Belvoir Mansion Ruins and the Fairfax Grave
|Location||SE of intersection of 23rd St. and Belvoir Rd., parking lot on eastern side of Forney Loop Fort Belvoir, Virginia|
|Coordinates||38°40′45.12″N77°7′45.48″W / 38.6792000°N 77.1293000°W Coordinates: 38°40′45.12″N77°7′45.48″W / 38.6792000°N 77.1293000°W|
|NRHP reference No.||73002337 |
|Added to NRHP||June 04, 1973|
|Designated VLR||December 2, 1969, July 17, 1973 |
Belvoir was the plantation and estate of colonial Virginia's prominent William Fairfax family. Operated with the forced labor of enslaved people,   it sat on the west bank of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, at the present site of Fort Belvoir. The main house — called Belvoir Manor or Belvoir Mansion — burned in 1783 and was destroyed during the War of 1812. The site has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1973  as "Belvoir Mansion Ruins and the Fairfax Grave."
William Green's 1669 patent for 1,150 acres (4.7 km2) encompassed most of the peninsula between Dogue Creek and Accotink Creek, along the Potomac River. Although this property was sub-divided and sold in the early 18th century, it was reassembled during the 1730s to create the central portion of Col. William Fairfax's 2,200-acre (8.9 km2) plantation of Belvoir Manor.
Fairfax's elegant new home was completed in 1741. The mansion was described in a 1774 rental notice as spacious and well-appointed. Its furnishings consisted of "tables, chairs, and every other necessary article...very elegant." The family imported ceramics from Europe and the Orient to grace its tables.
Planters such as William Fairfax comprised a small elite of Fairfax County's population; most of their neighbors were smaller farmers who sometimes barely managed to make a living[ citation needed ]. After William Fairfax's death in 1757, the plantation and his slaves  passed to his eldest son George William Fairfax (1729–87).
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, moved to Virginia between 1735 and 1737 to inspect and protect his lands. Lord Fairfax came to Belvoir, to help oversee his family estates in Virginia's Northern Neck Proprietary between the Rappahannock and Potomac rivers, inherited from his mother, Catharine, daughter of Thomas Culpeper, 2nd Baron Culpeper of Thoresway; and a great portion of the Shenandoah and South Branch Potomac valleys. The northwestern boundary of his Northern Neck Proprietary was marked by the Fairfax Stone at the headwaters of the North Branch Potomac River.
Fairfax's sister Anne married Lawrence Washington in 1743. A young George Washington, Lawrence's half-brother, began to visit Belvoir frequently. Wishing to advance his brother's fortunes, Lawrence introduced George to George William. A friendship grew between the two men, despite the fact that George William was seven years older. A relationship blossomed between Sally Fairfax and Washington. Washington and Bryan Fairfax, George William's younger half-brother, also became friends.
In 1752, Lord Fairfax moved to Greenway Court in the valley of Virginia closer to his undeveloped land. He hired George Washington to survey land at Belvoir.
When Fairfax left Belvoir for England in 1773, he had the estate rented to Rev. Andrew Morton for seven years. Its furnishings were sold at auction in 1774.  It was confiscated during the American Revolutionary War by the Virginia Act of 1779. In 1783, the mansion and several of its outbuildings were destroyed by fire, and the plantation complex gradually deteriorated into ruins. Ferdinando Fairfax, who inherited the property, apparently did not live there. The bluffs below the former mansion site were quarried for building stone, but the house site was not developed.
Belvoir Plantation suffered further damage during the War of 1812. In August 1814, as British land forces attacked and burned the city of Washington, a British naval squadron sailed up the Potomac River and forced the surrender of Alexandria. The fleet began the 180-mile (290 km) return trip down river. On September 1, the British attempted to run the deep-water channel below the Belvoir house site, a position that previously had been identified as a strategic defensive location on the river. A hastily assembled American force, composed of Virginia and Alexandria militia under the command of U.S. Navy Captain David Porter, hurriedly began to mount a battery on the bluff above the river. For four days, British and American forces exchanged cannon and musket fire. The British fleet eventually passed the American positions, but British shells demolished what little was left of the old Belvoir Manor.
The association of Belvoir Plantation with the Fairfax family ended with the death of Ferdinando Fairfax in 1820. During the next decade, William Herbert of Alexandria acquired the property, which he quickly used as collateral for a loan. During the 1830s, Thomas Irwin, Herbert's creditor, operated the shad fisheries at White House Point. Herbert's continued inability to pay his debts eventually led to the sale of Belvoir at public auction in 1838.
All of the great 18th-century plantations in the Belvoir area changed considerably in the years before the Civil War. Soil exhaustion and inheritance prompted the sale and sub-division of these formerly expansive tracts of land. As a new generation of landowners took up residence in southeastern Fairfax County, patterns of land use and ownership were altered.
In 1917, the Belvoir property was consolidated and ceded to the U.S. Army by Virginia, eventually lending its name to the modern military installation of Fort Belvoir.
The Belvoir ruins are on the National Register of Historic Places (1973), but access is restricted since they are on the military post. 
Mount Vernon is a census-designated place (CDP) and unincorporated community in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. The population was 12,416 at the 2010 census. Primarily due to its historical significance and natural recreation and beauty, the Mount Vernon area receives over one million tourists each year.
