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 we 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 the rebels
“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.
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
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.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on March 4, 2014. This page has been viewed 1,354 times since then and 170 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on March 4, 2014. 4, 5, 6. submitted on October 8, 2014, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.