The colony of Virginia created counties and church parishes to provide government services to the settlers moving west from the Chesapeake Bay. When the General Assembly created Prince William County, it also created a new parish for the administration of the business of the Church of England - including the collection of taxes for social welfare activities and other church operations.
An Act for making a new parish, on the head of Overwharton Parish, in Stafford County
I. Whereas many inconveniences attend the parishioners of Overwharton parish the county of Stafford, by reason of the great length thereof: Be it therefore enacted, by the Lieut. Governor, Council, and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That from and after the first day of January, which shall be in the year of our lord one thousand seven hundred and thirty, the said parish of Overwharton be divided into two distinct parishes, by Chopawansick creek, & a south-west line to be made from the head of the north branch of the said creek, to the parish of Hanover; and that all that part of the said parish, which lies below the said bounds, shall, forever thereafter, remain, be called and known by the name of Overwharton: And that all that other part of the said parish, which lies above the said bounds, shall thereafter be called, and known by the name of Hamilton: And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the freeholders and housekeepers of the said parish of Hamilton, meet at the church above Occoquan ferry, in their said parish, on the said first day of January, and there elect and choose twelve of the most able and discreet persons of their parish, to be vestry men for their said parish; which vestrymen so chosen as aforesaid, having taken the oaths appointed by law, and subscribed to be conformable to the doctrine and discipline of the church of England, shall, to all intents and purposes, be deemed and taken to be the vestry of the said parish. And whereas, the inhabitants of the new parish have born a great part of the charge and expence of the building and repairing of the glebe of the parish of Overwharton, and other houses belonging thereto; and now, by the division thereof, must be at the charge of purchasing land for a glebe and building convenient houses on the same, Be it enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That the vestry of the said parish of Overwharton, as it shall be, after the division, at the laying their next parish levy, shall raise a levy, for the use of the said new parish, the sum of ten thousand pounds of tobacco, and cask, towards the purchasing them a glebe; and shall cause the same to be paid convenient to some navigable river or creek, within their said parish.