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


Landsdowne Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 16, 2010
1. Landsdowne Marker
Inscription. In 1763 Ralph Wormeley III of Rosegill sold this house to James Mills, a Scottish merchant. In 1791 Arthur Lee bought it and 1,000 adjacent acres to be his home in retirement. Lee named this estate Landsdowne in honor of his friend, William Fitzmaurice, Earl of Shelburne and Marquess of Landsdowne, a British statesman who supported the American cause before and during the Revolution. Fitzmaurice became Prime Minister in 1782 and negotiated the Treaty of Peace recognizing the independence of the United States.
Erected 1982 by The Society of the Lees of Virginia.
Location. 37° 38.178′ N, 76° 34.602′ W. Marker is in Urbanna, Virginia, in Middlesex County. Marker is on Old Virginia Street (County Route 602) west of Upton Lane, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 271 Virginia Street, Urbanna VA 23175, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Old Middlesex County Courthouse (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Arthur Lee (about 500 feet away); The Grave of Arthur Lee (about 600 feet away); Sandwich (approx. 0.2 miles away);
Landsdowne and Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 16, 2010
2. Landsdowne and Marker
Tobacco Was Money (approx. 0.2 miles away); Old Tobacco Warehouse (approx. 0.2 miles away); John Mitchell’s Map (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Backyard Garden Was Essential (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Urbanna.
Also see . . .  National Register of Historic Places 1974 Nomination Form. “Lansdowne was the home from 1791 until his death in 1792 of Arthur Lee, a major diplomatic figure from the Southern Colonies during the War for Indpendence. In 1770, through the influence of Samuel Adams, he was chosen as agent of Massachusetts in London in case of the absence or death of the regular agent, Dr. Benjamin Franklin. In the period 1770-1775, Arthur Lee and his mercantile brother, William, were engaged in British politics, and for a while Arthur hoped that he might become a member of Parliament. In October 1776 he was appointed along with Benjamin Franklin and Silas Deane of Connecticut as commissioners to negotiate a treaty with France and solicit aid. He joined his colleagues in Paris at the end of December only to find that he was not needed there. He then went to Spain in February 1777 and did succeed in obtaining some aid from the Spanish Government. He next journeyed to Berlin where he failed in
Landsdowne image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, January 16, 2010
3. Landsdowne
obtaining aid, Lee returned to Paris and on October 17, 1777, treaties of alliance and of amity and commerce wer; negotiated with France and signed by the three commissioners on February 6, 1778

“In September 1780 Lee returned turned to America, and in 1761 he was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates. He waq also elected to the Continental Congress in 1782, serving until 1785. He was one of the commissioners who negotiated the Indian treaties of Fort Stanwix and Fort McIntosh, and in July 1785 he was appointed by the Congress to the treasury board. He held that office unti1 November 1789. He opposed the adoption of the Constitution. Lee moved to the village of Urbanna in 1791.

“The house Lee chose to make his home was erected circa 1740-1750, with the large rear wing added a few years after the completion of the front section. It survives as a major example of Virginia’s Georgian architecture, exhibiting all the best features of the style. The brickwork is notable and the interior paneling is a remarkable achievement of colonial craftsmanship and design. The several later alterations and additions have not detracted significantly from the house’s original character.

“The house was originally owned by Ralph Wormeley IV (1715-1790) of nearby Rosegill, who used it as a secondary residence. Workeley sold it in 1763 to James Mills, a Scottish merchant settled in Urbanna. Mills’ wife was Elizabeth Beverley, daughter of William Beverley of Blandfield, Essex County. Mills died in 1782, leaving the house to his brother-in-law Robert Beverley, who in 1791 sold Lansdowne to Arthur Lee. Born at the Lee family plantation, Stratford Hall in Westmoreland County, Lee was the younger brother of Richard Henry Lee. Lee acquired Lansdowne upon his retirement from public life, hoping to establish himself as a planter there. He added nearly 1000 acres to the property and named it Lansdowne-on-the-Rappahannock in honor of his friend , William Fitzmaurice. Marquess of Lansdowne, a supporter of the American cause. Lee died before he had a chance to develop his property, leaving it to his brother, Richard Henry Lee, who at his death in 1794 left Lansdowne to his son, Francis Lightfoot Lee. Francis Lightfoot Lee retained ownership of Lansdowne until 1803 when it was sold to Dr. Robert Beverley Spratt.” (Submitted on January 31, 2010.) 
Categories. Colonial EraNotable Places
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on January 30, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 997 times since then and 27 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 30, 2010, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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