Augustine Washington

George Washington's Father

Born in 1694, Augustine was only four years old when his father died. He inherited about 1,000 acres on Bridges Creek in Westmoreland from his father (the Little Hunting Creek property went to his sister Mildred). When Augustine came of age (and into his inheritance) in 1715, he married Jane Butler, an orphan, who had inherited about 640 acres from her father. The young couple settled on the Bridges Creek property.

In 1718, Augustine purchased land on Popes Creek, abridging his property on Bridges Creek and about 1726, built a new house there (later called Wakefield). In the same year, he purchased the Little Hunting Creek property from his sister, Mildred. In addition to planting, Augustine was active in the church and in local politics, serving at various times as justice of the peace and as county sheriff.

Augustine and Jane had four children, only two of whom (Lawrence and Augustine, Jr.) lived to adulthood. After Jane's early death in 1729, Augustine married 23-year-old Mary Ball of Lancaster County in 1731. Three children were born to Augustine and Mary at Popes Creek - George (1732), Betty (1733), and Samuel (1734).

In 1735, the family moved to the Little Hunting Creek property. The exact reason for the move is unclear, but it may have had to do with Augustine's other occupation - iron mining. In 1725, Augustine entered into an agreement with the Principio Company of England to start an iron works on Accokeek Creek in Stafford County. In 1728, Augustine made an agreement with the company to bear one sixth of the cost of running Accokeek Furnace. Little Hunting Creek was a bit closer to the iron mine than Pope's Creek, so that may have been among the reasons for the move.

In 1738, a 150-acre property just across the Rappahannock River from the fledgling town of Fredericksburg, became available. Formerly owned by William Strother, the property was sold by his executors to Augustine who moved the family there at the end of that same year. The new property offered easier access to Accokeek Furnace and was within a day's ride of both Little Hunting Creek and Popes Creek. Augustine also leased a 450-acre parcel adjacent to the property that he later purchased outright. Although there was a ferry road and landing on the property, the farm was not called Ferry Farm during the time of the Washington's occupation.

By the time the family had moved to the Rappahannock River farm, two more children were born; John Augustine, 1736 and Charles, 1738. A sixth child, Mildred, was born on the new farm in 1739 but she died in infancy in 1740.

After Augustine's death in 1743, the Fredericksburg property went to George, but since he was only 11 years old, his mother, Mary, managed the property for him. She remained on the property until 1772, when George finally moved her to a house across the river in Fredericksburg. The Little Hunting Creek property went to Lawrence, and the Popes Creek property went to Augustine, Jr. Lawrence renamed his property Mount Vernon, in honor of an Admiral Vernon he had served with in the British Navy during the Battle of Cartagena.

According to the terms of Augustine's will, if Lawrence died without issue, the Little Hunting Creek property would be given to Augustine, Jr. who would then have to give Popes Creek to George. If Augustine, Jr. did not want the Little Hunting Creek property, it would then go to George. Lawrence had no living children when he died and Augustine, Jr. was apparently not interested in giving up Popes Creek. Lawrence's widow, Ann, had a life interest in the property but, because she remarried and was not living at Mount Vernon, leased the property to George beginning in 1754. Upon her death in 1761, George inherited the property outright.

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