Falls Church, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Harriet and George Brice
Seizing Freedom and Facing Challenges
You are standing across the street from land that Harriet Brice, a “free woman of color,” purchased in 1864. Together with her husband, George Brice, she struggled to farm the property during the Civil War. Although she had gained her freedom sometime before 1860, George Brice did not escape slavery until 1861 when he fled to Union lines. In 1863, he joined the 6th Infantry, United States Colored Troops.
Later during the war, George Brice returned to Falls Church and farmed this land as well as the property of absentee landowners in exchange for a portion of what he grew. Like most farmers in the area, the Brices suffered losses when Union troops camped in their fields. In 1871, they filed a claim with the U.S. government for reimbursement for damages. Their claim was approved.
George and Harriet Brice helped by land for Galloway United Methodist Church in 1867 and are buried in the graveyard. Their descendants have continued to live on their property and attend the church.
“I always tried to belong to the U.S. It was always my principle from that time up to today. I never did anything for
“I am the wife of the claimant. In 1864-65 I lived at Falls Church – right in town. He lived on the piece of land I bought of mine. We had 12 acres of corn destroyed by Sheridan’s cavalry. … They pastured 300 or 400 horses. … There was about 12 tons of it and they fed their sick horses. … We didn’t accumulate anything after they came along and took possession … we just made ourselves content.” — Harriet Brice, 1871
Erected by Virginia Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • War, US Civil • Women. In addition, it is included in the Virginia Civil War Trails series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1864.
Location. 38° 52.822′ N, 77° 10.248′ W. Marker is in Falls Church, Virginia. Marker is at the intersection of East Fairfax Street and Douglass Avenue, on the right when traveling east on East Fairfax Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Falls Church VA 22046, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Henry Fairfax (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); To the Glory of God and in Honor of George Washington (about 300 feet away); James Wren (about 300 feet away); New York Memorial Stone at Falls Church (about 400 feet away); Confederate Soldiers (about 400 feet away); The Falls Church (about 400 feet away); Enslaved People (about 400 feet away); Union Soldiers (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Falls Church.
More about this marker. The marker displays two photos captioned George Brice’s Southern Claims Petition (left) Courtesy National Archives & Records Administration and Harriet Brice, on right, with four generations of the Brice family. Courtesy Galloway United Methodist Church Archives.
1. Picture that says Harriett Brice is on the left in the picture in the front yard
In reference to the picture of the women in the front yard of the family house. I don't believe the woman on the right side of the picture is Harriett Brice (as stated in the description). She may be one of the women on the left but definitely not on the right.
— Submitted August 7, 2020, by Sharon H Ford of Fairfax, Virginia.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2014. This page has been viewed 1,693 times since then and 71 times this year. Last updated on September 18, 2022. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2014. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.