Nellie Quander


Nellie Quander is principal at the Hybla Valley Elementary school, and daughter-in-law of the late James Quander who was one of the original owners of the Spring Bank land, site of Bryant Intermediate and the new Groveton.

We found the family is originally from Upper Marlboro area of Maryland. Another Quander in the family found court records near Upper Marlboro of Quanders -- that's supposed to be the line. Records on black people at that time would have been very poorly kept. In the 1800 census a John Quander in Maryland was, at that time in his 60's listed in 1800 as a free black. But any black who would have been free after 1860 -- census takers may or may not have gone to get information about them. 1860 you have them, and 1870 you don't. As you trace back you get these spotty periods because there was this (maybe) disinterest or feeling that "It doesn't matter if they're on it or not." It seems to me that everybody came from that Susan Quander Marlboro family. But one of the Quanders goes back to 1700's.

The boundaries now would be the land from #1 highway to Beacon Hill Road, running along Quander Road as the northern boundary, and probably along Oak Drive would be the southern boundary. There are a number of Quanders along there, and to know specifically how much is in each land area is very hard.

I do feel if eminent domain proceedings had not been started against them for the property, I don't think my husband's father would have ever considered getting rid of it.

Well, basically (eminent domain) is a proceeding saying that ''this land is needed for public welfare," and you know, they'll go to court to actually take the land if you can't come to an out-of-court settlement. For instance, if a highway is coming through and someone doesn't want to sell for the highway, then the state may feel that it's necessary to take it, and pay them what would be considered an adequate price. But my father-in-law -- he loved farming, and it was his life.

How did the Quanders feel about the proposed change in the use of Quander Road School? There was a lot of hassle.
Lots of times people who have interest in given situations manage to talk to people who really have no interest to make them feel they do. Now, there was no proposal to get rid of Quander Road School. The proposal was to change the use of Quander Road School from its present kind of facility as a regular public school into a use as a special education center. As a Quander, or anyone else, I felt that was a worthy use.

I think, in that particular case, that many of the Quanders who did speak were not very well informed. Many of them who did appear at that school board meeting didn't have any children in that school, and did not really understand what the issue was. It couldn't have been that great a concern over busing children from Quander to Belle View -- when those Quanders had their children bused from where they lived past schools down to Drew Smith or up to Manassas to high school. Nobody who now is so interested came across that highway then to say "This is an unfair thing for you to have to bus your children to Manassas." And yet, if their children were going to be bused from Quander to Belle View, then this was a great travesty of justice.

I would have called Spring Bank the areas on both sides, or maybe for a half-mile or so on both sides of Quander Road. When I first knew it there were the homes of about 4 or 5 Quanders along there. As you come down Quander from Route 1 there is a house that is sitting up on the hill there, behind the bowling alley. The next one would have been as you crossed the little bridge and started up and you'd get just to the crest of the hill if you were going toward Beacon Hill. Now there's another large white one there -- she's recently cleared off a lot of the shrubs and trees. There's a large white house that was there, my husband's home place would have been there.

There was a spring down there, a very large spring, very clear. People came from around with containers to get the spring water. We would occasionally walk out from Alexandria, some times like Easter Monday, just to walk up to the spring through the woods.

I'd say 25 years ago, certainly thirty years ago, it wasn't considered a necessarily desirable thing. You had transportation problems, the closest grocery stores and all might've been down at King and Washington, and so to live in the suburbs thirty years ago was not necessarily a desirable thing.

My husband and I wouldn't have had much opportunity to buy a home some place else at that time, so we just put the house there, and you know I think it was just a matter of a family being in an area. The Quanders moved into that area. The children, then, got a parcel of land and built on it. It was just a large piece of land. It was not considered of any great value when it was acquired.

Volume One, Table of Contents
Snake Hill to Spring Bank Homepage

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