Religious Toleration, first in Stafford

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Religious Toleration, first in Stafford

Being Roman Catholic himself, and seeing so many French Huguenots arriving in Stafford, George Brent along with four other Staffordians (   ) petitioned King Jame II of England for lands.  They received 30,000 acres of land in 1866-87, for people of all religious faiths on which to settle, a radical idea during this time.  The Brent Town or Brenton Grant was made partly as a religious haven and partly as a commercial venture.  It failed as a commercial venture, but succeeded as an area for religious freedom – as a haven for Catholics, French Huguenots, Puritans, and other Protestants.  Brent Town was in the backwoods area formerly known as Stafford County, but now it is almost entirely within Prince William County with a small area in Fauquier County.  In remembrance of this first example of Religious Toleration in the New World, a bronze crucifix was placed on Highway 1 in North Stafford, close by the Brent Cemetery.