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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Ferry Farm in Stafford County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Ferries

 
 
The Ferries Marker Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, December 13, 2008
1. The Ferries Marker
Inscription. The Washington plantation was located at one of the main river crossings. A ferry was established in 1726 a few hundred yards downstream from here. This ferry was the setting for one of the most enduring stories about Washington's childhood. In his Life of Washington, first published in 1800, Mason Locke Weems reported that "Col. Lewis Willis, his playmate and kinsman, has been heard to say, that he has often seen him throw a stone across Rappahannock, at the lower ferry of Fredericksburg. It would be no easy matter to find a man, nowadays, who could do it." A later writer changed the stone to a silver dollar.

A second ferry was established in 1734 a short distance upstream from here. Both could be reached by the ferry road cutting through the Washington plantation. The Washingtons never owned or operated either ferry. They seem to have regarded them as nuisances, especially after 1745, when Spotsylvania County made the lower ferry a free crossing. "I think we suffer enough with the Free Ferry," seventeen-year old George Washington complained in 1749.

The ferry landing was moved to the foot of this hill in 1763. The landing was still in use in 1833 when artist John Gadsby Chapman visited the farm. Note the ferryman's house near the bank, the rubble of what may have been one of the Washington-era buildings
"The Ferries" and "The Civil War at Ferry Farm" Markers Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, December 13, 2008
2. "The Ferries" and "The Civil War at Ferry Farm" Markers
(right foreground), and the ferry being poled toward Fredericksburg. As the painting suggests, the river was once much wider. It was narrowed by dredging and channelizing after the Civil War.
 
Location. 38° 17.757′ N, 77° 27.006′ W. Marker is near Ferry Farm, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker can be reached from King's Highway (State Highway 3), on the right when traveling south. Click for map. Located on the walking trail for the Washington's Boyhood Home site. Marker is in this post office area: Fredericksburg VA 22405, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. The Civil War at Ferry Farm (a few steps from this marker); The Washington Plantation (within shouting distance of this marker); George Washington’s Childhood Home (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Fredericksburg's Wharves and Harbor (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Washington’s Boyhood Home at Ferry Farm (approx. 0.2 miles away); Creek Delegation in Fredericksburg (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Washington Boyhood Home Site (approx. 0.2 miles away); Fredericksburg City Dock (approx. 0.2 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Ferry Farm.
 
More about this marker. The main part of the marker displays the John Gadsby Chapman painting, "Fredericksburg
Site of the Ferry Crossing Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, December 13, 2008
3. Site of the Ferry Crossing
Looking across the river at the Fredericksburg City Docks.
from the Old Mansion of the Washington Family," c. 1833.
 
Also see . . .  Ferry Farm. The Ferry Farm site is maintained by the George Washington Foundation of Fredericksburg. (Submitted on December 15, 2008, by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. Roads & VehiclesWaterways & Vessels
 
Ferry Road Photo, Click for full size
By Craig Swain, December 13, 2008
4. Ferry Road
Traces of the old road leading between the ferries.
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page has been viewed 707 times since then and 35 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on , by Craig Swain of Leesburg, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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