George Washington Papers

To George Washington from Thomas, Lord Fairfax, 30 April 1769

From Thomas, Lord Fairfax

Greenway Court April 30th 1769


I have sent down to my Brother a Plan of the County of Frederick;1 I hear Mr Harrison has got a Petition for a division to come down as low as Ceder Creek, which will be approved by our Burgesses in order to prevent the lower part of the County from ever attempting to make another Division which will be a great prejudice to the Inhabitans on Potomack. I shall therefore be obliged to you to endeavour to prevent the same unless they will consent to come no lower down than Flint Run & John Funks Mill now belonging to Lawrance Snap.2 I remain Sr your humble Servant



1A map of Frederick County drawn by J. Moffett, 20 April 1769, and docketed by GW: “Map of the County of Frederick 1769,” is in the Map Division, DLC. Moffett’s map was “taken according to the Map of the Northern Neck of Virginia.” This Northern Neck map is probably the one printed in Diaries description begins Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, eds. The Diaries of George Washington. 6 vols. Charlottesville, Va., 1976–79. description ends , 1:3, which is also in the Map Division, DLC. The Frederick County map, however, does not show Cedar Creek or Flint Run. “My brother” is Robert Fairfax (1707–1793) of Leeds Castle, Yorkshire, England, who later succeeded to the title of seventh Baron Fairfax of Cameron. He visited his relatives at Belvoir and Greenway Court from late summer 1768 until sometime in 1771.

2On 25 June 1770 a bill for the division of Frederick Parish in Frederick County passed in the House of Burgesses. The parish was divided into Norborne, Frederick, and Beckford parishes. Norborne Parish was comprised of the area from the Potomac River south to a line drawn from near Williams’s (Snickers’) Gap, running northwestward 7 miles north of Winchester to the Hampshire County line. From this line north of Winchester southward to a line drawn from the mouth of Cedar Creek on the North Fork of the Shenandoah River northwest to the Hampshire County line, and from the mouth of Cedar Creek in a direct course to the mouth of Flint Run, then east southeast to the Culpeper County line, would remain Frederick Parish. From the Cedar Creek line south to the Augusta County line was to be Beckford Parish. It was not until 14 Mar. 1772 that a bill was passed in the House of Burgesses dividing Frederick County itself into three separate counties—Berkeley in the north, Frederick, and Dunmore (later renamed Shenandoah) in the south. These county lines largely followed those of the three parishes of Norborne, Frederick, and Beckford, and the same act adjusted the parish lines to make the parish and county lines identical (JHB, 1770–1772 description begins H. R. McIlwaine and John Pendleton Kennedy, eds. Journals of the House of Burgesses of Virginia. 13 vols. Richmond, 1905–15. description ends , 96, 245; 8 Hening description begins William Waller Hening, ed. The Statutes at Large; Being a Collection of All the Laws of Virginia, from the First Session of the Legislature, in the Year 1619. 13 vols. 1819–23. Reprint. Charlottesville, Va., 1969. description ends 425–28, 597–99).

Mr. Harrison is probably either Burr Harrison (b. 1699) or his son of the same name. A Burr Harrison was a trustee of the town of Woodstock, south of Cedar Creek, and a vestryman of Frederick Parish. A Burr Harrison also became one of the first justices of the new Dunmore County and vestryman of Beckford Parish. John Funk (died c.1784) had a mill at Strasburg near Cedar Creek in what was to become Dunmore County. Lawrence Snapp (died c.1782) was an early settler in Strasburg.

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