Thursday, December 19, 2013

The Missing Boyhood Home on Stump Neck, Charles County, Maryland

By Mark Whatford
Deputy Director

In 1727 George Mason III relocated his wife and two year old son to western Charles County, MD from Virginia. He had purchased land in Doegs Neck, on Chicamuxen Creek which he later renamed Stump Neck to avoid confusion with his property across the river in Virginia. The move was possibly in response to a period of unrest in the Northern Neck due to restrictions placed on transported English prisoners who were now settlers in the area.

Mason acquired a number of tracts of land in Charles County through William Woodford, a London merchant who handled the business interests of Mason in England. The Charles County property was purchased in 1723, not deeded until 1725, and recorded in 1727. Mason rarely sold any of his land and leased out a majority of it as small farms.

Nanjemoy Parish Church.  Note the change in brick.
Before his premature death, Mason entered into an agreement to construct a new Charles County church in Nanjemoy Parish in 1732. It is likely Mason had his hand in the design and construction prior to his widow hiring John Hobson to complete the structure. This perhaps offered a young George IV his first glimpse of construction and planning he latter became so adept at.

On March 5, 1735, George Mason drowned when his vessel overturned attempting to cross the Potomac to Stump Neck. He was buried at Newtown.

From his estate inventory Mason had twenty three slaves and six indentured servants at Stump Neck. With his household goods comprising of a corner cupboard, an end table, several old prints and escritoire, curtains, bedding, furniture, earthenware plates glasses, etc… one room alone had twelve chairs. The question is what happened to this residence? By the time of George Mason IV’s estate inventory in December 1792 Stump Neck, some 1,200 acres, is simply listed as a farm with slaves, livestock and farming implements. No structure is listed. And we can assume that any slave cabin was not valued enough to list at all.

William Mason inherited the Stump Neck property from his father and on the death of William in 1820 his trustees advertised the Stump Neck property for sale in 1822, the same 1,200 acres, but with a comfortable dwelling house and barn. These structures may have been constructed after 1792, but the disappearance of the boyhood home of George IV is a question that needs further research.

Biles, Elmer S., George Mason IV A Brief Review of His Life; The Record, Vol. 96 No. 2, April 2003

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