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Monday, June 14, 2010

Chatham - part 1


On a very hot day last week while sweating bullets,  my friend and I decided to visit Fredericksburg Va. Civil War battlefield and Chatham in Stafford County Va..   Glad we did.
  I will start with Chatham, named after William Pitt, the Earl of Chatham.   A Georgian mansion, this place has beautiful gardens and wow what a history .  Built between the years of 1768 and 1771 by William Fitzhugh, it sits on a bluff overlooking the Rappahannock river and the town of Fredericksburg.   Dozens of supporting structures flanked the main house.  This  18th century plantation house on 1,280 acres  for years was a prosperous estate supported by 100 slaves,  Fitzhugh employed millers, blacksmiths and carpenters. 
There was a slave insurrection in 1805,  at this time Fitzhugh was living in Alexandria  since the 1790's to escape the hundred of guests who visited Chatham each year.  Fitzhugh put Chatham up for sale in 1796 and left.  The expense in providing for Chathams guests in entertainment and food aided in his decision to move.
 A former officer in the Continental Army purchased Chatham in 1806 for $20,000.00.   His name - Major Churchill Jones who owned it for 66 years.
Famous visitors were Robert E Lee, George Washington.  William Fitzhugh was second cousin of Thomas Jefferson, so it is assumed he also visited Chatham.  President elect William Henry Harrison was on the grounds but never came inside the home.

Pictures can be enlarged by clicking on





this tree is so huge

River view of home - original entrance  of home

close up of entrance today

Long line of grapes as we enter Chatham

 





River View
original entrance view of home




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