Governor Spotswood

The Octonia Grant and the Octonia Stone

South River Land

Preservation Group (SRLPG)

Finding a Balance Between
   Preservation and Development

Stanardsville, Virginia

Going green in Greene with green homes

H I S T O R I C  E X P L O R E R S,  K I N G ’ S  G R A N T,  A N D  T H E  S T O N E

In 1716 Virginia’s Lieutenant Governor Alexander Spotswood led a group of 62 men on an expedition westward through the colony. As the group passed through some of Virginia’s most exquisite land, Spotswood’s men were continually awestruck by the successive beauty they encountered throughout their journey. The South River Land Preservation Group is dedicated to preserving land in the stunning South River Valley area bordering the Blue Ridge Mountains just north of the “Spotswood Trail”. Over 2000 acres have been protected to date, including Fairhill Farm and High Fields Farm. The recently acquired Parrot Farm near the historic Octonia Stone described below is being preserved. Over 135 acres of the Parrot Farm will remain open with around 55 acres committed to a model conservation development, named Octonia Highlands, overlooking the Blue Ridge Mountains and offering green homes with high-efficiency green home designs. Alexander Spotswood can now look down on the land which so awed him and his men knowing that a portion of it with its breathtaking vistas will be protected in perpetuity.

After the trip, Spotswood is believed to have presented each officer with a gold pin that was shaped like a horseshoe, and the men became known as “Knights of the Golden Horseshoe.”

King George I coat of armsIn 1722, King George of the British Crown granted 24,000 acres of Virginia land to Spotswood. Much of the grant was the very same land that Spotswood explored with his Knights of the Golden Horseshoe. In turn, Spotswood passed on the grant to the Octonia Company, a group of eight Virginians, most, or all, had been officers on Spotswood’s westward expedition.

Originally entirely part of newly formed Orange County, the grant extended along the south bank of the Rapidan River, from Laurel Run, just North of the town of Orange, westward to the Blue Ridge foothills. Today, half of the grant remains in Orange County. The other half makes up the heart of Greene County, which became independent from Orange in 1838.

The town of Stanardsville, incorporated in 1794, was originally part of a 6,000 acre parcel of the grant. William Stanard, namesake and grandson of one of the original grantees, received the land from his great uncle Robert Beverly, son of Captain Harry Beverly, another original grantee.

Today, Greene County acknowledges it’s rich history by embracing the horseshoe as it’s official County emblem. Octonia Stone Symbol

Also, still present is a large boulder, called the Octonia Stone, which marks the northwest corner of the Octonia Grant. With its pre-Revolutionary war symbol etched onto the surface — two circles, one atop the other, forming an “8” topped by a cross — this important stone is a Virginia Historic Landmark and is included in the National Register of Historic Places. The stone rests a half a mile from the Parrot Farm.

Octonia Highlands and Green Home Designs. As tribute to the rich history and lore of this unique property, the 55 acres of the Parrot farm being developed as a conservation development is called Octonia Highlands after the historic Octonia Grant. Streets are named in honor of some of the original grantees and the region’s founding fathers. The SRLPG is pleased to offer estate building sites and green homes with high-efficiency green home designs as part of this conservation development.