parcel 1.2

Parcel 1.1 (south half of Ravensworth)

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.

Ownership passed to Henry Fitzhugh (of Eagle’s Nest) after William Jr.’s death in 1713/14 and at Henry’s death in 1742 to his son William Fitzhugh (of Chatham).

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

The Civil War, affected everyone. But in Anna Maria’s case the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia was William Henry’s nephew General Robert E. Lee. Lee had a personal history with the property, and his wife, Mary Custis Lee, and their children were in line to inherit it. Out of respect for the Fitzhugh family’s connection to George Washington, a Union Army order commanded respect for Anna Maria and her property.

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

Division of Parcel 1.2

This parcel remained undivided for 100 years through three generations, until:

  1. William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) divided out Parcel 1.2.1 about 1800.
  2. 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.
  3. Anna Maria Fitzhugh sold four relatively small parcels (1.2.4 – 7) between 1847 and 1853.
  4. The residual, about 8350 acres, in 1874 was divided among five Lee children, William (of Chatham)’s greatgrandchildren (parcels 1.2.8 – 12).
  5. See 2nd Partition for map and details
  6. Parcel 1.2 Chain of Ownership Documents

    will1701William Fitzhugh (the Immigrant)Henry (of Eagles Nest) & William (Jr.) Fitzhugh1.1 & 1.2Division of parcel 1.0 into equal shares bequeathed to his two oldest sons
    1713/14William Fitzhugh, Jr.Henry Fitzhugh (of Eagle?s Nest)1.2Land passed undivided to son.
     1742Henry Fitzhugh (of Eagle?s Nest)William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)1.2Land passed undivided to son.
    will J:244c.1800William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)Ann Randolph (Fitzhugh) Craik1.2.1Gift of about 800 acres to daughter
    will J:2441809William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)William Henry Fitzhugh1.2Bequest 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.


    1. Deed Z1:238, 11/6/1796, lease from William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) to Jane Williamson.
    2. Fairfax County tax data for 1789 and 1799 accessed online in Binns Genealogy website, accessed May 6, 2013.
    3. Fairfax County Will Book Q1:68
    4. Fairfax County Will Book Q1:57
    5. Ibid
    6. “United States Census (Slave Schedule), 1850 .” Index and images. FamilySearch. accessed May 12, 2013.