Nov. 12, 1694 Westmoreland Westmoreland County Virginia, USA
Apr. 12, 1743 Ferry Farm Stafford County Virginia, USA
Father of George Washington, America's first President. The British were well established in America with thirteen colonies prior to the American Revolution led by George Washington culminating in independence from England and the formation of a united county. Cities, seaports, schools, churches and thriving industry doted the landscape. In the south, large plantations sprang up, constructed and operated by cheap labor in the form of slaves imported from Africa. By the time of the marriage of Jane Butler and Augustine Washington Sr., three family generations had past since George's Great Grandfather John Washington had immigrated to the Colonies during the British Civil War in 1631. The extensive family became prosperous and thriving when Augustine Washington was born in 1694 in Westmoreland County, Virginia on his father's plantation. He was only four when his father died and his inheritance consisted of 1,000 acres on Bridges Creek (Popes Creek). When Augustine came of age, he married Jane Butler, an orphan with considerable wealth of her own. The couple settled on his inherited property and quickly constructed a new house called "Wakefield." He developed the land known as Popes Creek Plantation into a modest but successful farming venture. In addition to cultivating tobacco, he was active in the church, local politics and served at various times as justice of the peace and county sheriff. The marriage would produce two sons, Lawrence and Augustine Jr. Jane would pass away in 1728 and three years later Augustine would marry a second time to Mary Ball. Their first born would be George destined to be the first President of the United States. Although born in the "Wakefield Mansion," he would only spend the first three years of his life as the family moved many times, living at various plantations owned by Augustine Sr. The family lastly settled at Ferry Farm Plantation near Frederiksburg where Augustine owned and operated Accokeek Iron Furnace located nearby. Five other children followed...Samuel, Elizabeth, John Augustine, Charles, and Mildred (died in infancy). When Augustine Washington Sr. died in 1743 at Ferry Farm, he left his wife Mary Ball with many small children but well provided. George the oldest was but eleven. He along with other family members conveyed their father's remains by land and river 35 miles back to Popes Creek where they buried him beside his first wife and near his father and grandfather at the Washington family burial ground (Popes Creek Cemetery.) Mary would continue to live with her children and operate Ferry Farm with enslaved labor until selling the farm and moving into the town of Fredericksburg in 1774. Soon after the death of his father, George would live with his half brother Augustine Washington Jr. (Austin) in order to pursue an education at the Henry Williams School in Westmoreland County. At age fifteen he was a land surveyor. His first assignment was a land survey of 22 acres at Popes Creek. Legacy...In 1779, William, the son of Augustine Washington Jr., accidently burned down "Wakefield" after building a large fire in the mansion fire place then leaving to attend Episcopal church services on Christmas day. A spark from the chimney ignited a fire that destroyed the dwelling. A replica plantation house was constructed on the plantation land in Westmoreland County to approximate the original birth house in 1932 and is today known as the "Memorial House." The historical area today consists of 538 acres with the house, the Washington family burial ground, a working demonstration farm and 18th century period garden. Also interred in the burial ground are 28 other early members of the Washington family. President George Washington was buried at Mt. Vernon in 1799 and his mother Mary Ball Washington in Frederiksburg. The original foundations of what is believed to be the birth house were discovered by preservationist and is outlined. The site is now known as the George Washington Birthplace National Monument. An unmarked slave graveyard discovered at the Washington birthplace is an infamous legacy of Augustine Washington Sr. It contains 156 bodies of slaves owned by George Washington's father. Trivia note: Washington's birthplace eventually was sold and passed from the holdings of the Washington family. It was allow to disintegrate until preservationists realized the historical significance of the site. However, it was to late, nothing remained but finally a concerted effort with private and government assistance began to restore the plantation in the early 30's in a style of how it may have looked. Even the burial grounds was a vain attempt at restoration and creation. The finished project today resulted after disinterring of family parts, and a few vandalized markers from around the plantation and area with reinterring on the site.