So, given that the
story above is mostly (or totally) an embellishment, is there any Fidler family connection whatsoever
with Belmont? A question yet to be answered...
( m o r e c o m i n g - p a g e s t i l l i n p r o g r e s s )