George Franklin Outten

One of the most popular characters that bore our name during the nineteenth century was George Franklin Outten. He was born in 1800, and was the son of John Purnell and Henrietta Layfield Outten. His father and mother both died when he was twelve years old, leaving three children, George Franklin, Fannie and Julia. When these children were left orphans they were taken to the home of their maternal grandfather, the Rev. George Layfield, who lived at Onancock, in Accomack County, Virginia. Mr. Layfield was a man of great wealth. He owned all the land where the town of Onancock now stands, and being a minister of the Baptist Church, he preached the Gospel whenever he had an opportunity, but always refused to receive any compensation for his services.

But before the children were grown, their grandfather Layfield died, and George Franklin went with his half sister, Polly, to Maysville, Kentucky, where they made their home with Ephriam and Sukey Outten for several years. When George Franklin was twenty-one years of age he returned to Accomack County, Virginia, for the purpose of claiming his share of his father’s estate. The Rev. George Layfield also left his property to George F. Outten, according to Bishop Meade’s “History of Old Families in Virginia.”

When George Franklin left Maysville for a visit to Accomack County in order to receive his inheritance, he expected to return, but while in Virginia, he met a beautiful young widow Williams, who was formerly Miss Anne Scarboro Nottingham, of Northhampton County, whom he married, and he spent the rest of his life, a resident of Virginia. His sisters also married; Fannie married Mr. Seth Bell, December 7, 1825; she was then an orphan 14 years old. Julia married a Mr. Hornsby, but the writer has not received any further information about them.

George Franklin Outten and Anna, his wife, were the parents of twelve children, but they all died in infancy except three. His eldest child was named Maysville, in honor of the town in Kentucky that he loved so much. She married A. Smith Irvine, a widower with four children, but they had no children. Edgar Augusta Outten, married Georgie Forman in 1861. She was born in 1843, and was still living in 1919. They were the parents of a daughter named Henrietta Layfield Outten, who is still living, but she never married. Edgar Augusta died at the home of his sister Maysville, in the year 1900. Cincinnatus Outten was a medical doctor, but he died a young man and unmarried.

George Franklin Outten owned a plantation that was called “The Sycamores”. It was on the eastern side of the town on Norfolk, Virginia, but it is now a part of the city of Norfolk. And, in honor of the original owner, there is an Outten suburb, an Outten Street, Maysville Street, Augusta Street, etc. His home was “The Sycamores,” here he raised his children and practiced his profession as a lawyer.

The writer will here quote a paragraph from a letter that he received from Maysville, the daughter of George Franklin Outten: “My father was a County Judge for twenty-five years, in these days called a Magistrate, when only Gentlemen were chosen. He never accepted a fee and never had a verdict appealed to a higher Court. People said Col. Outten knows the law, and he is right. He was a retired gentleman when I first knew him, living on script, stocks, bonds, etc., and honest in all his dealings, paying bills at sight. He was an inventor, and had some valuable patents. He was fond of military life, and was Captain of a militia that had training on our lawn, where he drilled them twice every year. He would ride in full uniform on his fine horse. The Outtens were fond of horseflesh.”

When the Civil War came on George Franklin Outten was in mutual sympathy with the Confederate States, and when martial law was proclaimed in the district including Norfolk, Portsmouth and the vicinity for ten miles around, the district of Norfolk was divided into three military divisions, called Norfolk, Portsmouth and Saint Brides. A Board of Exempts composed of citizens and surgeons was appointed over each district. G. F. Outten was a member of the Board of the Saint Brides district, and they were ordered to meet at Ferry Point village at twelve o’clock March 10, 1862.

Maysville says that her father lost heavily during the Civil War, but he did not lose his home, for he died at the “Sycamores.” According to the old adage, it may be said that George Franklin Outten with “born with a silver spoon in his mouth,” and as soon as he was of age he inherited the wealth of two wealthy families, but while he may have lost much of his wealth, he maintained an unsullied reputation to the end of his life.

He died at the Sycamores in 1879, in the 80th year of his age, but Anna, his wife, preceded him to the grave about seven years. They were survived by only two children, and one grandchild. Their oldest child, Maysville, who married A. Smith Irvine, had no children. And Edgar Augusta, who had a daughter named Henrietta Layfield, but she never married. She is therefore the last one in the William and John Purnell branch of the family to be known by the family name.

George Franklin Outten and Anna, his wife, were buried in the family lot in Elmwood Cemetery, adjoining the rear of the Sycamores, at Norfolk, Virginia.

Written by Rev. John Perry Outten converted to Hypertext by Karen Stephens