Leaseholders are people who contracted with an owner for the use of a specified tract of land for a specified time period. Typically, a family would obtain a lease that granted temporary title to its named members until they died. Like other land transactions, leases were specified in deeds that were recorded in the county court. However, many leases are known from other sources but no deed has been found. Most leases on Ravensworth were granted before 1800.

Tenants also rented land but lacked the written deed that secured their long-term right to the acreage they worked. They could be evicted without notice; however, many tenants stayed on the land through many years and changes in owners. Unlike owners and leaseholders, tenants did not have the right to vote. 1

The lack of recorded deeds in many cases makes it uncertain whether a person was a leaseholder or a tenant.

Biographical Sketches


  1. Beth Mitchell, Fairfax County, Virginia in 1760: An Interpretive Historical Map (Office of Comprehensive Planning, 1987), 42-43.