Greentree Village is what you might expect to see in a community in Fairfax County, Virginia. Located in West Springfield, the neighborhood seems typical of many in the area. Brick front townhouses backing to trees and grassy islands slow traffic down for the kids to be able to play safely. Across the street from the neighborhood is one of the 380 parks maintained by the Fairfax County Park Authority. A Fairfax County Connector bus stop is at the entrance to the neighborhood, within 15 minutes is the Springfield Metro, the Rolling Valley and Sydenstricker Slug Lines are all close by as well. Multiple shopping centers add to the appeal as well as being in the West Springfield HS Pyramid.
However the neighborhood also contains a little mystery as well. Tucked behind the basketball court protected by a wrought iron fence are three gravestones from the 1800's. One has the name Addison Keen and another one with the name Clarintine V. Close by you can also see a broken headstone for W. Keen. Unlike other historic graveyards in the area there are no markers to explain how these final resting places ended up in this location.
Anyone who drives through Springfield knows the main road is called Old Keene Mill and Greentree Village lies at an "L"to Old Keene Mill and Keen Road. So what part of the history of the area did the Keen family bring to this particular area? First of all there was a mill on the Pohick Stream that runs through the area and records show it was owned by William Keen. An 1850 census of the area shows that William Keen was 35 years old, married and his occupation was miller.
In 1855 William Keene was convicted of murdering another local man. Local history reports disagrees as to whether William Keen was legally convicted of the murder but he was sentenced to death by hang. Over the following years additional information came forward that perhaps there had been jury tampering which led to his conviction. In 1858 his death sentence was commuted to 10 years in prison by the governor of Virginia. However it is unknown what actually happened to him. Prison records were lost when parts of Richmond was burned during the Civil War. It is not known whether William Keen died in prison, was released or walked out along with all of the other prisoners in 1867.
Whatever the story it makes living in one of the 124 townhouses in Greentree Village just a bit more intriguing. So as you are wandering through your neighborhood in Fairfax County take a closer look around. There is an amazing amount of history tucked in very unusual places.
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