Role in Ravensworth: tenant and leaseholder in Parcel 1.1, leaseholder in Parcel 1.2

John Ratcliffe was the son of Richard Ratcliffe of Charles County, Maryland. He moved to Fairfax County probably about 1750. He married Anne Moxley, the widow of Thomas Moxley, in the 1750’s.1 Ann held one of the earliest recorded leases in Parcel 1.1, for 100 acres and obtained in her name probably before their marriage.2

Regarding children, their leases were for three lives and thus named family members. Anne Moxley’s 1750 lease listed two sons, James and John Moxley. John Ratcliffe’s 1773 lease identified a son, Richard Ratcliffe, and daughter, Mary Ratcliffe. Another daughter, Anne Smith Ratcliffe (1758-1842), is identified in Edward Trexler’s Endowed by the Creator: Families of Fairfax Court House, Va.3

John Ratcliffe was a tenant before becoming a leaseholder. Beth Mitchell lists him as a tenant of Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel) in 1760, as well as the owner of five slaves. In his Tenants and Rents 1764, Fitzhugh wrote “John Ratcliff Transferred to Muir 954 [rent in pounds of tobacco].”4

John received two recorded leases within Ravensworth. He is the only person identified so far with leases in both the north (Parcel 1.1) and south (Parcel 1.2) parts of Ravensworth. The leases were near each other on the Ravensworth north/south dividing line and the Alexandria-Centreville Road (today’s Braddock Road).

For roads mentioned, see Roads Circa 1800.
  1. The first lease was for 179 acres, obtained in 1766 from Henry Fitzhugh (Colonel). It was near a 100-acre tract that Anne Moxley had leased in 1750.
  2. The second lease, in 1773 from William Fitzhugh (of Chatham), was for 165 acres.5

That same year (1773), John released the first lease to David Price, where Price established Price’s Ordinary at the intersection of Backlick and Alexandria-Centreville (Braddock) roads.6


  1. Edward Coleman Trexler, Jr., Endowed by the Creator: Families of Fairfax Court House, Va. Fairfax, Va: (James River Valley Pub., 2003), 9.
  2. Fairfax County lease C1:55.
  3. Trexler, Endowed by the Creator, 251.
  4. Beth Mitchell, Fairfax County, Virginia in 1760: An Interpretive Historical Map (Fairfax County Office of Comprehensive Planning, 1987), 51.
  5. Fairfax County Deeds G1:155 and L1:15
  6. Trexler, Endowed by the Creator, 10.