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

What Lies Beneath

What Lies Beneath Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
1. What Lies Beneath Marker
Inscription.  George Mason and his first wife, Ann Eilbeck Mason, began this burial ground in 1772. At that time, wealthy Virginians preferred to be buried at home instead of the local parish church. Multiple generations of women, men, and children—both enslaved and free—lived and died at Gunston Hall and many were buried here.

In 1922, a small group reclaimed the overgrown area by planting the cedar trees and building the brick wall around a few surviving headstones. These early preservationists hoped to protect the old markers from future damage, including the original box tomb of Ann Eilbeck Mason. The volunteers guessed the original layout of the cemetery.

Today, we know a lot more. Gunston Hall learned this graveyard covers 13,200 square-feet to the north and west by using three scientific technologies:

-ground penetrating radar,
-electromagnetic conductivity, and
-magnetic gradiometry.

These scanning techniques located at least 23 other adults inside the enclosure and more than 70 outside. However, this scan did not detect two infant gravesites, which appear in historic documents.

What Lies Beneath Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
2. What Lies Beneath Marker
Is George Mason Buried?

Mason ordered a pair of matching limestone tombs from England for himself and his first wife, Ann.

He installed his wife's at this new family burial ground after her death on March 9, 1773, while his own tomb stayed in storage in Alexandria. When George Mason died on October 7, 1792, the stone box had disappeared. It was never brought to Gunston Hall. Today. Mason's tomb is an exact copy of his wife's, made in 1960.

Who Else Is Buried Here?

Further research may reveal the identities or occupations of these once forgotten individuals.

All Gunston Hall residents lived through the same life experiences of birth, mourning, marriage, and re-marriage. How did enslaved people at Gunston Hall commemorate their dead? Were enslaved people buried in this area, near Mason family members? We do not know.
Erected by George Mason's Guston Hall.
Location. 38° 39.756′ N, 77° 9.677′ W. Marker is near Lorton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker can be reached from Gunston Road (Virginia Route 242) south of Springfield Drive, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. This marker is at the Gunston Hall Graveyard on the Grounds of Gunston Hall on Mason's Neck. Marker is
Burying Ground Diagram image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
3. Burying Ground Diagram
Board of Regents Gunston Hall
Close-up of image on marker
at or near this postal address: 10709 Gunston Road, Lorton VA 22079, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. A “Considerable Force” (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Shiloh Baptist Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); Fort Belvoir Military Railroad Historic Corridor (approx. 2 miles away); ‘Thermo-Con’ House (approx. 2 miles away); Belvoir Grounds and Potomac View Trail (approx. 2 miles away); The Birth of a River (approx. 2 miles away); The Army Comes to Belvoir (approx. 2 miles away); The Influence of the Fairfax Family (approx. 2.1 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Lorton.
Also see . . .  George Mason’s Gunston Hall. (Submitted on May 13, 2019.)
Categories. Cemeteries & Burial SitesColonial Era
G M A 1760 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
4. G M A 1760
This wall was built in 1922
through the concern and generosity of
Lillian Seeligson Winterbotham
and other Mason descendants.

Interred here are:

George Mason of Gunston Hall, Patriot 1725-1792
Ann Eilbeck Mason 1735-1773
James and Richard Mason 1772
George Mason V of Lexington 1753-1796
Elizabeth Mary Ann Barnes Hooe Mason Graham 1768-1814
John Graham 1806-1811
Richard Graham 1814
George Mason VI of Gunston Hall 1786-1834
Elizabeth Thomson Mason Mason 1789-1821
Eleanor Ann Clifton Patton Mason 1807-1867
John McCarty Mason 1817-1837
George Mason Ellzey 1837-1838
Richard Barnes Patton Mason 1824-1847
William Stuart Mason 1795-1857
George Mason of Hollin Hall 1797-1870
and others in unmarked graves
S A R 1775 image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
5. S A R 1775
George Mason's Tomb image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, May 11, 2019
6. George Mason's Tomb

George Mason
departed this Life on the 7th day of October 1792
in the 67th year of his Age
Principal Author of the First Constitution of Virginia
and of the Virginia Declaration of Rights
- Basis of the Federal Bill of Rights -
George and Ann Mason Tombs image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 21, 2012
7. George and Ann Mason Tombs
Ann Eilbeck Mason's 1773 tomb is on the right; The modern copy placed over George Mason's unmarked grave is on the left.
Ann Mason's Epitaph image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, April 21, 2012
8. Ann Mason's Epitaph
The inscription on Ann Eilbeck Mason's tomb has become unreadable. This bronze plaque repeats the epitaph written by George Mason.

Ann Mason daughter of William Eilbeck of Charles County, Maryland, Merchant, Departed this life on the 9th day of March 1773 in the 39th year of her age after a long and painful illness which she bore with uncommon fortitude and resignation.
“Once she was all that cheers and sweetens life,
the tender mother, daughter, friend and wife,
once she was all that makes mankind adore,
now view this marble and be vain no more.”
Family Burying Ground at Gunston image. Click for full size.
Library of Congress (Chroncling America), circa 1896
9. Family Burying Ground at Gunston
Ann Mason's tomb is visible in this illustration from The Washington Morning Times, June 14, 1896, but George Mason's grave was unmarked.
More. Search the internet for What Lies Beneath.
Credits. This page was last revised on May 14, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 12, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 49 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on May 12, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland.   7, 8, 9. submitted on May 13, 2019, by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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