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Chatham Manor, Fredericksburg

Categories: Historic Sites, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.4/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web
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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  • The Manor is really well preserved. The stories are endless. You can literally stand in rooms where soldiers were tended, where surgery was performed, etc. Countless historical figures walked the hall...  read more »
  • Living in Chatham, Kent, and staying in Fredericksburg, we felt duty bound to visit Chatham Manor on a sunny October afternoon. We had the most enjoyable of times and we would recommend wholeheartedly...  read more »
  • There not really a lot to see here. The park ranger offered us a video on the history of the house; there is one room with a few pictures and period pieces and then another couple of rooms with things...  read more »
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