“Cousin Anna” to Robert E. Lee and widowed in 1830, Anna Maria Fitzhugh was matron of Ravensworth for 44 years and its protector during the Civil War. Samuel Smothermon was transported to the Virginia colony to serve seven years as a convict laborer. In freedom, he married, raised a family, farmed 135 leased Ravensworth acres, and is retired Fairfax County librarian Karen Moore’s favorite ancestor.
Researching the implications for Anna Maria of her husband posthumously freeing his slaves in 1850 extended the storyline in Free Blacks Manumitted by William Henry Fitzhugh. Thanks to Maddy McCoy for insights and help in researching choices that some made embarking on their new lives. Maddy is developer of the Fairfax County, VA Slavery Inventory Database. Thanks also to Mary Lipsey for sharing her research and guiding development of Anna Maria Fitzhugh’s story. A Fairfax Co. History Commissioner, Mary keeps the memory of Anna Maria and other history subjects alive in her talks to groups and at events.