The Stauffer’s Marsh property was a part of an 882-acre tract granted by Thomas Lord Fairfax to Abraham Haines, a Quaker from New Jersey, in 1754. Although Haines owned quite a bit of land in New Jersey, his Back Creek Valley property seems to represent his only venture into land speculation away from home.
As far as it is known, Haines never visited his Back Creek Valley property. However, at least two of his sons, Abraham and Joshua, were active in Frederick County, Virginia, from the mid 1740s to the mid 1750s and were members of the Opequon Friends Meeting.
When Haines died in 1758, the portion of the Back Creek Valley property that encompassed Stauffer’s Marsh went to his son Isaac. It is not clear if Isaac ever visited the property but it is confirmed he never lived there.
Among the succeeding owners, Bethuel Middleton Kitchen (1812-1895) was a person of some prominence. He was a justice of the peace and a county commissioner, and he served in both houses of the state of the state legislature. The house he built in 1857 still stands, across from the Shanghai store.
In the early 1990’s the property was owned by Larry Ashton. He had a permanent conservation easement established through the U.S. Department of Agriculture NRCS Wetland Reserve Program. The USDA then restored a fallow agriculture field back to a marsh wetland area.
Stauffer and Elinor Miller purchased the property from Ashton in the mid-1990s. They used it as a private nature preserve and local recreation area. The Millers donated the property to PVAS in the summer of 2011.