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Chatham Manor, Fredericksburg

(260+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site Tourist Spot
Chatham Manor is the Georgian-style home completed in 1771 by farmer and statesman William Fitzhugh, after about 3 years of construction, on the Rappahannock River in Stafford County, Virginia, opposite Fredericksburg. It was for more than a century the center of a large, thriving plantation, and one of the few locations visited both by President George Washington and later President Abraham Lincoln.Chatham also reflected the new country's racial tensions. In January 1805, Chatham's slaves overpowered and whipped their overseer and assistants in a minor slave rebellion. An armed posse of white men quickly gathered. They killed one slave in the attack, and two more died trying to escape capture. Two other slaves were deported, likely to the Caribbean or Louisiana, and Fitzhugh soon sold the property.Five decades later, in 1857, owner Hannah Jones Coalter (the 77-year-old mother of a disabled daughter named Janet), died and attempted to manumit her 93 slaves after making provision both for her daughter and them. Her relatives sued, claiming that after the Dred Scott decision, slaves were legally incapable of choosing whether to remain enslaved or receive their freedom and enough money to establish themselves in another state. While local judges thought the executors should free the slaves per Hannah's intent, a divided Virginia Supreme Court disagreed. Thus, the executors sold Chatham with its slaves to J. Horace Lacy (husband of Hannah's much younger half-sister Betty), although soon one slave was allowed to travel to raise money to buy freedom for herself and her small family, and succeeded.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • This has been the best heritage house we have visited in a two month tour of the US. Just a few people there, no charges, ( but you can give a donation) a couple of really nice young volunteers on the...  more »
  • The Manor is a great place to start your visit to Fred. Good view of the city, paths through the gardens, places to sit, helpful rangers and lovely bushes and flowers. A mason replacing bricks on a wa...  more »
  • Once you have learned about Fredericksburg a visit to this restored building should be added to your list, particularly for the rear view, where you can contemplate what the Union troops may have been...  more »
Google
  • Beautiful Manor House full of history during America's darkest years. If only these walls could talk, I would LOVE to hear the stories they would tell! The grounds are incredibly romantic with a view of downtown Fredericksburg across the Rappahanock River. It's definitely a must-see when touring the Fredericksburg area, especially if you're interested in Civil War battlefields.
  • Beautiful, well-maintained Civil War period historical site. The grounds include a large garden, restored, a view of the Rappahannock River and Fredericksburg. There's a lot to see and do here, so plan on at least 30-45 minutes.
  • Beautiful and historice site. I went on a winter morning and virtually had the whole place to myself. The docents seemed a little lonely, so I got a lot of attention and information. It was winter so the gardens weren't in bloom; I definitely need to go back in the warmer months.
  • Amazing views and always nice to take a walk through the beautiful property. I Really wish they would get the funding for keeping up the garden area though. It looks like it has a lot of potential
  • What a great experience to learn even more about history. The staff was very knowledgeable and were immediately welcoming to the kids by offering them little cards with pictures and history information on the back. We enjoy taking the kids to learn about history and when you have staff/volunteers as welcoming as this to kids, it makes them want to learn and pay attention as well. :)