Mount Vernon is an American landmark and former plantation of George Washington, the first president of the United States, and his wife, Martha. The estate is on the banks of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia. It is located south of Washington, D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia and is across the river from Prince George's County, Maryland.
Northern Virginia, locally referred to as NOVA or NoVA, comprises several counties and independent cities in the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. It is a widespread region radiating westward and southward from Washington, D.C. With 3,197,076 people according to the 2020 Census, it is the most populous region of Virginia and the Washington metropolitan area.
Thomas Fairfax, 6th Lord Fairfax of Cameron was a Scottish peer. He was the son of Thomas Fairfax, 5th Lord Fairfax of Cameron, and Catherine Colepeper, daughter of Thomas Colepeper, 2nd Baron Colepeper.
George Washington Parke Custis was an American plantation owner, antiquarian, author, and playwright. His father John Parke Custis was the stepson of George Washington. He and his sister Eleanor grew up at Mount Vernon and in the Washington presidential household.
Fort Belvoir is a United States Army installation and a census-designated place (CDP) in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. It was developed on the site of the former Belvoir plantation, seat of the prominent Fairfax family for whom Fairfax County was named. It was known as Camp A. A. Humphreys from 1917 to 1935 and Fort Belvoir afterward.
Fort Pearsall was an early frontier fort constructed in 1756 in Romney, West Virginia to protect local settlers in the South Branch Potomac River valley against Native American raids. The area around present-day Romney had been settled as early as 1725 by hunters and traders in the valley.
Buildings, sites, districts, and objects in Virginia listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
Lawrence Washington (1718–1752) was an American soldier, planter, politician, and prominent landowner in colonial Virginia. As a founding member of the Ohio Company of Virginia, and a member of the colonial legislature representing Fairfax County, he also founded the town of Alexandria, Virginia on the banks of the Potomac River in 1749.
Accotink Creek is a 25.0-mile-long (40.2 km) tributary stream of the Potomac River in Fairfax County, Virginia, in the United States. At Springfield, Virginia, Accotink Creek is dammed to create Lake Accotink. The stream empties into the Potomac at Gunston Cove's Accotink Bay, to the west of Fort Belvoir.
Woodlawn is a historic house located in Fairfax County, Virginia. Originally a part of Mount Vernon, George Washington's historic plantation estate, it was subdivided in the 19th century by abolitionists to demonstrate the viability of a free labor system. The address is now 9000 Richmond Highway, Alexandria, Virginia, but due to expansion of Fort Belvoir and reconstruction of historic Route 1, access is via Woodlawn Road slightly south of Jeff Todd Way/State Route 235. The house is a designated National Historic Landmark, primarily for its association with the Washington family, but also for the role it played in the historic preservation movement. It is now a museum property owned and managed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
State Route 235 is a primary state highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. The state highway runs 5.05 miles (8.13 km) between intersections with U.S. Route 1 in Fort Belvoir and Hybla Valley. SR 235 forms a southeast loop off of US 1 through the community of Mount Vernon in southeastern Fairfax County, connecting US 1 with Mount Vernon, the plantation home of George Washington, and the southern end of the George Washington Memorial Parkway.
Lake Accotink is a reservoir in North Springfield in Fairfax County, Virginia, United States. Lake Accotink is formed by the damming of Accotink Creek. The lake is surrounded by Lake Accotink Park.
Carlyle House is a historic mansion in Alexandria, Virginia, United States, built by Scottish merchant John Carlyle in 1751 to 1752 in the Georgian style. It is situated in the city's Old Town at 121 North Fairfax Street between Cameron and King Streets. The house, which is architecturally unique as the only stone 18th-century Palladian Revival style residence in Alexandria, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1969, and was restored in 1976.
Vaucluse was a villa in Fairfax County, Virginia, three miles (5 km) from Alexandria and 10 miles (16 km) from Washington, D.C., on a hill near the Virginia Theological Seminary, that was owned first by Dr. James Craik, and later by the Fairfax family, the first being Thomas Fairfax, 9th Lord Fairfax of Cameron.
William Fairfax (1691–1757) was a political appointee of the British Crown and a politician: he was Collector of Customs in Barbados, and Chief Justice and governor of the Bahamas; he served as Customs agent in Marblehead, Massachusetts before being reassigned to the Virginia colony.
Mount Vernon is a district in the southeastern sector of Fairfax County, Virginia which encompasses the area along the Potomac River, Mount Vernon, Fort Belvoir, and Gunston Hall. It includes the CDPs of Belle Haven, New Alexandria, Huntington, Groveton, Hybla Valley, Fort Hunt, Mount Vernon, Fort Belvoir, Mason Neck, Lorton, and Newington, Virginia. The office of the district is on 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306; Annual Town Meetings are held at Mount Vernon High School's "Little Theatre". As of 2010 the population was 127,637. Dan Storck is the current supervisor.
Hope Park was an 18th and 19th-century plantation in Fairfax County in the U.S. state of Virginia, where Dr. David Stuart (1753–1814), an old friend of and correspondent with George Washington lived with his wife, Eleanor Calvert Custis (1758–1811), and family. It was approximately 5 miles (8.0 km) southwest of Fairfax Court House.
Ebenezer Erskine Mason was a farmer who also served as a local magistrate and one of Fairfax County, Virginia's two delegates to the Wheeling Convention in 1861 which created the Restored Government of Virginia and led to the creation of the state of West Virginia.
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