Chain of Ownership and Division
Parcel 1.2 is the south half of Ravensworth (Parcel 1.0), which William Fitzhugh, Jr. inherited following the death of William Fitzhugh (the Immigrant) in 1701. His father’s will instructed that the landgrant be divided equally between William, Jr. and his brother, Henry Fitzhugh (Captain). Braddock Road is the approximate dividing line.
Leases and Slave Labor
How the land was used before 1750 is not known for certain. However, it’s reasonable to assume that William, Jr. and Henry (of Eagle’s Nest) continued efforts to develop and earn income from the land by leasing to tenants and by producing tobacco and perhaps other crops with slaves and overseers.
One of the first colonial government tobacco warehouses, established in 1732 on the Potomac River, was located on Pohick Bay near the original Ravensworth landgrant’s southern border – evidence that a quantity of tobacco likely was being produced there by that time. Rolling Road provides a route originating at Braddock Road through Ravensworth to the Pohick warehouse. Though it’s not known when the road was built, it was cited in a 1796 deed as an existing boundary landmark.1 See Roads Circa 1800
In 1742 Fairfax County split off from Stafford County. The Fairfax County Court’s earliest surviving official land records for Ravensworth date from 1750. Records show William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) actively leased to tenants before 1767.
Like his ancestors, William (of Chatham) was an absentee landowner. In addition to leasing to tenants, he also managed extensive operations on his Ravensworth land with overseers and slave labor. Fairfax County tax rolls recorded 101 enslaved people in 1789 and 96 in 1799.2 Likely tobacco was the main crop, though by 1790 wheat and other crops were gaining ground in the county.
Absentee Ownership Ends
Circa 1796 William (of Chatham) built a home, Ravensworth Mansion, and moved his family residence here. Upon his death in 1809, Parcel 1.2 was bequeathed to his son William Henry Fitzhugh, less 800 acres (Parcel 1.2.1) he had divided out as a gift to his daughter Ann Randolph Fitzhugh.
Until his death in 1830, William Henry continued agricultural operations relying on slave labor. The inventory of his estate gives a good idea of the work done and products produced. It included:
- 13 horses
- 60 cattle
- 91 hogs
- 1300 sheep and about 14,000 pounds of wool
- plows, wagons, blacksmith and carpentry tools, hand farming equipment and nine spinning wheels3
Manumission and the Civil War
Anna Maria Fitzhugh, William Henry’s widow, inherited a life estate and managed this and other family properties until her own death in 1874. The provisions of his will had profound affects on her and the property. It provided that, in 1850, the slaves William Henry owned were to be freed. This changed the plantation workforce and Anna Maria’s relationship to the workers.4
- 83 enslaved people were recorded at Ravensworth in 1830.5
- Nine were recorded in 1850 – eight males ages 19, 18 (2), 15, 12 (2), 2, and 1; and one female age 8.6
- See Slaves Owned by William Henry Fitzhugh in 1830 and Free Blacks Manumitted by William Henry Fitzhugh
Division of Parcel 1.2
This parcel remained undivided for 100 years through three generations, until:
- William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) divided out Parcel 1.2.1 about 1800.
- William Henry Fitzhugh sold Parcel 1.2.2 (410 acres) to Presley Barker, ten years before his death in 1830. He bequeathed about 1300 acres (Parcel 1.2.3) to his niece/adopted daughter Mary Caroline Goldsborough.
- Anna Maria Fitzhugh sold four relatively small parcels (1.2.4 – 7) between 1847 and 1853.
- The residual, about 8350 acres, in 1874 was divided among five Lee children, William (of Chatham)’s greatgrandchildren (parcels 1.2.8 – 12).
- See 2nd Partition for map and details
- Deed Z1:238, 11/6/1796, lease from William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) to Jane Williamson. ↩
- Fairfax County tax data for 1789 and 1799 accessed online in Binns Genealogy website, accessed May 6, 2013. ↩
- Fairfax County Will Book Q1:68 ↩
- Fairfax County Will Book Q1:57 ↩
- Ibid ↩
- “United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 .” Index and images. FamilySearch. https://familysearch.org: accessed May 12, 2013. ↩
Parcel 1.2 Chain of Ownership Documents
|will||1701||William Fitzhugh (the Immigrant)||Henry (of Eagles Nest) & William (Jr.) Fitzhugh||1.1 & 1.2||Division of parcel 1.0 into equal shares bequeathed to his two oldest sons|
|1713/14||William Fitzhugh, Jr.||Henry Fitzhugh (of Eagle?s Nest)||1.2||Land passed undivided to son.|
|1742||Henry Fitzhugh (of Eagle?s Nest)||William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)||1.2||Land passed undivided to son.|
|will J:244||c.1800||William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)||Ann Randolph (Fitzhugh) Craik||1.2.1||Gift of about 800 acres to daughter|
|will J:244||1809||William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)||William Henry Fitzhugh||1.2||Bequest of remainder of parcel 1.2, about 10,200 acres, to son|
|deed S2:293||1820||William Henry & Anna Maria Fitzhugh||Presly Barker||1.2.2||Sale of 410 acres for $4,100|
|will Q1:57||1830||William Henry Fitzhugh||Mary Caroline Goldsborough||1.2.3||Bequeast of about 1300 acres, called Pohick Farm|
|will Q1:57||1830||William Henry Fitzhugh||Anna Maria Fitzhugh, Mary Custis Lee||1.2||Life estate to Anna Maria of remaining land, including Ravensworth mansion; and upon her death bequeast to niece Mary Custis Lee and her heirs.|
|deed L3:420||1847||Anna Maria Fitzhugh||John H. Broders||1.2.4||Sale of 200 acres for $1,000|
|deed V3:438||1852||Anna Maria Fitzhugh||William S. Powell||1.2.5||Sale of 510 acres for $4,080; includes survey plat|
|deed T3:131||1853||Anna Maria Fitzhugh||John H. Broders||1.2.6||Sale of 115.5 acres for $1,155; adjacent to parcel 1.2.4|
|deed U3:148||1854||Anna Maria Fitzhugh||Samuel H. Williams||1.2.7||Sale of 323+ acres for $4,042; includes survey plat|
|deed R4: 452||1874||George Washington Custis Lee, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Mildred Childe Lee, Robert Edward Lee, Jr., Mary Custis Lee||George Washington Custis Lee, William Henry Fitzhugh Lee, Mildred Childe Lee, Robert Edward Lee, Jr., Mary Custis Lee||1.2.8-1.2.12||Agreement among these five heirs of William Henry and Anna Maria Fitzhugh (children of Mary Custis and Robert E. Lee) to partition 8,351-acre remainder of Parcel 1.2 into equal value shares.|
|will C2:180||1874||Anna Maria Fitzhugh||Mary Custis Lee||1.2||Cites her cousin Mary Custis Lee's prior right to inherit part of Ravensworth parcel 1.2, which Mary had deferred, and that of Mary's children. Bequeaths extensive property and money to numerous relatives, friends and servants.|