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scene along Popes Creek
A scene along Popes Creek, 200 feet from the birthplace borne of George Washington.

"A place of rose and thyme and scented earth,
A place the world forgot,
But here a matchless flower came to birth—
Time paused and blessed the spot."

—Inscription on the sundial in the
herb garden, Washington's Birthplace.


THE STORY OF THE Washington family plantation in Westmoreland County, Va., where George Washington was born on February 22, 1732, may be divided into 3 main parts. The first relates to the activities of the early Washingtons who lived on the plantation during the latter third of the 17th century and fourscore years of the 18th century—a period covering 115 years. During that time the plantation between Bridges Creek and Popes Creek grew; successive members of the Washington family became prosperous planters, acquired large landholdings, and attained important civic and political offices in their county and colony. The climactic year of this first period was 1732—the 6th year in the reign of King George II and the 125th year in the history of the colony—when George, the son of Augustine and Mary Ball Washington, was born. The period ends during the American Revolution when the home in which George first saw the light of day accidentally caught fire, burned to the ground, and was abandoned as a homesite.

The second period spans a hundred years—a century when the birthplace site was neglected, and was all but forgotten by a growing nation which showed little or no interest in preserving the birthplace of its great military leader and first president. Wild honeysuckle and bramble thickets covered the foundations of the burned home; the place was forgotten for so many years that knowledge of the exact location and use of many of the plantation buildings became lost.

The third and last period of the story covers the years when the Federal Government, various individuals, and patriotic organizations became interested in preserving the historic site; a period culminating in the preservation of the ancient plantation by the Wakefield National Memorial Association and the United States Government.

paternal ancestry of George Washington
(click on image for an enlargement in a new window)


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Last Modified: Mon, Jan 20 2003 10:00:00 pm PDT

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