George Washington (1732-1799)
Survey, April 23, 1751, of 247 1/2 acres in Frederick County, Virginia, for Isaiah Phipps
Call number: Manuscripts Mss11:3 P5572:1
Formerly a part of the collection of Paul Mellon,
"Oak Spring," Upperville, Va.
Bequest of Paul
Mellon in 1999.
Accessioned 21 September 2000.
Through his friendship with Thomas, Lord Fairfax, and other Fairfax family members resident in Virginia, seventeen-year-old
George Washington secured a commission as surveyor of the newly created Northern Neck county of Culpeper in 1749. With
Lord Fairfax's permission, Washington was soon surveying lands in the Northern Neck Proprietary west of the Blue Ridge. By
the spring of 1751, when the young man plotted out the boundaries of this piece of land for Isaiah Phipps, he had executed
dozens of surveying warrants in what was then Frederick County.
Phipps had paid Lord Fairfax, as proprietor of the Northern Neck, a sum sufficient to secure a warrant for a little more
than 247 acres along the Little Cacapon River (what Washington, following local usage, called the Little Cacapehon). The wagon
road leading north and west from Winchester toward Fort Cumberland ran through this tract, making it a particularly valuable
one, with great potential for development as settlement in the region increased. The site is actually identified on the map of
Virginia published by Joshua Fry and Peter Jefferson in 1755 in an area that would later fall into Hampshire County, now
part of West Virginia.
Surveys executed by George Washington, with their neatly drawn plats, clearly written descriptions, and examples
of the young surveyor's early signature, have always been favorites with collectors. Many of the surviving documents
remain in private hands, but this one joins two others from the years 1749-51 now in the Virginia Historical Society's
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