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My Research Adventures

Who is The Powell in the Window?

In January of 2017, I attended the First Presbyterian Church in Winchester when visiting friends. I admired the stained glass windows in the sanctuary and noted one dedicated to an Ann Powell near where my friends and I were seated. Ann's name didn't leap to mind in relation to "my" Powells, so any relation would be distant. While admiring her window, I found her middle initial to be difficult to read due to the elaborate font. I couldn't decide if it was a B, an R, or an H. See the image below:

I learned that the identity of the woman memorialized wasn't entirely clear. There had been an Ann Powell who was married to a deacon (William Powell), and it was suggested that the window was dedicated to her.

I researched Mr. and Mrs. William and Ann Powell to learn more. Mrs. William Powell's full maiden name was Ann Eveline Hunter Magill. Her middle initials included E, H, and M, one of which matched the window. However, most records indicate that she went by "Eveline" or Eva" such that it would be unlikely for a window in her memory to use her first name of "Ann."

I started to search for another Ann Powell and found a more likely candidate in Ann Rebecca Holmes Boyd Powell. This Ann was married to Humphrey Brooke Powell, and her name comes up regularly in books on the Civil War in Winchester. She was friends with Mrs. Mary Greenhow Lee (a familiar name to Winchester history buffs) and was mentioned in her wartime diary. During the war, Ann R. H. B. Powell lived in what was referred to as "the Cabell House" on Boscawen Street (which no longer stands). That home had the distinction of hosting U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward in March of 1862 (as summarized in the entry for "The Cabell House" in "The Story of One Hundred Old Homes in Winchester Virginia" by Garland Quarles). Ann was the sister of the Reverend Andrew Hunter Holmes Boyd, who was the Reverend at this Presbyterian Church from 1852 to 1863. I think Ann's combination of being the Rev. Boyd's sister and having a noted existence in Winchester during the Civil War makes her a likely candidate for the memorial window.

On a more recent trip to Winchester, I learned that the Reverend Boyd also has a memorial window as shown below:

I noticed that his two middle initials of "H" are identical to the middle initial in the window to Ann Powell, which confirms that the middle initial in her window is also an H:

Of our two Anns, only Ann Rebecca Holmes Boyd Powell has a middle name containing an H. I therefore believe that the memorial window in the First Presbyterian Church at Winchester is dedicated to Ann Rebecca Holmes Boyd Powell (who interestingly is the mother-in-law to the first candidate, Ann "Eveline" Tucker Magill Powell).

In relation to "my" Powells, the family tie is distant. Ann Rebecca Holmes Boyd Powell is the wife of Charles L. Powell's first cousin.

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