Map by George Washington

Detail from 1766 map drawn by George Washington shows locations of William Payne, Jr.’s residence and Payne’s Mill within Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel)’s Ravensworth quarters (Parcel 1.1).

The Payne family were Ravensworth tenants and leaseholders – except for 25 acres purchased in 1797 from Giles Fitzhugh – under agreements with Henry Fitzhugh (Captain) and Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel). During 1766 to 1768 and perhaps at other times, a Payne also served as a Ravensworth overseer1.

Three generations of Paynes held important positions governing Fairfax County, beginning with the county’s creation in 1742. Various members served as court justice, sheriff, county surveyor and on the county’s Revolutionary War Committee of Safety with George Washington and George Mason. They also held positions in the church vestry, which exercised quasi-governmental authority before Virginia’s religious freedom act of 1786.

Beginning in 1785, many family members relocated to Kentucky.

  • Payne’s Mill, also known as Rock Hill Grist Mill, operated on Accotink Creek from 1758 to 1839 under four generations of Paynes, and under other owners to 1878 and later.

Biographical Sketches


  1. Fitzhugh, Henry. Henry Fitzhugh Papers, 1746-1789, Bedford (Stafford County), Virginia. Frederick, Md.: University Publications of America, 1987. Ledger entry “(134) William Payne my Overseer” is the heading of a list about a dozen expense transactions from November 1766 to January 1768. This single ledger entry is a fortunate discovery of evidence of the overseer role. There may have been other times when a Payne served as overseer, given their long residence on Ravensworth and other leadership positions.