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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Woodbridge in Prince William County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

The Burying Ground

Rippon Lodge

 
 
The Burying Ground Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, March 29, 2019
1. The Burying Ground Marker
Inscription.  Rippon Burials

Few grave stones remain in the Rippon Lodge burying ground, but many unmarked graves are beneath the ground. Blackburn and Atkinson family members were buried here for decades, but the locations of most individual graves are unknown. Enslaved African Americans who lived at Rippon Lodge were likely buried elsewhere on the property. The location of the slaves' burying ground is unknown.

Only two Blackburn graves are marked—those of Richard (d. 1757) and his wife Mary (d. 1775). Richard's tombstone lists his accomplishments. If Mary's tombstone was carved, the letters have eroded over time. While Judge Wade Ellis owned Rippon Lodge from 1924 until 1948, he had the words on Richard Blackburn's tombstone cast in metal to preserve them.

The quality of carving on a grave stone may reflect the deceased's social rank and wealth. Richard Blackburn's 1757 tombstone would have been costly. By 1901, Chauncey of Alexandra likely received a modest fee for carving George R. Atkinson's simple stone.

Historic Grave Sites

Before the 1850s, most people who died in rural areas
The Burying Ground Marker image. Click for full size.
By Devry Becker Jones, March 29, 2019
2. The Burying Ground Marker
were interred on or near the property they owned. Most urban burials occurred in church yards. By the 1850s, burying grounds became separate, park-like cemeteries. Most early burying grounds and cemeteries were racially or economically segregated.

During the 18th century, the death rate among women of childbearing age was very high. Children often died of disease. Malaria (referred to as "ague"), small pox, measles, mumps and whooping cough took their tool on the unvaccinated population.

[Image captions:]
Right: Christian Scott Blackburn was married to Lt. Col. Thomas Blackburn. Thomas inherited Rippon Lodge from his father, Richard. Thomas died in 1807 and was interred in this burying ground. In her will of January 2, 1815 (Far Right), Mrs. Blackburn asked to be buried with her husband. Archaeology may identify the locations of the stone wall she requested and their graves.

It is my desire that at my death my body be removed to Rippon Lodge to be there interred in the family burying ground with my deceased husband and that a stone wall may be built with the stone that may be procured from the side of the adjoining hill without any opening to it, the experience of which is to be paid by my executor of my estate.

Mary Blackburn's death was announced in the Virginia Gazette on August 4, 1775.

A marker is visible at the supposed grave of Lt. Col. Thomas Blackburn (left), Richard's and Mary's son. The Army and Navy Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution installed the marker in 1973. The actual location of Thomas Blackburn's grave within the burying ground is unknown.

 
Erected by Prince William County Department of Public Works, Historic Preservation Division.
 
Location. 38° 36.829′ N, 77° 16.688′ W. Marker is in Woodbridge, Virginia, in Prince William County. Marker can be reached from Admiral Black Drive west of Blackburn Road when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15520 Blackburn Road, Woodbridge VA 22191, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Stones, but No Bones (a few steps from this marker); Neabsco Creek (within shouting distance of this marker); Collo. Richard Blackburn (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Latrobe's View (about 400 feet away); Historic Landscape (about 600 feet away); Centuries of History (about 600 feet away); Rippon Lodge (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Potomac Path (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Woodbridge.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesScience & MedicineWomen
 
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Credits. This page was last revised on March 29, 2019. This page originally submitted on March 29, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 83 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 29, 2019, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.
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