The earliest known count of enslaved people in Fairfax County is Charles Green’s 1749 list of tithables (taxpayers). Using this information, it is estimated that the Fitzhugh family employed 76 enslaved people on Ravensworth at that time, with 38 working in parcel 1.1 and 38 in parcel 1.2. An additional 43 were identified to seven leaseholders in parcel 1.1. Comparable information has not been found for leaseholders in parcel 1.2.1

The 1790 and 1800 census records for Virginia were destroyed. County tax rolls provide an alternate source in which enslaved people 12 and older were counted.2

1789 tax roll heading

1789 tax roll heading (partial)

The 1789 tax rolls recorded 101 enslaved people living and working on William Fitzhugh (of Chatham)’s land (parcel 1.2). Fifty-three were identified in parcel 1.1 to the estate of the deceased Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel) under three overseers: 19 under Bayly Powell; 17 under Jefrey W Laughlin; 17 under Joseph Powell. An additional seven slaves were identified to Nicholas Fitzhugh.3 The separate accounting within parcel 1.1 likely indicates separate quarters (sectors) each with its own workforce.

In the 1799 tax rolls, 96 enslaved people were recorded under William Fitzhugh (of Chatham) on parcel 1.2. Two years earlier parcel 1.1 had been divided among five sons of Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel). Four sons were identified in the tax rolls owning and employing slaves on their land.

Slaves Owner Parcel
13 Giles Fitzhugh 1.1.3
11 Mordecai C. Fitzhugh 1.1.5
20 Richard Fitzhugh 1.1.4
20 Nicholas Fitzhugh 1.1.2 & 1.1.6


Battaile Fitzhugh, the fifth son, had sold his land (in parcels 1.1.1 and 1.1.7) to Augustine Smith and Henry Rose, who were recorded owning 16 and 20 slaves respectively.


  1. Beth Mitchell, Fairfax County, Virginia in 1760, an Interpretive Historical Map, Office of Comprehensive Planning, Fairfax County, VA 1987, map and 62.
  2. Fairfax County tax data for 1789 and 1799 accessed online in Binns Genealogy website, accessed May 6, 2013.
  3. This is evidence that Nicholas was living and working on his land in 1789 several years before the parcel was divided and he received his inheritance (parcel 1.1.2 and 1.1.6).