School History


Sangster Elementary School was named on June 9, 1988 for the Sangster Branch stream and community where it was built. 

Sangster Branch was named after the family of Edward Sangster, a Fairfax County Sheriff and farmer, and his wife Mary Kendall Lee, who owned the land around Sangster Branch in the 19th century. During the Civil War, three of Edward and Mary’s sons (Thomas, John, and James) fought for the Confederacy —only James survived. Thomas Sangster, a farmer, served as a private in the 17th Virginia Infantry. He was killed early in the war in the fighting at Blackburn’s Ford. John Sangster, an attorney, enlisted as a private and was later promoted to corporal in the 17th Virginia Infantry. He died from wounds received at the Second Battle of Bull Run. James Sangster was a postmaster and a slaveholder. He served as a private in the 3rd Virginia Infantry, Company K, Local Defense Troops. Company K was formed in September 1864, and the soldiers were primarily assigned to guard duty in Richmond. James Sangster is said to have assisted in evacuating gold and silver from the Confederate treasury as the Union Army advanced on Richmond. After the war, he took the oath of allegiance and returned to Fairfax County, where he lived the remainder of his life in the family home near Sangster Branch. James Sangster served for many years as a judge in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County. He died in 1906 and was buried in Lee Chapel Cemetery. Two of James Sangster’s sons were public school teachers in FCPS during the 1880s and 1890s. Thomas Sangster taught at the public schools in the towns of Fairfax and Falls Church. Smith Sangster taught at the Barker’s Crossroads School in the old Lee District. Descendants of the Sangster family still reside in Northern Virginia.


Citation: Fairfax County Public School Board. Meeting ID B2MP4J5934EB. Agenda Item ID 

BDQRLN6E3184. (nd). School names final 0715 [PDF file]. Retrieved from$file/School%20Names%20Final%200715.pdf