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

Accokeek Iron Furnace

Accokeek Iron Furnace Marker image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, August 30, 2007
1. Accokeek Iron Furnace Marker
Inscription.  The Principio Company constructed the Accokeek Iron Furnace nearby about 1726 on land leased from Augustine Washington (father of George Washington), who became a partner. After Washington’s death in 1743, his son Lawrence inherited his interest in the company and the furnace. When he in turn died ten years later, his share descended first to his brother Augustine Washington Jr. and later to William Augustine Washington. The archaeological site is a rare example of an 18th-century Virginia industrial enterprise. It includes the furnace location, the wheel pit and races, a retaining wall made of slag, an extensive slag dump, and mine pits.
Erected 1999 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number E-49.)
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyColonial EraIndustry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1726.
Location. 38° 26.136′ N, 77° 27.031′ W. Marker is in Stafford, Virginia, in Stafford County. Marker is on Courthouse Road (County Route 630), on the left
Marker at Colonial Forge High School image. Click for full size.
By Kevin White, August 30, 2007
2. Marker at Colonial Forge High School
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this page online
. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 550 Courthouse Road, Stafford VA 22554, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Truslow Family Cemetery (approx. 0.9 miles away); The Knight House (approx. one mile away); Frances R. Shelton Bridge (approx. one mile away); Ramoth Memorial Gardens (approx. 1.4 miles away); The Robertson-Towson House (approx. 1½ miles away); The Robertson Quarry (approx. 1.7 miles away); Austin Run Pyrite Mine (approx. 2.1 miles away); Stafford County Armed Services Memorial (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Stafford.
More about this marker. This marker is located directly in front of Colonial Forge High School, in Stafford County. The High School was named Colonial Forge because it was built on land occupied by the former iron works.

In 1724, John England, Iron master at the Principio Iron Company (in Cecil County, Maryland), learned there were rich iron deposits in Stafford, Virginia. These rich deposits were located nearby along the Accokeek Creek. John England then conferred with Augustine Washington concerning the supervision and mining of the ore.

In an agreement with Washington, ore was mined on his land and processed in a blast furnace constructed here. The iron was then sent to Maryland for refinement in Principio’s forges. For a time, the Accokeek ironworks proved profitable. In 1750, it shipped over 410 tons of pig iron to England, about one-fifth of the entire tonnage exported from Maryland and Virginia. As ore deposits diminished, shipping pig iron from to Maryland for forging became less practical and operations at this site ceased around 1753.

By 1729, Augustine Washington held a one-twelfth interest in the Principio Company and oversaw operations at the Accokeek ironworks. Part of his agreement was that he bear one sixth of the cost of it’s operation. One of the main reasons he acquired nearby Ferry Farm and moved his family there was to be able to personnally manage the Accokeek iron furnace. When he died, his share in the company passed on to his son Lawrence.
Regarding Accokeek Iron Furnace. Accokeek Furnace Archeological Site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1984 (Site VA44ST53).

The remains of this 1726 iron blast furnace were donated to Stafford County by a developer in 1989. The property is on Accokeek Creek near Ramoth Church.
Also see . . .
1. The Principio Company Marker. Principio Company enterprises was the principal operator of the Accokeek Iron Furnace. (Submitted on September 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

2. How the Iron Ores of Maryland made George Washington "Father of our Country". Link includes, "A conjectural painting
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by Sidney King of Augustine Washington and his ten-year-old son, George, visiting Accokeek Furnace in 1742." (Submitted on September 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.) 

3. George Washington’s Childhood Home Marker. (Submitted on September 4, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia.)
Credits. This page was last revised on December 27, 2019. It was originally submitted on September 2, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 3,898 times since then and 57 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 2, 2007, by Kevin W. of Stafford, Virginia. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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May. 6, 2021