Key facts about Ferry Farm, Kenmore, and the Washington and Lewis families.
The George Washington Foundation
- The Foundation owns and operates Ferry Farm and Historic Kenmore.
- The Foundation is a privately-held, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
- The Foundation (then known as the Kenmore Association) was formed in 1922 in order to purchase Kenmore.
- The Foundation purchased Ferry Farm in 1996.
- Contact the Foundation for additional information.
George Washington's Ferry Farm Facts
- The Washington family moved to Ferry Farm in 1738 when George was 6 years old. Read more about George's boyhood at the farm.
- In the Washington era, Ferry Farm was approximately 600 acres in size. Today, the Foundation owns 113.9 acres of the original farm.
- The Washingtons grew corn, wheat, and tobacco at Ferry Farm.
- The Rappahannock River frontage of Ferry Farm today is approximately the same as it was in George Washinton's time.
- The Washingtons did not use the name "Ferry Farm" but rather called it the "Home Farm."
- Although there was a ferry landing and the ferry road crossed the Washington's property, the Washingtons did not own the ferry or derive any income from it.
- Ferry Farm was left to George upon his father's death in 1743. Read Augustine Washington's will.
- Although George no longer lived at Ferry Farm after the age of 19, his mother, Mary, remained there until 1772, at which time she moved across the river to Fredericksburg.
- George Washington sold Ferry Farm to Hugh Mercer in 1774.
- Ferry Farm was the site of the middle pontoon bridge during the battle of Fredericksburg in the Civil War. Read more about the Civil War at Ferry Farm.
- Ferry Farm was acquired in 1996 by the Kenmore Association, a non-profit foundation that subsequently changed its name to The George Washington Foundation.
- Ferry Farm was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2000.
- Ferry Farm is now an active, archaeological site revealing clues that enhance our understanding of the people and events that shaped the property.
- The oldest building on the Ferry Farm property is a small shed dating to the late 1800s.
- Read more about the history of the Ferry Farm property.
Historic Kenmore Facts
- Kenmore was built by Fielding Lewis and his wife, Betty Washington Lewis (George Washington’s sister). Fielding Lewis was a wealthy merchant, planter, and prominent member of the gentry in Fredericksburg.
- Construction of Kenmore started in 1769 and the family moved into their new home in the fall of 1775.
- Fielding Lewis' Fredericksburg plantation was once 1,270 acres in size. Today, the house sits on just one city block (approximately 3 acres).
- In Fielding Lewis' time, the major crops on the plantation were corn and wheat. Fielding was not a major tobacco producer.
- When Fielding died in 1781, the property was willed to Fielding's first-born son, John. Betty remained on the plantation for another 14 years.
- The name "Kenmore" was first used by Samuel Gordon, who purchased the house and 200 acres in 1819. Read more about the Gordon family.
- Kenmore was directly in the line of fire between opposing forces in the Battle of Fredericksburg in 1862 during the Civil War and took at least seven cannonball hits.
- Kenmore was used as a field hospital for approximately three weeks during the Civil War Battle of the Wilderness in 1884. Read more about the Civil War at Kenmore.
- Kenmore is noted for its 18th-century, decorative plasterwork ceilings, created by a craftsman identified by George Washington only as "The Stucco Man."
- In 1881, nineteen-year-old William Key Howard, Jr. saved and restored the plasterwork ceilings. Read more about the Howard family.
- There have been eleven different owners of Kenmore over the years. Since 1925, the house has been owned by a non-profit organization, now called The George Washington Foundation.
- Kenmore was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1970.
Washington Family Facts
- Betty Washington was not George's only sister. He had a half sister, Jane, who died in 1735 (when George was 2 years old) and another full sister named Mildred, who died in 1740. For more details on the Washington family genealogy, see the Washington Descendants page.
- Betty's name was not Elizabeth. Her name appears in the Lewis family Bible as Betty.
- George and Betty were both born at Pope's Creek Plantation in Westmoreland County, about 40 miles southeast of Ferry Farm.
- George Washington had no children of his own. His wife, Martha Dandridge Custis, had two children from her previous marriage. Betty Washington Lewis gave birth to eleven children.
Lewis Family Facts
- Fielding Lewis' first wife, Catharine Washington, was a second cousin to Fielding and a first cousin to George and Betty Washington. They had three children together. Read more about the Washington-Lewis connection.
- His second wife, Betty Washington, was also a second cousin to Fielding and sister to George Washington. They had eleven children together. Read more on the Lewis Descendants page.
- Fielding gave his all to support the patriot cause during the Revolutionary War. He died in 1781, in poor health and deeply in debt.
- There is local lore that Fielding is buried under the steps of St. George's church in Fredericksburg however, he died near what is today Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, and is believed to be buried in that area although his exact resting place is unknown.
- Betty Washington Lewis died in 1797 while visiting her daughter near Culpeper and is buried in that area.
- Fielding Lewis owned approximately 100 slaves at the time of his death.
- Famed explorer, Meriwether Lewis, is related to Fielding.