Tea Party winners: Elaine Marie Cooper's novel goes to both Ashley Penn and Mary Ann Hake:, Carrie Fancett Pagels' and Gina Welborn's Blue Ribbon Brides collection goes to: Melanie Backus Carrie's O' Little Christmas Town Collection goes to: Cherrilynn Bisbano
Friday, February 17, 2012
WAKEFIELD - GEORGE WASHINGTON’S BIRTHPLACE
By Janet Grunst
As we celebrate
George Washington’s 280th birthday, what better opportunity to
explore the place he was born. Wakefield is located in WestmorelandCounty, part of the Northern Neck of
Virginia, just 38 miles east of Fredericksburg. It is situated on the Potomac River, between Mattox Creek and Popes
In 1657 John
Washington came to Virginia from England aboard the merchant ship Seahorse
of London as its second officer. When the ship attempted to sail away with
its full cargo of tobacco into the Potomac, it ran aground on a shoal in Mattox Creek. While
waiting for the ship being readied to sail, John Washington formed a friendship
with a local planter, Colonial Nathaniel Pope, and more particularly an
attachment with his daughter Anne. A 700 acre parcel of land was Colonel Pope’s
wedding gift in 1658 when John Washington married Anne Pope. John became a
planter and increased his land holdings to 10,000 acres. In 1664 he moved his
family into a new home on Bridges Creek, 4 miles east of Mattox Creek. His son,
John later received the Bridges Creek property.
Anne Washington had three children; Lawrence, John and Anne. Their son, Lawrence, who was born at Bridges
Creek, married Mildred Warner of Warner Hall in Gloucester in 1686 and their family settled
west of Bridges Creek. Lawrence and
Mildred Washington also had three children; John, Augustine and Mildred.
married Jane Butler in 1715. He inherited some of his father’s property, and in
1717 & 1718 also purchased 200 acres on the west side of Popes Creek. Between
1722 & 1726 Augustine completed the home on Popes Creek that he and his
family would live in until 1735. Augustine
and Jane had four children, before she died in 1729.
Augustine married Mary Ball. They had six children. George, their oldest, was
born in 1732 in their Popes Creek home (later known as Wakefield). With additional purchases and trades
Augustine Washington combined the Bridges Creek
property with that of Popes Creek, including the family graveyard.
also increased his land holdings to include an iron furnace near Fredericksburg and another property further up
the Potomac in Little Hunting Creek. These
two locations would later become George Washington’s homes.
he first three and a half years at the Popes Creek Plantation until the family
moved to the Hunting Creek Plantation (later known as Mount Vernon). The Popes Creek plantation, a
vibrant farm was inherited by George’s half brother, Augustine Jr.
Christmas day 1799, the home accidentally caught fire and burned. The owner at
that time was General Washington’s nephew William Augustine Washington, who
then moved his family several miles away.
uncertain when the house was named Wakefield but it is believed that it was
called that around 1773. The property was also sometimes referred to as Burnt
House Plantation. The house was never rebuilt though the land continued to be
farmed. The State of Virginia eventually acquired the land to preserve
the site of the birthplace. In 1923, Mrs. Josephine Wheelwright Rust, a distant
relative of the former President, organized the Wakefield National Memorial
Association to rebuild a replica of the first home of George Washington.
visit Wakefield you will find it a lovely setting, complete with main house,
outbuildings, cemetery, herb and flower garden, walking trail and picnic area. The
GeorgeWashingtonBirthplaceNational Park is administered by the National
posts I’ll share something of George Washington’s other early homes.